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We actually met at Bubby's Tribeca and started dating right after 9/11. Then we both moved to Bubby's DUMBO. We were living in Astoria at the time but needed more space and I always wanted a garden, but I never thought I'd be able to afford it in the city and I didn't want to move to the suburbs, so when this place opened up—just an eight-minute bike ride from work—we were like, "holy shit." We had to take it. And the first thing I did was start researching greenhouses.
So you can really grow all year?
Oh yeah. All those tomatoes are ours. We have a ton of tomatoes and peppers this year. Last year our cucumbers were out of control—we couldn't keep up with them. There are a lot of herbs. We have a lot of space but I try to maximize it and grow things that are really productive and worth it. Green beans. Tomatoes. Eggplants, for some reason, do super well.
Do you even buy that much produce anymore?
Yeah, we buy fruit and lettuce, but all summer we're just eating tomato salads everyday. [Pointing to a drawing on the way up to the second floor.] That's my sister's drawing there. This is my Dad's room. When he comes from Croatia he stays here and has breakfast in the greenhouse on this terrace. But when he's not here it's just our closet room because as big as this house is, it doesn't have any closets.
The light is so nice up here.
This verbena plant is three-years old. It was just a little thing when I got it and now it's huge. Smell it.
[It smells damn good.]
And we put the lavender in because it attracts bees.
Are you getting bees?
Yeah, actually across the street there is a beekeeper. You can see the hives from the roof. It's cool to see him going out there in his white bonnet from time to time. And there are actually a lot of farmers in the area. And the Red Hook CSA is here and run by a guy who lives across the street.
[As we're walking onto the second of four terraces.] So many tomatoes!
Yeah, I started reading about all these different kinds of tomatoes, so then I bought about ten different varieties instead of the standard three or four. And then, of course, I overprinted because you never know what's going to work, but then it turned out that everything worked. This rosemary also used to be a little bitty guy and I've had him for three years so he got huge. And the bay leaves! Who knew that bay leaves would grow into a little tree like that?
The plants are so happy here!
We actually do spend a lot of time out here with friends and I want it to look more like scenery and less like a garden. Did you see the crazy eggplant? They're exploding!
Do you have to end up canning or making sauces?
We did last year but we actually end up using it pretty fast, so I think I'm going to freeze this year instead of going through the trouble of canning.
Before you moved out here, had you spent much time in Red Hook? Did you already know the neighborhood?
Yeah, we really like this neighborhood and how it's still developing. We knew we wanted to be in a neighborhood that was still up-and-coming. And it's so quiet! We didn't realize how quiet it would be. And we love Fort Defiance and of course we're at Fairway everyday. My husband loves swimming at the pool. And we love the ball fields with the Red Hook vendors.
Do you ever rent this space out at all?
No. (laughs) Never.
And would you ever move anywhere else?
Yeah, sure. It would be hard to leave this space but we could move on. It's a really unique space. We got really lucky.