Our apartment isn’t in the Heights. Not exactly. It sits at the edge of the East River, just beside the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. A broken tooth of a building, the last jagged bit standing in what was once a solid line of nineteenth-century industrial infrastructure.
Inside, we occupy a single, second-story floor, once the illustrious commercial offices of the harbor management. The space is stripped bare to the brick — only windows and fireplace left intact and oddly out of proportion with the now much bigger, empty space.
The living space is lined with shelves full of books and curios. There are photographs of family, rocks, packages of seeds, tiny jars of colored sand from beaches around the world, notes from friends, children’s drawings, postcards, a porcelain bird house, vintage advertisements, a ceramic scarab picked up at the Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the Salone del Mobile last year.
All fascinating, idiosyncratic personal artifacts. But when you walk through the space, the draw of the view outside the windows is so strong. The swift current of the river and the stolid towers of the Bridge pull you through the panes of glass out beyond.
A lounge provides a quiet perch to contemplate. A languid sofa rings the open area to create a soft, organic architecture inside the rough exterior lining of the space. This almost invisible infrastructure to sit, rest, read, and work provides the vantage and the perspective — the Heights — to see beyond the everyday and retrieve the fundamental principles that quietly organize our lives and reconnect us with ideas, nature and ourselves.
An Urban Apartment
Brooklyn, New York