Block 664: May 18, 2015


Today is the last Monday my shop has on contract this season. That seems so weird to me; have I survived my first theater season in Portland?

Date: May 18, 2015

Crane: 664

Days Spent on Project: 818

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Let’s rewind a bit, back away from 2013 and 2014… back to 2012 and 2009 when I was looking for my apartment in Washington Heights and the small place o the Upper East Side.

As turbulent as finding a place to live is anywhere, finding an apartment in New York is an insanely frustrating and humbling time. Especially as a freelance artist whose income isn’t set and comes from a variety of sources, all without contracts most likely. Back in 2009, I was still working on Fela! remember, so I had steady income pouring in every week. I was making the Union minimum on a Broadway show, so for the first time in years (probably since before going to grad school) I had money– ACTUAL MONEY– in my bank account. If there were a *right* time to leave my apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and try to get closer to Manhattan, that was the time.

Now, remember this was the late summer/early fall of 2009. Months before (back in Februrary), my boyfriend broke up with me… He lived on the Upper East Side. I was very familiar with the neighborhood. I liked it there. Real estate was crazy expensive, yes, but you could find a place that was affordable if you were a “young professional.”

I was not a “young professional” at all. I was a “young artist.” I should have found something more affordable (and closer) in Brooklyn or Queens, but I wanted to prove– no, I wanted to show– Jimmy the Ex that I was good enough for Manhattan.

And so began my attempt to find a place on the Upper East Side. Eventually, I found one. A realt estate agent brought me to a building one afternoon that initially scared the heck out of me. It was a little grungy and dirty; they were obviously remodeling several of the apartments, which meant trash was in the hallways and under stairwells. Several tiles were peeling off the floor. But the apartment? Pristine and clean and new and… small.

It was one of those moments, after weeks of checking out real and fake listings and dealing with crap brokers and sketchy buildings, I was just ready to sign on the dotted line. Would my stuff fit inside? Yes, but I would need to start purging. Would they take dogs? Sure, why not. It was less than a ten minute walk to Central Park and the Met. It was less than 10 minutes to the East Side River and another dog park. It was a 10 minute walk to TWO subway stops.

Yes, it was more than I wanted to pay, but I could easily rationalize it against the $50 cab rides I was taking from midtown Manhattan to my place in Brooklyn. My subway commute would be 10 minutes to the garment district.

In the end, I saw the place and saw that it had potential and was a huge improvement than where I was living. At the time, working on a Broadway show and (foolishly) thinking that my career and work might be entering into another level (we can always dream), I could easily justify a lot.

So, that apartment… which I strangely still think fondly of… I’d have to include a Crane to the broker who helped me find it… And then took $2000 of my hard earned cash as commision.

Steve P.

He, if I remember correctly was an actor who “brokered” on the side, to support his career. Even though I didn’t look forward to paying a huge broker commission, I felt like it was better to pay it to someone in “the theater family.” I’m not sure he stayed at it very long; LinkedIn told me that he might work with a moving company now in the city.

Oh, brokers. Ppppfffffftttt…

Music I listened to while sewing: I just discovered Rachel Platten’s song “Fight Song” on Spotfity. Thanks, Spotify! I really did need the uplifting pop music this morning.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I can’t believe it. Have I really survived one season as a costume shop manager here? Has nothing fallen apart? Has nothing ground to a halt? Was there no big issue?

I’m not sure things will slow down for the next two months, but it seems they might. I hope to goodness I can slack off until August. I am so ready to wind this pace DOWN for a period.

I have so many other things to work on. I have so many things to pursue; there are adventures and places to be, to undertake, to try, to conquer.

Again, after a weekend at work, I’m not sure if this is my end-game at all. I don’t want it to be, if this is the way things are. But, I can (and I want to) choose to make the best of the situation, to get my head on straight, my checking/savings account in order, to learn, to grow, to prepare myself for more.

I want more. Not to be greedy, but there are more things left for me to do still.

Those things might not be here, and I’m okay with that.

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