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As British journalist and New York transplant Peter Foges recalls moving to the West Village in the 1980s, he vividly describes how the duplex he shared with his wife ($1,000/month, in those days) served as a makeshift hotel for up-and-coming English writers: Martin Amis; Nigella Lawson; Julian Barnes; Ian McEwan. Christopher Hitchens! The neighborhood was abuzz with artists and music and parties and noise; their beloved apartment was shabby chic, containing uneven floors, a roach-infested kitchen, and a terrace covered in wisteria. He chronicles life on Bank Street through its gritty and then gentrifying years, as rent increased sevenfold, the Waverly Inn started charging $85 for mac 'n' cheese, and he was priced out. It's all part of that inevitable New York cycle. "The best apartment, on the best block in the best city in the world?that's what we thought," Foges writes. "Life in the big city boils down to four simple things: dreams, love, real estate and loss." [GrandLife Hotels]