For eight years, Toni Schlesinger has taken us into New Yorkers' lives and homes in the "Shelter" column of the Village Voice. Last spring, she released the book, Five Flights Up and Other New York Apartment Stories.
The book, broken into 15 sections, is a snapshot of many private lives via homes, similar to "Shelter". The book chronicles people living in New York's extremes, occupying 150-square-foot spaces, paying over half their income for rent, living eight in an apartment, and taking showers in twos to save time. These are people who make movies in their living room and then sleep in it later. They surround themselves with their baby teeth, with 500 volumes of Moby Dick, plaster rabbis, birds' nests, 30 modernist chairs, 50 loaves of Wonder Bread, and more. In Schlesinger's hands, their stories are much more than novelties... ...Each interview is a vivid and insightful portrait, revealing the creative energy, camaraderie, desperation, and hope that fuel the daily lives of people in New York and everywhere. We came across the book at Powerhouse Books' Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO.