Due Diligence

Graphic novelist and artist Christine Norrie adores her 'tiny' apartment, doesn't miss her fly-infested Brooklyn loft, and doesn't pine for Old New York

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Artist, writer and illustrator Christine Norrie, whose graphic novel, Cheat, explored the subject of adultery — a topic heralded by Publisher's Weekly in 2003 as "a welcome change in the hyper-fantastic world of graphic novels" — is hard at work on a graphic novel memoir about the late Allison Hayes, who starred in the 1950s cult classic, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. But you won't have to wait too long to see her newest ouevre: original art in Jen Van Meter’s upcoming Hopeless Savages: Break, slated for release this August from Oni Press. 
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
Greenwich Village

2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?
I’m terrible and do not venture far from home!  My daughter Josie had been attending PS 41 (she graduated this year!,) so school obligations kept us nearby, and our dog, Orwell, is quite old (15 years!) and he refuses to stroll beyond a couple blocks.  I only really visit Nolita where my studio is.  I love it there, we’re right above Maman and their chocolate cookies, and beautiful shops and delicious food abound.  But, everything in our lives keeps us mostly tethered here where we play in Washington Square Park, hang in our favorite restaurants, cafes, go to book stores, and ice cream and gelato shops. It’s exciting to visit friends in other neighborhoods, but now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t leave Murray’s Cheese behind.  

3. Do you own or rent?

4. How’d you find it?
A friend, a year ago.

5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?
Abundant light!  I’m on the top floor, the windows face west, and somehow beautiful glowing sunshine pours in from morning to sundown.

6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?
Square footage, totally.  It’s a tiny tiny tiny spot.
7. In three words, describe the first apartment you’ve ever lived in.
1997.  Williamsburg.  Boho-crazy.

8. Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?
This. I’d read once, that since 1902, people in the Village have been saying, “New York ain’t what it used to be…”  It can be heartbreaking that NYC is ever changing.  Something you love dearly disappears. But, then, inexplicably something great comes along to ease the pain. If everything stayed the same, then we wouldn’t have a Big Gay Ice Cream.  When I miss Chumley’s, I can drown my sorrows in a Salty Pimp.

9. Tell us about your favorite apartment you’ve ever had.
My favorite is now!  We are on a quiet tree-lined block with lovely neighbors and it feels like an amazing convergence of my classic NYC with the new: little storefronts, some tourists, and friends stopping by to say hi.  Like we’ve finally created this happy urban utopia.  Except for the square footage.  Need more.

10. And the worst?
The McKibbin Street lofts. It was a raw space and in the summer it was filled with thousands of flies.  Cars would death hurtle speed down the street (I got side-swiped once!).  Our roommate wasn’t fun (had to drive myself to the hospital because he was too lazy!).  It was too expensive and miserable.

11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.
The greenmarket.  Farmers, fresh food, flowers, composting.  A true miracle.

12. What’s your favorite spot in the city?
Maybe the Highline—no matter the season, I’m always very happy when walking along up there.  The foliage and greenery is so beautiful, and it changes constantly as it grows and thrives.  And there’s always something fun going on.  And eat and drink, whether you’re on the HIghline or under it.

13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?
Is the penthouse in Brooklyn too?  If either has a garden, then I’m sold.
14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?
It’s really hard to imagine living anywhere else… but, I grew up moving around a lot of places, traveled a lot, and really like being coastal, preferably with mountains.  I know a few people who’ve gone to Hawaii, so maybe there.  It hits all my markers: friends, gardens, beach, mountains… but I’m not sure about the food or being so isolated.  I guess I need to travel more and figure this out.    

15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?
The opportunity to meet the most interesting people is an amazing experience — but bear in mind that for whatever reason, when in NYC, people tend to only tell half a story, or they over-tell a story.  Take the time to find out their whole story!  It’s almost always a surprise.

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