Wounded Knee


Location Garment District

Rent $1,703.75 (commercial)

Square feet 1,250 (loft in factory building)

Occupants Gloria La Morte (screenwriter, actress, producer); Joseph La Morte (producer)

Look at this photograph of the original bathroom! How horrible! [Joseph] You’ve got to see the toilet now. [Gloria] Yeah. [Joseph] This apartment originally was a production office for Washington Heights, in February 2001. [Gloria] We wanted a private bathroom. [Joseph] We broke down the wall. [Gloria] We converted the urinal into a shower! We needed a drain. [Joseph] I can pee in the shower and my wife doesn’t know. [Gloria] We got to live here because . . . [Joseph] I got hurt in May 2002. The bike hit a ditch, Seventh Avenue between 20th and 21st. I lost control. I fractured my tibia. I was in a cast for weeks. [Gloria] Oh, yeah. [Joseph] I was renting another space in this building on the third floor. I had an import business—zippers, buttons—Hong Kong, India. But after getting in the accident, I couldn’t commute to New Jersey every night. [Gloria] That’s right. We thought there would just be a cast but it ended up being very traumatic, three surgeries later—a knee replacement. [Joseph] We were living in Union City. [Gloria] Yeah, the stairs!

Does your landlord care that you’re living here? [Joseph] He was very understanding ’cause I got hurt. [Gloria] Then my brother . . . [Joseph] The brother! He was the one who said, “Keep the urinal.” We forgot all this. [Gloria] Oh, you’re letting us remember. You saw our neighbor, Mr. Kwon. [He and his workers were in the loft next door making floaty white tulle dresses.] His sewing machines usually wake us up. That and Howard Stern.

Mr. Kwon listens to Howard Stern? [Gloria] No, we listen to Howard Stern. Do I love Howard Stern? Oh, my lord! [Joseph rubs Gloria’s hair.] Why, OK, well, because . . . [She goes on for quite a while.] We’re also next to the Music Building. We hear band practice all the time.

All the rhinestone stores around—blue snowflakes, yellow lightning bolts, autumn leaves—everything cut from colored glass. But I can’t imagine living here. Everything’s moving so fast—rolling carts, bins, and racks. Women in leather coats smoking. Dark, sooty buildings. It’s a community where people are valued by how many orders they place. [Joseph] It gives you a little buzz. Like you should be busy also. I grew up in Union City, Cuban community predominantly, the first wave of migration after the fall of Castro. I mean the rise of Castro. That’s my neighborhood talking. No, I’m not Cuban. I’m Italian American. [Gloria] I was born in Colombia. I grew up in Hackensack.

You dated each other 15 years ago. You were friends for 13 years. Now you’re married. [Gloria] I have been in love with this man ever since I met him. [Joseph] At the Edison Theater. [Gloria] He was an NYU student at the time, an usher. [Joseph] At one of the Oh, Calcuttas. [Gloria] It was that show. He threw a little paper airplane at me. He was young. I was an actress at the time. He felt I was lazy. He literally made me break up with my boyfriend and move into his apartment in Union City and he moved out of his bedroom and he moved me in there. It was a training ground. He had me working out every day to go to California. [Joseph] I visited her a lot in California. [Gloria] Thanksgiving, all the time. If he was anywhere near on business. [Joseph] We were setting up a factory in Juárez. I visited every weekend. But we weren’t dating. [Gloria] I only ended up coming back to New York because our film Details was traveling to festivals.

Are you here together all day and night? [Gloria] Yes. We’ve been shooting a cooking show in the apartment. [Joseph] My wife’s a great cook.

What did you cook? [Gloria] Lamb. [Joseph] Lamb stew in beer. [Gloria] Raw beans. [Joseph] Raw beans. [Gloria] Gizzards. [Joseph] Yeah, chicken gizzards. [Gloria] Oxtail stew. [Joseph] Oxtail stew.