Letters From the Editor

Steps

My apartment could fit in my parents’ driveway, and they’d still be able to park both cars. It could nestle in the front rooms of my grandparents’ apartment in Chicago, or fit in the barn next to the farmhouse I lived in during college, still with enough room for the owner’s collection of old carpets, chandeliers, and Jesus figurines. It is larger than my apartment in the West Village, but only half the size of my apartment in Ft. Greene. My apartment is not huge. It has four rooms, we sleep in one of them, eat and read and host parties in another, cook in the third and lock the door on the fourth. There’s a fire escape and, remarkable for the apartment’s size, lots of windows and closets so we can see the light outside and own lots of coats. You could probably cram in a football team, but not the support staff.

We love our neighborhood and know lots of our neighbors, so we have no good reason to leave. Still, on Sunday mornings I cruise the classified ads and look for bigger apartments (a lot more exciting than browsing the prostitute listings in the back of the Voice or New York magazine, but emotionally more dangerous – you’re 10 times less likely with real estate to get what you see in the ad). Compared to what we have, I know what I want: a big park nearby, a backyard, an office. But a part of dreaming about new apartments and neighborhoods is wondering how close I’d be to what I need, or, how close in comparison to my current proximities, since I already live next to most everything I want. One pleasure, it seems, of living on top of six million people is discovering what they’re selling.

Which led to counting, admittedly a deeply rewarding exercise. Here are the number of steps I, standing 5'10" in socks, must take from my desk to reach the following locations:

Kitchen: 6

Bed: 6

Fire escape: 9

Toilet: 11

Chinese tailor: 33

Thai restaurant: 52

Bar: 61

Japanese restaurant (crappy): 65

Indian restaurant: 100

Niman Ranch cheeseburger: 110

Mexican restaurant: 116

Polish restaurant: 122

Wine shop: 131

Coffee shop: 141

Cheese shop: 153

Pharmacy: 172

Japanese restaurant (good): 193

Cobbler: 222

Drycleaner (crappy): 215

Nearest subway platform: 305

Manhattan (Union Square): 433

Gym: 561

Drycleaner (good): 961

(I’ll hopefully add to the list as my errands take me elsewhere; I’m betting I can make it to the Met in less than a thousand. Also, here’s ‘Steps’ by Frank O’Hara.)

biopic

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. More information can be found at rosecransbaldwin.com. More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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