Bigger and Better Places

Well, we’re moving. We’re staying in New York City, but moving clear across the avenue, away from 33rd Street and over to 32nd.

Yep, we’re relocating to one block away.

Of course, traversing a block in NYC can put a few thousand people between your old place and your new. Moving a few blocks away can put you in a different world.

From the outside, city dwellers can appear a bit odd in their moving habits. We move a quarter mile in one direction, or a half mile in another, and talk about how different our new life is. We’re not exaggerating.

In NYC, everyone’s interpretation of their neighborhood is the only-somewhat imaginary boundary that contains their needs: pizza parlor, Mexican restaurant, sushi bar, good coffee, grocery, decent produce market, dry cleaner, hardware store, laundromat, hair salon, etc. Aside from work, there isn’t much need to travel outside that small circle (or rectangle — or it could be a trapezoid if you live near Broadway). So migrating a few blocks puts you into a thoroughly new mix of services, and thus people.

However, none of that is our impetus for moving, or we’d be going four blocks farther. Our pertinent issue is space. For three years my wife and I have shared 350 square feet. To those accustomed to roshe run flywire the country or the ’burbs (as I was until 2010), that sounds intolerably claustrophobic. But there’s a saying here — in NYC, your apartment is your bedroom, the city your living room. The sentiment behind that is accurate; you spend so much time outside your abode that a small living space doesn’t feel so confining.

Still, we are welcoming the opportunity to upgrade from 350 to 550. Now we’ll have room for a toilet.

Really, we won’t be adding much stuff. To our additional 200 square feet we’ll be bringing only 16 square feet of new furniture. One of those items is a dresser, the other a crib. Both will serve to more comfortably accommodate the one person who was not in our equation when we cohabited our current place: 6-month-old Maggie.

So what are our plans for the other 184 new square feet? For one, my wife and I will be able to do household things without bumping into each other. I mean that literally. We cannot cook meals and wash dishes simultaneously, due simply to the laws of physics. As for Maggie, she will be able to roll longer distances, and she can learn to walk in more than 3-step increments.

Additionally, we will have an actual kitchen, rather than a living-room-infringing kitchenette. I will not need to cook, eat, work and relax in the same room. I will not need to move my desk chair to open the refrigerator, nor move the microwave to open my cabinet.

My wife will be able to fall asleep in a bedroom that is down the hall from the living room (as opposed to being essentially attached to it) while insulated from the noise of me clacking on the computer when working late, or from the sound of the TV while I watch the end of an extra-innings ballgame. Moreover, the larger bedroom can house a real crib, zx 630 allowing Maggie to graduate from sleeping in a Pack’N’Play.

Part of this, I know, is absurd. Before I lived with Molly I was the sole inhabitant of 1,200 square feet in Connecticut. Now I’m excited about sharing less than half of that with a child and another adult.

It’s all about perspective. And I should have more of that when I can’t view my entire living space from one chair. I should have 184 more square feet of perspective — or, rather, 61.3 when we divide it.