Signing On the Dotted Line
After we saw the fake one bed-room that’s perfect for a single girl’s first NYC apartment, we moved on. The assistant’s assistant broker pulled out his phone and sets up a walking GPS to direct us to the next apartment.
He should’ve given us the rundown of where we were going so we could mentally prepare. But instead, he gave us step by step instructions. When he said, “it’s just around the corner,” that translated to “many many more steps after we turn this corner, the first of which is pure hell.”
After walking from 190th to 188th, we turn the corner and see the tallest hill I’ve ever been forced to climb. The incline was so steep, so damn steep, that I could hold my head level and see the ground ahead of me only a few yards away.
My best friend and I were pissed.
So the three of us are walking up this awful hill, sweating and cursing under our breath. After about 100 steps, we were only halfway there. At this point, the cursing starts being out loud.
I wanted to maintain a professional demeanor so I would come off like a serious potential renter. But by the time we got to the top of the hill, that demeanor was gone. Everything out my mouth was, “what the hell?!” and “am I being hazed?!”
My two dads were in a nice air conditioned car meeting us there. They didn’t get to see the first apartment, but since it a was a definite no, that was fine. They got the second apartment right after we did.
My father-in-law walked into the apartment building while my dad was looking for parking. He passed my best friend who was posted on a window ledge inside the building foyer. She let him know that the assistant’s assistant broker and I were up on the fourth floor.
As soon as he made it up the steps, he let me know that there was no way his son was going to be okay with staying in a fourth floor walkup. Then he looked out the window and saw the clotheslines strung between the walls. The building was setup with a faux-courtyard in the center, and the residents had set it up for laundry purposes.
My dad arrived just as we were taking a good look at the kitchen. He told me I broke my best friend. Then he took a look around the apartment and didn’t say much else. He took some pictures, but mostly just looked concerned. Then I called him into the kitchen.
I pointed out how there seemed to be a lot of cabinet space. But there was an issue with the cabinets over the kitchen sink. They seemed to slope downward towards the window. The shelves themselves has a slight downward slope.
My dad thought maybe I wasn’t seeing it right. So I closed the cabinet doors and he immediately saw I was correct because the cabinet doors looked like steps. Each door from the left to the right was about an inch lower than the previous one. That meant the left door of each cabinet didn’t cover the bottom and the right door didn’t cover the top. It was terrible.
We moved on.
I’ll skip the next couple of apartments. Just know they were varying versions of bad. They were also several blocks away. There was no way I was walking, so my dad just offered to take us all. So me, my best friend, my two dads, and the assistant’s assistant broker squeezed into the car for another hour and a half.
My best friend sat in the car, in the air conditioning, for the next couple of apartments. It was great for her because she got to feel better after the hell of climbing that hill. It was great for us because we didn’t have to find parking on any of these busy streets.
She joined us for the last apartment. And it was awful.
This apartment was the only one all four of us saw, so of course it had to be the worst by far.
The walls were red. And not like Big’s-bedroom-wall-in-Sex-and-the-City red. It was more like a-virgin-sacrifice-just-happened-here-and-this-was-the-color-of-her-blood red. The floors were jacked.
The windows had layers of dust on it. The closets were nonexistent. The bathroom was no more than 30 square feet.
I walked into the kitchen to check things out. Or rather, I tried to walk into the kitchen. I stepped on something that was blending into the floor and went sliding across the floor on one foot until I could stop myself.
I had stepped on a rack that was supposed to be in the refrigerator. I didn’t even bother looking at the rest of the kitchen. In my memory, I don’t really remember this place being that awful.
That’s probably why the next thing out of my mouth was, “I think we could make this one work!”
Everyone looked at me in disbelief, even the assistant’s assistant broker.
It was probably a combination of heat exhaustion, tiredness, and hunger that made me say that. Or maybe it was the virgin sacrifice apartment beginning to possess my mind and body.
Either way, we cleared out of there pretty quickly and were back in the car, headed toward midtown to drop of the assistant’s assistant broker.
We drove less than a block. Then the cops pulled us over.
None of the five of us in the car on seatbelts. I swear I always wear my seatbelt. I guess now I have to change that to almost always.
My father got a ticket for driving without a seatbelt. When he told them we were there from out of town looking for an apartment for me and we had the broker in the car, they asked who the broker was.
My dad pointed him out and the cop opened the door next to his seat. He said, “we’re going to have to take you in. The rent prices are waay to high!”
The cops laughed. My dads laughed. The broker laughed.
I didn’t fucking laugh.
Maybe I’m just not a fan of cops.
There’s no maybe. I’m not a fan.
I didn’t laugh the last time a cop made a fake arrest joke in front of me either.
Cops seem to only show up when I don’t need them. Where are the cops when people are getting robbed and gunned down in the street? I know where they are. They’re off yelling at people for double parking and giving out seatbelt tickets to a car that hadn’t traveled 500 feet yet.
I got out with the broker for what he called an “exit interview.” It was really just the assistant broker giving me the hard sell.
I sat there, wondering if I should tell him to go suck an egg. I decided to play his game and told him I like the second apartment best. This is the apartment my father-in-law proclaimed the husband wouldn’t be okay living in.
That’s when he told me the apartment was $1450/month. I was furious because I thought I pretty clearly stated there was a $1400 ceiling. I let him know I had to check with my husband and then left. I was so over Manhattan.
When we got back to Staten Island, we had our debriefing. All the things my family thought were bad about the Brooklyn broker applied to the Manhattan people, but I was the only one who witnessed it.
I was just glad to be past it and glad I was certain I was getting the best available apartment for the time I’d spent searching.
Somehow, I managed to get to New York and find a great apartment, sign the lease, and move in with time to get settled before I had to start work.
Literally, I arrived late Sunday night, and I moved into my new apartment on Thursday evening. When the moving was done, I just wanted to chill with a glass of wine and relax.
But I’m not really done yet.
The husband is coming next Thursday with our stuff.
Yup, I’m living with the basics right now. I have clothes, shoes, toiletries, and a very comfortable air mattress.
I can’t wait until next Thursday. I’m over the pitying looks from waiters when they realize I’m dining alone.
And I really miss the husband.