As you may remember, there was a bit of NYC real estate drama leading up to this move.
We lost an apartment in Manhattan at the last second and had one week to find a new apartment. Fortunately, we loved the very first place we saw in Boerum Hill and quickly signed the lease.
The second setback was that there was a mix-up with the former tenants of our Boerum Hill apartment so we couldn’t move in until July instead of June.
Finally, though, we are nicely settled into our apartment. Above you can see where tiny Boerum Hill is located in Brooklyn and how close it is to many great neighborhoods: Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Green and DUMBO.
It has the convenience of being close to Downtown Brooklyn (and all the trains) but it also has charming houses and a neighborhood feel. Whenever I need anything (A Fedex? A hardware store? A Verizon store? A cute gift shop?) it always seems to be a 5 to 10 minute walk away.
The other major perks of our location are:
1. Trader Joes is only 3 blocks away. It’s housed in a beautiful old-fashioned bank. Apparently George Washington walked the grounds there as the plaque on the building reads “Near This Place During The Revolutionary War Stood The Ponkiesberg Fortification From Which General George Washington Is Said To Have Observed The Fighting At Gowanus During The Battle Of Long Island August 27 1776. Erected In 1926 By The South Brooklyn Saving Institution.”
You can get bananas for 19 cents and a history lesson!
2. The YMCA is 3 blocks away. Anna and I were specifically looking for an apartment near a YMCA after getting hooked in Park Slope. The classes are always a fun mix of 60 year olds, very fit young men, and even 12 year olds.
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park and the East River is just a 15-minute walk and it’s become my favorite destination in the city. On one evening stroll we walked past a row of picnic benches and grills where families had set up elaborate meals. It was almost comical how diverse each table was. It looked as though it had been staged for a Brooklyn advertisement. I kid you not, the first table was black, the second was Hasidic Jewish, the third was Muslim, the fourth was Asian, and the next was Hispanic. Then a man in a wheelchair with a grandchild in his lap went past and it was the most politically correct scene ever. Everyone was happy and eating delicious food with the Manhattan skyline looking her prettiest in the background all light up.
4. Cute boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops: Here are some pictures of our block to give you a feel for the place:
We live right next to a school, which is hard to forget when you’re trying to sleep for a night shift and the kids are out for recess. Now let me welcome you to our apartment on Dean St. (I prefer to live on a street with a cute name and while it’s no “Orchard St.” it’s pretty good.)
First of all, we live above Blue Bottle Coffee. Consequently our stairway always smells like delicious coffee and our front sidewalk is filled with hipsters, babies, dogs and friends drinking coffee on the benches out front. It’s like our front porch is the most popular place in the neighborhood. We live on the third floor so yes there are some stairs, but fortunately they are wonderful marble stairs, not stained carpet. Granted, this stairwell does have its flaws. At night the lights will frequently not turn on and it’s pitch black. This is a nice opportunity to remember how grateful we should be for modern lighting … and for cellphones with flashlights. And when you don’t have your cellphone on you it’s a little thrilling to inch through the darkness, using the walls as guidance and wonder who you may bump into. (Dad was less thrilled about this no-lights situation). Now let’s start in the bathroom. It’s bright and clean. My favorite feature is the window in the shower. A large tree fills the window so you feel like you’re showering outside as the leaves rustle through the wind. Sometimes a bird will settle on the ledge and peak in. Sean once theorized some Laws of Triplets. 1) A triplet in motion will come to rest 2) A triplet will gravitate towards Tommy 3) A triplet only wants to be warm and cozy. I will add that 4) A triplet needs everything to be “cute.” Even mundane things like the soap holder (a former tea cup saucer) should be cute. If you’ve ever been to Molly’s house everything is cute (a yellow toaster, rose towels, lace curtains) and in that vein we’ve attempted to find a cute version of everything. I’m very proud of myself for hanging this little shelf above the toilet because I didn’t use a level and somehow it turned out semi-straight. It houses a little bilingual German flash card we picked up at the Brooklyn Flea Market. It reads, “At the Toilet- Where is my sponge? My comb is broken. Clean your teeth well! I wash my hands with soap!” I’m gonna go ahead and assume it sounds more eloquent in the original German.
The kitchen is probably the cutest room in the house. It’s sunny and new. Anna was scared to even step into our Park Slope kitchen because it was dark and old (and may have had a few mice and other critters), but now she’s started cooking because our kitchen is delightful to be in.
As “Head Decorator” (a self-appointed position) I arranged our collection of postcards and pictures which we’ve picked up throughout the years and hung in every apartment. Anna, in her role as “Assistant to the Head Decorator,” (not a self-appointed position) arranged the magnets on the fridge.The kitchen radio is something also inspired by Molly who always has hers turned to NPR. Thankfully our apartment is small enough that “This American Life,” “The Moth Story Hour,” and “The BBC” fills the whole apartment. I’m still not over the thrill of turning the little dial each morning. It’s quite a handsome little radio don’t you think? Especially compared to a big bulky TV.
Whenever I call Time Warner to discuss the internet they always, always say, “I’ve noticed you don’t have a cable package, can I interest you in our latest special?” And now I say, “Oh no thanks, we don’t own a tv, we have a radio.” That settled that.
On a side note they once tried to sell me a home security system and I replied, “It’s ok I have a dog” (if you squint hard enough Lola can pass for a puppy). She was surprisingly satisfied with that answer and wanted to talk all about Golden Retrievers.
And now we arrive at our utensils. Mundane, but still cute. Uncle John and Billy bought them in Rome, used them in their DUMBO apartment and then gave them to us. Now it doesn’t make sense to me that you’d put silverware in a drawer. Our tiny dining nook is in the living room and is Lola’s favorite resting spot. Annnd that about covers the tour of the dining room.
The living room cozily fits a couch, coffee table, small desk, Lola’s tipi and a bookcase. Lacking a fireplace ledge to adorn with books and trinkets, we hung this little shelf (also pretty straight huh?) The vintage advertisement for vintage swimware hanging on the left has been in every single apartment we’ve lived in and fittingly reads “This is the life.” Our bedrooms branch right off of the living room. This is the first time in my life I’ve had my own bedroom and closet. I have the slightly bigger room which faces the front and has three large sunny windows. Earlier in the summer I bought this fan along with the radio. I had them delivered to Anna’s office and her co-workers teased her for buying two things that no one buys anymore, having long been replaced by air conditioners and iPods. But how much cuter is this fan than an ugly old air conditioner?
(Somehow Lola appears in every photo.. I didn’t stage her there … she just really loves the camera!)
Here is Anna’s room which snuggly fits a double bed (her first non-twin bed!) and a dresser. Lil’ Katie made the golden bear bookends pictured above.
And Sheila brought us the little prayer flags back from Tibet one summer. We hung one on our old fire escape in Park Slope which faded with the wind and rain, but we saved the second one for our next apartment.
See, it takes a village to make a house a home … Now everyone come visit!