Monday, April 26, 2010

Real Estate Hell (Parte Un)

A thousand million apologies, my most beloved followers! Apparently I’ve become a diva since turning one.

No but for reals, I’ve been deep in the depths of real estate hell. And boy was it b-a-d.
I’ve finally escaped - though not unscathed. (Be forewarned, this is only part one.

I’d come to love my cozy little rabbit hutch. But that’s what it was - a rabbit hutch. Two years in 170 square feet was more than enough - it was time for something big...ger (I don’t think it’s possible to go “big” in Manhattan unless you’re making da BIG bucks). So let’s just say I was ready for a real apartment. After all, I’m a real girl!

I was chomping at the bit with excitement and anticipation - the countdown to May 1st had begun. This was to be my first NYC apartment that I actually spent time searching for. Boy oh boy oh boy!

I’ve had fairly good luck finding abodes in this city. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I
’ve been overeager and overanxious and said YES without truly searching. My Leroy Street place was the second one I looked at. I filled out the application in the hallway and celebrated getting it later that day. The Sullivan Street apt. was only the third one I saw - I signed that lease the following day.

New York real estate is ridonculous - even if you don’t live here, that, at least, you know. It’s do or die. Eat or be eaten. Sign on the spot or LOSE what you’ve got. Oh, and you have approximately four weeks (oftentimes far less) to find and sign.

I think apartamento hunting is the most cutthroat thing you’ll ever do as an NYCer. (Well perhaps that’s an overstatement...might be a tossup between that and sample sale hunting - that gets pretty damn ugly, too.)

But really, the former is quite outrageous. You’ve gotta be prepared for a throw-down showdown between youself and the 10 other peeps who are (inevitably) vying for the same spot. You’ve gotta have your credit scores handy, make 40x the rent (or have a guarantor who makes 80x), a letter of employment - and you have to be prepared to pay up - first, last, and security...all notarized and bank certified, obvi.

But I
’m getting ahead of myself. That right there’s the fun part. The easy part (well, for me at least - not necessarily for Papa P...he looked like he was about to go into cardiac arrest).

It’s what comes before all that initialing and signing and paying your life away that’s the true pain in the ass.

I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted in a new apartment: a huge living space, separate bedroom, laundry in the building, lots of light, a dishwasher, tons of closet space, an on-site super, no higher than the second floor, NOT facing the street, exposed brick, very reasonably priced (as if anything in Manhattan is reasonable), more turtles in a fountain and a courtyard - and, of course, in Greenwich Village. (No, no marijuana was not consumed during the penning of that statement.)

I’m sure realtors had quiiiite the chuckle when they read my wish list. Many didn’t respond; those who did pretty much pooh-poohed me; and everyone told me I had to either look further east OR raise my budget.

I was willing to do neither.
And holy shit was it a

It’s hard out there for a primp! I mean, I consider myself pretty cool and easygoing. I can handle shabby, dark hallways and dust bunnies on parade. But of the 10ish places I saw, a mere 1/5 were not cringe-inducing.

I retracted my apartment-hunting-in-NYC-is-easy-for-ME mentality immediately. It was not relaxing, leisurely, or enjoyable. In fact, there was nothing positive about it.

No, no. I didn’t see any mice. Or waterbugs, for that matter. What I did see were apartments smaller than my rabbit hutch. Darker, dirtier, smellier, graffitier hallways. Narrower stairwells. 2' x 2' stand-up shower stalls. Places sans ovens. SIXTH FLOOR WALK-UPS.

It was outrageous. OUTRAGEOUS, I say!

Was I crazy? Did I need a lobotomy à la McMurphy? I didn’t want it too be too small. Or too expensive. Or too high up. I wanted it to be juuuuust right. Apparently that was just too much to ask for!

I strongly considered moving to the East Village. Or even - gasp - to Chelsea. OMG! But late one afternoon I saw a posting on Craigslist. There were no pictures (sketchy), but it was a one block away from Sullivan...and less expensive. I gave it a whirl.

Ding ding ding, ladies and gentlemen, we had a WINNER! It had me at hellooooooo.

Buh-bye Sullivan Street! Holla atcha Thompson Street!

(To Be Continued)


  1. hellloooooo fabulous dream apartment on thompson!!!! every little new york girl that crams into small apartments with roommates is soooooo jealous of you right now!

  2. Congrats Katie, keep us posted, cannot wait to see the pics.