Paul Collins, Musician

Resident at Westbeth since 2008

What Westbeth Means to Me, Part 1

I moved into Westbeth in June 2008 after having been on the waiting list for twelve years. Before that I had been living in Madrid, Spain, for about eight years and was ready to come back to my native city. I had dreamt about the fabulous duplex apartment I would receive with more space than I had ever had in my entire life since I had left home at the ripe old age of 17, mountains of space for rent I could afford. As the elevator took me up to the seventh floor on a gray and rainy day, I was still weary from the eight-hour flight from Madrid. About to take possession of my dream apartment, I was in a state of delirium. But I didn’t let the hospital-like appearance of the long hallways dampen the mood. I could get used to that. As Matthew from management turned the key and opened the door, I held my breath. This is it, I told myself. This is the big moment I had waited for so long, my two-bedroom palace at Westbeth for myself and my son. But where are the other rooms? Where is the second floor? Not that anyone had told me it would be a duplex, but I had heard all the fantastic stories about how enormous the apartments were. I looked out the windows into the pouring rain and didn’t know what to think.

Yet in the end, I came to love my apartment. The light is divine; it’s quiet. I can see the Empire State Building and the Hudson River. I call it the Woody Allen Pad. It took a while to seep in, but I finally got it through my thick skull that this was the deal of a lifetime.

Photo credit: Bob Gruen

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