Some of you who have read my blog for the last six months know I once made a post called, “A Haunting on Lenox Road.” Consider this my unexpected but very appropriate followup.
This New Years, I spent my night going to a party at a loft in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn. This space was… Interesting. The building’s insides looked dilapidated and utterly unused, with dust gather on the floors, open letters and ripped newspapers heaped in the corners of the hallway near the entrance, and a few sputtering lights. The loft we went to was on the seventh floor, and to get there we took the old elevator — the kind that had a crank to operate it and lurched to and fro as it moved (or you moved inside it).
The apartment itself was decent, but clearly constructed piecemeal, with a skylight in the living room that looks into the kitchen. Even the furniture was a hodgepodge of artifacts, with all the dishes being arranged on top of a piano and a total of six chairs in the entire place, which were: two wooden kitchen chairs; two plastic lawn chairs; one white, metal chair with a worn cushion; and a shiny, red bar stool. The sight of the bridge and the river from the place was beautiful, but the interior, between the lack of light fixtures and one room which is shaped like a “(” and has 12 sides, leaves you feeling a bit unnerved.
Little did I know, in one month I would find myself living there.
I moved to The Loft on my birthday. It was altogether an… Interesting experience. To begin, I was sick, and all but one of my friends was busy, so she was lucky enough to get to help me move (the good news for her is I live a nomadic life at the moment and have few possessions). We moved my stuff quickly, and found my room to be sparse, all faded blacks and white, and no one was home.
We went out for dinner and returned that evening, when darkness had fallen. When we entered my apartment we discovered that neither of us had any idea how to turn illuminate my new place, as, again, there were no actual fixtures. After stumbling about, with the only light coming from the bridge and across the river, we found how to turn the few lights scattered about my home — though, because they were so scarcely spread throughout the place and they were all older bulbs, even this only served to elongate the shadows.
The apartment was cold, too, even with the heat turned up, and my room was the coldest of all, because the person living there before had shut the heating vent and I was unaware of it. Add to this all the noise around us — cars and the occasional train overheard, the waves down below, wind at the window, vents sputtering out what little warm air they could muster, and footsteps lightly falling in the hallway outside — and it was an altogether spooky birthday.
Since then, I’ve grown used to this place, though that’s partially because I made some changes to it (on that first night, after my friend left, I replaced the lights in my room and bought a bright green shag run so I didn’t feel like I was living in an insane asylum). However, the building still remains one of the weirdest, creepiest places I’ve ever been to, much less lived in.
This weekend I decided to tour it and catalog some of my building:
Looking down from the fifth floor, you get a good view of the north east side and the center. While the south side is three stories, the west side is only six, the north and the north and east vary; meanwhile, nestled in the center of the building are two smaller buildings, some of which are connected to the main building itself, and some of which are accessible only through bridges and walkways.
The hardest floor to get to in my apartment building is the second floor. The thing to know is that each floor of my apartment building has three entrances: a western stairwell (which is supposed to be an exit only), the 135 stairwell, and the 139 stairwell — but, without keys, you can only get to each floor from one or two of the stairwells. For instance, the seventh floor generally is locked from the 135 and 139 entrance, and the western stairwell is unlocked all the time but if you open it an alarm sounds. The first floor is — as you’ll hear about soon — not actually used by residents. Getting to the second floor without a key requires finding a way to get onto the western stairwell, because it’s the only side that remains unlocked. That means you actually have to go higher into the building then make your way down to get to the second.
Walking through the second floor is probably the spookiest of all. There’s the least amount of light, because, at this point, the center of the building is still part of the structure, so nothing from the outside is visible. When I ventured down, a few halogen lights flickered dimly, humming, and I heard a sound akin to a staple gun at the end of the ominously large eastern hall. The weirdest part is that this floor, despite having no view of the outside, still has windows which look down upon the center of the building:
That’s right, it’s a trash pit. The bottom floor of my building is used to collect trash. It kind of reminds me of the pit in Star Wars, where Luke fights the Rancor. If only I had a light pistol and Chewbacca.
I am clearly destined to one day live in a haunted mansion.