The move itself was, inevitably, exhausting, but it would have been endlessly worse had we not let the movers pack for us.
Last Saturday, four strapping Israelis arrived and in just six hours crammed all our belongings into boxes and delivered them to our new address. I sneaked out early with a granny cart full of all our frozen foods, wheeling down past the Ferrara Brothers cement plant and along the industrial weirdness that is lower Bond Street along the Gowanus Canal.
But the Gowanus fringe is no longer where we live. Instead, we’ve found our way into Carroll Gardens proper, the old Italian neighborhood depicted in the movie Moonstruck. There are pizzerias and Italian delis, restaurants and markets galore, not to mention a social club with a beautiful garden where old men sit around outside on folding chairs and argue in Italian.
Carroll Gardens has a reputation as a neighborhood where you could break into someone’s basement and break your legs falling from the roof — indeed, in 1918 Al Capone was married at St. Mary Star of the Sea, a Roman Catholic church that was dedicated in 1855. What they say about mafia neighborhoods — that there’s nowhere safer — isn’t entirely true, but there does seem to be a sense that people are watching out to make sure no bad elements move in. I heard a story about a young professional who, when asked how he was doing by his older Italian neighbor, said “Not so good. I got mugged the other day.”
“Really? I’m very sorry to hear that. What did he look like?”
“Um … He was black, young, about my height.”
“Uh-huh. I’ll make sure it gets taken care of. It won’t happen again. How much did he take?”
“Oh, not that much. About eighty bucks.”
“Eighty dollars? I’m very sorry about that.” The older man then pulled a fat billfold from his pocket and peeled off four twenties, which he handed over to the young professional.
In New York City, this level of neighborhood watch is frankly reassuring.
As for the apartment itself, it’s coming together nicely. But I will refrain from going on and on about furniture placement, wall drilling, etc. My friends already have to hear enough about that, because it’s all I’m thinking about. Let me just end by saying that we are very, very happy with our new home.