It's easy to get caught up in the beauty of the city's historic homes, but tucked among them are a number of charming apartment buildings, many built in the 1950s and 60s. As of 2007, about 56% of South Pas residents were renters. (Who knows how much this number may have risen due to the housing crisis.) While I am grateful to own my home, and I appreciate the fact that I can put down deep roots, there is something to be said for the nomadic joy of being the rest of a lease and a U-haul away from packing up and moving.
Remember your first apartment? For me, it was a chalet-style 8-plex near my university campus. The metal stairs rattled and the front rooms barely got any light but in my mind it was my own little niche in the universe -- complete with a futon, a Klimt poster and a burgeoning wooden bookcase. When I moved to Los Angeles a few years later, I rented a fabulous old 1920s walk-up in Hollywood a few doors down from Chaplin's first studio and a block away from the strip club Motley Crue made famous in Girls Girls Girls.
While houses allow a certain my-home-is-my-castle distance, apartments insist on a sense of community. Shared walls, shared laundry rooms, shared conversations at complex pool parties. Just think, without apartments, there would have been no Tales of the City. And who knows what tales could be told about this little city? While I was taking the picture above, I heard a snippet of a conversation coming from somewhere nearby:
"I think I might really love him," she said, "but there's that thing with the dog..."
(I guess I could have kept listening, but nobody wants to be a nosy neighbor.)