Raw Loft Space With Roof Deck in Former Textile Factory


Location South Williamsburg

Rent $3000 (market)

Square feet 4100

Occupants Christine Edwards (video editor, musician); Brennan Grayson (artist’s assistant); Ryan Grayson (barback, musician); Milan McAlevey (PR consultant, musician); Anne McGroarty (assistant gallery manager); Noah Sheldon (photographer, musician); Molly Smith (painter)

Ah, it’s 9:15 a.m.—Williamsburg in the morning—the smell of industrial waste, the dust from the Sheetrock, everybody busy scrubbing their tattoos. You are all huddled around the kitchen table eating Rice Dream on Frosted Mini-Wheats. We’re sitting underneath hanging laundry. [Noah] We don’t have a dryer.

It’s like in the movie 2001 when the sun rises and you get a sense of the future. Your huge elevator has no walls or ceiling—a perfect place for the mob to take someone to be killed. [Milan] We’re hardcore. But the bathroom is neat. The window faces Manhattan. You have to climb a ladder to get to the shower.

It’s kind of crumbly up there. This Dutch artist built it when he lived here. He was, like, squatting here with his girlfriend.

What are all the tubs of plaster? There must be 500 cans and boxes in a huge mound in the middle of the loft. This is our renovation area. Over here is the music area—ukuleles, clarinets, guitars. [Noah] We were all sleeping in the common space by the kitchen while we put up walls for our bedrooms. [Milan] Noah and Molly couldn’t make out.

Everyone’s living area is piled with clothes. Renovating this huge loft is an overwhelming prospect. You’d all be 90 before you even did the floor. We just moved in three months ago. [Ryan] We are all temporarily suspending any kind of life. [Christine] A lot of us went to school together. This whole neighborhood is Sarah Lawrence, RISD, Vassar, a lot of Brown.

This is actually the thick of the Hasidic neighborhood, tons of those new brick row houses. You said you had a party recently. [Noah] We hung one of Molly’s painted backdrops. She paints sets. [Molly] It was a pink, starry night sky with clouds. [Noah] There were, like, 300 people here. [Molly] None of us knew more than five people. [Noah] The cooking wines were gone, the exotic vinegars were gone. [Milan] Shellac thinner. [Noah] We’re going to have a lot more parties. [Molly] We have a pool, too, on the roof. It’s rubber. [Noah] We have a hanging bed, for crying out loud.

Molly, you keep scratching yourself. [Molly] It’s so bad. We’re getting bitten like crazy, the mosquitoes. We think there might be still water in the basement.

Oh god, a swarm. [Milan] There are also a lot of ‘hos in the neighborhood.

‘Hos? [Christine] Prostitutes. One time I saw an ambulette driver. He was standing facing the back of his ambulette with his pants down. [Noah] There are a lot of used condoms on the street.

Some of you here are boyfriend and girlfriend, but let’s not get into who is with whom. You all grew up in different places. [Brennan] Ryan and I are brothers. We’re from suburban Kentucky. [Molly] I’m from Kansas City, suburbs, postcolonial house. Everything was, like, fake. [Christine] I’m a military kid. Every few years we’d move—Maine, Spain.

Noah is from Chicago. Milan, where are you from? New Hampshire. In a big house my mom designed. After my stepfather died, she kept adding on to it. It’s, like, pink, purple—paintings of goddesses. She collects statues of women giving birth. She’s a midwife. The Concord Monitor interviewed me when I was six ’cause I had seen 400 births. [Noah] He held the flashlight.