Big City Dreaming...

A couple of people wrote me about my post yesterday, sharing that they too could not handle too much "relaxing", and shared their love of big cities. Maybe there is a correlation to being restless and being an urbanite. Or maybe the restlessness happens when the urban dweller has been removed from it's natural habitat...the concrete jungle...sigh.

I live in L.A. but I don't think of it as a big city, at least not one that works like a city. True, L.A. has it's pockets of goodness, but it is much more of an urban sprawl and every East Coast transplant tells me that once you give over to the lifestyle and embrace the pace, you will learn to love it. Well it's been 3 years, and there is a lot I love about L.A. but the pace is not one of them. For me in a order for a city to work there needs to be people wandering the streets, which means there needs to be a center, and sidewalks, where people walk, and bump into each other and duck into any number of fabulous coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, and galleries that are part of the urban landscape. L.A. to me is highways and cars and comfortable homes, which is why I am realizing that my apartment which I adore, my NYC style hardwood floor, big french windows, multi purpose one room to do everything apartment just might not cut it if I have to stay here much longer...which I do. In NYC this apartment would be the kind that I would never give up, and when I got squirrely I would just walk outside and be surrounded by the amazing energy that is that city. But it would also cost $650,000.00 or rent for $3500.00 and well that will just have to wait. There is still more to be done here and if I myself am to get anything done I think I will need more than just these walls to make it happen.

This is a hard admission for me, as I pride myself on living in teeny tiny spaces quite happily, but it just starting to dawn on me that maybe it isn't so crazy to want an actual office. Maybe it isn't crazy for my husband to not want to have to endure my business calls while being 3 feet away on the couch, or to want to have a room to have our many guests stay in. It has dawned on me that I am actually not in my early 20's anymore and or my early 30's for that matter and that it isn't so greedy of me to want a space that works for me and not one that I have to make work. I am starting to realize that L.A. is hard enough work as it is, and spending all my energy making 600 square feet above a neighbor who is dj'ing in his living room all day isn't the best use of it. It's hard to move forward if you have to move something out of the way first.

And of course I miss cities...real cities...big cities...that remind me that life is bigger than all of this and that there is a whole world out there.


Caroline said...

Oh Gina....I lived in Chelsea in Manhattan for about ten years, in two tiny postage sized apartments and a huge prewar with a noxious boyfriend. My rent was really reasonable, but the apartment had a pronounced slant, mice, roaches, and crazy neighbors. I, of course, loved it. But it was a very different time than it is now.

The problem with living inside the city now is you do need an astronomical amount of money unless you are really young, single and don;t mind living in a tiny space. My tiny $500 a month apartment is now $2000! We now live a subway stop away from the Village (7 minutes), still urban, in an 1865 brickstone and I have to stay that it is a quality of life issue. I love being there, but I could not live in that tiny little apartment anymore. I also have to say that NYC is not the NYC of old. gina, the number of l writers and artists and eccentrics has really dwindled because t they have all gotten priced out! There are so many more celebs and bankers. if you go to Soho, which when I lived there, was full of funky shops, artists, writers, there are nothing but rows of stores like Prada! Nothing but supermodels and investment bankers! The edge of NYC is gone. So, though I still adore NYC and can't imagine living anywhere else, might I gently and lovingly suggest that the NYC of your dreams might be the NYc of your dreams? It is so, so very different than what it was. Still the greatest city in the world, but not as friendly to writers and artists.

If we could afford a townhouse or an apartment in the Dakota, we would, but you would need about two million for that. I have come to realize that there are real pleasures in having an office! And of course, when you have a child, it becomes not just even more expensive, but more anxiety producing because you need to find schools for your child and playgroups and it costs 30,000 for a year of private school!

I know I am yin yanging (blame it on a flu) but I am so passionate about NYC, and also realistic. I adored my time living there, but I also adore living a subway stop away. I know I need to be able to walk out my door and see shops, movies, bookstores, and lots of people and restaurants, but there are lots of places that have that energy beside NYC. Maybe what you can do is come live here at a house swap for a few months a year, which is what a friend of mine, another NYaholic does.

Sorry this is so rambling. I need an aspirin!

Gina Sorell said...

Oh Caroline, this is so wonderful!! You are so wonderful!!

I think we are on the same wavelength...your idea of an apartment swap is exactly what my husband and I have been bantering about. It's true I ADORE the NYC of old. I am happy for the safer streets of the new NYC, but not the absence of all the artists and writers and wonderful coffee shops and feeling like it was okay to be poor and roaming the streets as an artist. It is impossibly expensive there now...and I hate feeling like $2000.00, $3000.00, or even $4000.00 for that matter isn't a lot of money for an apartment...or that I should jump for joy at spending only (!) half a million dollars for a studio. So out of whack. And yes, with a child, my God, where you live becomes so much more important!!

And I am glad to hear you say it, because soon I will realize the pleasures of having an office...today we took a leap of faith and found a new apartment. We handed over our deposit just hours ago!!

It is more expensive, but reasonable, and it is more than twice the size, and it is beautiful...and there is a small office which will be mine all mine, except when guests come, then it will be theirs...until the morning :)

I actually am a big ying-yanger, which is why it has taken me so long to decide what to do and where to do it! For now we need to be in L.A. and to make that a happy decision for all, we will aim for spending some time in NYC every year.

Where you live sounds perfect, an arms length away from the city, the best of both worlds!!

Thanks again for writing this, feel better...and Happy New Year!!

xo G:)

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