Seemingly a lifetime ago, I lived on East 12th Street for a period of about six years. I occupied a spacious, third floor studio directly across the street from a 24-hour pool hall called Le Q (which I cited here as one of the things I don’t miss about New York City). Don’t bother looking for Le Q now. It finally closed up shop at some point in the early 00’s, if memory serves, and was replaced by a very posh antiques spot.
But Le Q wasn’t the only problem on that side of the street. One flight up from Le Q was a cavernous loft space — basically parallel to my windows, despite technically being one floor lower — that seemed to regularly juggle tenants. For a few weeks it looked like a magazine of some sort. Then it would clear out and a month later it would act as a photo studio. After that, it acted as maybe a real estate office. Nothing seemed to last very long. That didn’t bother me. I was always curious as to what was happening across the way. No, the problem was that the landlord didn’t seem to give a damn about his electric bill.
My issue with that was partly my own fault. Y’see, for whatever reason, I didn’t have curtains. It’s not that I was an exhibitionist or anything, it’s just that they didn’t come with the apartment, and it never occurred to me to get some. I also liked the way my tall windows looked without curtains. I had some not-entirely-effective shades, but they were more window-dressing — quite literally — than functional tools with which to block out the light.
So, when it got dark, the blinding florescent lights that illuminated the big loft space across the way also shone right into my windows. This was not an earth-shattering, life-or-death problem, but it was annoying. I remember making regular calls to the super of the building across the way and asking him to please turn the lights off. If anything, I thought, I was doing them a favor. I mean, why would they want to drive up their own Con Ed bill by lighting up an empty space? Sometime they obliged me. Most of the time they didn’t. I don’t believe anyone ever told me to “invest in some proper shades,” but they probably thought it.
Anyway, blah blah blah….I got married and my wife and I moved out of the 12th Street apartment around the end of 2002. I was sad to leave it, but it just didn’t accommodate our future plans.
Mercifully, we were able to find another apartment in the same neighborhood. As such, I routinely walk down East 12th Street. I’m still in touch with my former neighbors and friends from the building, and frequently stop and chat with my old super when I spot him. I was doing so the other day, however, and looked up across the way and spied something peculiar.
Plastered up on one of the large windows of that same loft/office space was a poster-sized photograph of a sort of bug-eyed dude in a baseball cap. I was curious, but didn’t think more about it.
A couple of weeks later, meanwhile, I walked down 12th again and again looked up. Now there were two poster-sized photographs of this same guy, only this new one showed him looking accusatory and finger-pointy.
Here’s what I’m talking about….
Now very curious, I strolled across the way and looked at the front door. That space is now rented by a venture called DraftStreet Fantasy Sports Money Leagues. I’m not quite sure what that is, but it describes itself thusly: "Daily and Weekly Fantasy Leagues for Cash Prizes. Come in any time of the day and find a league to join.”
I’m only in tenuous touch with the guy who now resides in my old apartment, but I’m almost curious enough to give him a ring. Are these posters — featuring the bug-eyed and accusatory portrait posters — directed at him? Is this part of some weird 12th Street feud?
….or am I letting my imagination run wild?