Living on the top floor of my building has huge benefits. In the SOHO neighborhood, all the buildings are pre 1950s and have a height limit of 6 floors (a fluid dynamics issue where originally legacy pluming technology and NY’s shallow bedrock results in extremely low water pressure which limits the pumping of water to past the hight of a six story building. Until the advent of modern plumbing, water towers were needed to build pressure in the pipes – I could go into more engineering geek talk then I never excelled in fluid dynamics so the experts are better sources for this: History of Am plumbing & Longtime Emblems of City Roofs [NY Times])…. So I’m on top and the benefits include unobstructed views of the city from my living room, sunlight (a rarity in the tall concrete jungle of nyc) and just an overall feeling of superiority looking down on all that rent/own below me.
I also have the fortunate option of having unobstructed roof access – which is not a right or guarantee of anyone’s lease in this building but it just happens that the roof access door is not locked. Recently the buildings inspector has reviewed our building. I never met him/her but I know they have been here because there’s a new plaque in the lobby with their stamp and inspection numbers. Resulting from the visit, our landlord has had to implement some fixes in the building like hand rails on some of the steps, and child proof window guards. He’s also had his ukranian work force up on the roof all week doing demo work and resealing the roof for cracks and leaks. As a result, all our community roof top furniture (tables and chairs purchased from Kmart) have been removed without warning.
I’m considerably nervous that when they are done with the work, they will be closing off and locking the roof from renter access all together. The access has been an added benefit of renting here and a constant source of summer time parties for our crew of friends. I can deal with the loss of $50 in furniture but if the access goes away, I’m going to get illegal on this and break open the doors next month when it gets to the 70s…
Tonight I was on top surveying the city night as I usually do after a few drinks out. It’s calm and cool from the passing rain. Clear enough again I can see down town and past Empire. Over the years I’ve seen quite some action from near by apartments – none of which I’ve blogged about until now:
The NYU dorms are about 4 blocks away and tower above SOHO. There’s not much action in the summer but every now and then you can catch a house party rocking in one of the rooms with strobes and blacklights or the rich guy 19 yr old with his parents financed 42 in HD TV.
Being on top, I’ve got clear view into all the apartments down to about the 3rd floor. Across the way, there are 2 girls in an apartment with fuschia curtains. Smartly, 80% of the time those coverings are closed but every now and then you’ll catch a lingerie show when they are preparing for a big night out. They must have bf’s because it’s been quite the last few months – not that I’ve really been keeping track.
The apartment directly across from us has gone through a few tenants. This year it’s an emo couple that hand out in their minimalist apt. Mattress on the floor, a refrigerator and a bamboo plant in the window. They probably do heroin all day in between trips to the LES galleries or Brooklyn bars.
Top floor, across the street from us is a lonely burger flipper. He’s always got the lights out when watching tv and tonight I noticed through his window a woman figure on the 52 in TV bobbing up and down relentlessly. Mouth agape… fast forward dialogue…. more bouncing and nakedness… YES! he’s watching porn again with the window blinds open and the lights out… don’t you know that shit is see through!!!
A few months back the3rd floor apt was vacant for the longest time. It looked like someone was renting it as a storage spot with all the crap, dust and wood planks laying around. Then within a few weeks it was gutted, a kitchen was put in and soon after a new female tenant. She wasn’t that cute but in the first few months hadn’t purchased blinds or drapes and often caught her masturbating on the couch and passing out with her hand in the crotch… Ah Namen! I’ll never forget you!!!! Recently she’s either got a partner to satisfy her, she’s purchased covering or I just haven’t been keeping track.
I think the most mesmorising neighborhood scene was last summer. Two buildings away but across W Broadway is a very nice loft apartment building – the bottom store is the local SOHO Coach retail shop. I’m sure all residents own their lofts in this white washed building. I was up on the roof with friends enjoying some Brooklyn lager when I noticed several guys scrambling around the apartment setting up make shift lighting fixtures… Instantly I thought MOVIE set! It happens regularly around here. We pulled up chairs and watched the chaos in the apt when we noticed two naked people sitting in chairs getting their make up done. 20 minutes later, they were banging away on the kitchen counter in the other room with full camera coverage. Live Porno set! Rock-paper-scissors and Greg had to head down to the bodega for another 12er.
All in all I’d say our neighborhood is very quiet. Aside from Milady’s across the street there’s not much going on after 11 here. Most of the residents are established, older and sit comfortably behind closed blinds. There’s limited reality watching but I’m not staring at a dark apt all week awaiting for a glimps of an ass though when you can catch that at any MPD club all week.
I primary hope is that the building inspector doesn’t force the closure of the roof access this summer. More than anything that’s a sanity savor in this rat cage of a city and an instant tanning bed for this pale face.