An “apartment” located on Central Park West in New York City has sold for its asking price — $88 million. It was bought by a fabulously wealthy Russian fertilizer czar whose 22-year-old daughter apparently will live there. (I hope she at least said, “Spasiba!”)
Of course, calling it an “apartment” is kind of silly. It’s the penthouse of an apartment building that occupies an entire block. The apartment encompasses 6,784 square feet — which is significantly larger than our home — and includes a library, four bedrooms, a den, a gallery, and three large terraces overlooking Central Park and the surrounding neighborhood. You’d have to sell a lot of fertilizer to afford such luxury.
My first apartment, a two-bedroom job located just off the Ohio State campus that I rented in 1976, cost $150 a month. It had a cheap stucco exterior, ultra-thin walls, puke green carpeting, and a complete lack of any security devices. It was humble, but I called it home.
Richard has moved into an rehabbed apartment building on Spring Street in downtown Columbus, about three blocks from the Ohio Statehouse. It will be interesting to see how he likes it. Urban living can be a lot of fun, but it also has its challenges.
View of Capitol from East Capitol Street
Kish and I lived in Washington, D.C. at 1019 East Capitol Street, right next to Lincoln Park. You could walk out our front door, walk into the middle of East Capital Street, look due west, and see the Capitol dome looming over the tree tops, ten blocks away. To a 23-year-old recent college graduate, this seemed very cool. We lived in a very small apartment on the third floor of a walkup “brownstone,” and Michigan Senator Carl Levin was one of our neighbors. It was great to be able to walk almost anywhere you wanted to go, and if it was too far to walk you could take the D.C. Metro. Some parts of living in D.C. were a hassle, however. If you came home after dark there was a distinct possibility of getting mugged, and shopping at the convenience store nearby was a lesson in the law of supply and demand. (The store owner had the only supply within a six-block radius, and he could demand whatever price he wanted for his goods.) If you walked farther, to the Eastern Market Safeway, then you faced the logistical issue of how to get the groceries back home.
When you live in a suburb, you fall into ruts. You buy groceries at the same place, eat at the same places, and tend to drive anywhere. Urban living gets you out of that rut and into new ways of thinking and acting. That process is another thing that makes urban living interesting.