Saturday 25 February 2017

Donal Lynch: Cramped but content in my shoebox of an apartment

Donal Lynch

Environment Minister Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Environment Minister Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Alan Kelly's proposals may appal some, but Donal Lynch would take urban crowding over suburban sprawl any day.

As my grand-uncle's coffin was being brought out of the church a couple of years ago, my dad whispered in my ear what I assumed would be some suitably mournful piece of wisdom. "Look at that," he said, nodding sagely towards the coffin. "That reminds me of your place."

I was living in New York's East Village at the time in an apartment that barely measured 400 square feet. My bedroom was so cramped I all but hung upside down, like a bat. It was a bit like an O'Casey tenement at Rockefeller prices. But it felt like home. And despite its exorbitant price and coffin-like dimensions, I seldom felt so alive as the period in which I lived there. I'd take a shoebox at the crossroads of the known universe over a mansion on the outskirts any day.

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