First, let me begin by explaining that I had no intention of attending the open house of a brownstone I most certainly cannot afford anywhere in the near future.
In fact, my intentions were entirely pure. Meet my friend and former intern– Caroline– before she returned to Brown at Alice’s Tea Cup, a tea venue frequented by Tina Fey and her daughter, Alice. Enjoy a leisurely pot of Trafalgar Square, my favorite zero calorie peppermint patty sensation, and go on my merry little way across Central Park.
However, Caroline– delayed by her sickly dog and his exorbitantly time consuming veterinary care– prompted me to look for alternative ways of occupying my time. At which point I noticed that the brownstone directly across from Alice’s Tea Cup was hosting an open house. Now for those unfamiliar with this particular architectural work of art, I provide for you a visual, courtesy of the Beloved Roommate.
It may not seem like the creme de la creme of fine New York City living, but the Roommate and I still have dreams of owning it, raising our children it in, and then crossing the street with those children– and taking them to Alice’s Tea Cup for Alice in Wonderland themed birthday parties. Call it our urban version of the house with white picket fence.
Well, upon seeing our future abode on the market, I knew this was my chance to see the modest masterpiece from the inside, and without a second thought, I bolted for the front door.
I was greeted by a Tyra Banks look-a-like, who claimed she, in fact, was the real estate agent showing the property. And she was quite suspicious of the 21 year old wearing a dress from the Banana Republic sales rack. Clearly I was not a part of the socio-economic bracket that frequents these sort of property peeping outings.
Nonetheless, she acquiesced to my demands to see the brownstone, but made me swear I would take absolutely no photographs. Unless, of course, I didn’t mind going through life without hands. She was certainly not above threatening innocent 20 somethings.
I soon forgot her menacing remarks, though. The interior was even more breathtaking than I could have envisioned. Marked by a distinctly early 19th Century design, the house included the kind of circular staircase that I secretly still dream of sliding down in a little black dress and heels.
And then there was the rooftop garden. Recently, I have been researching urban farming. Even though I should never be allowed within one hundred yards of anything green, I am fascinated by the idea that one can create a verdant paradise in the middle of one of the most polluted cities in America. This particular garden was a testament to all the articles I had read.
Unfortunately, the agent informed me that I could not linger for much longer. She had actual paying clients to attend to, and unless I had $8 million in my dress pocket, I would have to leave the premises immediately. I was suddenly reminded of the hand-less threat, and upon noticing a text from Caroline stating her imminent arrival, took her words as my cue to depart.
Returning home after a productive day of brownstone hunting, I was saddened by the realization that I was living a bit of a pipe dream. And so I opened the folder on my laptop entitled, “Homes you can actually afford in New York City.” Included in said file is a New York Times article– “Where the Boys Aren’t“– about cheap women’s only apartments in Midtown, most of which are owned and operated by the local nunneries. I decided that I would add my name to the list of women waiting for a spot in one of those Catholic lofts the following day, in the hopes that upon graduation I would have a piece of the New York pie to call my own.