Jan 30, 2014

Brooklyn night

I lay in bed listening to the sound of steam hissing angrily, like a cat scorned, through the valves of the steam radiator in my room. The steam fogs up the window and the condensation freezes around the window because it is Fuck-cold degrees below 0 outside. I can see the night sky through my window because there are no gigantic Manhattan skyscrapers blocking my view in South Williamsburg. I pull hard to open the frozen window and let some air in, or more so to let some air out. I can't control the fucking radiator and it turns on when the Building Super turns it on and turns off when He decides to turn it off. I can control the amount of heat by turning the valve but that thing is broken. So I have a steam radiator which I regulate by opening and shutting a window. It's not as bad as I make it seem though.

My building is around 90 years old. It has no emergency sprinklers. No automatic emergency fire alarm to fire department. No smoke detectors. I saw all these on the building evaluation report stuck on the wall in the first floor foyer. And here's the kicker. Checked mark in black is 'Combustible'. I met a guy who lived on the 6th floor and had to climb 16 steps for every floor. Old buildings don't have elevators. He stopped to catch his breath near my floor and said "I've been in this building for thirty five years. Got used to this." I have to walk two blocks lugging my laundry along with a comic book to the laundromat and pay using quarters to do my laundry. Wait to switch it dry and read my book. Then lug it all the way back home in the cold of the night minutes before they shut.

I love the sounds in the streets that come in through the open window. Different boroughs of New York maintain their identity. Regions within boroughs, more so. But more on that later. The window has to shut. It's getting cold.

I'm here in Brooklyn, and I'm not anywhere else now.