NR Digital

City Desk

Down These Lonely Streets

by Richard Brookhiser

We live in a white brick building, 19 stories tall (there is a 20th floor but no 13th), from the Kennedy administration. We are the second tenants of our apartment. Before we moved in, we met the homesteaders, an old couple, moving on to assisted living or Florida. The apartment occupies a corner; looking out one window, the wife could see, across the street and down the block, the brownstone in which she had grown up.

Younger tenants leave because of promotions, reproduction, or both. Years ago we had a friend our age, genial, single, Wall Street. We asked him once, before throwing a party, if we could store something in his refrigerator, and found it empty, almost showroom-floor clean, except for champagne and beer. Excellent man! Then he married and left for an even better job elsewhere, from which he annually sends us cards picturing his family and wishing us Season’s Greetings. But for city dwellers already fixed in life, the rent laws encourage stasis. The old leave to go to the nursing home or the grave.

Send a letter to the editor.

Get the NR Magazine App
iPad/iPhone   |   Android