Today I’m back for another interview. Thanks, Tracy, for agreeing to do these Q & A sessions about your life in NYC. As you know, I find New York to be fascinating, as well as the people living in it. So, let’s chat again. Me, in my house in Digby, Nova Scotia. You, in your apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Steph: I’ve only seen your apartment in pictures. (next trip I will be there, I promise!). It’s beautifully decorated and so cozy. You are lucky to have a storage unit in your building. But how do you decide what items stay and what has to go to storage?
Tracy: Thank you for the compliment. 🙂 I would love if you would come by my apartment the next time you’re in NYC.
Well, most of the items that go in the storage unit are those that we don’t use every day, or things we don’t need but aren’t ready to part with –– yet. For instance, like those pants you love but can’t fit into right at the moment, but hope to one day wear again –– don’t we all have those? Those go to storage. Or fans that we desperately need in the heat of the summer, but don’t need in winter, those would be in storage. Also, some of our holiday decorations go to the basement, and others remain in flat containers under the bed. We keep some extra pillows and home goods that we’re not using at the moment down there too. And then, we just have miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t fit in our apartment.
We need to do a major purge, but that’s not always so easy. Unbelievably, before we rented the storage unit, we kept everything in our 825-square foot apartment. Crazy, but somehow, we managed, and the space did not look cluttered. I think we owned fewer things when we moved to the Upper West Side in 2009. Accumulating stuff seems to happen as time goes on. But when living in a small space, it’s a reality check for sure. When closets and drawers start to overflow, it’s time to donate.
Steph: Do you have friends or acquaintances that live in your apartment building ?
Tracy: My friend Maureen has lived in our building for years, but recently, she left for a fellowship at the University of Nebraska. I’m pretty bummed about it. She will be there for about two years, supposedly, but plans to return to New York after that. She said that she would like to come back to NYC about once per month during her time in Nebraska, so hopefully that will happen and I will get to see her on those trips.
There are people I know and chat with on occasion, like, “hello, how are you?” And complain about the weather –– all New Yorkers seem to complain about the weather! But I don’t really socialize regularly with anyone else. So, other than Maureen, I’d have to say no, I don’t have friends in my building.
Steph: In your neighborhood on the Upper West Side, what are the sounds you hear outside at night? Is it noisy or fairly quiet?
Tracy: Well, that all depends on time of day–– afternoon/evening rush hour and weekend nights can be a little noisier. Considering it’s Manhattan, where I live is not noisy at all, though. There’s the occasional jackhammer (street construction) and sirens, but for the most part, West End Avenue is pretty quiet, and I love that about it. Most times I don’t notice any noise at all, especially in the bedroom, which is in the back of our apartment. I hear a distant humming of traffic, and that’s all. An occasional loud talker or dog barking is not out of the ordinary!
Sunday mornings are probably the quietest time in my neighborhood and in NYC. I wouldn’t say the city is asleep, just taking a break.
Steph: How much closet space do you have for your clothes, all your shoes/boots?
Tracy: Ha! Not nearly enough. I have two small closets with organizers, but both are pretty much maxed out. And then, I have those other clothes that were looking a little dated (or, I outgrew them, ahem..), so they’re downstairs in the storage unit.
I have some compartments for shoes and boots, and others stay on the floor. I rotate by season –– most of my winter shoes and boots and some clothing are way up high in the closet. Come October, I will bring down my cool-weather wardrobe, and put the summer stuff up high. I dread switching every season, but with small closets, that’s the best solution. And, by the way, my closets are not so neat. I keep the apartment as uncluttered as I can, but the closets are where I slack a bit when it comes to organization. They would be better if I could edit more, but I’m not so good at that.
My friend Heather was talking about purging her entire wardrobe and making do with only about ten basic pieces of clothing. Then, having a few additional pieces for special occasions. I could not do it! I hate wearing the same clothes again and again when I go out. (At home, I don’t mind.) I like to rotate, and sometimes, pull things that I haven’t worn in years (if they fit, of course). I like variety, so a large wardrobe suits my personality.
Steph: If you could enlarge your apartment by one room, what would it be? A dining room? An office?
Tracy: This question is tough, but not a dining room and not an office. I’d have to say another bathroom. Two people living with one small bathroom isn’t easy when you’re both trying to get out the door at the same time. I’d like to move my washer/dryer from the kitchen and into that extra bath too, and while we’re at it, let’s add a linen closet, so I can use my current linen closet to store other things. Moving the washer/dryer would free up some space for more storage and a larger range in my kitchen too.
I’d also love an office, but the bathroom wins first place. Unfortunately, though, enlarging my apartment isn’t going to happen until I move into a larger apartment. Until then, I can dream about that extra bath.
It’s always fun talking with you. I just wanted to say that Tracy’s New York Life is like an escape for me, seeing where I live in such a small town. I enjoy sitting at my computer with my coffee, reading and daydreaming of life in your amazing city. Thanks for sharing your stories!
Have a question for Tracy? Send an email to hello at tracysnewyorklife dot com.