August 10, 2010

I Had to Turn It Down

I was supposed to go look at another apartment this morning.

I've only seen one so far in my current apartment search, and I'm reticent to commit to it without having seen a few more and really weighed out my options (both in New York and out).

I didn't mind that it was in Red Hook, near the waterfront, on the other side of the BQE - a good ten minute walk (at least) to the F and G trains.

I didn't mind that it was only 300 square feet.

But I was stopped dead in my tracks when its current tenant called me last night to "discuss the apartment."

"I mean, I'm a 26 year old woman, and I've never had a problem..." she began. "But there are just some things you should know before you come."


"The front door doesn't lock. It's never locked, and the landlord refuses to put a lock on it."

Uh huh.

"But I've never had a problem."


She continued, "But just so you know, there are like four guys who sit on the stoop every day and drink 40s all day long. It's the same guys all the time, and I've never had a problem."


"So the building is kind of scuzzy. I mean, my apartment is nice, I love it, but the building looks gross. And it kind of smells. It's dirty."

I had to ask, "OK, so what about pests then? Cockroaches? Mice?"

She paused. "Well, I've never seen one in my apartment. But in the hall...on the sidewalk outside...Yeah, cockroaches. But it's New York!"

"But what about mice?" I pressed. I've lived long enough battling the creatures that feed on the scraps from the Mexican restaurant downstairs, and then spend all night scratching through the walls.

"Oh, well, see, there's this population of feral cats in this neighborhood, so I think they're why I've never seen any mice."

I nearly choked on my own saliva.

Without missing a beat, she protested, "But the street is wonderfully mixed. There's a nice lingerie shop, some cute boutiques and cafes, but there's also the slaughter house right in the middle of the block."


"So do you still want to come see it?"

For some unknown reason, I was still considering it. Considering spending over $1000 a month to live in hell, in Brooklyn, rather than pack up my things and move to Small Town U.S.A. where I could probably get a whole house for that.

The dealbreaker for me? She would need me to move in immediately, and pay a half month's rent while I was still living in my current apartment. That was too much for my bank account.

"You know what?" I said, still hesitant. "All things considered, I'm going to pass."

She didn't seem surprised, and quickly said goodbye, good luck, and jumped off the phone.

She wasn't much of a salesperson, but thank God for her honesty.

Is that the best that New York City can do for a subletter?

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