Encounters with the Writing Process
|Contest 2, Setting # 1
Ariadne’s Brownstone in Manhattan
on West 10th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Hello, I am Ariadne Kinney, one of the two CEOs in Kinney & Strauss.
When I sold my small flat on Central Park West and decided to buy this house downtown, I was doubtful if the change would work for me, but I have no doubts now. I love my house.
One reason is that its location is close to Kinney &Strauss building on Wall Street. On a good day, I can walk to work, and on the way , if I am early enough, I might catch some quiet time and get a cup of coffee in a Starbucks before tackling the day.
My house is a brownstone on West 10th Street, which is probably the most beautiful residential place in Manhattan, including the area from St-Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery on the east side through the restored brownstones of the middle Village to the high rises on the Hudson River. My block is between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and the dwellings here have baroque ironwork and boast with their colorful window boxes in season. My block ends at the clock-tower of Jefferson Market Library, which is part of the New York Public Library. One of my haunts is this building that looks like a church of leaded glass, steeply sloping roofs, gables, pinnacles, Venetian-Gothic embellishments, and an intricate tower and clock, which rings every hour on the hour.
My house is a single-family dwelling of bright red brick with turquoise shutters, with three stories and a large basement with living quarter. The stairs leading to the front door are of the actual brownstone left over from the time when this house was built. There is an open space like a porch on top of the building, where have outdoor furniture and plants in large plant boxes. My boyfriend Jayce and our maid Esperanza are the ones who tend the rooftop greenhouse there. I had sound tube and a small elevator built for all three floors and the basement, in case my 74 year-old mother would come to visit.
As one can’t be too careful living in an energetic city, I had two separate alarm systems installed. One for the outer doors and windows, another for my bedroom’s door. The front door is equipped with a chain bolt, a bell that I can shut off if need be, and a pane of one-way glass.
Each story of the house has two or three rooms. Each floor has one half bath. Except for second and third floors where there are full baths. On the first floor, the large all-white kitchen is contemporary-modern with eat-in facilities. This is mostly Esperanza’s domain, except for me taking in the deliciously fragrant food smells wafting from kitchen. A large dining room and bar are also on this floor.
Second floor has a library, a large entertainment room with a wall TV, stereo system, and billiards table, belonging to Jayce. On second floor, I have my study, also, which is my favorite place in the entire house. Here, the walls are pastel sky-blue with matching blinds and lace curtains. A couple of my paintings depicting scenes of my hometown, Rocky Road, hang on the walls. My desk and its chair are custom-built, made up off soft brown top-grain aniline leather that is heavenly to the touch. That chair is my favorite place to sit of any other place on the face of the earth.
The third floor has the two bedrooms and my painting studio, later taken over by Jayce for his paraphernalia. The master suite here includes a marble bathroom with the view of the back of the house. The guest room has a small terrace with the view of the street.
In the back, we have a back entrance from a small garden, where Esperanza raises scented herbs such as mint, oregano, and chives for her cooking.
As I don’t drive in the city, I have no need for a garage and neither does Jayce, but he has his Porsche stored in a multilevel garage a few blocks down, for when he visits his parents in East Hampton.
Since living in a big, active city has been in my stars, my brownstone has become the best place for me to call home.