Friday, September 11, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - A New Lease on Life

Today I went into my old apartment for the next to last time. I was there with the insurance adjuster and the movers. I marked what things I hoped they could salvage, they boxed it up, and took it away for cleaning. At first it was a routine exercise though I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up a little. It's a difficult thing to see all of your belongings damaged, things you worked so hard for, things that have sentimental value, things that connect you to people you love and times long ago. The severing of that tie, despite its materialistic nature, can be hard to bear.

The dry cleaners were supposed to be scheduled for today as well but there was an appointment mix-up so I'll just meet them tomorrow. They'll be there at 10:30 tomorrow morning and once that piece is done, I'll close the door for the last time on an apartment that I had high hopes for. I imagined dinner parties with friends, out-of-town guests, a little dog livening up the place. I'd be cooking in my eat-in kitchen, writing away. It was to be a little den of creativity for the next year. Instead it taught me the lesson of a lifetime - how precious and short every day is. We so often live close to the edge and don't even know it. One minute, I'm writing on my computer, buying iTunes songs ('Landslide' by Fleetwood Mac was downloading at the time the fire broke out), and then my kitchen floor is crackling and heaving the next moment. Life's funny that way. So unpredictable.

At 1:00 this afternoon, I signed the lease to my new apartment and by the kindness of the building managers I can move in immediately. The building was designed by Emery Roth, a renowned architect, whom I'd never heard of until this afternoon. He lived in the building for many years, just down the hall from me, in a 9-room apartment (much larger than mine!). He designed many well-known iconic residential structures in New York City including the El Dorado, the San Remo, and the Warwick Hotel. His firm, Emery Roth & Sons, continued on long after his death and designed many well-known New York City buildings including the World Trade Center (a little spooky that on 9/11 I'd sign a lease at a building designed and inhabited by the man whose firm designed the World Trade Center), the Bronx High School of Science, and the Hemsley Palace Hotel.

As the leasing VP if my new building said, "it's almost as if you were meant to end up here rather than your other apartment." At first I thought she was just saying that to make me feel better. Now, I'm wondering if there's more to her comment than just that simple, surface sentiment. According to Wikipedia, "The extensive architectural records and papers of both Emery Roth and Emery Roth & Sons are now held in the Department of Drawings & Archives at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University." Once I am settled in, I will have to pay that library a visit. There's some kind of story here, and now that the wheels of my mind are turning this way again, I know I'm well on my way to being my old self again, with an even greater appreciation for life and all of the mysteries it holds.

The photo above is not mine. It depicts the San Remo designed by Emery Roth. It can be found on Wired New York, an on-line community created by Edward Sudentas for people who love New York City art and architecture.

1 comment:

runner52 said...

Good luck with everything