My physical move to the temporary apartment I rented in the East 30’s in Manhattan, while the apartment on the Upper Side was being renovated, took all of about 35 minutes to accomplish, as I drove a fully-loaded car across the Brooklyn Bridge,  onto the FDR Drive and in mid-afternoon traffic on Third Avenue.

Third Avenue

Almost immediately I realized the delight of high rise living.  I pulled up in front of the building and both the building security person (who doubles as a doorman) and the concierge, greeted me with a luggage cart which can roll onto an elevator.  The 4 flights of stairs in my brownstone, which I walked up and down countless times each day, was fast fading into memory.   I decided I would never take luggage carts for granted.

Luggage Cart (partially loaded with Brooklyn grapefruit and IKEA bag)

There are two extraordinary features of this 650 square foot 1-BR apartment.  The first is its view, which is simply stunning if you like vistas of Midtown.

View From the Bedroom Window

The second is the combination washer/dyer, tucked away in a closet. What they lose in a size competition with my previous Brooklyn machines, located in the basement, these machines make up for with pure convenience.  And convenience is certainly what this little apartment is about.  I can get just about anywhere in about 15 steps.  After the brownstone, I felt like Alice in Wonderland eating the other cookie.

The Washer Dryer!

My first afternoon in Manhattan was not without feelings of enormous dislocation and  disorientation.  I felt as if I was in a hotel but not on a business trip or vacation. I was in a very familiar city but wasn’t at all sure whether I was a tourist or a resident.

I decided that one way to feel like a resident is to go to the nearby supermarket, which was also necessary because I brought very little food with me. The Manhattan high evaporated almost from the minute I walked through the lackluster produce department, did some price comparisons with brands of packaged foods I usually bought and saw the lines at the cashier.  I present as evidence a comparison between one Manhattan grapefruit I bought for the same price as its Brooklyn brethren, a few of which I did bring. I will let you draw your conclusions about the relative cost of living in both places.

The Grapefruit Bowl

I could also not help but notice how many elderly people were walking (slowly) in the supermarket or with walkers or canes on the sidewalk.  Brownstone neighborhoods, with their stairs, are incompatible with aging. At some point, if you have joint problems, you have to live horizontally.  Overnight, I had truly moved into a different world.