I also am walking very carefully, without shoes, as every footstep on the bare wood floors most certainly would have echoing effects. The vents that allow forced air throughout the apartment birthed the landlord’s policy of no pets and no smoking inside the building (the latter which is a good thing since cigarette smoke smells much worse than a wet basset hound), and it also means that conversation and piano scales practiced by the ten-year-old one floor below carry quite liberally to our place.
This is all fine by me.
The jury is out, though, how the Lovely K will find this arrangement and how our neighbors will find the arrangement of three young boys above them. (The boys do have the top floor of this duplex, so their wrestling and antics will be mainly over our heads.) As I said, there are one if not two children below, and this is a blessing, for whatever sounds of internecine war or parental murderous rage coming from above will be interpreted with more of a knowing mind by the parents below than if there was – say – a middle-aged bachelor postal worker who hated loud noises and had a cabinet filled with semi-automatic weapons.
At 50 East 96th Street, Mrs. Robinson in 5B apparently always called up to my parents in 6B to tell us to hush up. Honestly, I don’t know what she expected my mom to do in colder months, when we couldn’t go to Central Park or play baseball in the alley that separated us from 60 East. We’d play in the hall next to the elevator, with tennis balls that no doubt bounced off the heavy but resonating doors of 6A, 6C and 6D, or we’d wrestle in the 50-foot long hallway in our apartment. Boys are like Jack Russell Terriers: you have to give them an outlet for their energy. Our next door neighbors were all more accommodating than Mrs. Robinson, but then again she was about 120 years old at the time and probably wanted to live out her remaining 30 years in relative peace and quiet.
The man who moved into 6D once Mr. Gorman died or moved out was a former top executive at Outside magazine who went into M&As in the publishing field. He let me come to his office when I was fresh out of college and helped me send out resumes to companies, one of which – Wiley – ultimately hired me. I don’t remember his name but only that he was a handsome brunette fellow, his wife was a beautiful blonde, and they had two kids and a golden retriever. Basically, your family photo from Outside.
Our pet, a cat named Oreo, did not make the cut with the new policy we’re living under. This caused no small consternation – understandably – in our family, even five minutes after I signed our lease and committed $12,300 to secure the apartment. (This is a combination of a certain number of months’ worth of rent and security deposit. I’ll let you do the math.)
In the end, we agreed that it would be best that Oreo have a different home from a NYC apartment. One from which he can escape from time to time, hunt for birds, or at least look out the window and pretend he is a hunter taking a rest.