Hello friends, I just wanted to write and tell you that my apartment in Manhattan is on the ground floor, facing out to the street, and quite often people walk past the window and we make very awkward eye contact. It grows exponentially more awkward the fewer clothes I’m wearing and the younger/older the person outside is. I won’t tell you about the time I was completely naked and a 72-year-old Puerto Rican woman limped past.
I haven’t mentioned this apartment before, but I moved in about five months ago with my girlfriend. Neither of us had furniture to bring when we moved in, so we started from scratch. Living in New York, we had no car of our own and didn’t know anyone who did, so transporting assembled furniture would be difficult. Being early/mid-twentysomethings, we had no functional knowledge of DIY or any tools with which we could screw nails or hammer screws, and our parents were many thousands of miles away, so assembling disassembled furniture would be difficult. Ikea? Not the best quality, but a possibility.
What we did know well was apps and websites and technology, so here’s what we did:
- We Uber-ed a Craiglist mattress and bed frame from a woman in Soho. (Although we needed a second Uber because the first one refused to take the mattress in their car, understandably. Thankfully we pleaded well with the second and convinced him to take us and our third-hand mattress.)
- Over the following weeks, we checked out both AptDeco.com and MoveLoot.com for used furniture to be delivered ready-assembled. We got a dresser and a bookshelf-cum-storage-thing. I’d highly recommend these sites, although it can take time to find something if you need an exact size.)
- We bought a TV from a seller on Wallapop.com.
- We used Handy.com to hire a handyman to mount the TV on the wall and hang our curtains high against the window where we couldn’t reach.
- Oh, and we found a little bedside table out on the street that someone had discarded as trash. That little guy is our pride and joy.
The final decor is far from a unified aesthetic or even a matching color scheme, and most of the furniture has chips and cracks and scrapes and stains, but it’s totally functional and feels like home. And besides, having furniture of different styles and colors makes the place feel unique. I think that’s a good analogy for New York in general. It’s incredibly diverse and cultures can clash at times, but the “melting pot” experience is beneficial to everyone. There are plenty of beautiful sights – the gleaming Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building shrouded in fog, for example – but it’s far from a perfect city. It’s disgusting. It’s brutal and unrelenting. It’s the city equivalent of being babysitting a toddler – it looks cute, especially when it’s sleeping, but it poops and screams and bites you quite a lot. But despite that, you love it. New York is incredible and I’m glad I get to live here, however many people stare at me through the window.