Downtown Living


When you tell people you live downtown on Mass Street, there are a number of responses you could receive. In my personal experience, many people respond with delightful surprise. Oh yeah? They’ll say with a polite smile, How do you like it? And of course, with that small prompt, a flood of logical responses mixed with vivid memories splash into your mind.

First, of course, there’s the location. Having the privilege of being 20 steps away from Mass Street is quite fine. Final Fridays, Parades, Events, no problem! We’ll leave the apartment five minutes ’til and still be right there for the action. It’s the proverbial hop, skip and a jump routine.

There’s also,… the location. The recent basketball hoopla caused every local alive to partake in Jayhawk madness. The late-night celebration on Mass Street brought everyone out: babies, grandmas and hundreds of college kids. What a thrill! That is, until our bedroom window got kicked in by kids who were running wild on the rooftops. Harumph.

But hey, downtown has become home, and that relationship is quite unique. I’ve had the chance to see Mass Street when she wakes – before anyone else can blemish her sidewalks; when she’s bustling – filled with happy locals and visitors; and before she turns in for the night – when her exhaustion from the day sets in. I have to admit, the ever-changing mood of Mass Street is so much fun to experience.

Downtown living is both historic and modern; peaceful and obnoxious; convenient and improper.  During the eight months that we’ve lived here, paying $725/month for this gentle two-bedroom apartment above a business on Mass, we’ve had good times and bad, as the stratified examples would imply. Its never been perfect, but at key moments its been so close we could taste it.

Living downtown isn’t supposed to be easy, if it were, everyone would live here. But it is supposed to be an experience, and we’ve had our share of experiences here. Some of those experiences have unfortunately been a bit extreme, which is why we’ve decided to make an early exit. Specifically, noise levels have left us feeling challenged to sleep on the weekends, which doesn’t make for peaceful living.

In this realm, we’ve had both support and complete lack of sympathy. The noise ordinance in Lawrence is such that it is in favor of the tenant, albeit in an ambiguous way. If you call in a noise complaint, a police officer will come out to have that noise reduced. Some police officers have told me I’m completely in the right, If you’re disturbed, call us! Others have left me feeling hopeless, You live downtown; it’s going to be noisy. Keep in mind, we’ve lived in multiple apartments and neighborhoods in New York, so noise is no stranger to us. But once that noise level (let’s clarify: think music) exceeds a certain decibel, there’s no hope in ignoring it.

How do I like downtown living? My mind runs wild with images, thoughts, opinions. I haven’t yet settled on one absolute answer, but I’ll keep you updated, since we’re only moving down the block. Our new home is here, and I think it’ll be better suited for us.

Do you live downtown? Have you experienced the challenges downtown living produces? Here’s what other locals think of downtown living and how much they would pay. I’m interested to hear from you, so please share your stories in the comments section below.

Cheers to downtown living, in its challenges and its wonders. I hope you enjoy the small photos from our ex apartment below. Stay tuned for an update – possibly in late May – where I’ll show you our new apartment and share some insights of living there.

Deep blue walls + coffee table decorated with New York restaurant cards.

Ikea shelving + gold chair from the late House Parts that was just down the block.

Office space decorated with a magnetic card holder.

Dining area keeping company with keepsakes and family photos.

5 Responses to “Downtown Living”

  1. Kenny McCauley says:

    Liked your comments on your downtown experience [Mrs.Mass]. Glad you are moving to a place where Bill and Liz can come visit and where the noise is more tolerable! Looking forward to seeing you and Matt soon.
    Kenny & Mary

  2. Amanda says:

    Excited to see the new place! I hope the moving is going smoothly!

  3. Herr Elliott says:

    Look, I’m really sorry about kicking in that window after the KU game. You don’t need to move. It won’t happen again. I think when you guys go, you’ll have trouble sleeping WITHOUT the steady drone of Rihanna and Katy Perry’s last 12 radio jams in your ears.

  4. Caroline says:

    I really loved this entry. It reminds me so much of you, and why you became my best friend from the get-go. Keep writing [Mrs.Mass], you have a beautiful, pure, and spontaneous way of writing. You really let yourself come out onto the page. Have a great move. I am excited to read how it goes.

  5. liz says:

    Loved the looks of salad. Even better was the glasses on the bottom of the page that made it easier to read. Why didn’t anyone show me that before. Mom