Location Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Rent $656/mo. (rent stabilized)
Square feet 600
Occupants Craig Evans (antiques restorer); Jonathan Murphy (sales assistant, Chantelle Lingerie)
Just for clarity, Craig and Jonathan, you used to be lovers but now you’re roommates. Jonathan, your friend Conrad, who lives in the Bronx, is visiting in your room watching Goldfinger. Craig’s boyfriend, Jason, who lives in Queens, is sitting in a chair in the living room. Jonathan, you got this Sunset Park apartment five years ago through your best friend, Rosario, who lives upstairs. Sunset Park, a port of entry for immigrants since the 1800s, reportedly has more than 120 nationalities! Your apartment is near Fifth Avenue, which is primarily Hispanic. [Craig] The Chinese are up by 64th, near Spectrum, the big gay club where they filmed Saturday Night Fever. [Jonathan] That’s where we met, the multicolor dance light on the floor. Nearby there’s this building that looks like a castle. [Craig] It would make a great club.
The apartment is bursting with antiques. This is the love seat. [Jonathan] Craig’s collection of wooden carvings. Look at this. It’s a wooden figure with a barrel around its waist. When you pull up the barrel . . .
His huge organ vibrates madly. That’s very nice. What does the big mirror with the grapes do? [Craig] It came out of the garbage in Paterson, New Jersey. It’s a Victorian pier mirror.
You said Jason and Jonathan have to restrain you from diving in dumpsters. What’s that thing hanging on chains over the stove? It looks like a sex harness. That’s from a fish tank. I turned it upside down to make a stove light. That glass tank there with the plants in the living room? It used to have lizards in it. I made it from the glass shelves in a Hallmark card store. [Jonathan] Craig’s the kind of person who can use any type of material and get the job done. [Craig] My car door was smashed, and I decided to make a wall hanging out of the window. I smoked the Plexiglas. I got a dim light shining from behind. [Jonathan] The spears on one of his African statues are shish kebab sticks.
Craig’s like an alchemist! [Craig] The statue looked like it should be holding something. So I Old Englished the sticks. [Jonathan] Craig made tusks for one of the elephants from the bones of turkey legs. Did you see his elephant collection? [Craig] It used to be bigger. My first lover got a little violent and went for the elephants. Everybody knows I collect elephants.
I won’t forget. Craig, you used to work for your stepfather’s scale company in New Jersey, testing truck scales, for 15 years. You said he’s real Lords of Flatbush. I got laid off. I decided hey, I can make money fixing antiques. They make a statement. [Jonathan] I grew up in the Gowanus Housing Project until I was 19. My mother had 10 children. The project’s near the Gowanus Canal, vile odor.
If you went near it you had to hold your nose or you would vomit! Did you see the film Lavender Lake? That’s what they called the canal because this factory dumped ink and made the water lavender. The water stagnated for more than 30 years. There were dead dogs and cats floating with the waste. They found a suitcase with body parts from different bodies. Last spring, Buddy Scotto, the hero of the canal, got it cleaned up. He wants to turn it into Venice in Brooklyn. Anyway, back to your apartment. This is the most space I’ve ever had. I like to keep it magazine perfect. My mother used to say, You never know who’s going to drop by. [Craig] My grandmother always used to say, Wear nice underwear in case you’re in a car accident. I said, Grandma, if I’m in an accident, there’re going to be more stains. Hey, I’m real, what can I say.