War is coming. I can sense it, children, that rebellious haze that shimmers in the building’s lobby, a nowhere breeze that twinges the tip of my tie. War is coming.
Wars are fought for many reasons, for land, for oil, for ideology. On the Upper East Side, wars are fought over over lobby décor.
But—historian that I am—let’s start from the beginning.
July 1st-The occupation. The first act of aggression came when the owners of the building abruptly decided to occupy one of the building’s two penthouses. As owners of the building, this was their right, but the unexpected and frankly unwieldy display of their political dominance put the building people on edge.
July 8th-Surprise Attack on lobby harbor. The day broke sweltering, the heat so strong it came beating through the glass without even a second thought. The citizens of the building were sluggish, their original wariness suppressed by the heat.
Those interviewed said they heard it before they saw it, the rumble of a moving truck, the Trojan horse whose unassuming exterior hid the contents of what was to be the cause of so much pain and terror.
What was in the belly of the beast?
Couches, but not just any couches. No, these foul bits of fabric and lumber are what would come out of the Mad Hatter’s hateful, fevered mind if he had started a destructive cocaine habit in 1970, and then opened a disco in 1979 to hasten disco’s death.
The couch has the high back of the Victorian era, smoothed with the sweeping curves of more modernist tastes. The pillows have large plaid triangles sewn on to them to form a diamond. Anchoring this bargain-basement ensemble is an over-sized spherical pillow, its black surface covered in silver squiggles, as if Keith Haring tried to drew a brain.
The chairs carry the same high-back and clashing curves of the couch, but are done over in a gold-on-silver diamond pattern that creates a hideous optical illusion, as if Medusa had created this furniture for when she hosted large cocktail parties and could not turn everyone to stone by herself.
Topping it all off is what looks like an exercise bench that someone has added a metal railing.
As the attack wore on, and wave upon wave of tacky, migraine-inducing seating was brought into the lobby, Matt, the brave doorman on-duty struggled to maintain order, promising everyone that the furniture was temporary, saying that the furniture was for the owner’s own living room.
But the furniture stayed, and panic turned to anger, and anger to organization. Those who survived (some had strokes, others stared too long at the chairs and went insane, running down the avenues naked and babbling) are coming together, meeting secretly in apartments.
They have found the enemy: the tasteless wife of the owner, their Marie Antoinette who cares nothing for the lobby folk, famously saying “Let them have seats”. We can hear the axes to split the furniture being sharpened, smell the gasoline for the torches.
And we wait, war is coming, war is coming. The revolution will not be seated.