brooklyn rooftop 2008 view

-Ahhhhh, the roof. That beautiful bitch. The reason that I acquired that apartment in the first place, nestled in a shitty neighborhood that is now apparently a borough packed with high rise apartments and coffee shops. The apartment itself wasn’t much, of course, though one of my roommates at the time still resides there and has made it amazing. I agreed to pay the move in cost ($5,000) on my own and be reimbursed after. My first roommate was a craigslist find. To save a lot of explanation, she was nuts. We fought constantly. She was a divorcee in her late 30’s going back to school for special effects makeup. She shook her fist at me too many times while donning her kimono, left too many tea bags in the sink drain, complained about the work schedule of my roommate and wasted toiletries in odd attempts to catch my attention through passive vandalism. Back to the roof. Once I was walked around the tiny, basic studio with added rooms, I walked up the stairs to the roof. Once the door opened facing west towards the skyline, my heart sank. The view did something to me that I could never quite understand. It lifted me away from all of the trouble in my life. The buildings sat blinking in the distance, tall and dusted with the haze between us, softened and less daunting in their petiteness, yet they felt so close. The entire skyline from Central Park to Battery Park opened up like a glorious bouquet before my eyes. I couldn’t stop staring and couldn’t turn it down. That view was there for me for almost three years to follow and I can close my eyes a decade later and picture exactly what I saw. The roof was an important escape during sunrises, after bar shifts, at the end of already lengthy day shifts. I even hoisted a school desk up there for drawing. Over the following years, everytime I hear “up on the roof” I become convinced that they felt the same feeling I did. The first person who visited me was my sister Heather. It was cloudy the day that I brought her up on the roof. Steps before I opened the door I stopped, turned around to her and said “get ready for this view?”. Opening the door with a huge smile I turned towards the city, arm pointing west towards the ugly building in front of us and a wall of clouds over the water. There was nothing there. “I swear the view is amazing, like of the Manhattan, not just Brooklyn”, she replied that she believed me and we stood there with umbrellas on a hot, rainy afternoon. Just then the sky opened behind her and we were talking and my eyes grew. “Turn around!” I shrieked. That was the moment when she saw and felt roof.

Brooklyn heather 2

-Many mornings came to a close on that roof, unwinding with cheap beer or champagne after a long night at the bar. I imagined what the skyline would look like with the twin towers there, I knew the exact spot where their mirage was floating. My first visit to NYC I stayed with a friend in Jersey who worked in the city and I would walk 30 miles a day and get lost in every inch of Manhattan. One day on the forth of July, my sister still in town, we watched fire works from every single angle. Huge light shows in the distance near the river, ones in Manhattan, ones in downtown Brooklyn, Queens and inches from our heads above the forth floor as they were launched from the street below. We watched a party happening across the street and watched a couple walk the perimeter of the roof as though it was a tightrope, which made us extremely nervous in their and our drunken state. That night as the sun went down we brought blankets up to watch the nonexistent stars and umbrellas and drank wine in our homemade hobo fort. I was still sleeping on the floor at this point, but she was ok with that.

brooklyn floor