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Two-Bedroom Apartment in Renovated Tenement | Village Voice


Two-Bedroom Apartment in Renovated Tenement


Location East Village

Rent $2600 (market)

Square feet 600

Occupants Ramie Roth (hairstylist); Julie Waldkoetter (makeup artist); Ada Strokon-Miller (intern, Mark Morris Dance Group)

A man just came out of the bedroom. [Julie] That’s John. He was in there reading bicycle magazines. [Ramie] We’ve had six people when all the boyfriends are here. Sometimes my mom will stay, too. [Julie] Last week it was two cats, two birds, and a dog. [Ramie] The birds were for my Marie Antoinette costume, for Halloween. [Julie] The finches were in a cage inside her wig.

Here’s a photograph. You’re wearing a bustier and standing near the refrigerator. [Ramie] We built a wall to make a third bedroom. I’ve had 10 roommates in two and a half years. For one reason or another, they’ve moved. One got pregnant. One found something cheaper. One got sick.

Isn’t it exhausting? I couldn’t afford this with just one roommate. We’re all in our mid twenties. Julie and I are friends. Julie’s from Niagara Falls. [Julie] North Tonawanda.

A Keane picture is on the wall of two girls, big sad eyes. One’s taller than the other, like the two of you. [Julie] Yeah. [Ramie] I never noticed. The apartment was $2450 when I moved in. It went up to $2700 the next year. Then in August, because of the economy, my landlord gave me a break and lowered it by $100. Our landlord lives around the corner.

Do you like him? [Julie] Which one’s he? [Ramie] Peter, you know him. [Julie] OK, him. I like him. [Ramie] I think he’s from Ohio or something. I don’t know. He’s really clean. It’s always very spick-and-span. He’s in his thirties.

Is he rich? [Ramie] I think he’s rich. [Julie] I don’t think so. [Ramie] I think maybe he does have money. Where did you get those? [Julie] My slippers? Victoria’s Secret.

Ramie, you’re swinging a stuffed bear around. It’s Teddy. This is Pip’s little buddy. Pip’s a Chihuahua. He’s on the large side. I made him a jacket. [Julie] He was getting so many compliments today. We went shopping. One night, I came home at two in the morning, she’s full-on, sewing his little jacket. So I helped her with the buttons and stuff. [Ramie] The pins are my dad’s army pins. He was in Vietnam.

How does he feel about it? He hates it, but it’s cold out.

No, I meant your dad, Vietnam on the dog. I don’t know. Who cares.

Would you ever move to Brooklyn? [Julie] We’ve talked about that, but we have to carry our stuff every day. Our suitcases weigh 25 pounds each. I assisted a makeup artist the other day. She hurt her back and her bag weighed 50 pounds. I had to carry it down and up five flights.

You both go to glamorous places for your shoots. [Ramie] That loft the other day. But to clean all that space would drive me crazy. I’d have to have a housekeeper. [Julie] Once I went to give you something, and that bathroom was as big as our apartment.

If people are so rich, why do they need to rent out their space? They like to show off, see their house in a shoot. [Ramie] Be part of fashion.

Is their personal stuff around? Sometimes. We’ll look in the closet and their clothing will be there. Or they’ll have a room with a sign, “Do Not Enter.” I’ve been to mansions in Connecticut, upstate. One home was from the 1800s, rooms upon rooms, probably 20 rooms in the house. That house was so big. The servants’ quarters were in the back. The servants weren’t meant to be seen. The bedrooms had secret doors. I could see myself in the Tribeca loft more. [Julie] Definitely the loft.

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