In a previous post , I had mentioned that we had moved and were living temporarily in an apartment in New Brunswick while our new house was being completed. From a suburban house to a 14th floor apartment in the center of town has been a HUGE change , though we are loving it. One of the best things about our new digs is the view , which is simply fabulous. Not only is it beautiful, it gives us a different perspective on things as we find ourselves noticing things we had previously disregarded. Now I understand why people attach so much importance to the view and why they are willing to spend so much more for a place with a view.
From our large living room window , we have a panoramic view of New Brunswick and its environs. The Vue is the name of our building , and it is aptly named. This is the tallest building in New Brunswick ( 23 floors) and there is nothing to obstruct our view. Being on the 14th floor means we have a bird’s eye view , while still being close enough to the ground to make out the details of the pedestrians and other traffic on the city streets.
New Brunswick is home to Rutgers University and Johnson and Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant, and they dominate the town center .Closest to us, to the left and directly ahead, are the brick buildings of Rutgers and, almost at our feet is the crenellated tower of a lovely old church. To the right, is the elevated New Brunswick train station with its train tracks curving into the distance to Newark and New York. In fact , on a clear day , we can see the New York skyline with the distinctive shape of the Freedom Tower.
Beyond the immediate foreground, running roughly East-West is busy Route 18 and immediately beyond that is the Raritan River; I wish I could say it was blue but , in fact , it is a dull green because its tree lined banks which are reflected in the water. This might also be the result of overcast skies , so normal for this time of the year.
The most surprising aspect of the view is the number of trees all around us. If I didn’t know better , I’d think we were in the middle of a forest .This is a densely populated area but the trees almost completely hide the houses and roads except in the foreground. I’m put in mind of the scene in MacBeth where the entire forest ( really the camouflaged army of his opponents) seems to advance upon him.
Before we moved here , I was not as conscious of the sky and the clouds. Living at ground level, you tend not to look up so much. Here , the sky in all its moods is a constant presence. It changes by the day , by the hour from cerulean blue to dull gray to pitch black and the clouds from fleecy white to a menacing , rain swollen black. When it rains, there is a special beauty to the rainwashed streets and I am reminded of one of my favorite paintings of a rainy afternoon in Paris.(Paris: A Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte).
One other attractions of the Vue is its unimpeded view of the sunrise. When we are at ground level, it is rare that we get such a clear line of sight; there are always buildings or trees in the way. As a consequence, one doesn’t often pay attention to the sunrise or sunset. I have been to places ( Lookout Point in Matheran , Santorini etc ) that were known for the beauty of the sunrise ( or sunset). Here we get the same view from our window.
Different times of the day or night give us different views. At night , there is a special beauty to the slumbering town. In the middle of the night , the sidewalks are deserted except for the odd pedestrian headed god knows where. Standing at the window ,all seeing, above it all, there is a feeling of omniscience. Gradually , it becomes lighter and lighter ; more pedestrians appear as does a solitary car nosing its way down the street and slowly, imperceptibly , another day begins.
It is very nice having a great view , but one of the worst things is to have your view taken away from you just when you have gotten used to it .Many are the stories of those who have had a new skyscraper come up next to them and completely block their view. That will not happen to us because we are only here temporarily. Besides , this side of the building is safe from such horrors because the adjoining areas are occupied by Rutgers University buildings. On the other side though, some major construction seems in the cards. There is a very tall construction crane already erected and it seems like only a matter of time before another skyscraper comes up.
Oh well, nothing is for ever.