Moving Downtown, to the Center of the Action

In the nook of Chris Keyloun’s new residence downtown there’s a disco ball resting in a big picket bowl. It appears slightly worn out, some of the mirrored rectangles cracked, others utterly damaged off.

“We’ve had some good dance parties,” Mr. Keyloun mentioned. “I have a whole lighting system. This place can be a downtown disco, if you want it to be.”

Just a 12 months in the past he was residing on 90th and York. “Nice and quiet,” he mentioned. “And that was the problem.”

Mr. Keyloun grew up on Long Island studying New York journal, and he was decided to transfer to the metropolis, discover the heart of the motion and throw himself into it. It was love that introduced him to the quieter stretches of the Upper East Side, however that relationship ended — in the center of a pandemic.

Initially, he wound up again in Floral Park, the place his dad and mom nonetheless reside. “It was very much about picking up the pieces of my life,” he mentioned. “And a shout-out to my family, who said, ‘Look, come home. Figure out your life. You’ll be OK.’”

Mr. Keyloun has been a CrossFit coach for the previous 4 and a half years, so he spent rather a lot of time reconnecting along with his mentors at his hometown health club, the place he grew up and located himself: “I fell in love with CrossFit in the process of coming out and accepting who I was.”

After six months at dwelling, he was prepared for a restart in the metropolis. He knew an previous pal, Nick Craven, was transferring up from South Carolina, they usually determined to search for a two-bedroom collectively. Mr. Craven was nonetheless in Charleston, so Mr. Keyloun was in cost of advance scouting.

He checked out 5 flats, all of them beneath 30th Street, one after the different. And as the day wore on, he realized that he had fallen in love with the first place. “I just remember walking in and I thought, ‘Wait a second, I’ve never seen ceilings this high.’”

Both bedrooms have French doorways, brilliant home windows, high-ceilings and are almost the equivalent measurement. Mr. Keyloun’s room additionally options an uncovered brick wall.Credit…Robert Wright for The New York Times

It wasn’t simply the 12 ft of airiness, but in addition the renovated kitchen and that uncommon two-bedroom residence contact: two loos.

The place is on a stretch of Elizabeth Street that might simply be claimed by a handful of neighborhoods. “Chinatown is right there,” he mentioned. “Little Italy is around the corner. SoHo is right there, NoLIta.”

Mr. Keyloun has, in the end, discovered the heart of the motion.

“I’m in such a different mental state,” he mentioned. “And I think so much of it has to do with this space. It’s because it’s mine: I chose to live here, which is a big thing and very different than living in my ex’s place. It a mess, but it’s my mess.”

He and Mr. Craven moved in final November and, to this point, they’re simpatico. “Neither of us is Type A,” he mentioned. “We’re both relaxed, thank God.”

Half of $three,300 | Chinatown/Little Italy/NoLIta

Chris Keyloun, 27

Occupation: CrossFit coach
Favorite neighborhood bakery: “I’m always in Ferrara’s. I have to get rainbow cookies whenever I visit my family. God forbid I don’t bring them home, I get yelled at by my parents.”
Tattoos: “I get a new one every year for Pride. Some are funny; some are sacred. I’ve got the Keith Haring — two people holding up a heart. I’ve got ‘Darlin,’ my shout-out to Cristal Connors from ‘Showgirls.’ Look, I tell people I’m subtle — I’m not. Life’s too short to not make a statement.”

Mr. Craven works nights as a doctor assistant at Weill Cornell Medical Center, and he’s usually simply strolling by way of the door when Mr. Keyloun is leaving for his 6 a.m. teaching session. They wave at one another in passing. “We’re not here at the same time too much to where we’re up in each other’s grills,” Mr. Craven mentioned.

