Thursday, June 26, 2008


There are many extraordinary things about living in New York City, but one is really standing out to me this week: the unbelievable need to acquire, and at some point, discard masses of stuff. Americans love to buy stuff, but in New York, we don't have very much space to keep it. In the rest of the U.S people have massive houses with attached garages where they keep all their stuff, but here in New York, unless your name is Donald Trump, we mostly only have a few square meters to call our own, so space is a precious commodity. For me, who loves old furniture and strange items from different eras, this place is heaven. I would much rather discover an amazing chair from the 1950's with aged wood and black leather cushions that costs me $40 and that I have to lug on the subway from Brooklyn back to my apartment (it's happened, people) than pay $3000 for a ceramic bowl (what a decorator friend of mine told me is normal for clients who can afford a decorator). The thrill is in the hunt and subsequent capturing of a bargain much more than in spending a lot of money on something. Which is why I live and die by the god that is Craigslist.

For anybody who doesn't know, (and if you don't know, what rock have you been living under?) Craigslist is simply the most wonderful invention of mankind. It is a free site where people advertise all kinds of things for sale like furniture, clothing, musical instruments, real estate listings, housing swaps, lessons, groups, and personals. One of my favorite sections for browsing is something called Missed Connections which is people who were too embarrassed to talk to that handsome guy on the 2 train, and so make a little ad on craigslist when they get home and hope he sees it. But I digress. My absolute favorite thing on Craigslist is the furniture listings. I basically furnished my entire apartment by finding people who needed to get rid of all of their stuff NOW so were selling it for a song, and I only chose weird pieces from different eras that I loved. (On a side note, I also found my Italian tutor on craigslist, and I ended up subletting my apartment to a famous opera singer, who found my sublet ad on Craigslist just by random coincidence. I'm telling you, greatest invention ever).

For the last year, every time I'm home and have time on my hands, I find myself browsing Craigslist for things I need or don't need, but the thing I have been determined I would one day find is a free piano. How can there be a free piano you ask? Well, as I said, people have limited space, and pianos are big, so often times, people just want to unload them. And if somebody will pay to haul away their space stealing monstrosity, they can have it for free. I have seen many free pianos advertised over the last 12 months, but none of them has ever worked out to become mine. When I got home from Italy, I intensified my search and discovered something really promising; a piano dealer in the Bronx that needed to liquidate their warehouse. I trekked all the way up there, only to discover that the monsters they were trying to liquidate were the real lemons of the piano world. Back to the drawing board.

As I was browsing the Craigslist furniture section the other day, I saw a piece of furniture that caught my eye, and clicked on the ad, only to discover that it was listed as part of an estate sale - IN MY BUILDING!!!!! EUREKA!!! I made an appointment and went up to look at all the stuff, most of which didn't appeal to me, but spotted in the corner an upright piano. Unfortunately, said the executor, the piano was promised to someone else. But later that night, lo and behold, I got a note under my door saying that the piano was available again. I went up and played it and it was in surprisingly good condition, so she sold it to me for 50 bucks, and I got my friend in the building to help me wheel it right onto the elevator and into my apartment, thus avoiding the probably 300 plus bucks I would have had to pay a mover to get any "free" piano from somebody else's apartment building to mine. Now it proudly sits where my sad little digital keyboard has sat for the last year, and my La Boheme score sits on it, opened and highlighted, but still totally unlearned. But I already had a response to my newly placed Craigslist ad to sell my digital piano, and said potential buyer has an appointment to come look at it tomorrow. I'm selling it for about an eighth of what I paid for it, but now that I have a piano, I have to get rid of it pronto because I don't have the space for it.

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