Partly Renovated Loft in Former Knitting Factory


Location Bushwick

Price $1125 (market)

Square feet 1050

Occupant Gideon Yago (MTV News)

This big, rough space is the shape of a Kleenex box, like so many industrial lofts.

Most efficient way to divide the space. Right now, I’m stripping the floors, building a bed over the door underneath the pipe. I’d been looking for probably six months—Prospect Heights, Harlem, Inwood—prices are just jacked through the roof. I’d been on the Lower East Side. I was covering the elections for MTV. I was always running out of town to chase candidates. But I just was not happy down there. I’m probably not the first person to say this, but this isn’t that cool of a city to live in any more. I grew up in Queens. I’m used to a nonpretentious neighborhood environment, where you don’t have to deal with debutantes puking on your sidewalk at three in the morning. Before the Lower East Side, I lived all over—Alphabet City, Upper West Side, Columbia dorms. I’m 22.

A Shelter whippersnapper!

The people in this building are really nice, unpretentious. That’s important. When I saw it, I felt at home.

Your neighbor Dorothy’s loft is full of boxes of echinacea and soy nuts. By the way, in the 19th century, Bushwick had tons of breweries. Men named Karl and Dieter made beer in vats as big as a room and sometimes fell in. Today Bushwick is mainly Hispanic, plus artist children of progressive parents. Where you are is pretty much factories.

That’s the cool thing. You can be part of developing the community. Oh, pioneers! Though I’m not sure I enjoy that term. There are people living here.

Where did you grow up in Queens?

The border between Kew Gardens and Forest Hills.

How old was your house?

I don’t remember.

What color was it?

I don’t remember.

Try harder.

It’s coming back to me now—brown. Two-story. There were five of us. My mom had her office in the basement. She’s a psychoanalyst. We had doors with extra soundproof material. We weren’t supposed to make noise while she had patients. I’d come home and have to go right to my room.

All these people thinking about sex and death in your basement. In Vienna in the early days, all the psychoanalysts had patients come see them in their big apartments on the Berggasse or wherever. Then of course there were the oriental rugs, the Sacher torte, long afternoons at the Prater.

Well, I don’t know about Vienna. I got my mom’s old psychoanalytic couch. It’s beautiful, a big red leather couch, beaten up, so comfortable. My friends used to refer to it as the gravitational field because it was impossible to get away from. I think it was designed to help you get in touch with your inner child.

Is the couch from a psychoanalytic supply store?

Jennifer Convertibles. Anyway, my parents were big kibbutzniks. I grew up with a strong sense of community. Back in Queens, it was this little sewing circle around my mother. We kids grew up in basements across Queens. Neighbors were social workers, a cellist for Les Miz. My parents moved there in ’85, from Stony Brook. My dad was sort of a draft dodger and Zionist youth kid from Louisiana. My mom was a Roman Catholic school girl from Germany who turned socialist. She went to Israel to find out more about Judaism. My dad was in Jerusalem. It was after the Six Day War. They were doing cleanup for some shelled-out buildings . . .

They turned and saw each other in the rubble. . .

I don’t know. Maybe it was a cafeteria.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 6, 2001

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