Changing Homes: Forward to the Past--Karen
I was pretty footloose as a young person, a Foreign Service child living three or four years at a time in several different countries. College and law school were impecunious stages requiring frequent moves. Then--a real job, and I ended up in an apartment in FiDi (not called anything so jazzy back then) for nearly two decades. I loved the stability, and I loved downtown, where Manhattan is narrow and rivers bound its perimeters.
Then marriage, and another move, this time for more than two decades, to raise a family in Chelsea, near Union Square. Fabulous neighborhood. The raising worked out well, so the children have launched, each in a perfectly suited college. I do not like being left behind, though, so my husband and I decided to move too.
We are going back downtown--a very different downtown than in the 1970s and 80s, but still historic and water-bounded. I love the history, and I love seeing that we are on an island. I also love that the physical damage wreaked by 9/11 has been overcome, with style and vigor. Lots of new buildings are all around, like Frank Gehry's 8 Spruce, and wonderfully renovated ones, like The Beekman--a truly gorgeous structure that was empty the whole time I lived here before.
Our new apartment is smaller (no need for a playroom any more) but with space for everyone. And it is fun discovering where to get groceries (note to purveyors--the food situation could be better), and dry cleaning, and where to have a Campari and soda.
But what a painful process. Our new apartment needed work, partly to install lighting, as I detest lamps. The architect assured us it was not a big job. Easy, the contractor said. But no. Ropes of tangled wires, and jagged holes, everywhere. The contractor himself said that the apartment looked as if a bomb had gone off. Many delays. Had I realized how this process would go, I would have had a hypnotist get me over my negative view of lamps. Too late now.
We have moved in. Still a construction site, so Thanksgiving was a little haphazard. Very good-natured workers still arrive early each day. But the end is coming. Soon we will have our home to ourselves. I look forward to that day.
I do not regret moving, bittersweet though it was the last time I walked away from the family home, leaving the keys behind for the next occupants--another family with young girl-boy twins! It is good for us to move toward new adventures with our sophisticated and independent children, in a new neighborhood that will stimulate new ideas. Onward we go.