I have only ever lived in two apartments in New York City: My little two month sublet in on the LES and my relatively palatial but at times infested three bedroom on the UWS. I “moved on up”town on a chilly but clear day in January. I hired a guy from Craigslist to drive me, my expensive mattress and my eight boxes worth of belongings. It didn’t occur to me till we got onto the FDR that he could potentially be a raping axe-murderer who liked to steal brand new Sleepy’s mattresses from twenty-something girls new to the city.
Obviously, he wasn’t, or you would have already heard about me and watched a story about me on Dateline. He was just a dude with a truck.
I’d heard about my UWS abode from a friend, which is the best way to find apartments in NYC if you don’t want to live with strangers or pay a broker half your college tuition to find you a place. Unfortunately, even when someone recommends a place to you, there is no guaranty that the level of eccentricity won’t be pretty high.
And it was.
Obviously, I love animals. Plan on reading lots about how much I love them in the future, because it’s a huge part of who I am. But four cats is too many in a mansion. In a small, low-rent apartment on the Upper West Side, it is like living inside of some sort of crazy witch’s house in a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. But I digress.
The puppeteer, let’s call him Frankie*, was the only one on the lease and was totally gouging the cat lady (Johnnie) and me on rent, not to mention hooking his bedroom TV up to the cable box in the den, so no one could watch TV but him, no matter what room he was in. He also had an entire wall full of his girlfriend’s boxes stored in our dining room. His room was full of puppets of all shapes and sizes.
But the thing that made Frankie the most unique were the two silent roommates that stood guard over said girlfriend’s dining room possessions. The male wore a full hockey uniform, complete with stick and helmet. The lady wore a sort of Asian-themed red cocktail dress that you probably saw on Donna Martin sometime around when Valerie Malone joined 90210. They represented the yin and yang sides of him. And he was wont to wear either outfit.
Two months after I moved in, he decided it was too difficult for him to live with other people. When Frankie moved out, he left the mannequins, but took their clothes in a fit of noisy 3 AM packing. After he left, this was all that remained of Frankie.
FYI: I waited nine months and then sold those mannequins for $100 each and bought a couch at IKEA.
*The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.