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The Big Chill
Jaan Pesti, Alum
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1981

I moved into a small apartment on 106th St off Amsterdam back in 1976, just a week before the Second Great NY Blackout. The weather was quite hot at that point but by the time March rolled around, the object had become to keep warm! My apartment was only protected from the elements by a single wall of brick and, being on the top corner of the building, the loss of heat was unavoidable, particularly as I had no means to attenuate the heat in the apartment! During the worst months, I became used to getting out of bed in the mornings, still swaddled in my quilt, and gliding over to the gas oven, which I turned on full blast with the door open. This would eventually ameliorate the freezing temperature while I showered in the blessed hot water -hot, that is, at least most mornings. It's a miracle I didn't end up killing the whole building with gas but desperation drives one to risks. I really couldn't complain - my rent for the first 2 years was only $175/mo, which seemed cheap even back then for an airy studio on one of the wide streets and near Columbia. In hindsight, those were some of the most enjoyable years of my life.

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