The Vidon: My First NYC Apartment

My first NYC apartment rented for $472 a month in 1993. It was 7'10" by 28' in a Chelsea building called The Vidon. "This'll do for a year," I thought as I signed the lease. I moved out 13 years later and I'm glad the walls can't talk. I could never have built my career without such affordable housing. Most of my work on "Avenue Q" was written here, as well as all of my early plays.

I just located its most recent listing.

65333181.jpg

It's renovated nicely. The flagstone patio I built in the garden is still evident, though untended and thick with growth.

65333270.jpg

It didn't always look like that. When I moved in, it was a giant patch of dirt surrounded by a useless flagstone walkway. I moved the stones to the center with the aid of my friend Charles.

Patio Under Construction, Summer 2001.

Patio Under Construction, Summer 2001.

The Finished Product, 2001.

The Finished Product, 2001.

I gasped at the memories, and even more at the price they're asking for my shoebox now-- $1780 per month. Mind you, the apartment is TINY -- the pics are artfully angled.

How do fledgling artists move to New York City? What happens to a city when it can only import the arts from elsewhere?