In a sense, Pete Feigenbaum is the quintessential New York millenial. He lives in a chic neighborhood — Williamsburg — plays in a cool band — Dinowalrus – and is in graduate school at an elite university — Columbia. Yet despite his Times-baiting persona, he’s humble, genial, and keeps his apartment modestly quirky.
His room’s littered with paraphernalia from his dual lives as a musician and a student: electric guitars and miniature housing models; vinyl records and architecture textbooks. After inviting us inside with a reference to the seminal punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, he went on to lament the structural integrity of the apartment’s doors. Welcome, readers, to the 21st century.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
I moved here in 2006, in July, so about seven and a half years.
Why’d you move here?
Mostly the reason everybody else does. I just wanted to be part of a youthful community with similar interests and a similar outlook on life. I definitely wanted to move to New York. I’ve been excited by New York since I was a very young kid, having visited many times. You can’t really find an affordable place in Manhattan, even in 2006. It just seemed like a no-brainer to move here. A few months before I moved here I came down on the train and walked around Williamsburg and Greenpoint and Fort Greene and Bushwick and Park Slope and got the lay of the land, and took it from there. It was pretty pre-determined.
What’s your favorite thing about this apartment?
I guess that it’s in good condition and my room is pretty quiet, and that I have enough room for all of my junk. Stuff that I need to make music or make art.
What’s your least favorite thing?
The doors. The doors are embossed plastic, or some kind of composite. They’re not solid wood.
What are the first three things you would save in a fire?
Probably my hard drive, just because so much of my work is digital, though I actually have a cloud backup. I’m pretty religious about backing stuff up. Probably just all of the various things that I’ve created, like my miniature slum buildings. I think anything that I’ve created myself has special value. Maybe one of my paisley shirts, just because those are kinda hard to find. Or maybe my Reading Festival badge, from when I was playing in Titus Andronicus. I feel like that’s a unique keepsake. Maybe my chairs, but you probably couldn’t carry those out fast enough.
What’s your favorite time of day in the apartment?
I feel like the room gets some good morning light. It’s still painted white, so it gets a nice soothing glow on like a spring morning. Especially when the windows are open. It’s actually pretty quiet back here because we’re not on the street.
If you suddenly received a windfall of cash, what changes would you make?
Raise the ceiling and add some old-school woodwork. Make it look like an old pub. I grew up in a house that was very historic and Gothic, and like 120 years old. It had this English brick, dark wood, gloomy, cozy, Gothic feel to it. It’s not really Gothic, technically, but the mood it evoked was. Maybe add some sort of deck or balcony — that could be pretty cool, actually. If there were some huge balcony or cantilevered deck, that would be pretty sweet.
If you could move the house/block/neighborhood to another city, which one would it be, and why?
I always wish the weather was consistently warm. I have this fantasy of living in southern Italy in Sicily or Palermo, let’s say. Yeah, so let’s plop it down there. Better beaches, cheaper food, palm trees, but still a sense of history. Maybe New Orleans, but I think it’s really humid there. Somewhere that’s kinda tropical and ancient.