Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday to the Webster Apartments and 2003

I've been traveling a lot lately; to BookExpo in nyc and then to visit my family (sans baby) in Pennsylvania.

In New York I stayed at the New Yorker on 34th and 8th, a block over from where I used to live at 34th and 9th at the Webster Apartments.  

The Webster, I was pleased to see, has a historical marker outside on the street.  And it deserves it.  It's a magical awesome place.  Started by the Webster family (of dictionary fame) the Webster Apartments opened as a women's residence about 150 years ago when there was an influx of single women working in the fashion district, and in stores like Macy's. 

So they started this women's residence where single women could live in midtown, close to work.  Now it's a non-profit.  I lived there in 2003.  I was 26.  I paid $200/week, which included 2 meals a day.  It was the most amazing experience.  There were no boys allowed anywhere besides the first floor and dining room.  My dad had to have a security guard to come see my room on the 7th floor (though in fairness that was largely because they needed to warn the girls running around from the shower in their towels).  

The first floor had a library with a huge fireplace, large sitting room, garden sitting room (lots of glass looking out on the gardens), a piano room with plenty of room and a ballet barre for dancers to practice, and these bizarre entertainment rooms for single women to entertain their gentleman callers.  They were in a hallway, about 8 or so of them, closed on three sides but open on the main hallway side (no funny business or unwanted pregnancies) and each had a sofa, armchair, and coffee table.  There was always a demand for the last one in the row because the chances of someone passing by and catching you mid-make-out-session were low.

The rooms were small, but functional.  They had a single bed, chair, desk, dresser, sink, and closet.  One
large window.  They were cleaned each week as part of the deal.  

We also had an amazing roof garden with panoramic views of midtown. I used to go up early in the morning to meditate and write in my journal and watch the sun come up over the river..

My best memory of the Webster was during the 2003 East Coast blackout.  We all slept up on the roof because it was so damn hot.  They made us peanut butter sandwiches and juice boxes because there was no electricity or water.  I felt so taken care of,  It was always like stepping back in time - you'd be bustling along 34th street, fighting your way through commuters and tourists, the wind whipping through the canyons, and suddenly you'd step into this oasis of peace where they would call you Miss Buettner (that was my name then) and ask me what kind of soup I wanted.  

I have a rule.  Hannah is allowed to live in New York if she lives in the Webster.

1 comment:

Cynthia T said...

Talk about a sweet memory! TFS. Also, Welcome Home!