The last week of my life has been dedicated to getting moved and settled into my new apartment in Carroll Gardens. Although Janeen and I just arrived, and despite the place’s current cardboard box motif, I can tell we’re going to love it here.
This neighborhood and this apartment make me feel like a real New Yorker for perhaps the first time. Better late than never, I guess. The view at my old place was seaside: a turbulent sea of grim-faced suits streaming through the shadows cast by stupid monstrous slabs of concrete. For a brief time I felt energized by that scenery, but I soon discovered that I was only forcing myself to experience a cliched rite of passage into a world I quickly learned to tolerate rather than enjoy. For years, I had occasionally experienced a palpable feeling of dread upon striding out my front door.
Relatively speaking, my Brooklyn view is pastoral. My block has trees, squat chocolate brownstones and a lower volume but wider variety of passerby. It’s not the size, shape and color of the people that distinguishes them, it’s the obvious lack of commonality in their stories. My old neighborhood had two categories of residents: the smaller group was made up of old rich people and the predominant group were new to New York City–cogs in Manhattan’s midtown and Wall Street machines. Carroll Gardens has these, but also many other categories of residents, categories too numerous and nuanced to accurately list here. I think people usually sum up my new neighborhood by saying it’s got “character.” All I know is that after ten years at my old address, stepping outside is now a quasi-literal breath of fresh air.
It also doesn’t hurt that my new place dwarfs my old one in size, so much so that feels like an actual home–it has… gasp… more than one room. Even though I barely realized it, a small studio apartment was a stifling place to live, and an especially stifling one to work from. I’m writing this blog entry from my comfortably sized “office,” a room clearly distinguishable from our bedroom and our living room (as well as our “other bedroom”). Pretty cool.
So hello Brooklyn and goodbye Manhattan. I was so ready to go that upon packing up and leaving my old place, I felt none of the expected regret or uncertainty, just a prevailing wistfulness. A wistfulness brought on by a flood of memories, good and bad, made in that small space over an extended period in my life during which everything changed more than once.
This is not just a happy time for me but also a strange one, since our landmark relocation cannot be celebrated in a traditional way. I’m off to Chicago and then Las Vegas starting tomorrow, and I won’t be returning to my new digs for over three, possibly four, weeks.
In Chicago I will be attending my first celebrity wedding, as Janeen’s brother and his fiancee are tying the knot. They would both undoubtedly insist that they are unfamous (not infamous but unfamous) if they read that, but they both have achieved the world’s grand, undisputed, official gauge of fame: entries on Wikipedia. I’m lucky, both these future in-laws are likable cool people, and I’m looking forward to the wedding.
From Chicago I will be embarking on what will likely turn out to be the busiest month of my poker career. Thanks to a surprisingly (and gratifyingly) successful first foray into the world of staking, I have collected enough money to comfortably play almost all the World Series of Poker tournaments I desire. And I intend to play as many as possible. For the next month, I will be playing large poker tournaments on a nearly daily basis. I will not be an easy out.
And, as a presumably welcome change of pace, I’ll update my blog frequently from poker’s mecca during it’s most meccalicious month.