Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting the Terrace Summer-Ready

An innocent one, who has never seen my apartment or lived in a city, asked whether I have my own balcony. I do, only it’s more commonly referred to as a “fire escape.” When I’m home alone between sunrise and sunset, I spend much of my time at my desk or on my bed, the two command centers, looking out onto it. I’m looking at, through, and over it right now, wishing someone would spray-paint a colorful mural on the walls of bricks it faces.

The next time my super makes a house call, I need to ask him how to safely unlatch and roll back the complicated-looking window gate that separates my inside from the outside. I could take a folding chair out there, with a crossword puzzle and some lemonade, to feed the birds and sit four feet closer to the bare brick walls. I see room for two people and a small end table.

When I lived elsewhere and came into the city for job interviews, I stayed with a friend or a cousin. One weekday morning, hours after my hostess left for work, I looked out a window and watched a young man/old boy in a long coat crouching on his fire escape, a screenless open window behind him, smoking a cigarette, lost in thought. He seemed like an on-the-up local musician, a front man, emotionally prepping for a rehearsal or soundcheck. If I saw him on a downtown stage, I wouldn’t recognize him. But I won’t forget what he stood for – or stood on, and now it’s my balcony that beckons. I’ll wave, say a few words, and drape a flag from it as soon as I learn how to get past the gate.  


  1. Let me just say how totally envious I am of your summer... winter has just begun and I forgot how it's absolutely NO fun at all *sigh*. That terrace sounds lovely :)

  2. Sitting on the fire escape is a long-standing New York tradition. I think you will enjoy it--and room for a small end table and two chairs--that sounds delightful. Add a bagel or croissant plus a cup of really good coffee and an engrossing is good.

  3. Just think, you can dine al fresco after a long hard day of work. You know, once you figure out the gate thing.

  4. Yes, you need to ask about that window. Would be great to sit outside and face that wall um... well, when you're outside you can do something about that, right? One step at a time.