Thursday, August 2, 2007

A New Yorker for the reals

I wanted to make sure everything was set before I made another post, since the situation kept changing day to day. It is now confirmed - I have an apartment! First, here's how I got there.

When we last met, I was panicking and upset because the broker told me the landlord wanted an extra month of security, sending my pre-move in amount due into the stratosphere. And probably beyond what I could afford. On Sunday night I came up with a plan to ask for 6 months to pay the additional security with the promise of sending the deposit from my current place straight to the new one. I started looking into sublets on Craigslist and scheduled two new views for Monday. I might be back to square 1.

Come Monday morning I dreaded making the phone call but had to do it. I called the broker and asked a question to break the ice and test the waters. Then I launched into my well-planned speech about how I was good for the money but I needed more time for this unexpected...she interrupted me to say there was only one month of security. Wha? I told her what she had said the night before and she laughed and apologized - her mistake. I laughed too out of relief. Man, I think I got a few gray hairs from that one. But I'm not going to complain. I called my sister to tell her the good news and canceled my views.

There was the other side to balance though. When I was worried about coming up with the extra security I also became worried that I was overextending myself. Once I sell my car I'll be fine, but I am a bit apprehensive about the first couple of months of living in the city while still making car payments. I really hope my car sells quickly. My main concern is that this is out of my control - it could sell in 15 days or it could not sell for a year. I could try selling it to a dealer but I'd lose $3000 so that is a last resort.

I calculated and recalculated my expenses 10 times and everytime came out with spending money to spare. That calmed me down some. Tuesday was lease-signing day and I kept waffling all day Monday - don't sign the lease, sign the lease, yes, no, etc.

I went to see two places on a long lunch - first a $1625/mo rent-stabilized by-owner studio at 79th and 1st Ave. It took me about 20 minutes just to get there between the 6 and a walk from Lex to 1st. Man, that block between 2nd and 1st Aves is long up there, like the block between 6th and 7th Aves. in Flatiron/Union Sq./Chelsea area. The ad said "huge windows" and "high ceilings" so I predicted small and old appliances and I was not disappointed. Smaller than the place I was signing the lease for. No dishwasher. Old cabinets - one missing a door. Small holes by the baseboard - critter central. A dark, dingy, green-tiled bathroom. Oh, and it was on the 3rd floor of a walk-up. The super was an older man with Eastern European roots. He seemed nice enough and was disappointed when I wasn't interested. I felt kind of bad but there was no way.

I ended up catching a cab to the other place - a "large, loft-style studio" on the Upper West Side for $1650/mo. The market is heating up with college students heading back into town, and there hasn't been anything under $1600 on CL the past week or so below Washington Heights. I was intrigued by photos of the kitchen. $8 later, I was at 73rd and West End Ave in a non-doorman elevator building. I went up to the 5th floor and met the broker. Earlier, I'd spent 15 minutes convincing him I'd already been to Citi Habitats to fill out an application. He opened the door and led me in to a cute place. It wasn't huge, maybe 250-300 sq. feet, but it was open as he'd promised. That meant the kitchen was out in the living area, which I'm not too fond of. A breakfast bar separated it somewhat...though I have a super cute pub table that I really don't want to get rid of. The kitchen had white subway tiling with a black cap - a look I am quite fond of. The cabinets were white and the appliances were black. The full-sized fridge was nice and it made the apartment look bright.

There were two random columns in the middle of the apartment which would have been tough to work around. Soffits for pipes maybe? I touched both but neither was warm. It's summer though so that doesn't mean much. There were two large windows in the apartment with a river view meaning hot apartment at dusk, little light in the morning. Meh. Then we saw the closet - I mean the bathroom. Holy crap it was tiny. No tub. You could wash your hands in the sink while sitting on the toilet, and I think a male would have a hard time getting proper distance. I felt claustrophobic and it was dark as hell - painted dark brown or something. No thanks.

I parted ways with the broker and realized I had no idea what subway lines were nearby - UWS wasn't one of the places I had really looked in. I ended up catching another cab. $15 later, I was back at work. I've been working late to make up for the time I've been missing so I felt pretty wiped. At the end of a long day, I cruised Craigslist one last time to see what was out there. I couldn't find anything that looked better than what I'd found. Enough worrying, I needed to stop looking a gift horse in the mouth.

No comments: