Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How The Other Half Lives

A few days ago I moved out of my swanky digs on the Upper West Side and into a railroad tenement in Hell's Kitchen. The building is clean and vermin-free, but the 150-year old floorboards have developed a hammock-like sag over the years, creating an effect that's sort of Cabinet of Dr Caligari-meets-Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. And all for just $1,700 US dollars a month.

"This is safe, right?" I asked the owner as he was giving me the guided tour of the one-room apartment.

"The floor? Oh, sure," he said with a chuckle. "No, the problem with this place is it's a firetrap." He proceeded to run me through the extraordinarily complicated procedure for opening and unlocking the fire escape exit. "It takes a little practice, " he said, reassuringly.


Anonymous said...

"Hammock-like sag"- I like that. Of course, that's where the similarity ends between your floor and comfortable places to sleep, as evidenced by my grueling 7-hour stretch on that floor; protected only by a potato chip- thin,flammable foam wrapping.
But never underestimate the soothing power of a night of beer-fueled mayhem to make everything OK.

Burro Hall said...

As a world-class expert on Comfortable Places to Sleep, your opinion carries a lot of weight around here, franker. Thanks.