A first-floor interior flat isn’t — as a general rule — possessed of great views. With some luck, you have a dishy across-the-patio neighbor who lets you see him in his nether garments. Like the Greek god who lived across from me in Astoria. Sigh.

Miss Havisham's Spanish pied-a-terre

At Casa Rubi these days, the view is more poetic. Every time I look out the window, my heart jumps a little when I see those cobwebby dishes in the drying rack. I wonder what happened to the person who lived over there. I wonder what the inside of the place looks like. And I wonder how long it’s been that way. The previous tenants, who lived here just over a year, told me that it was abandoned when they moved in. Judging from the cobwebs on the clotheslines, many years may have passed since anyone lived there. It’s sad.

This weekend, I’m going to IKEA to buy curtains.