Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Elusive Icelander

They have begun construction on the next door apartment upstairs. I just left the sleeping baby (MIRACLE!) to go and check it out.

Last year at this time they began work on the apartment next door. It is a three bedroom...count em 1 - 2 - 3 friggin' bedroom apartment. Something so rare in New York that I am considering charging admission for people to simply peek in the door when the occupants leave for jogs. And as loud as the constant banging is upstairs right now, it was three times as loud last year. I guess...hard to say. It's pretty damn loud right now.

So yeah, last year our neighbors left (a very nice family who were sweet and friendly but seemed to have no interest in actually becoming our friends) and men began systematically dismantling their apartment. They stripped the place. Floor to ceiling. Removed molding (lead paint fears I guess), appliances, floors...caused teeny tiny nasty piles of toxic dust to seep under cracks in the molding and form inside our apartment.

But I was actually kind of excited. A small family had left, I could only imagine a small family would be moving in. After all the apartment has (have I mentioned) three bedrooms! Maybe they'd have two kids. Maybe we'd end up watching "Project Runway" together and sharing babysitting. Maybe we'd actually have friends next door.

So after months of wall-shaking banging and floor vibrating sanding and nauseating noxious odors, the apartment was done. And the guys who work in the building confided to me that it's all top of the line! Stainless steel appliances, fancy light fixtures, custom everything. I was flipping ecstatic when I got to choose the paint colors in this place. And then didn't have to paint them myself. But no one was offering me granite countertops, believe you me.

And the people who moved in? A young couple. I have seen the husband maybe three times in the last year. The wife I have never laid eyes upon. So far as I know. The university which offers us this housing (not for free mind you) apparently thought that his coming here from Iceland merited a complete overhaul and three months of constant noise. And possible lead paint exposure. So he and his wife (? I assume) could spread out their Icelandic stuff over three bedrooms.

So is it just sour grapes? I mean, no shared babysitting. No pizza and reality TV. No friends. No sightings even for months on end. Which is the truly amazing thing about New York. For as much as we live in each others' laps...we never ever ever lay eyes on our neighbors. Ever. We smell noxious things from their apartments wafting through the walls (don't get me started on the lovely Asian couple who cooked some kind of cabbage stuff daily while I was so "morning" sick that I couldn't leave my couch for weeks), we see their strollers in the hallway, but we never actually see them. Let alone exchange holiday gifts.

And it's kind of sad and lonely.

So (and now the baby is awake and chattering in her crib) I now have to put up with months more of deafening noise while they renovate another presumably gigantic apartment (it's directly over the one next door) for another person? couple? family? who I will most likely not lay eyes upon.

I miss seeing people in the driveway or working out in their gardens. I fantasize that if I lived on a regular street I would exchange plant clippings and invite them over for bbq. Rather than simply say (if I do happen to lay eyes upon my neighbors) "oh we should really get together sometime."

Because we never ever do.

The baby is totally awake. And it sounds like the guys upstairs are jumping around on pogo sticks. It's gonna be a long couple of months.


Kai said...

I've lived in my place nearly 4 years and couldn't pick my neighbors out of a line up!

I would love a next door friend....or even just someone well enough to pick up the mail when I'm out of town!

Speaking of Project Runway...who do you think is going to win??

kaibigan7 on twitter

Wendy said...

I know, right? Amazing to not have anyone to bring in the mail when my mom always has someone.

I don't know who's going to win Project Runway but I'm so darned excited about it I can barely wait the two hours until it starts tonight...

Who do you think? Let's pretend we live next door and are talking about it over a glass of wine before we sit down and watch together!

Anonymous said...

Here in Maine, we are going to be taking names -- to quote my favorite doctor -- if Kenley isn't eliminated. And Leanne has our vote.

Have you read the Craigslist Minotaur? This, and your experience with the crazy neighbors downstairs at your old place, made me think of you.

queenoftheclick said...

I'm in Brooklyn and I know what it's like to lose great neighbors (they are so hard to come by), as well as to have construction right next door.

New exciting neighbors will come soon and you will need to go buy a pie. Be patient. It took a year for me.

As for the sound.....go out as much as you can. Put on an ipod too.

Katja of said...

The Icelandic couple will be making babies the whole winter long, and you just wish the banging was just the renovations.

I have never really had neighbors I would have liked to ask for a coffee, and after moving around so often, we are always the weird new family on the block with the weird European mom. And I don't really mind.

Except now you made me wish that we had just moved to your house, sharing Project Runway sounds great.. especially since we don't even have a TV set up yet...

Wendy said...

Everyone is invited over for the Project Runway finale next week!!!

Icelanders, relatives, new friends! Come one come all!

Kai said...

OMG won't we all be at the tweet up for the finale?? I'll have to Tivo it!!!!

Wendy said...

I was banking on the fact we'd be done by then. One drink and I'm outta there! :-)