Saturday, March 31, 2007


Over the last few years, I've been perpetually amazed by what the human body can endure. There's cause and effect. Do this, and that happens. Take this drug, and here's definitive results, some bad, some good. Sometimes, the results aren't so defined, but still, your body can put up with a lot of self imposed physical stress. Over the last few months, I've felt the same way about my building. These fuckers are destroying its identity, and yet here it stands, defiant, like us last few remaining tenants putting up with randomly adverse living conditions.

The last step in making the central stairway a trendy pretentious faux artist loft is the removal of the original iron and wood railing, and replacing it with something out of the "how to make your tired old building look like an old factory to attract spoiled rich kids looking for edgy street cred" handbook. Sorry that was such a long sentence. It went along with the newly exposed brick walls, and outdoor light fixtures they put over everyone's door. I guess the finishing touch was when I was going out to do laundry yesterday, and found that the whole front entrance to the building was gone. Not just the door, but all the way up to the 12 foot ceiling of the lobby area. I figured there was no way they would finish before five o'clock quitting time, and wondered what state of disarray I would find when I returned from work later that night. What I found was the crew still there trying to rough-in a door. And what kind of door? A ten foot tall glass door, that's what kind. The kind that doesn't have a frame. Just some form of solid, thick glass, and a handle, with a magnetic lock at the top. Not only is this thing ugly, and even offensive with it's opulence in the face of a fairly economically depressed neighborhood, but it doesn't even match the bullshit industrial look of the hall and stairs. And I know what you're thinking, but a brick would just bounce off this thing.

After walking past the eastern European crew putting up the door, I walked up the stairs, and realized it finally happened. I'd been waiting for this moment for months. First I heard the noise. Then, I saw, from the apartment next to mine, steam leaking out from the cracks around the door. I knew eventually someone would leave some open pipes at the end of a work day, and since it's been back down into the 30s this week, the heat came on full blast, turning several apartments into saunas. I stuck my head out my livingroom window, and witnessed thick steam pouring out of various open windows below. All I could think was how I hoped it would fuck up some of the new floors they just laid down, and why hasn't a neighbor called the FDNY thinking there was a fire? Unlike the broken pipes, it didn't seem to be hurting any of the other building inhabitants, so I just let it go. The steam let the building live out the night as a living, breathing entity, and after having the life sucked out of it by unnecessary, unrequested cosmetic surgery, it seemed like that's what it needed to do. One last time.

But it's just a thing. Brick and mortar and a steel beam over every door. There are far more important things to get sentimental over. Just keep standing. Just be a roof over our heads. No matter how hard they try to make you into something else.


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