Gramercy on me

Posted on Tuesday May 29, 2012

As they say when they’re saying things like this, ‘God have mercy on me’. Last night I checked in to my new digs at the George Washington residence, where I’ll be for the next month while I’m at the School of Visual Arts. The GW, as it’s called by those who call it “The GW”, is in the Gramercy district of Manhattan, nearby to Chelsea. It has all the charm of something that has very little charm indeed. From the outside it looks like it might once have been a hotel, but not the Ritz-Carlton.

The GW

From the inside, it’s more ‘Cell Block H’. The corridors seem to stretch to Eternity, although I suspect that each ends near the doors to Hell. If I was brave enough to stick my head out after midnight, I’m sure I’d see Zombies walking them.

The corridor to Hell

Each cell has a steel frame single bed, a fridge, a set of drawers for clothes, a desk and chair (all equally old), and a charming vintage black lino on the floor. Bedbugs appear optional: the GW manual advises inmates to obtain glue traps from Security if any is spotted. The manual also has a whole page in very fine print about what you can’t have in your room or do whilst here. No grog, no loud music, no sticking stuff on your walls or up your nose, no candles, absolutely no fun of any kind. If you come back inebriated they’ll call 911. It should be a hoot.

Cell 619

Those who know that when I came back from my student exchange to the University of Massachusetts last Christmas and said I’d be happy to live a Spartan life in a tiny studio apartment, to be able to concentrate on making my art, will be sniggering. Still, it’s in Manhattan, it’s cheap, it has an air conditioner that drowns out the traffic noise from Lexington Ave and should keep steamy New York at bay. And as I plan to be in my studio in Chelsea all day and part of the evenings, it’s just for sleeping and showering.

Suck that, Spacehogs!