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The Block

Posted on: Sunday


I am truly and dearly in love with our block.  We live across the street from an ivy-covered cemetery and next door to a majestic church.  I often find myself staring out the window at the cemetery, with it's ancient tombstones & gated garden.  When I was pregnant with Biet, Gaby and I would walk through it and stop at each grave to read the dusty centuries-old engravings.  We were still trying to find a name for our little Poppyseed (Biet's in-utero moniker) and hoped to come across a long-forgotten gem. Every morning, I hear the birds who live in the cemetery trees chirping as they awake.  You could walk by this block a thousand times & never know it's serene charm until the day you turn the corner & walk down the street.  It feels like a quiet European side street, yet it is here in the center of Manhattan.

I love that we have the kind of neighbors who you really can borrow a cup of sugar from (not easy to find in this city).  I love that we also have the kind of neighbors who make music and art and laughter until the wee hours of the morning.  I love the smell of our block, especially when the seasons are changing.  I love the old beat-up seafoam-green 1970's Cadillac that's always parked outside of our building (I've never actually seen someone drive it- but it always changes the side of the street for street-sweeping).  I love each & every character of our small block; from the old man who sits under the shade of the big tree across the street and feeds the passing dogs peanuts, to the Priest of the church who always waves hello and blesses us, to Helen who brings her accordion in the mornings to play music for the birds.

But, more than anything, I love that this is the block on which Biet was born.

This was our first apartment that became a true home.  Gaby and I fixed up the place together, found all of our furniture second-hand, framed our family pictures and nailed them to the wall, and turned this little tenement railroad apartment into the beautiful eclectic home that it is today. In this apartment, here on this magical little block, I became a painter, an electrician, a woodworker, a seamstress, a designer, a blogger, a business-owner, and a mother.  We raised Nico from a puppy to a real dog here.  We birthed our daughter here. We became a family here.  And I have loved every moment of it.

And now it is time to move on.  Where to? We're not sure yet, but in a couple of months we will be rolling up our belongings and heading to a new block, in a new neighborhood, & possibly in a new borough (!). It is bittersweet.  I will miss our block with all of it's quirky charm. But there is a new space and a new landscape and new characters to meet, just waiting for us!  Now that we've built our home we can take it with us, wherever we please.

I will take Biet back to this block many times throughout her life.  I will introduce her to the neighbors who are still around.  We will sit in front of the cemetery and I'll point up at the second story window of the brick building across the street and say, "Honey Pie, see those two windows on the right? Those were the windows of our big, bright bedroom, where we laid with you on our bed when you were only minutes old.  Behind those windows, beyond the bedroom, is a long dark living room, where your Papa cut your cord.  And behind that is a pink-tiled kitchen, where you were born in a tub and took your first breath."

So even though we are leaving this block which I love so dearly, Biet will always be able to walk here and glance up at our building and feel at home.  In a way, this block will always be hers.


2 COMMENTS:

  1. this is so beautiful, i wept throughout reading. eloquent, poetic, charming, beautiful
    x

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