Wednesday, October 17, 2007


As I wonder about the histories of the buildings around me, I wonder, too, about my 2nd-floor apartment on 35th Street. I know it was built before World War I because of the carved wooden moldings lining its top, still preserved. And, as added proof, my neighbor above said he found newspapers buried in the walls he was tearing down. They were dated 1911.

It has an odd layout, this railroad apartment with two inside windows. The panes are no longer there, but their pulleys remain. Other windows, looking out at the staircase, have been boarded up. And a doorway, too. And so I muse. What did they need the windows? Who lived here? Just one or were there two families? Did the apartment look as it does now or was the kitchen once an enclosed porch?

This apartment of a bathroom, kitchen, living room, study and bedroom, has two fireplaces. One is utilitarian in the kitchen, the other, decorated, replete with mantel, in the bedroom that faces out on the street. So perhaps a single family lived here, a luxury, I think, in those years. But what did they do? Who were they? Where did they go?

An older resident once told me that the first floor was once a hardware store. So perhaps they managed the hardware store. Perhaps two families lived in this building, one on my floor, one above.

When I moved in, I saw rows of sewing machines in the space below. A few years later, the landlord emptied them out and converted it into a rough loft. Karmic for one set of neighbors who moved in. She was a dress designer.

Laundry would have hung across the backyard, as our neighbor's still does. And beneath, on the floor where our garden is, the outhouse. As for winters, surely colder than the ones we enjoy now, I cannot fathom.


Blogger Janet said...

Dear cuz! Love this post with it's little shadow of you, and ponderings on the history of your sweet love nest. Don't you just love to imagine all the wonderful things stuffed into the walls of old buildings as insulation, or hoarded by mice, or hidden away by a previous tenant?

Have been following intently, but not commenting ~ have been frantic lately.


11:53 AM  
Anonymous Thomas J Mituzas said...

Hello, our home on 37th Street has windows in every room, even if they face out to a hallway or another room. My grandmother told me that the reason windows were in every room was to help with air circulation... especially for those rooms that didn't have a window that opened to the outside. Also, if you would ever like to see an area that is never seen by most in Blissville, my garden and little home in the back yard... just let me know. Shoot me an email. I am home most weekends. Regards, Tom Mituzas

11:00 AM  
Blogger Donna D said...

My family lived on 35th St in Blissville during the 40s. If you want, I can try to get you more info about the building from my dad or cousins.

5:17 PM  

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