My studio apartment on the Upper West Side had few advantages. It was a narrow shoebox with terrible lighting and a kitchenette with a microwave that sat less than a meter from my pillow. I look back on it now with amazement that I didn’t develop any new phobias or a brain tumor.
The one advantage it did boast was location — it was perfectly positioned among several bookshops. It was part of my daily routine to drop in and check the newest hardcovers while I sipped on the most exquisite cafe au lait from the coffee shop next to my building. After lingering over the week’s releases, I’d usually stroll out with the latest New Yorker and New York Magazine, ArtNEWS or Paris Vogue, Self or Vanity Fair. What I could have saved by subscribing to these magazine, I’ll never know.
In the suburbs, bookshops live in malls or shopping plazas. It’s rare you can just stroll from your door into one, morning coffee in hand. Going to Barnes and Nobles requires planning — it had better be on the way home from the supermarket if I want to drop in for a browse. If all I want is a new New Yorker, I always have to ask: is that worth the parking fee?
But I suppose, while suburbia and its sprawl lack certain conveniences, when you move back to your parents’ house you gain the benefit of inheriting their magazine subscriptions. Who needs to tromp outside when things come to your mailbox?
Alas, when I moved out, my parents canceled my subscriptions to Vogue and Vanity Fair and replaced them with National Geographic, Martha Stewart Living, and Newsweek — a thoroughly grown-up assortment of publications. Generally, I found this new selection both educational and useful (Martha’s recipes are usually winners).
Most 25 year old females get their monthly beauty tips and a new carnal challenge sex position from Cosmopolitan, meanwhile I was reading about “Sex and the Empty Nest” and “Robert Redford at 74” in AARP The Magazine. Apparently, “Sex in your 70s can change — for the better…78% of couples enjoy at least as much sex a they did before retirement.”
Bet you Cosmo girls didn’t know that little factoid. I have an extra subscription card, if you’re interested.