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« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

October 30, 2006
new home, new flavors

the state of our world
our new living room in its current state

So, we of course found an apartment, eventually. It's nice, and it's in a nice neighborhood, and it's much less expensive than Candleshoe was going to be, and I like it a lot. I officially moved in just over a week ago, then left town the same day to attend my ten-year high school reunion. The reunion was nice; I only wish that more people from our class had been there. The people who weren't there should all submit little life summaries of themselves to the alumni website. I want to know what they're up to! And compare my life to theirs! And be able to e-mail them.

Anyway, since that weekend, I've:

  • come down with and recovered from a bad cold and given the cold to Andy
  • made numerous trips to my old apartment to retrieve the last of my stuff, an annoying task because I was fevery and because it involves an above-ground subway transfer, which means lots of steps, which is okay normally but bad when you're carrying heavy things and have a fever
  • tried Dunkin Donuts coffee, which was fine but which didn't impress me as much as I'd expected, given how much everyone seems to love it
  • washed a lot of dishes (boxes of dishes keep seeming to materialize)
  • helped Andy move the last of his stuff out of his apartment
  • helped Chris move most of his stuff out of his apartment and into my old one
  • tried Hofbrau Oktoberfest beer, which has a nail-polishy taste to it and thus cannot be recommended
  • ordered living room furniture that won't arrive until early December
  • punctured my butt by sitting on a big staple
  • gotten a huge splinter in my leg
  • been pooped on by a bird

Today we're cleaning Andy's old apartment and turning over the keys. As Steve said last week, it's hard to believe we used to move in and out of dorms and apartments every year. It seemed less overwhelming, then -- maybe because we had fewer possessions and fewer external responsibilities. Or maybe because it just seemed normal to be moving all the time.

File under DAILY. Posted at 09:52 AM | Comments (2)

October 16, 2006
or were you?

Fellow New Yorkers, have you taken a close look at this subway ad? The photo appears to be from around 1982. No wonder that guy doesn't know his HIV status.

Was this really the only crowd shot the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation could afford? Or did the person making the ad just pull something from their library, not realizing that the current '80s fashion revival is pretty much limited to people in their early twenties and doesn't extend to businessmen?

But you know, last week I treated myself to some high-waisted, wide-legged jeans, and I'll admit I'm kind of in love with them. And I'm 28! But they're much more '70s than '80s, and I have periodically been trying to dress like Rhoda Morgenstern since I was 15. So I am absolved of fashion slavery.

File under DAILY. Posted at 09:10 AM | Comments (6228)

October 07, 2006
real estate is a real drag

I hate the apartment hunt
Disappointed that the "office" doesn't have any windows.

We (Andy, Adam, and I) looked at apartments for a stressful week and applied for the first one that felt right: a two-story space in a brownstone with a high charm factor and a close proximity to seven subway lines. (The photo above is of a different place.) Andy nicknamed our chosen apartment Candleshoe; it had two fireplaces, huge windows, thick-planked floors, cavernous rooms, and an aura of playful mystery. I daydreamed about descending the curved staircase each morning, about working in my sun-drenched office.

You already know where this is going. I spent hours compiling over eighty pages of paperwork for the application and submitted it before noon the next day, only to learn at 6 p.m. that the broker hadn't realized that each of the PDFs I sent him contained more than one page of information. We found out today that our application was rejected; the landlord "wasn't comfortable" with us, no further explanation given. We're gearing up to repeat the process, but there are only so many times we can do this before we actually have to move (and/or before I have a breakdown).

Trying to find an apartment in New York is simply dreadful. Brokers want to sell you on a place and be done with you so they can move on to the next sale; they push you to make a decision before you've had a chance to think about it and scold you when you don't immediately like the problematic, overpriced places they're showing you. As someone who often needs to go home and think about a $50 sweater before buying it, I feel uneasy about making a quick decision about a place in which I'm going to live and work (and on which I'm going to spend upwards of $10,000) for the next year or more. But the market here requires speed; if you don't act right away, someone else might, and you'll lose your chance. And even fast action, as we learned, doesn't necessarily guarantee you a new home.

Worse than any real or imagined pressure is that most apartments just aren't very desirable. As far as Brooklyn goes, affordable* apartments in good neighborhoods are usually not as nice as those in more questionable ones; owners don't need to make them appealing in and of themselves if the location is right. For me, an apartment is immediately out of the running if it doesn't have hardwood floors, if the windows are too small, if the ceilings are too low, if it has no personality, if it looks in any way worse than where I'm currently living. I feel both guilty about being so picky and entitled to live in a place I deem nice enough. And then a little guilty about feeling entitled.

I'd like to write a letter to the owner of Candleshoe and tell her that we're responsible, respectful, wholly undramatic people. I understand, though, that her process is very similar to ours; she's as entitled as I am to wait until she finds a situation that feels right. (Of course, she hasn't actually met us, whereas we've "met" each of our potential apartments, so it seems a little unfair.)

I'm holding out hope, though I'm not sure I believe, that we'll find something else that we like. But I'm also worrying that if we do, we'll just get rejected again. Am I being dramatic?

* By "affordable," I mean apartments that cost around $1,000 per month per person. Of course, this is actually quite expensive, especially for people who don't have steady incomes.

File under DAILY. Posted at 09:03 PM | Comments (4)