One-Bedroom Apartment in High-Rise

 Location Riverdale (Bronx)
Rent $1350 (market)
Square feet 800
Occupant Hollis Glaser (communications professor, Pace University; consultant)

You don't worry about, I mean you are not overly concerned about decor, or rather it's not the primary . . . Are you trying to say I'm functional? Yes. But it's comfortable, isn't it?

Very. The pillows are very nice. So you moved to this high-rise building that is near many other high-rises, all beige, because you fell in love. Julie was working in White Plains when we met—she's a psychiatric social worker—and living in Hastings-on-Hudson. We met on PlanetOut.com. I posted a notice right before I moved to New York from Omaha. I had lived there nine years, had tenure. So I thought I'd come to the city and date lots of women. I moved here on September 9. Julie and I met that night at Henrietta Hudson's, and then the World Trade Center blew up. By the end of that weekend, I was done with other women. In October, I was paying $1000 and sharing a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side with my cousin, Little Bart. He's very nice and I could boss him around. So I lived with Little Bart a few months until Pace gave me my visiting associate job, which meant somebody would rent to me, because I had a real salary. Julie and I were dating. I was taking the train to Hastings. Pace is way downtown. Then I was working with a consultant in Amsterdam and Julie and I were talking on the phone and she said, "Let's both move to Riverdale and make our lives simpler." We each got an apartment in the same building.

The sunlight dialogues: Hollis Glaser in Riverdale
photo: Robert Hale
The sunlight dialogues: Hollis Glaser in Riverdale

Why didn't you rent one together? She's got a college-age kid who comes back and forth. We weren't ready. I've got married friends who say, "Don't ever move in together." So I came back from Amsterdam and we called a few rental agencies. Some laughed. "Two apartments in the same building? That's impossible." Around here it's all condos, co-ops. Finally one woman showed us this building. There's a laundry room on each floor. Whoooah, a laundry room. We probably should have looked around more. The thing about this is, it's right near Metro-North, Spuyten Duyvil.

You do have to walk up that big hill when you get off the train. I was having to crawl. Though on the way up, it looks like a small English village. Your windows show so much sky here, so bright. I always think of skies like this as 1960s skies, though these skies are in all different decades. Maybe it's because architecture then is not about making shadows or depth. We're near a great little commercial area, Knolls Crescent. On weekends we go to the beach. We're going to see Santana.

Julie just came in. Hello! How is this arrangement? [Julie] At first it was the best of both worlds. Sometimes we're frustrated because my daughter's home and now it's as if we only have one apartment. [Hollis] Before, it was like we each had two apartments. I was up and down. "Do you have salt?" Then I wanted to get my own ironing board. [Julie] I said, "Oh, the romance is over." I grew up in the Bronx on 183rd. This is the first building I've lived in where there are more Puerto Ricans than I've ever lived with before. I'm Puerto Rican. My father would come home and say, "That's it, there's another Puerto Rican family in the building. We've got to move." My mother saw my brother, sister, and I weren't speaking English, no one was allowed to speak Spanish. Her reason was—at that time there was no bilingual education—she'd say, "You don't want to get stuck in dummy class in school." She picked schools by the reading scores. So we were always living in Jewish neighborhoods in the Bronx. When they opened Co-op City, it was the great tragedy of my mother's life. That's where everyone Jewish in the Bronx moved. Now Riverdale has very high reading scores, and P.S. 22 . . . [Hollis] I showed Julie my reading scores and I had her then.

 
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