Because of our Aunt Frankie’s retirement ambitions, the price for a New York City sojourn has been considerably cheap for The Shannon Family in the last decade. Wanting to spend her golden years close to her Upstate New York-resident daughter (my cuz) Shannon -she with the young son Hudson and two twin boys on the way- and to otherwise have a small nook to settle down in post-work, Aunt Frankie purchased a one-bedroom condo on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (location remains undisclosed.) Though she settled on the apartment about a 10 years ago, she continued to live in Washington D.C. in order to finish her career with the Federal government. So, the apartment has been a respected family “crash pad” for weekend getaways, as well as a part time residence for familia hoping to make it big in the Big Apple.
Though an intimate space, my Aunt Frankie has taken a decades long love for antiques and Asian design, and turned her apartment into a Salon to rival the great collections of Gertrude Stein and the Cone Sisters. This is not a flat-and-fouton, college-buddy-trying-to-make-it-by crash pad. Walls, painted a rich yellow, are decorated in bamboo-framed prints from China and Japan, body-length scrolls, oil canvases and a Himalayan pack sled. Glass-encased hutches hold multi-piece china sets, hand painted serving dishes and crystal wares. Wood-carved wardrobes contain pillowing mounds of textiles and tapestries from Iran, Turkey, India.
Persian rugs cover the floors, sheep skin settles over the upholstered couch. Floor length mirrors add depth, while a stuff llama and a tinker toy carousel sprinkle in a bit o’ whimsy. On a corner table, two lamps in the shape of French blue roosters, cobalt chests puffed proudly, dominate the space.
This is an apartment that stimulates, inspires. It instills adventure, the want to walkabout. Its a ground base that pushes the mind abroad. It is NYC.