Location Greenpoint (Brooklyn)
Rent $800 (market)
Square feet 300
Occupant Suzanne Schulz (associate producer, Hibiscus Films; program director, DocuClub)
Love all that pink pork in the stores on Manhattan Avenue and how everybody on the street is speaking Polish, and saying words like “brushky schusky.” Their language always sounds so smoky and bedroom-y, like some Polish film director is twirling a cigarette and telling you about the revolution, hours into the night. Though in your neighborhood, I see mostly families and men wearing hats with small brims.
I’ve only lived in Greenpoint four months. I thought about joining the 100 percent Polish gym, 99 cents a day, but I don’t know if I could work out with the giant Polish he-men. Before I moved here, I was in all these places—I’m from Long Island—like Park Slope without a lease. Then I had an illegal sublet in a Mitchell-Lama and I had to leave in a day, and then an apartment where I spilled some shampoo which stained the marble floor a little and the housemate kept my whole $600 security deposit. So I wanted to have a place where nothing like that would happen. Though here my bathroom is in the hall, which leads to not wanting to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
That print of the Tambourine Dancer of Sorrento in the hallway outside your door bears a resemblance to you—well, that is, if you wore white peasant blouses.
The painting is my landlord’s. He lives across the hall from me. He’s from Poland. He gave me a half-eaten box of clementines for Christmas and filled the other half with cookies. On Valentine’s Day, he presented me with a lovely bouquet.
Has love blossomed?
This morning he came over and gave me all these plants. The other day he fixed my doorknob. He’s in his seventies. I’m 25. He looks a little bit like a younger version of the pope. He wears very charming outfits, like a tweedy jacket with a tweedy hat. Currently he’s been wearing his Florida shirt, a Hawaiian print. He just went down to Florida; there’s a whole Greenpoint contingent in Miami. He lives alone. He really seems to enjoy the bachelor life. He’s very well respected in the community. He’s always showing me copies of the Polish paper when he’s in it. He took me to the Polish Slavic Cultural Center for lunch. His daughter and two granddaughters joined us. Then he took me to this Polish deli because he had 10 Polish student musicians staying with him. He bought me 10 pieces of kielbasa, but I told him I don’t eat meat. He doesn’t speak English. We really have trouble understanding each other. A month ago he took me to Lincoln Center to a concert. I was originally supposed to go to a friend’s art show in Williamsburg, which was just on one night, but I said, No, I’m going to go out with my landlord. We went to Lincoln Center on the subway. He was really impressed I knew how to transfer. The concert was Polish music. In the end, everybody stood up and sang this Polish song and they raffled off a television set. These women from Poland were on the subway on the way back; I could tell they really liked him. For the first couple of months, he gave me juices. He gave the two guys upstairs juices too. They’ve gone out with him, but less than I have. My landlord has a garden out back, raspberries and eggplant. He told me he has parties back there. Any time I have a night visitor, I tell them to be quiet and I stuff a pillow in their mouth. I’m afraid my landlord’s going to hear them. I don’t know why. I’m an adult and all. He goes to bed at 10. After that, I’m pretty safe. His bedroom is on the other side of the house. If he’s in his living room, he’ll poke his head out and see what’s going on. My kitchen wall is the same wall as his bathroom wall. Once he said to me I shouldn’t smoke because I have a beautiful face.