During the Ford/Carter energy crisis my father would keep the thermostat set to 68 and tell us it was patriotic to freeze. Our house was a corner one and all the wind in the neighborhood seemed to settle into it.
So began my long history of living in wind chambers. When I moved off Fifth on 63rd Street, at 25 in 76, I didn’t need AC as my building had a lot of marble, and I lived on the first floor. I had the first ceiling fans anybody heard of in Manhattan. Bought on the Bowery when the Bowery was the Bowery.
Oh yes I’m one of those New Yorkers. I will never be ashamed of loving the city the most in the 70’s to around 85. It was affordable. It was fun. I heard it was dangerous but never felt the danger no matter where I went. I lived in that apartment until 91 and only had AC the last year as my super gave me a unit somebody was throwing out. It just wasn’t important to me. Neither was TV. A good stereo with analog speakers was of primary importance. I began collecting CD’s years before I could afford to buy an actual player.
Though my apartment was warmer than the average apartment nobody refused an invite basically because I threw great parties, always or often had food, always had liquor as I only drank with company and found out early in life that people would bring liquor we would drink then so the good stuff, mine, would be saved for special occasions.
Oh any night on East 63rd was special. I remember when my ex best friend Shelby came back from a cruise to the former Soviet Union. A professor famed for his film lectures invited her. She only had to design a brochure and didn’t have to sleep with him or in the same room.
I know because she took me to his office to do the negotiating. What do you say to a weird man who had noticed her when she walked into the auditorium for the first film, came up to her after class, and asked her if she would like to go for a drink? He did this in full view of the hundreds of girls who were gaga over him for reasons I never understood except that he knew many film stars.
I said something brilliant like: “So Shelby’s going to design a brochure?”
“And her payment’s going to be her own room on your cruise to Finland, Leningrad etc?” Well I didn’t say “etc.,” and was dying to say “but why can’t I be Shelby’s roommate?” I didn’t.
I remember how uncomfortable we all were in his office. I remember thinking that I hated playing Rhoda to Shelby’s Mary. With most other girls I was Mary.
I remember hating Shelby because she was so beautiful and bright yet was an incredible bitch without any empathy or feelings for anybody but herself. I had met her during Viet Nam. She never protested.
We shouldn’t have been friends. Yet like lovers who weren’t good for each other we circled around one another for 20 years.
She hated the cruise. Joel Gray, Colleen Dewhurst, and many incredible stars were on it. Shelby hung out with Cindy Williams (Laverne on Laverne & Shirley) I remember thinking well she was the only one anywhere near our age–though older of course
The night after she came back from the cruise she came to my apartment with a lot of presents, which was totally out of character for her, and a large bottle of Stoli. We sat and drank shots. Neither of us realized that real Russian Stoli basically tastes like water. Well Shelby might have but she liked seeing me get drunk since I did because it was the 70’s but didn’t really enjoy. Oh I did but hated the next day.
No she really didn’t realize as when we stood up we fell down. We got up laughing. I had what looked like a large stick by my front door. It was called a police lock and weighed at least 25 pounds. You could kill somebody with that stick.
Shelby decided to play with it. It fell down. The super who hated me on general principle and was always cutting off my electricity, cut off my electricity and came up to curse me out. I had an ability to straighten myself out really quickly and threatened him with the police if he didn’t put my electricity on. He threatened me with bodily harm but acquiesced.
Shelby couldn’t stop laughing. We fell onto my sofa bed, passed out and went out around noon the next day for hangover food and Bloody Mary’s. Some guys came over and we let them pay for our brunch.
I was always amazed when guys would say “you know, your friend is beautiful but there’s something about you that’s just so….” And two thirds of the time they did
I have no idea what this has to do with living in wind chambers except that I was living in one then and my house now has the thermostat set to 68 basically because I’m cheap)