This is the biggest move I've ever made -- maybe not in terms of geographical distance or impact on my life because I've had several moves that were huge by those measures, but in terms of the logistics, the number of steps, the planning, the actual amount of stuff that's coming with me, the number of people involved (actual hired movers!), not to mention the months-long process of buying an apartment and the multi-layered approval process that is, we hope, almost over.
This is the first time I've moved and taken the furniture, other than maybe a couple lamps and a futon. Most of the time when I've moved I've just gone to the liquor store and asked for a few boxes, packed up my clothes and books, and splurged on a cab. It's the first time I've had furniture that was nice enough to take.
I'm exaggerating -- there are exceptions: When J and I left New York for Nashville, rented a U-Haul, and filled it with the contents of our 10th Street studio (which was roughly the same size as that U-Haul). Or the move out of Nashville when J and I sold everything for nothing on the lawn so we could fit in a 20-foot camper. Some of that stuff I regret losing (an old wood dresser that my parents gave us comes to mind, as well as my copies of Word Is Out and the ReSearch journal issue on body modifications, and other loved and irreplaceable books). Or when I left B in 1989. We had great furniture in our Ft. Greene apartment. All street-found or thrift store-bought, but B had an eye. I was the one who left, and I didn't take anything.
But those moves were more like fleeing than moving.
I don't mean to downplay the life-change aspect of this move. One -- C and I are becoming homeowners (!), which is big and would have been unimaginable 10 years ago when it was also unimaginable that I would get married, let alone to someone with a much more normal life and stable income. Ten years ago I had no home at all, except in the hearts and spare rooms of dear friends and family members. And two, I am moving back to the part of New York that was my home through most of the 80s and 90s, not including that 4-year stint in Brooklyn in the mid-80s. I feel like I've been working my way back for a long time now.
I know, it's a stretch to say that Grand Street on the East River is the old neighborhood. It's not the East Village and it's not the part of the Lower East Side above Delancey that we all know and love or hate. I think that's one of the things I love about our new place. Co-op Village is definitely the LES, culturally and historically a part of that larger LES that includes the East Village and the super-trendy area between Houston and Delancey, but it's not one of those parts of the neighborhood where I feel like I would have to excavate to find anything I remember. The area around East Broadway and Grand Street going toward the East River has not changed much since the 1950s, when the slums were cleared to make room for the buildings we're moving into. Not that it's done all the changing it will ever do.
While I was writing this, C went downstairs to check the mail and came back with a letter notifying us that we've been approved by the co-op board. I guess this is really happening.