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Sloane Crosley is the New York Times bestselling author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number (coming out today in paperback). She is also a weekly columnist for The Independent in the UK and editor of The Best American Travel Essays 2011. She lives in Manhattan, where she is a regular contributor to GQ, The New York Times, National Public Radio and the inexplicably vast and varied collection of granolas in her kitchen cabinet. Excerpts from her recent Q&A with BrickUnderground follow.
Where did you grow up? What other places aside from New York have you lived and how did they compare to living in NYC? I know you went to school in CT—how did living there compare to Brooklyn?
White Plains, New York. It’s about half an hour north of Manhattan. I have lived in Scotland but you can’t really compare Edinburgh with New York. I never lived in Brooklyn but I don’t think it’s particularly similar to Connecticut. Though Brooklyn is certainly giving Connecticut a run for its money in the designer baby carriage category.
Please take me through your NYC living past from first apt. location, price, how you found it and then through each subsequent residence ending with your most recent.
My first apartment was at 70th and Columbus and I had a roommate. I don’t remember what I paid but I think it was just under a grand. We found it through a broker, sadly. I say sadly because I think he charged us a 16% commission. I think I lived there for about three years, maybe four. Then I very boringly moved three blocks north. I found the place through a friend of a friend who was actually a broker.
Would you like to own someday?
What’s the best and worst thing about your apartment?
It’s big and quirky and it comes with a hanging lamp in the dining room that I’m obsessed with. It also comes with a pass-through from the dining room to the kitchen. But it’s fundamentally a railroad apartment, which means half my rooms – including my bedroom – are met window-for-window by my noisy neighbors who also leave their lights on until 5AM for some reason.
What’s the weirdest [or scariest] thing that has ever happened to you living in NYC? Have you had any odd neighbors or roommates?
It’s so hard to identify “scariest” or “weirdest.” Too many moments to choose. Plus one woman’s weird is a another woman’s normal. Guess it just depends on how much the city fucks with your threshold for bad behavior.
You’ve written in the NYT about real estate envy---what’s your dream home and why?
I really like the idea of a loft. Not shocking, but I think I’d take it over a traditional apartment with doors. Just because I’m paranoid and consistently convinced someone is breaking into my house and with a loft you could look over at the door (even if it was an obscenely huge loft, which hopefully mine would be) and know instantly how crazy you were being.
What is the one thing you’d change about living in Manhattan?
I disagree with that assumption. I hope that’s not rude, but the assumption that there’s something unquestionably intolerable about living here is something I’ve never understood.
What’s your favorite City neighborhood and why?
I think it’s a tie between the West Village and the Lower East Side. They both feel like that great combination of home and vibrancy to me. That was the thing with the Upper West Side. It 100% felt like home, but the vibrancy was missing. But Gramercy and Central Park West are pretty great to meander around when it’s beautiful outside.
What about food in NYC? Do you cook? Take-out? Go out to eat? What are some of your favorite places or things relating to food in NY?
All three, really. I make good grilled fish and tomato salad and ricotta mac and cheese but I’m mostly a baker. I like to make cookies. My local breakfast haunts (I live on 16th street in Manhattan) are The Grey Dog and Morandi. Best meal-before-I-die in New York, though? Toss up between Barney Greengrass and Le Bernardin.
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