This is the house directly across the street from my new place. I call it the "Stephen King House," 'cause to me it reminds me of a huge, gothic, rambling house you'd see in Maine. Many of the huge houses like this in the neighborhood have been split up into individual apartments, but as far as I can tell, an elderly man and his wife still live here all by themselves. (My bus stop into NYC is right in front of their house, and while waiting, I've seen the wife in the yard once, and the husband twice, coming from his car to the house, with groceries. I feel kind of bad for them--they're both 70ish, and I'm guessing that back when he first earned enough money to buy such a grand house, the neighborhood was very exclusive, no obnoxious buses in sight! I wonder what he did for a living...) One way you can tell if a house has been split into apartments is if you can see fire-escape ladders coming down from the top floor. I haven't done research, but have seen enough to assume that apartments have to have them and individual-owner houses don't.
This crazy/neat-looking thing is now split up into apartments, but it used to be a firehouse in the Olden Tymes. Every time I walk by it on my way to the grocery store, I have to stop and stare at it because it's so beautiful. It sits just behind the "Stephen King House." My landlord (who lives just below me and owns my two-story building) just told me about it being a firehouse. He also said that someone bought it a few years ago and tried to sell it as one home for about $2 million. He couldn't get that price, so had to split it into apartments. If I had $2 million for a house and could have spent it anywhere in the country, I think I would have picked this house.
I see this house (and stop and admire and smile) whenever I'm on my one-block trek to my pizza joint and/or beer store. It's decorated from top to toe with trinkets. I call it "The Austin House" because Austin hippies/college kids like to do the same fun thing with their homes there. Reminds me of my old "funky" hometown!
A warm greeting whenever I walk to my local Weehawken pizza place after a long, hard 15-minute bus trip home from Manhattan... Two pizza rolls and a small salad ("no olives, no peppers, extra onions") are only $4! (And the guys there flirt, depending on how I look that day. If I go in looking scraggly, they're polite and business-like. If my hair and/or coat or face are looking particularly good that day (and I happen to be staring at CNN on the TV while I'm waiting for my order), they strike up conversations about who I'm voting for. ;p
Weehawken, along the Hudson River across from NYC, is quaint and quiet. For shopping and bustle, you have to walk several blocks inland to "Bergenline" in Union City. It's a Dominican enclave, with mostly Latino stores, but the buildings themselves are still turn-of-the-century. Here on Bergenline I found a faded vintage sign for "Kleinschmidt's Greeting Cards and Distinctive Gifts" just above a Dominican bakery.
Bondage, beer, and meat! Delivered!
The biggest 'hood of all. The view of Manhattan from Weehawken. A one-minute walk from my house.