Landing a house and cat sit in New York City can be very competitive, with some ads getting more than 20 applications in less than 24 hours.
The more desirable the location, the more responses the owner gets. And for sits over a week, you could be competing against 50 or so other sitters. So when I got a listing notification about this sit, I wrote to the girl, Emily, straight away. I knew her Chelsea location would be much sought after, but I was hoping my experience with the Ragdoll [cat] breed would get me over the line.
While I’m not sure the Ragdoll experience is what did it for Emily, it didn’t matter because I got the sit. We organised for me to head over the night before so I could meet Coffee and Cookie, and we could run over a few things in person. Coffee—the more anxious of the two cats—was the first to greet me. I asked Emily if she got Coffee and Cookie at the same time, or if they were from the same rescue. Emily said they’re biological sisters and she’s had them since they were kittens. It’s hard to believe they’re biological sisters because their Ragdoll colours are so different, but I guess it happens all the time with moggie litters.
My first full day in Chelsea was spent at Chelsea Market and exploring other nearby attractions. Chelsea Market was about a 15-minute walk from the apartment and you could walk back via the High Line (the High Line’s literally behind the apartment). Emily’s building was really close to Hudson Yards, and just far enough away from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station to escape the crowds. You could see the Empire State Building from Emily’s window and the rooftop offered a more comprehensive view of things surrounding it.
More about the cats
Cookie is the confident sister, and she’s more demanding and causes more trouble. She liked to chew on all my plastic bags even if they were hidden under layers of clothing in my suitcase. Cookie was the one who’d remind you breakfast was late or if she wanted dinner a little bit earlier. She was also a little bit of a bully, but I think that’s because Coffee is so reserved. Coffee, if you can’t tell by now, was the well behaved one. She took a liking to me straight away which surprised both Emily and me. Coffee would sit outside the bathroom waiting for me to come out and she liked to laze at the end of the bed when I used my laptop at night.
Emily had really gone all out on cat furnishings for her apartment and I just wish I got a better photo of the setup. The cats have their own ‘cat wall’, with a walking bridge, hammock and scratching post. They’ve also got a few other things they can sit/sleep on, but the hammock is the only one I saw them on. Cookie gets the hammock bed thing during the day and Coffee gets it at night. I’m not sure how they came to this arrangement, but this is how it worked every day for the nine days I was there.
Things to do
A few of the things I found myself doing were things I missed out on seeing last time I was in town. It was nice to be based in Manhattan, but I did miss the quieter, more chilled vibe of the Brooklyn neighbourhoods.
Little Island at Pier 55
This one’s a very unique attraction—it’s a manmade island across from Chelsea Market. There’s a few little walks you can do, there’s some art on display and it looks like there’s an amphitheatre as well.
New York Public Library: The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
I don’t think I knew about this building until now (well, until I started planning what I’d do in NYC). I know there’s public libraries all over the city, but I didn’t know such a beautiful one existed in Midtown. The architecture is amazing and I just wish we had somewhere like this in Brisbane where we could go to study.
Strand Book Store
Candace, a girl I house and cat sat for a few years back, said I had to visit the Strand Book Store. I thought Powell’s Books and BookPeople were pretty big, but the Strand’s slogan is 18 Miles Of Books. In addition to three or four floors of books, they’ve got lots of fun cat merchandise.
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library was one of the things I was looking most forward to last trip. The personal library part is amazing, but I just wasn’t sure about everything else. Maybe I should’ve read more about it before I went. At least the ticket was free—they offer free tickets after 5pm on Fridays, but you’ve got to book in advance.
Philip Williams Posters
The Philip Williams Posters store sells all original prints. They have a section for New Yorker covers and some of them date back the 1970s. All of them are available for purchase.
Moulin Rouge on Broadway
I got my Moulin Rouge ticket for $50 USD through the TodayTix app. You don’t get your exact row and seat number until the day of the show, but you do get a general idea of where you’ll be sitting when you book. Overpriced cocktail(s) aside, I enjoyed the show.
My next house and cat sit is back in Brooklyn. It’s in South Slope, and close to Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery. This time I’ll be looking after two rescue cats called Kiki and Paco.