Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Assembling the New York Branch

I have enough ego to believe that I have many talents.  But working with my hands, putting things together, isn't one of them. Unless it's a dirty martini. More on that in a mo'.

The past few weeks have been very active, as I have made several roundtrips to Manhattan and back, opening the New York Branch of my life.  As I wrote previously, I was recently awarded an apartment in Manhattan Plaza, a two-building complex of apartments devoted to subsidized housing for artists. My unit is on the 29th floor, and sports a pretty swell view, especially at night.

During the day, though, the place looks a lot like this:

Furnishing the place is not high on my list of priorities.  As I will be keeping my place in DC, and splitting my time between the cities, I feel a little bit like I'm camping in New York.  The first piece of furniture I bought for the place was delivered before I ever took possession of the apartment.  Thankfully, ManPlaza has what they call a "package room, " which is not a room at all, but a small storefront between the two towers resembling a UPS store.  There, everything which cannot fit into the teeny tiny mailboxes is delivered, to be picked up by the tenant at their convenience.  My tall director's chair was waiting for me when I pulled into the complex last week.  I am an incompetent goof when it comes to putting things together, and so I spent much more time assembling the chair than it should have taken.  Still, it was a smart impulse buy.  I have spent many hours perched on the chair at one of my huge picture windows, sipping a cocktail, and enjoying the view as the sun goes down and the New York skyline comes into its glorious own.
I have a new inflatable bed set up, which should suit me for the time being.  Luckily, I did not have to assemble the thing, just blow it up.  After several false starts, my Internet was finally connected, and I set about the seemingly impossible task of assembling the desk I had ordered online from Costco. Though a large corner unit, with three sides, it arrived in a single box. With instructions which turned out to be, at least in part, designed to assemble the mirror image of the desk.  Online, previous purchasers assured me that it only takes 10 minutes to assemble this thing.  It took me 2 hours, but in the end, the empty corner at the huge picture window now has a lovely, full desk.

I also assembled a floor lamp.  Aren't you excited?  Because of all the logistical stuff which comes with opening a new branch of one's life, I have yet to do anything particularly New Yorky.  Other than spend waaaaaay too much on groceries.  One of the largest (and most expensive) grocery stores in Manhattan is located right downstairs, and I have been visiting it frequently.  The first time I shopped there, last week, I ran into a Broadway star:

Well, when he's onstage, he actually looks like this:

I have no idea if Nick Adams, from Broadway's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is a tenant at Manhattan Plaza, or was just doing some shopping before his evening show, but running into him is just another illustration of the peculiarity of living in this huge city.  The population here must be around 9 million, but every time I venture out, I recognize somebody.

(That's Hunter Foster, an actor and playwright who often works in DC, but is now appearing Off-Broadway.  Passed him on the street.)

And as for that overpriced grocery store downstairs?  I had determined not to frequent any establishment which charges $2.65 for a single roll of paper towels.  But then I wandered down the salad dressing aisle.  There, amidst a limited selection of cocktail olives and onions, was a jar of these outrageous "cocktail stirrers":

It had never occurred to me to put actual pickles in my martini.  I'm now hooked. I don't think I care whether or not the New York apartment ever gets fully furnished. I have a bed, a desk, a lamp, and a cocktail garnish. What more do I need?