Shipwrecked at The Jane

Considering how much real devastation people experienced because of Hurricane Sandy, I feel kind of guilty talking about my own minor challenges, so I’ll keep it brief.  I was in lower Manhattan, lost power, gas, hot water and had to move out of my sublease two days after the storm as the next tenant had to move in that day. No subways were working and taxi drivers were limited on gas.  I shared a cab with some strangers to make my way out to the next temporary accommodation I had lined up in Greenwich Village.  As we all commiserated, one of the riders said, “Well, ya know, we New Yorkers… we survive.” The apartment I was to stay in next was also out of power and I hiked seventeen flights of stairs with a flashlight, carrying whatever luggage I could physically manage only to discover that it didn’t have running water and that I could no longer stay there.  I now had no place to live.  My luck turned around pretty quickly when my dear friend Sici found me a recently refurbished place to stay in midtown that had internet, power, and running water– and it was going to be free. I was lucky.  I couldn’t stay there forever though and the apartment that I was supposed to move into a month prior was still not cleared by the Board (it’s a coop building.)  I needed a place to stay for at least another week until the apartment would be ready.

The Jane in the West Village had $99 rooms with a shared bathroom.  The rooms are small cabins that are basically the length and width of their twin bed, but they have a great deal of character and well-designed storage. The Jane was still without internet and the elevators were not working due to the hurricane.  The bar also required that everyone pay in cash as their credit card system was down.  Their entire basement had been flooded and it took a great deal of their inventory so they weren’t able to offer everything on the menu.  None of this made any difference to me.  I enjoyed seeing the European tourists show up to the shared bathroom in the short white robes and slippers provided by the hotel, completely at ease in this attire.  Even more entertaining to see the American men also dressed in the robe, embarrassed to be caught as they scurried into the shower stall.

The Jane was originally built as a hotel for sailors in 1908.  It also housed some survivors of the Titanic. This is a writer’s paradise.   The rooms and decor look like Paris in the 1920’s.  Sitting at the bar, you can picture someone like Hemmingway saddled up there with a glass (or bottle) of Absinthe and a journal.  I took out my journal and did some writing. I don’t have the stomach for Absinthe, but a dirty martini did the trick.

I also had a nice conversation with a guy who grew up in Baltimore, one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.  “Being tall and male made it easier,” he said, “the women are the ones who had a hard time… walking down the street.”  He likes New York much better than Baltimore and feels safe here, in spite of the hurricane.  He now lives in Brooklyn and luckily didn’t face any Sandy damage.

Hurricane Sandy made me love and appreciate my friends, family and even New York more than I thought possible.  I will always be grateful to Sici, the landlord who let me (a stranger) stay in his place for free, the friends and family who called, texted and sent me Facebook messages to check in on me and to the Jane, for reasonably priced rooms and a unique experience that made me happy to have to stay in a hotel for a week.

One thought on “Shipwrecked at The Jane

  1. How wonderful that you experienced your very own midnight in Paris and at the same time learned that when life hands you olive brine, make dirty martinis. Love the pics.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s