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10 Years and Counting: Her Heart Belongs to the Upper West Side

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A poster-sized pennant with a frame sits above the mantelpiece above the fireplace in the Lilykaplan studio apartment. The felt rectangle is a duplicate of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” vintage book cover. It’s the focus of space, but more than that, it symbolizes what a house means to Kaplan.

She has been in the apartment since May 2021. “It’s a dangerous time to move,” she said. “In the months before Covid’s great deals were available, they were declining.”

But when his roommate decided to leave the two-bedroom shared apartment on the Upper West Side, Kaplan had no choice.

Most of her friends were in downtown or Brooklyn, but she didn’t want to leave the neighborhood. She has been on the Upper West Side for nearly 10 years. She was the first place she landed to attend Barnard College from Newton, Massachusetts, and she had her attachment.

“Living here makes me feel a lot of sadness from my friends and colleagues,” she said. “My friends are joking when I’m 70.”

I always lived with my roommates, so it was my first time to find a place for myself. She settled on herself, built her career at Imagine Entertainment, and developed her books and print journalism into a documentary. And she felt she was ready.

Initially, she thought that living alone might mean giving up on her beloved neighborhood, so she focused her search on cheap destinations that fascinated her friends, but she couldn’t resist peeking at the Upper West Side list. did. She was surprised when her potential emerged, and even more surprised when she found the “library”.

“Everyone’s apartment in the building has a name,” she said. “It’s my library.” That’s because her studio apartment in the brownstone where she lives was probably the library when the building was a single-family home. She has her neighbors in the “master bedroom” and the “maid’s dormitory”.

In addition to the (non-operating) fireplace, Kaplan’s studio has bookshelf debris throughout and bench seats in the bay windows overlooking the street, perfect for reading.

When she first entered, she was impressed with the space. “It was Nora Ephron — soon,” she said. This means that it comes from someone who professes to have seen “You’ve Got Mail” somewhere near “1 trillion times.”

Tall windows edging the bench seats, original dark wood shutters, and ornate trims let in a lot of light. “In my first solo apartment in New York, I was always prepared to admit a lot with different abilities, so I was drawn to a place I didn’t expect.”

Still, Kaplan focused on balancing her pleasant reactions with clear thoughts. “I didn’t want to be impulsive,” she said. “Previously, in the case of roommates, their opinion was strong. If they are shaking in any way, it can signal your feelings.”

It was a big decision and a decision she had to make herself.

A few days back in detail, her first enthusiasm was confirmed — and she was grateful that she had time to apply extra scrutiny. “I knew I liked it, but I was so shocked that I found a place that felt like this,” she said. “I thought this was too good to be true.”


$ 2,250 | Upper West Side

Profession: Head of Documentary Development for Imagine Entertainment

Favorite project: two Kaplan’s particularly proud films are Julia Child’s biography, Julia, and Chef Jose Andre and his disaster-relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen’s Stables Without Borders. is.

Seasonal discovery: Kaplan recently experienced the first spring in full bloom in his apartment and made a satisfying discovery in early April. So now it’s a happier place. “


But that was true. She finally found her own room. Its importance went beyond the artistic implications of a creative person like Kaplan. There was also a practical impact. “I felt lonely and scared to live alone,” she said. “Especially as a young woman.”

Part of the decision to sign the rental agreement was not only her immediate love for the apartment, but also the nature of the block she would live in. “I think it’s important to consider the atmosphere of the street outside the building, as I often walk alone at night. You have to ask yourself: are there others around? Do you think you can protect yourself if you need to? — What that means. When your roommates are gone, these things take on new meanings. “

Kaplan said she was much better at living with these considerations than she expected. “I live alone, so I can set my daily rhythm,” she said.

She also decided with one hand what the apartment would look like and how it would feel. The walls are adorned with female artwork that inspired Kaplan, from famous names to her family. Stained glass windows from her mother and six quilted squares from her grandmother line up with Joan Didion’s painting by artist Joana Avillez and another by graphic novelist Leanne Shapton. “Shapton’s work was completely out of reach for me,” Kaplan said.

The outside world of Kaplan’s new home was already familiar because Upper West Side was the only neighborhood she knew since she was 18 years old. She has a laundromat, her favorite cafe and market, and she now has neighbors. “Everyone was very friendly,” she said, and she said she received a rooftop dinner invitation within a few weeks of her move. She said, “She got acquainted with her neighbors and feels part of the magic of this building.”

There are several young experts in the building, which contributes to Kaplan’s comfort. “If no one knows and you have only one set of keys, you’re a kind of screwing,” she said. “It’s important to feel that someone can ask for help if needed.”

Kaplan said moving to an apartment meant a new stage in her life: a transition to adulthood. She said, “Even though she lived in New York for 10 years, she didn’t realize she might want to spend her time at home.” It’s not the feeling I’m used to feeling in the city. “

Working in an apartment during a pandemic, she reads a lot at the window seats, does video hangouts, and stares at street action long after the zoom session ends. The light is just right and she is grateful for where she is.

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