Tourist in My Own Town

SPENT THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS IN BROOKLYN, cleaning up after the painters in Cobble Hill with my partner in parenthood and NYC real estate. We worked through a three-page checklist of repairs, tip-toeing around in stocking feet so as not to soil the stair carpet Stanley Steemer had just shampooed.

So ya think ya wanna be a landlady? Hope you like crawling around a wood floor with a scraper, tack cloth, and spray bottle of Goop-off.

After which I felt justified in splurging on a decent room for the night. How odd, after 30 years of residence in Brooklyn, to sleep in a hotel. I chose the Hotel Le Bleu, because I was dying to know how (and whether) a hotelier could pull off a chic boutique hotel that by rights belongs in South Beach on 4th Avenue, sandwiched between a taxi dispatcher and a U-Haul parking lot, with Pep Boys and Staples for neighbors.

They pull it off pretty well; the place seemed busy and the clientele hip, though I quickly closed the curtains against the view of U-Haul trailers. (One commenter on pointed out that the picture on the hotel’s website, a nighttime shot of the Brooklyn Bridge three miles away, was ‘misleading’.)

But once inside, the $169 room was sleek and comfortable. Poofy pillows, a rainhead shower, Bill Maher on a humongous flat screen TV, and free juices, sodas, and cookies in the mini-bar went a long way toward making the whole expedition more fun than frustrating. And the service staff couldn’t be friendlier.

For dinner, we walked over to Palo Santo, on Union between 4th and 5th, one of the city’s few restaurants serving South American cuisine, and ate grilled mackerel with plantains and orange cake with whipped cream, washed down with white sangria in a skylit, brick-lined room excavated out of a brownstone backyard.

Yesterday morning, before heading back to Cobble Hill for Round 2 of cleaning and fixing, we stopped at Lowe’s for supplies (light bulbs, grout, vacuum cleaner bags, new toilet seat, etc.) and I was drawn into Roy Vaccaro’s New York Old Iron salvage yard by the sight of a dozen white pedestal sinks gleaming in the (yay!) sun.

For $50, I got a great porcelain pedestal with a heart-shaped sink cut-out, around which I’m going to build my Springs cottage bathroom when I get around to it.

5 thoughts on “Tourist in My Own Town

  1. Thanks for (once again) reminding me why I never EVER wanted to leave Brooklyn. Sounds like a productive day for you guys and that hotel sounded like a well-deserved treat! (Why am I so drawn to the idea of free mini-bar “stuff?!”)
    Love the sun-catcher sinks too! Never wanted to be a landlady (don’t look good in a housecoat and rollers), but have always marveled at how easy you make it look. ….and you would look great in any housecoat — especially one of these:

    Enjoying your blog and have been thinking about the brick rugs — they really appealed to me! Thanks again for the fun Cara!

  2. Hey, just letting you know, I have chosen you for the “One Lovely Blog” award. Truly love your blog, spend way to much time on it! Now, if you would like to share the link love, pick 15 blogs you love and have newly discovered. Link back to me, then link to them. Let them know you hve chosen them by writing a comment on their blog. Keep up the good work!

  3. haha, Eray – nix on the housecoat – i’m not good in raglan sleeves. Glad you’re getting such a kick out of casaCARA – that makes it all worthwhile;-)

  4. There was no way you could camp out in your own house with an air mattress or something like that?…a box of food and utensils?

    I assume you and your ex get along…that’s nice.

    By the way, not that you go there much, but Queens has many, many restaurants serving South American food. Check it out some time.

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