Jennifer Wright, the author of It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History, is also a columnist for the New York Observer and the New York Post covering sex and dating. When she's not writing about love or history, or both, she procrastinates by searching the Corcoran website looking for apartments she could buy if she gets a movie deal out of her book, which includes the messy uncouplings of Emperor Nero (murder), Henry VII (beheading), and Norman Mailer (public stabbing), among others.
For now, though, she'll have to make do with her Murray Hill abode. At least there's a working fireplace.
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?
It’s kind of become my dream neighborhood by virtue of living here for seven years. At this point, I know the people at the local bodega, the grocery store, the shoe repair place, all of which make it feel like my neighborhood. That said, if you know of any rent-controlled places down in the East or West Village, or maybe along Central Park, or Brooklyn Heights, I will take you up on that in a second.
3. Do you own or rent?
4. How’d you find it?
I used a real estate agent from Corcoran, who was also a family friend. And this apartment was only a block down from the building where I was renting at the time.
5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?
It overlooks a church! And trees, which are really lovely to look out at in the morning. (In my previous apartment I looked directly into an office building.) There’s also a working fireplace, which is so great to have going during the winter.
6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?
During the summer, there are water bugs. I think I am winning, but I am at almost constant war with them. But then, I think just about every apartment has some minor bug issues.
7. In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.
Screaming murder neighbors?
8. Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?
I never lived in the old NYC! I really like being able to walk around late at night without being concerned for my well-being. Still, I do worry about the extent to which New York has become unaffordable for people working in creative industries. If it’s not able to accommodate up-and-coming writers and artists, it seems like it will lose all of the cool factor associated with New York.
9. Tell us about your favorite apartment you’ve ever had.
Definitely this one. The built-in bookcases alone are pretty much heaven for me. I’ve still had to set up some additional bookcases from Ikea, but fewer than I used to.
10. And the worst?
I stayed in a short-term rental building when I was first trying to find a place in NYC. There was a couple next door (aforementioned) that screamed what I think may have been genuine death threats at one another on a very regular basis. And I remember lying there at night listening to them and thinking, “Well, okay, I guess this is what every night in New York is going to be like, I guess this is what I’ve signed up for.”
11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.
Shoe repair! I walk pretty much every place and my shoes get really beat up. Angela’s Shoe Repair on 39th and Third is the best.
12. What's your favorite spot in the city?
The lobby lounge in the Algonquin Hotel. There’s nothing that more embodies the notion of living in New York that I had when I was a kid than sipping a martini in the place where Dorothy Parker used to hold court.
13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?
Brooklyn brownstone. Preferably in Brooklyn Heights. Though I’m sure I could be very happy in either.
14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?
Almost certainly London. I’m a terrible driver, so I’d like to be someplace with good public transit. That said, I think the cold, rainy weather in London would make me cranky all the time, so I should probably stay here.
15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?
Get a MetroCard—it will take you every place you need to go. And avoid doing that thing where you stand in the middle of the sidewalk taking pictures of buildings. Oh, and also, have fun! It’s the best city in the world.