14th St. Kitchen/Bath Combo

Submitted by MyFunCloset March 15th, 2010

This is really cheap living in NYC circa 1969 for $69 mo. total. in the East Village. It’s my first apartment that I shared with 2 roommates. I immortalized it in a 1972 painting of the combo kitchen/bath. It was an ancient railroad flat, meaning one room went on to connect with the next, and so on. To the right is the front door. High 10′ ceilings with walls painted high gloss red and the old porcelain tub was painted a glossy bright yellow. (it was all there our on arrival). The shelf held bare essentials. Looking back, I can’t remember ever having a meal there. The light fixture was a paper Coca Cola shade. After 2 break-ins, we were out of there & went up town.

I just found the actual photos. The walls were so shiney, the camera flash bounces back. Also, here’s the original furniture. Years before, someone lugged a 200+ lb iron barberchair up 5 flights, and it never moved from that spot. Note, it’s the same glassy red paint as the kitchen walls.

3 Responses to “14th St. Kitchen/Bath Combo”

  1. Allee Willis

    I love that you painted a painting of your bathroom. You totally nailed it! I knew those apartments on Ave. B & C in the 60’s and 70’s and this was totally typical of what was inside.

    Dig that you used the wall paint on the barber chair. My very first painting I made when I got sick of songwriting and started to paint in 1983 was primarily composed of the paint that I used on my bathroom walls just hours before so I can totally relate. But didn’t the chair crack as soon as someone sat in it?

    It must have been a gruesome task hoisting that chair up all the stairs. But I myself have had to leave many a treasure behind, including pianos, because I just didn’t have the money to take them with me. It’s why I focus so much of my collection on smaller things. I realized I was tying bowling balls around my ankles by going for the things that weighed tons and caused major trauma any time I thought about moving. It’s also why I never looked at any place I lived as temporary. I always tried to find the ideal place because keeping my collection together became a top priority.

    Very impressed with your painting skills!

  2. windupkitty

    wow, I lovelovelove your painting and of course these pics! what an incredible flat! this is how i always pictured NY when I was a kid….but sadly only got to visit after extreme gentrification had taken over….this must be a very cool memory for you!

  3. MyFunCloset

    Thank you for the painting compliment. I try. It’s been on my wall over computer for years. It keeps me grounded. All this was totally alien coming out of the mid-west, but when we’re young, “what the heck”. It made me appreciate smooth walls, clean floors, a safe apartment without window bars and taking a bath without company literally walking in. Everyday was an adventure. New people moving to NYC today have their stories too only it costs a whole lot more to survive.