Moist Plants Downstairs


LOCATION West Village

RENT $1,197.50 [studio plus use of kitchen upstairs]

SQUARE FEET 700 [lower floor of duplex in five-story converted pre-war building]

OCCUPANTS Jodi Lin Wiener [fashion publicist]

It’s so casbah here—the beads! It’s Middle Eastern with a touch of 1920s and, like, the crispness of something French, very fashiony. I always feel in touch with the exotic. It’s my mother’s very clean, Jackie O. style that keeps mine in check. I’m from Manalapan, New Jersey. My roommate—she has the upstairs—grew up in Syracuse. We met in the Hamptons four years ago.

You said she’s the number one salesperson of . . . We can’t say the brand. Her company wouldn’t approve.

Oh, please. Well . . .

Please. It’s a drug that alleviates erectile dysfunction.

I know what that is. She’s this beautiful blonde.

So when she walks into a doctor’s office with her rolling suitcase—well, it must be too much for everyone. We share the kitchen upstairs. We have a steal here. Two full floors. [Total rent is $2,395.] Everyone wants to live here. There are paparazzi in the street.

You have no windows. I have an alarm clock that gets brighter and brighter before it goes off. Your body is acclimated, as if to the sun.

Your office is in your closet. It’s not bad. I work in fashion. I have all my clothes around me. If I’m writing a release and I look around my closet, I can think of words to better describe the pieces. I have a lot of plants. They grow very well down here. It’s very moist.

What’s this photo of all these women? Good friends in the Hamptons. That one, we did a share out in East Quogue. When you’re younger, you’re further west. This summer I will be in Sag Harbor. My rent for five weekends will be $1,450. Some of my girlfriends are schoolteachers. They’re all from the tristate area. I’ve had more things happen in the Hamptons. . . . [She was in the Conscience Point Inn on the Lizzie Grubman van night but she can’t talk about it in print.]

You have so many secrets! Do you do publicity in the Hamptons too? Yes, it’s important to do luxury events in the Hamptons.

Oh, yes! What’s that sound from the closet—a man’s voice! That’s an instant e-mail from someone. This person is on a recent buddy list. [Her home phone rings. We listen to her message machine: “This is Lona. I’ll be coming to the shower. Thank you for asking.”] My cell phone does not ring down here. I should have gotten Nextel. I call in for my cell phone messages every 20 minutes.

You must be exhausted. What’s the rhinestone bracelet that spells out Mike? This is from my gay boyfriend.

A palomino mink stole! It was my grandmother’s. You can only wear it out just as it’s turning fall or just as it’s turning spring. [We go on to other topics.] We have to be out of the apartment by August 31. They’re renovating. Some pipe broke in late February. Every downstairs apartment got wet, rainwater. I lost a Persian rug and some great clothes that were on the floor. I was screaming my head off. I once was meeting a guy on a date and he was really late. There was a snowstorm. He was coming from a Knicks game. I was waiting for him in Wallsé, this Austrian restaurant near here. I’m just sitting at the bar sipping champagne. This gentleman at the bar starts talking to me. He was not very attractive but interesting. He said, “I used to live at [her address].” He had lived in my exact apartment 20 years before. He had had a fight with the management and he had been robbed. He thought this was a bad-luck place. My date came. He wrote me an e-mail the next day to go out. I did. He was very interesting. But we were worlds apart and years apart. But we were very unique beings to each other. I liked that he was very sophisticated.