(Photo: Elliot Black/NY Mag)
I live above a barbecue restaurant in Williamsburg called Fette Sau. It offers meats that have been sugared, smoked, and roasted until they are soft and sweet, like candy. It’s a popular place.
When my fiancée and I moved in, we were worried about the noise, since our apartment is directly above their outdoor seating area. Our bedroom window, in fact, is only 50 feet away from the active mouths of the patrons, and while smoking is not allowed, drunken storytelling certainly is. We go to bed early – I’m a school teacher, and she’s a medical resident – and for the first few nights we lay awake until midnight, grinding our teeth with rage, wishing death on these people and their stupid stories, these people who could stay up late drinking bourbon and eating ribs on a Wednesday.
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Have you ever wondered, “Who lives above that place?” Introducing Life Above.
Lawrence’s uncles. (Photo: Ted Simmons.)
You may not know them by name, but you definitely know Milon, Panna II, and Royal by sight: they’re the Bangladeshi-Indian restaurants with all the Christmas lights that share the same building on First Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets.
In between Milon and Panna II — flanked by two sidewalk barkers competing to pull people in — is a door that leads to 16 apartments, including the second-floor studio where Lawrence Chance, 50, has lived for 20 years. He recently welcomed us in to discuss the upsides and downsides of life above the iconic East Village businesses. (In case you’re wondering: no, his apartment didn’t smell like curry.)
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