Floor-Through Apartment in Tenement


Location Nolita

Rent $2600 (market)

Square feet 650

Occupants James Cury (writer, The Playboy Guide to Bachelor Parties); Dorothy Krasowska (graphic designer, US Magazine)

Your landlord said what? [James] When we complained that our kitchen floor was cracked, he said the former tenants thought it was charming. [Dorothy] Did you tell her he wants to . . . [James] Wait, I’ll get to that.

The whole apartment is so old-world. [James] I’ve always been a sucker for charm. Whenever you walk in the living room, there’s squeaking. And it’s not like I’m a 300-pound man or anything. [He demonstrates walking.]

So James grew up on the Upper West Side in the 1970s. It’s like a certain kind of royalty. [James] We just lived in this building. The apartment wasn’t that big. [Dorothy] For Manhattan, it’s huge. [James] I had to share a room with my brother. [Dorothy] His mother’s living room is 500 square feet! [James] She’s been there 35 years. She was a high school English teacher. The Upper West Side was more diverse back then, more bodegas, shoe repair stores.

Shoe repair stores are hard to find. [Dorothy] In Las Vegas, where I’m from, there was only one place to get your shoes fixed.

Aren’t the casinos carpeted? [Dorothy] Yes, I think they are. I was born in Poland. When I was two, we moved to New York. My mother decided to divorce my father. She got in a car and drove to California. [James] Thelma & Louise without Thelma. [Dorothy] You know the Eagles song “Hotel California”? We heard that 500 times on the way. My mom was so excited. She didn’t speak English. It was 1976.

Oh, the road journey! Kerouac, Siddhartha—the young Brahman’s quest for self-discovery. [James] My father drove to California in a VW Bug. He’s a TV director. He has a nice house in Encino. He was a child actor, a cowboy radio star. [Dorothy] My mom wanted to buy a house in Las Vegas. [James] She heard, “There’s gold in them there hills.” I see Dorothy as this little punk rock girl in Vegas. [Dorothy] Everybody’s mother was a card dealer. You’d go to somebody’s house, every mom was in the same thing, black polyester pants and white men’s shirts.

In grammar school, my Girl Scout leader was a “26” girl. She had a baby with a hole in its head and all these chips in the house. [James] We got this apartment in 2001. I looked at 40 or 50. If I like the first thing I see, I feel something is wrong. [Dorothy] We were looking pre-September 11 and after. We saw how you got treated, when you have the upper hand. [James] I think that’s how I got $100 knocked off the price. But this place is not so huge or so beautiful.

How did you meet? [James] Want to tell this one, baby? [Dorothy] I’d . . . [James] It was at a cop bar. For me, it was a love connection. I had these little tests. One, the girl had to know the bands that I liked. Though I knew Dorothy wouldn’t flaunt her punk rock background. I asked her out. [Dorothy] Or at least he suggested we go out some time. I knew the phone would ring at one the next day. He’s so predictable. [James] That’s why you love me. [Dorothy] James had never lived with a woman.

Let’s look at your barware collection. [James] The nudie glasses—when filled with liquid, the women go nude. Any way men got their jollies kind of intrigues me.

Look at that My Pussy Belongs to Daddy record cover! [James] I have a lot worse.

But you’re so polite. No meeting me at the door with a martini. [Dorothy] His mother was a lesbian. [James] Her partner was in ACT UP . . .

Wait—what was it you wanted to tell me about the landlord?

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