Well that was quick, only a week ago I was writing about having to move and the stress and difficulty of finding a new place within our price range, and yesterday Danusia got the email that we’ve been approved to rent an apartment in a building in Hamilton Heights. Or is it Washington Heights? Harlem?
I know Danusia is already talking about buying a Harlem T-shirt, I do know that it is most definitely Manhattan. West 152nd Street, to be exact. You can see the Hudson River from the roof, if you lean your head out far enough.
Of course it’s one bedroom smaller, but it is still bigger than the combined 500 square feet we had when we started dating. My place was a little over 200 square feet and hers a little under 300. This new one bedroom is at least 600 square feet.
The bedroom itself is bigger than our present bedroom, that’s good. The living room is about the same size and so is the bathroom, and this bathroom has a window, and so does the kitchen.
The apartment is on the top floor, so we won’t hear anybody clomping around.
The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of outlets; the circuit box has only 4 breakers. The one here has 16. Of course here we also have a hot water heater and a burner for the baseboard radiators, and dedicated air conditioner lines, three of them.
I think we’ll be all right with a couple of surge protector strips.
We need to get rid of a lot of furniture; we have 7 or 8 chairs, an elliptical machine, and this giant closet thing:
But wait, there’s more!
The biggest headache when moving is getting rid of all the useless crap you’ve accumulated since the last time. Luckily I am home, so I can take care of a lot of this work.
If I have the space, I will fill it. When I was married to my first wife and started working at the building as a porter, part of my job was to collect the garbage from the landings. I ended up with 3 stereos, 4 sets of speakers, tons of clothing, books, magazines, tools, kitchen appliances, and lots of other stuff I didn’t need. But it was there, and most of it was useful and in good condition and I couldn’t bear to let it go to waste.
Except that’s what happened. You can’t play 3 stereos at once through 4 sets of speakers.
I’m a little better now at letting stuff go that I love (or at least think I love) so this shouldn’t be too stressful.
Danusia found the listing, and $1500 for a “large one bedroom,” and I said it was too good to be true. I looked at the pictures and said, “if that’s for real I’d take it in a heartbeat,” thinking that in no way were we going to find a decent sized apartment anywhere in Manhattan for under $2000 per month.
It turned out to be very true. Danusia is nothing if not persistent, and after some emails and phone calls we found ourselves in the offices of Bohemia realtors on Frederick Douglas Boulevard Thursday afternoon. We met Lara, a pretty, 40-ish woman with blond hair and a cute summer dress. She was from Ohio and had the accent and demeanor to prove it. After meeting Danusia she said: “oh, you’re so cute!” Only women would tell each other they’re cute, and I was immersed in cuteness for the next few hours.
Lara took us up to 152nd Street and up 5 flights of stairs to the large one bedroom. It actually was large, as I mentioned at the top. The building was clean, and quiet, I hope it’s quiet at night; but we’ll see.
The walls were concrete and plaster; it is after all a pre-war building with a nice façade. The floors were in good shape, and I was surprised by the size of the bathroom and impressed that it had a real porcelain pedestal sink.
The stove and fridge were old, dirty, and tiny. I can live with a 32 inch stove but we need a bigger fridge.
“If they give us new appliances we’ll take it,” I said.
Then came the hard part, or rather the tedious part. It was worse than when we tried to buy the house last year, with all the paperwork and fees. $100 each for credit and background check (non-refundable) $500 in “good faith” money to take the apartment off the market, 12% fee for the realtor. Lara lowered her fee from 15%, since if this went through we’d be her first clients.
Funny that when she said that I knew we’d probably get the place. I’m not much for serendipity, but Danusia has the power to create it, especially when coming in contact with a like-minded person like Lara.
The big sticking point was my employment, or rather lack of proof.
“I’m self employed,” was what I’d said. I tried to explain Task Rabbit to Lara but just settled on saying I make enough to pay the rent with free-lance work.
But Lara wasn’t the one we had to convince. Our present landlord, Mark wrote a very nice email in with he called us “exemplary tenants,” and said that in 25 years in the business we’d been his best tenants by far.
We had to submit tax returns and all kinds of other paperwork.
The whole process started at 1:30 when we walked into the agency, and didn’t walk out till after 5pm.
Yesterday morning we emailed all the stuff they wanted, and waited. Lara told Danusia that we’d have an answer by Monday, since it was Friday and probably nothing would get accomplished over the weekend.
Last night on my way over the bridge on the J train I got the text from Danusia:
“We got the apartment.”
Now on to a whole new type of stress, packing, sorting out loose ends with Mark, throwing stuff out, giving stuff away.
So, friends, we have stuff to sell and stuff to give away. If you need any chairs just let me know.
I won’t miss all the bearded boys and Williamsburg waifs, well maybe the waifs, but I sure will miss riding over the East River a couple of times a day. New York is a beautiful city seen from above.