Block 669: May 23, 2015

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“Today in Portland Weather.”

Spring!

Date: May 23, 2015

Crane: 669

Days Spent on Project: 823

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Let’s rewind a bit… even farther… back to 2006 for a moment.

Remember that I graduated from the Yale School of Drama in May of 2006, and made the (surprising according to some of my classmates and professors) decision NOT to immediately move to New York City. I chose to go back to the National High School Institute at Northwestern University, just outside of Chicago.

I finished that summer- what would be my last- and flew went back to New Haven to put all my stuff in storage. My car went back to Indiana, with my parents. I made arrangements to move into my Aunt and Uncle’s basement room in their house in New Jersey. I would stay there for five or six weeks (I can’t remember exactly), commuting on the NJ Transit into Penn Station to work (I was assisting a designer at New York Theater Workshop and designing a show at the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium in Providence, RI at the time). I would also, in my free time, try to find my first apartment in New York City. I aimed my sights at Brooklyn. Back in 2006, it was still *somewhat* more affordable, and hadn’t quite yet become the destination it is today.

And so it began, my introduction into the insane Real Estate Process of finding a place to live in New York: the fake Craigslist ads, the duplicitous brokers, the “up and coming” neighborhoods, the jerry-rigged and surprising spaces that were the options I had.

(I remember one guy insisted I pay him $5 just to walk in the apartment and see the space. I was desperate; I did. Another apartment/loft space in a particular neighborhood screamed danger to me, even with the remodeling done to the inside, but I now know that apartment would have been in PRIME trendy Bushwick. Another loft, with its graffiti covered yellow walls and exposed pipes and ancient kitchen appliances was touted as the perfect space for a costume designer- you could hang clothes on all the pipes after all!)

My Aunt and Uncle- god bless them- were extremely patient and probably amused with the culture shock I was experiencing. One weekend, they drove me into their old neighborhood- Bay Ridge, Brooklyn- and my tired eyes were relieved.

And in the course of one afternoon, I saw three actual apartments and met with a building manager to get the paperwork started. The process was almost over in a couple of hours. It was so easy! I guess I had to be hazed by the Real Estate Scene, you know?

I signed my lease papers with Belcaro Management company, for a HUGE one bedroom apartment that only cost $1200 that had four large closets and separate rooms, on September 11th, 2006. I’ll always remember that; I didn’t yet realize how the city was still reeling and healing five years after that attack.

That management company was actually very nice and low-key. I never had a problem with them at all. It was a good starter apartment, even though the commute into the city was 45 minutes on an EXPRESS train during rush hour. I made it three years there. I learned a lot, changed a lot, did a lot, and grew a lot. In 2009, with a Broadway show’s workload weighing down on me, and the approaching adoption of my dog looming ahead, I made the choice to move. I needed to be closer to Manhattan. I wanted to be IN Manhattan. I was foolish, and maybe a little arrogant, but I wanted to experience a bit of convenience; even if it cost me.

I feel like I was a completely different person (so young!) when I moved into- and then left- that apartment.

So, today’s Crane would be for Belcaro Management and the 3 years spent in that apartment on Bay Ridge Parkway.

Music I listened to while sewing: Spotify is playing “the hottest dance music” this morning. Nothing’s really jumping out at me, but I felt the need to get off my Madonna bender of the past week.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment and relief that the show opened last night. The season is done and past us.

I am so ready for this, this summer. I want to do it all and then some!

Tomorrow’s agenda… brunch and a movie with actual people! Beyond that, who knows and who cares!

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