our cat, Ali (think "short for Alison," not "boxer Muhammed")

When my wife and I moved to New York City in the summer of 2009, I didn’t have a job; by that I merely mean I didn’t have official outside employment. My wife would probably argue that I did have a job, because I was taking care of the house.

Yes, I was (and still am, really) a househusband. I cook, I clean, I shop for groceries, I do laundry, I run household errands. Despite some draconian perceptions, it’s quite an honorable job. In New York, my wife had to work almost every free moment; according to her boss, she had to be “24/7” committed. She was making a significant investment so that we could have a roof over our heads, so I made an investment in the roof. More than that, it was a way for me to serve my wife. My central objective was to make sure she had a nice place to come home to after pouring so much of herself into her job. I heard so much squawk about serving my wife when I first got married, and I can think of no better way to do that than literally.

Several things have changed. We moved back to MA, got a much bigger apartment, got a cat, and I’ve now added unemployed writer to my resume. My house-husbandry hasn’t gone away; it’s even more important now, in fact. I didn’t really enter that role until I got to New York, though.

Union Square, 7th floor apartment's eye view

In NYC, our home straddled the line between East and West Greenwich Village. Sometimes I walked around our neighborhood and I could literally feel the culture seeping into my skin; it was glorious. Approximately 8 blocks uptown from where we lived is Union Square, a 3-block plaza with a subway station and a small park where the homeless and affluent alike rest their bones for a spell with a cup of coffee or a bottle of Jack. It also has a playground and a vibrant farmer’s market 3 days a week. I went there every Wednesday morning to the Petco on 17th St. to volunteer at the cat shelter there. Right outside the Petco at the corner of 17th and Broadway, there’s a statue of Andy Warhol.

It stands across the street from one of the sites of Andy’s Factory art studio, but not its original and most famous home in Midtown. It’s about 7 feet tall, which is a heck of a lot bigger than the slight and wiry Andy himself. I don’t know what it’s made out of, but the surface is chrome. He’s got big, bug-eyed shades, a snappy suit, and a Bloomingdale’s bag in his right hand. Were he to see it, I think Andy would be impressed, though he’d probably say something like, “last time I was at Bloomingdale’s the sales clerks were far too polite.”

On Wednesday: The Velvet Underground ditch Andy and get noisy.