Early Spring, Stepan Kolesnikov
The 72-Room Bohemian Dream House | Via
The building at 190 Bowery is a mystery: a graffiti-covered Gilded Age relic, with a beat-up wooden door that looks like it hasn’t been opened since La Guardia was mayor. A few years ago, that described a lot of the neighborhood, but with the Bowery Hotel and the New Museum, the Rogan and John Varvatos boutiques, 190 is now an anomaly, not the norm. Why isn’t some developer turning it into luxury condos?
Because Jay Maisel, the photographer who bought it 42 years ago for $102,000, still lives there, with his wife, Linda Adam Maisel, and daughter, Amanda. It isn’t a decrepit ruin; 190 Bowery is a six-story, 72-room, 35,000-square-foot (depending on how you measure) single-family home.
“I can’t believe it,” says Corcoran’s Robby Browne, an expert in downtown real estate. “I thought it was vacant.”
The house now feels like a dream world, or a benign version of the vast hotel in The Shining. Hallways go on forever. Rooms are filled with projects in various phases of completion. The renovations, mostly done by Maisel, are very “artists live here.” The air-conditioning, for example, is a building-wide network of giant plastic tubing (the kind used to ventilate greenhouses) that funnels cool air from six units, one on each floor. “It would have cost thousands to put in central air when I moved in,” he explains. The Mylar shades on the windows help keep the heat out; he and Linda make them in one of the rooms on the fifth floor.
Caught out the wrong train from town, riding dangerously low in the well teetering on a thin metal ledge, feet resting on crossbars inches above the blurry ground track rails, veering. East along unfamiliar miles of off-white and grey buff slabbed trackside freeway walls containing commuted interstates and in-service lightrails, under too many overpasses, too many bridges, past half-lit buildings, stadiums, offices, residences, until street numbered highway signs grew past one hundred, two hundred and light pollution decreased for stars to appear through the thinning fog, yet too much velocity, too momentous a ride to jump from while barreling past grandiose monolithic mountain edges holding scenic fifty foot cascadian waterfalls that poured down heavily on rocks in creeks running to the vast river northern boundary spanning across to reach Washington where trains,sizing like toys, mirrored our own path, leading with bright headlights that shone through the healthy coniferous green rising steep up enormous rock structures, until finally we slowed to a halt where the was blankets of snow laying on the desert ground, where drought tolerant cacti stabbed thorns into my hands upon landing, where the air was cold and thin and the sky, now crisp and clear, displayed unbelievable planetary arced magnificent perspectives of the universe full of ancient and far stars that seemed to pass with precise calculations discerning space and time, and as the tracks curved, rotated brilliantly above my eyes, and the earth there smelled of pungent manure, but there was nothing around except for the lone paralleling highway and a rattled cattle fence built from logs containing a rustic pueblo-like house- using a wood burning stove for heat, the smoke escaping idyllically through the stumpy chimney- that looked borrowed from a Nowhere, New Mexico landscape painting.
There are no mistakes when riding trains, only adventures.
— Frank Herbert
Chapterhouse: Dune (via leadingtone)
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Running on Empty (1977)