Playing the field

Playing the field

Playing the field

While I have great regard for commitment and monogamy, I must admit that I, myself, have been rather promiscuous.

New York's dating scene is cut-throat but it pales in comparison to the city's housing market. A few lucky people find their perfect match right off the bat but the majority of us had to go through several real estate partners before finally settling down.

The First Love

My first apartment was listed as a "cozy" studio in Manhattan's East Village. In New York realty-speak, "cozy" means the size of a small walk-in wardrobe. But, for a wide-eyed, twenty year-old film student, it was a palace.

With this rite of passage one also ends up learning important life lessons. One of the more amusing ones (in retrospect only) was a memorable evening with two Norwegian au pairs whose Basic Instinct style flashes from the futon were, I later discovered upon getting my phone bill, just to distract me and my friends from the fact that they were using my phone to call every relative they had in Norway.

When I moved back to NYC after a 3-year stint in Singapore, I ended up with…

The One Night Stand

This brief dalliance with a ground floor studio in a townhouse on the Upper West Side was doomed from the start. The very evening I got the keys, I discovered the apartment came with room-mates. Furry, four-legged ones. The relationship was over less than 24 hours after it had begun. This led to my first legal battle and, although I didn't get the opportunity to shout, "I'm out of order? You're out of order! This whole trial is out of order!", the up side is I now have some experience to draw on if I ever do a courtroom drama.

Although the whole affair was less than pleasant, I was in for a soft landing because I ended up in the vermin-free arms of…

The Femme Fatale

This slick little apartment was in a modern high-rise with the most unbelievable views.

A few years earlier, the building had been the site of one of Manhattan's most grisly murders. Often, as I strapped on my rollerblades in the lobby, the doorman, shaking his head, would recount how he'd helped two residents load a trunk into a cab, only later finding out it contained the dismembered remains of a local bookie.

My apartment was sandwiched between one of New York's premier concert pianists and an auctioneer couple with a talent for mixing exquisitely lethal margaritas, which they'd pass me over our balconies every evening. Needless to say, we became lifelong friends.

The Older One

I'd always been a fan of New York's indigenous pre-war architecture but had only lived in modern structures until I ended up in this charming one bedroom on the Upper West Side owned by a witty octogenarian. She lived across the hall and would often trick me into taking her out for drinks. Always catching me off guard, her modus operandi was brilliant and would involve lines like "I'm nearly 90, would you just walk me to the corner so I can pick up some dinner". Despite her regular trickery, we got along famously.

When she found out I was an actor, she started showing a picture of me to every Indian taxi driver she met. She would then excitedly call to inform me that, "They knew who you were". When I expressed my mortification and asked her to stop, she was clearly offended. The next voicemail from her was a curt, "I showed your picture to a cab driver today and he had no idea who the hell you were."

I sublet the apartment for a few years before she eventually sold it but she remained one of my favourite people in New York until she passed away at 101!

The Taken One

In between apartments, a friend offered me his roommate's section in their large Chelsea 2-bedroom. She was away on a long assignment in South America and I fell madly in love with the unbelievable water pressure. Every shower was like whitewater rafting indoors! The adventure ended one October morning when I emerged from the bathroom and found an irate Argentinean woman sitting on the bed. Her assignment had ended ahead of schedule. The room went back to its true owner and I went back to standard water-pressure.

The (possibly) Dangerous Liaison

I'm currently in a quirky and Spartan walk-up in the West Village that belongs to an Italian photographer and it's possible I'm living above a serial killer. He has a pallid, gothic look to him and, as I passed him coming into the building, he fixed me with a steely, disdainful gaze and hissed in an eerily Hannibal Lechter-esque tone, "Ah, new meat." (The friend I was with claims he said, new "face" but I know what I heard.) I'm going to try my best not to make eye-contact or do anything that might even vaguely annoy him but, if I go missing, check the freezer of apartment #2R.

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