Yesterday I missed the family, our family, Thanksgiving. Thursday I will go to my sister’s in-laws who are lovely people but they’re not my family. I’m comfortable there but haunted by Thanksgivings past, and want new traditions of my own. Finally I want to be the grown-up. How old do you have to be to stop being an adult orphan? When your children reach college age? What happens when you don’t have kids to mark your life cycle?
I’m anxious. At one with Streeteasy.com which has real prices, how long apartments languish for, reductions in price, pictures of apartments, sometimes videos, and floor plans that do or do not have square feet. It lets me see what I should expect. My apartment is larger than some on sale in my building, and smaller than one. It has one more bath than all, and more marble and granite. I know marble and granite’s so yesterday but I’m not going to change it, just buff it. My apartment had its walls skim coated in 90 and they are still in excellent condition. Just look tie died from the floods.
Floods aren’t a bad thing. They allow the steam risers, something I never heard of until last year, to be replaced with the building’s insurance. The building is making a schematic of all pipes. This is a well run building. The super is an expert in floods and in luxe pre-war Manhattan buildings that’s what counts.
It took me weeks to get the nerve to go to the storage room. In my imagination it’s a huge scary place where everybody’s cages are more organized than mine. The reality is different, but I literally get sick before I go down each time. Last week I became sicker than ever.
On Friday I cleaned out the storage cage. Apparently clothes from Studio 54 days are in vogue. Many books were ruined by the basement flood. But I did it. And formed my storage cage theory of life. When you’re ready to tackle the impossible you will. No matter how scary it feels at first.
Today I was too antsy to stay here. I was going to go a movie, one of my Monday afternoon guilty pleasures, but there wasn’t a movie I wanted to see badly enough for $11.75, no Fandango. They’ll be on pay per view soon enough.
I wondered the streets keeping myself outside of stores as I’m into getting rid of things, not adding. This holiday season will be on the cheap. I’m also one with Morningstar.com and don’t see any good signs.
When I point out the newish West 72nd Street subway stop and park to people who aren’t Manhattancentric or didn’t live her then, they don’t see the beauty though it looks like a Nora Ephron movie set. They don’t know it once was called Needle Park, see Panic In Needle Park one of the most underrated movies ever. Logically to me Panic… reminds me of my father as he knew Jerry Schatzberg, the director.
I guess my father knew him during his photographer days as he knew many, but I remember him telling me a story involving Schatzberg and a porn film, Elka don’t read this, that my father somehow was involved with. Apparently people did porn films for tax write-offs but this one was a success. I remember reading an article in Playboy about it. I could be wrong but I’m 99% sure it was Schatzberg though it’s in nothing official about him and frankly I didn’t feel like delving further.
This Island is filled with real people and ghosts. My father’s ghost being the most preeminent. Last week
The Times had an article on high stakes poker games that made them sound sleazy. I don’t know when my father’s game began, sometime before I was born. I do know he met many of his clients and friends through it. I imagined it to be like Felix & Oscar’s game. Though I knew there weren’t people like Murray the Cop. It began at an Ivy League club and moved to apartments. For most of my life it was on Monday night, then Thursday.
My father and I had a standing dinner date. He would go through food phases. One year it was all Shun Lee Palace when Ed, Shoenfeld was maitre de and the nation’s first Jewish Chinese food specialist, though some would argue we all are. He would come sit with us and tell us stories. Probably my father told more stories.
In the 80’s there was a cheap chain of seafood restaurants Hobeaus,(each restaurant had a different name, and once Lucia and I had an inadvertent lobster fight that people applauded) that everybody went to including us, when we didn’t go to Faye & Allen’s or a few other pricier ones. My sister lived in The West Village and my father was determined to eat in every restaurant in it.
Toward the end of my father’s life he began to revolt against pricey restaurants and we would usually go to Ottomanelli’s Cafe a chain of Italian past restaurants based on a butcher shop.
When I think of my father I think of restaurants, poker, New York and so so much more. I went out, and go out all the time, and will never classify myself as a “foodie” a word I disdain as it implies and infers being better than others. When really most Manhattanites live their lives in some restaurants or others. I don’t find it exciting or interesting anymore. There seems nothing left to be discovered. Nothing new. I like bistros, tavernas and diners though I can live without actually being in them.
I’m jaded. I know that. When you live in Manhattan for most of the past 32 years and can’t get excited about restaurants it’s past time to leave.
There are so many other ghosts. I used to have lavish parties when I lived on East 63rd. An old friend asked the other day if I still make rice with vermouth and I had to dig deep to remember that dish I invented. I used to read cookbooks for fun, and substitute ingredients. White vermouth, something I have never been able to abide straight, is great for cooking as it has many herbs.
I no longer eat rice, white or brown, nor do I usually eat pasta my very favorite food.
I’m trying to calm myself down by writing about my father’s ghost and food. It took me a year of searching to find this apartment. I don’t know how many apartments I saw. Most were ordinary and no amount of decorating would change that. Many were put on the market dirty and in much worse condition than I can imagine my apartment being in.
Though prices were much lower then I felt the owners greed. I didn’t feel that when I first saw this one. I saw an apartment that had been lavished with love and respect for original detail. I want the person or people who buy mine to have that same feeling. I want them to walk into the building and think “please, please, let the apartment be as nice.” It was nicer.
I know I will never be a recluse and only the doormen will know my name. I actually tried that and it didn’t work. I have too much of my parents in me. But it scares me that I take little pleasure in restaurants anymore.
I never imagined myself moving to The South. Southern Florida, yes, but I know too many people who I don’t want to reestablish relationships with. Something vapid in their values. Cousins excluded.
I’m antsy and I can’t work on the novel I’m writing strictly for fun. My head is filled with lists of things to be done. I have to decide what to get rid of; what to keep and put in the storage cage so that next week when my apartment is worked on it will be an almost clean slate. Clothes, I can get rid of in a second, but books they are hard.
I hope to look back at this time in six months and think how much easier it was than I thought it would be. I hope the person or people who buy it will be as entranced with painting it and making it into a “wow” statement as I was a decade ago. Now everybody has multi colored walls. I want them to love how secluded the bedroom feels, almost as if it’s part of a private home.
I want them to be haunted by their own private good ghosts, and when the ghosts begin talking too much or stop talking to know it’s a sign. I’m not sure what the sign means but it means something.