Anita Brookner

Living large, in a studio apartment

Living large, in a studio apartment

"You must be rich."

A grandfather who asked where I lived told me this, straight out. We were at the B&O Railroad Museum playground in Baltimore with our preschoolers, mine a grandnephew. I had unwisely confessed to living in Manhattan.

After leaving Baltimore in my early 20s, I gradually, by incremental steps, rose from a one-room furnished basement apartment in ungentrified Brooklyn to one room in a "luxury," "pet friendly" high rise 10 minutes from Lincoln Center. It's across from a public housing project. It is far from the subway. It is one room with entry foyer, for goodness sake! There are more dogs than people, and they are an...