Thursday, November 4, 2010


After the year of filth and frustration spent with Dirty Artie, living with Andrea and Dave was a breeze.  With three people living in a small space, we certainly stepped on eachother's toes from time to time -- drunken noise, dirty dishes, bathroom scuffles -- but for the most part we got along really well.  We hung out in the apartment, but certainly weren't best friends.  It was a pretty good deal, but after reverse commuting to my new job in South Brooklyn for just a few months, I knew I had to move when the lease was up in August.

I settled on Park Slope, a cute, fun neighborhood just 15 minutes from my school.  The buildings are beautiful, the rent is a lot cheaper than the East Village, and best of all most of my co-workers (whose company I really enjoy) live there too.  Then, of course, came the arduous task of finding a place (and roommates) who I liked.  I must have gone to see somewhere in the vicinity of thirty different apartments in three weeks at the end of June and beginning of July of 2008.  I went to some places that I didn't like, or the roommates seemed a little off, but most of the places had potential and just didn't work out.  It was really frustrating because I think I sounded cool enough on paper (28 year old teacher, likes to go out and have fun but doesn't bring the party home, spending August in Tajikistan so won't even be around after she moves in!) to invite over to check out the place, but then I'd get there and something wouldn't click.

Finally I had some luck.  I went to see a lovely three bedroom and really hit it off with one of the girls.  She was planning on spending the following summer backpacking around Central Asia and was totally jealous of my Tajikistan adventure.  I didn't get much of a chance to speak to the roommate, but she seemed really nice too.  I was definitely optimistic.  Then I got an e-mail from Shannon, the backpacking girl:  

Okay, I hope this isn’t weird. You came and visited our apartment last Sunday on 4th Street in Park Slope. We filled the room but I thought you were really cool, and my best friend Jill (she lives right down the street) has a room  available starting Aug 1. I told her that I had really liked you and thought that the two of you might get along well.

Apparently I can make new friends while trying to find an apartment.  I checked out Jill's spare room, and I liked it.  She was great and the apartment had a backyard, but a pretty ghetto kitchen.  I was definitely interested, but kept looking through craigslist in case it didn't work out.  

A few days later I found another place that I liked (interestingly enough it had the same floor plan as the first place) and the roommates seemed pretty nice.  They offered me the room and I told them I would give them an answer by the next day.  Then I got this e-mail the same day from Martha, the other roommate from apt #1 who I didn't speak to much on open house day:

I know we bumped you around to Jill (but we like her, and we liked you too). I don't know if you are still looking for a room for Aug 1, but our situation is drastically changed. Please let me know if you are still searching.

Cryptic and intriguing.  After a little investigating it turned out that their landlord and the landlord's real estate agent were trying to dick them around.  Shannon, Martha, and their old roommate had a lease.  Shannon and Martha wanted to sign a lease with a new person when that one ran out.  Like any normal people, they went on a hunt for a roommate.  When they found her and tried to get the new lease drawn up, the landlady told the real estate agent, who decided she was entitled to a broker's fee of two month's rent from each of the three rooms -- despite the fact that two of the girls ALREADY LIVED THERE and that she, the agent, had done nothing at all to get the third roommate into the apartment.  Not surprisingly, the third girl backed out and now they were scrambling . . . which is when they came back to me.

So, just to recap:  It's now July 15th.  I've been looking for apartments for three weeks.  I need to move before August 1st, when my lease ends, someone else moves into my East Village room, and I get on a plane to Tajikistan.  Two days ago I had no apartments and no prospects.  Now I have an offer on a beautiful apartment with some seemingly normal boys, an offer on a place I really liked with roommates I really liked that might cost me $2,000 in illegal fees, and a third place that the second place recommended to me that I didn't like as much but really liked the roommate and I have about 12 hours to figure out what to do.

My head was spinning and I had no idea how to make a decision.  I decided to e-mail the third place and see if it was still an option, since I hadn't heard definitely either way.  Jill's reply made my decision for me:

I am sorry not to have been able to get back to you before. As you mentioned, there are mysterious things going on with Shannon and Martha's apartment, and as a result, Shannon and I have been talking about the possibility of her moving in to my place. It has been a tough decision, but this evening we decided that we would do just that, which unfortunately means that my room is no longer available for August 1. This has caused a fair amount of trauma and drama, and I didn't want to extend any offers that I wasn't able to uphold in the event that a good friend needed a place to live. So, please make a choice based on your offers now, and I hope that you've found a place that you love!

This has all be kind of stressful and ridiculous, but it was really nice to meet you in the process. Again, my apologies for stretching out our decision-making process here, but Shannon and I have been talking all night to determine if and how this would work out. I'd love if you'd be interested in keeping in touch, and hope you have a great time working and relaxing in Tajikistan and Turkey next month.

And thus, my decision was made for me:  the beautiful apartment with the boys.  Jill's explanation of what happened was so nice and genuine that it really made me think that, despite the insanity that is the NYC housing market, normal, decent human beings do exist.  Then I moved in with Bahrry and Dan, and that shook my faith to the core.


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