Thursday, October 4, 2012


I ventured to the opposite edge of the roof yesterday evening and looked down and up. I usually don't walk on that side as I don't want to disturb our nice next door neighbors, with whom we share a landing; feet on the roof sound loud in the apartment below. But they have told us that we are quiet as mice (very tall mice) and I am also bribing them with leaves from the rooftop salad bar. They have christened them Henry Street Leaves.

So, these are some neighboring spaces. Or The Lands of Squandered Opportunity. Starting with the exception, and the most respectable, up there, with the trees, and climbers growing over the black pergola, is Nora's elegant rooftop. It's Coco's rooftop, too. Coco would like me to say that. Coco is a pretty cat and goes up on a leash. I never see anyone on the roof beside them under all that wooden pergola. Unused.

Above. Two doors to our right and the north is the backyard of a rental townhouse (like ours). Great use of space. And I see a lot of knotweed on the other side of that fence.

And now, next door:

This, above, was yesterday. The land of striped mosquitoes.

Two generations of owners live in the building - the old man, Italian, on the ground floor, with his wife - their grown children on the parlor level. Don't think warm and cuddly. I used to greet him, the old man, and he would look straight at me and ignore me. For years. He once let me enter their building so I could reach our rooftop from theirs in a rainstorm - it was pouring and I was wet and locked out. I went back to thank him the next day with some home made jam and he shouted at me to go way. Interesting. He also used to stomp about on the rooftop next door and fling disused beer bottles that a tenant in their building left up there, onto our roof,  shattering them. I am not a fan. They stapled their roof hatch shut and so now their tenants can't get to the roof. Or out that way if there is a fire. And there are fires.

And this was the scene today! No pool.

Above these back lots, 'cos gardens they ain't, are the little balconies:

Below us, the ground floor apartment  of our building: 

One door south, to the left, is the backyard of Raccoon House. Thus named because of the raccoon that used (?) to live on the top floor, entering and leaving through the non existent top floor windows. The owner lives on the parlor floor. A lot of knotweed. I needn't travel far in spring for my shoots...So close, and yet so far.

Our neighbor two doors south. The white flowers are snakeroot. What killed Mrs Lincoln's cow. Allegedly. He is a naturalist* so perhaps they don't garden.

*Uh, I need to clarify, judging by some Facebook comments: by naturalist I mean not one who wanders starkers, but one versed in nature, who studies natural life: insects, plants, birds, and the like.

And Raccoon House's other property, under construction and stalled and deep in lawsuits, for years, an old coach house.

I am not sure what exactly I would do with a back lot.

But in a word: More.

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