When they do have time collectively, it usually entails two shared passions: attending events and internet hosting events. They did, in spite of everything, meet at a celebration throughout Pride 2017. “My friend group was at his pregame,” Mr. Craven recalled. They bonded over “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

The residence makes the most of a small area, with the stacked washer and dryer in the kitchen. “Those machines barely get any rest,” mentioned Mr. Keyloun, who generally goes by way of three totally different outfits a day as a CrossFit teacher.Credit…Robert Wright for The New York Times

There is a spareness to the residence — not a lot hanging on the partitions, a petite couch and low desk. They are nonetheless in the course of of adorning, Mr. Keyloun mentioned, however there are benefits to the place as it’s: The minimalist furnishings preserves coveted dance area, and the naked partitions function screens for the acid-trip mild present that Mr. Keyloun likes to splash throughout the room along with his hand-held projector.

The residence is perpetually moments away from a celebration. The speaker close to the entrance to the bedrooms lights up even when it isn’t enjoying music. D.J. decks, nestled in a case, sit subsequent to the couch. A pal of Mr. Keyloun’s just lately lent him the decks.

“I’m taking lessons,” he mentioned. “The goal is to play at a big party. I’m on my way there.”

The dance flooring is the place he has made some of his most significant connections and met most of his buddies: “Put me on a dance floor under a disco ball and pick me up in eight hours.”

It has been a gradual buildup to a full social gathering schedule in the wake of the pandemic. “It sucked moving up here when nothing was open,” Mr. Craven mentioned. “Now I’m useless each night time

Mr. Keyloun’s solely reservation about the residence was that it was on the first flooring. “At first I assumed it was a little bizarre,” he mentioned, “but it hasn’t been a factor at all.”Credit…Robert Wright for The New York Times

Mr. Keyloun added: “Everyone’s on the street now. I almost forget what the winter was like.”

In current weeks, he has been out in the neighborhood extra, and his checklist of favourite spots is rising — Café Integral, Spring Lounge, Café Habana — however it was 218 Restaurant, his native Chinese meals spot on Grand Street, that bought him by way of the pandemic.

It stays his main go-to. “It’s my chicken-and-rice place,” he mentioned, “and they know me by name now.”

Sometimes he picks up an order for Mr. Craven, too: “I love that when I walk in, the woman there recognizes me, and she just looks up and asks, ‘One or two?’”

It’s a 13-minute stroll to Union Square CrossFit, the place Mr. Keyloun works. “Everyone calls me coach Chris on the street. I’m friends with all my gym boys. The running joke is that I’m the mayor of the gay mafia,” he mentioned, laughing earlier than including below his breath, “I think it’s true.”

He mentioned that figuring out every particular person properly makes him a greater coach. “I see you on the street, I know what you’ve been through at work, I know what you’re bringing into class. And it’s not just the physical, it’s also what’s on your mind, what you’re dealing with. You’re sometimes someone’s therapist. There’s a whole lot of trust in my job — and I love that.”

He additionally loves that he doesn’t have to sit in an workplace and that he will get to put on health club garments — though understanding all day does imply infinite laundry. Mr. Keyloun has little use for some of the sensible facilities in the residence. (“There’s an oven, which we rarely use but, hey, it’s there.”) The one characteristic he would by no means surrender is the in-unit, stacked washer and dryer. “I go through a lot of clothes,” he mentioned. “At least three outfit changes a day.”

That doesn’t embrace social gathering apparel, which is more and more an element as the metropolis crawls out from below a pandemic. “We went from having nothing to do,” Mr. Keyloun mentioned, “to here’s 10 parties on the same night, choose which one you want to go to. Me and my friends, we have a hard enough time saying ‘no,’ so sometimes we run ourselves into the ground. But in a fun way.”

There have been moments, someplace in the combine between the 6 a.m. exercise and the 10th social gathering of the night time, when Mr. Keyloun does collapse with exhaustion. Usually on the couch, observing the washer and dryer. Every at times, he forgets to take off his masks.

“I’m so zoned out,” he mentioned, “just sitting here thinking how nice it is to come back to this place.”

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