Wednesday, April 13, 2005
As I alluded to yesterday, I will be moving out of my current apartment at the end of May. With my roommate Ben going back to Seattle and my roommate Brian and I hating our current location in the Upper East Side, it's time for me and Brian to get our shit together and start looking for a new home. And it fucking sucks.
In the understatement of the year, I'll only say that apartment hunting in New York City is a terrible experience. Everywhere you turn, you're faced with high rents, shitty buildings, sketchy neighborhoods, and shady brokers who are trying to take your money as quickly as possible. And when you're hunting for an apartment, you can take comfort in the fact that as you're out there, hitting the pavement, going through the classifieds, and talking to friends about possible vacancies in their buildings, thousands and thousands of other people are also doing this, probably much better than you are. God I love New York.
First and most obviously, rents in New York City are high. Really high. But you should expect that from a city where a pack of smokes costs $8, a Bud Light $6, and a so-so handjob at a moderately-clean Asian massage parlor a whopping $185.
[The $185 for a handjob led to this exchange between a "masseuse" and someone who will remain nameless because by now most of his family reads this site:
Masseuse: [in thick Asian accent] "It $185."
Person: "What? $185 for what?"
Masseuse: "$185. $185 for whole half hour."
Person: "Well, I don't need a whole half hour. Can I give you $50 for ten minutes?"
Masseuse: "$185. $185 or you go."
And by that time the person was already there and it was pretty cold out, so whatever. Damn the Asians - so good at debating!]
On average, a person living in Manhattan can expect to pay around $1000 a month. Sure, there are cheaper places, but $1000 is average, if not on the low side. I've managed to circumvent high rents fairly well during my tenure in NYC. My first year out of college (from July 2001 to June 2002), I lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and paid only $650 per month. I lived in a giant place with two living rooms, but Bay Ridge is a residential area deep in Brooklyn, very far away from Manhattan, where most of my friends lived and all of my friends went out. So while I saved on rent, I spent on cabs, drifting from one crappy bar to another, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to cheat on my then long-distance girlfriend, and spending all of my new found money on important things like vodka tonics, shiny guitar equipment that I'd use once and then break or lose, and bad investments (and by "bad investments" I mean "tremendous gambling losses").
From July of 2002 until June of 2004, I lived in the uber-hip Lower East Side. Because I spent my first year in Brooklyn, I didn't know too much about Manhattan. Sure, I went out in the city quite often, but I didn't know any streets that weren't numbered. I was looking for a two bedroom place to share with my future roommate Brian (I swear we're not gay) and found an ad for a three bedroom place for only $1950. I knew it was in the Lower East Side (heretofore, LES), but I didn't know anything about the neighborhood. It was only after I had moved in that I would learn that it was full of total hipster douchebags (though it was very centrally located!).
Brian and I jumped on the apartment and put an ad in Craigslist's looking for a third roommate. We found one in Clare, a lovely English lass a few years older than us. Poor Clare had no idea what she was getting into, and though she stayed the length of the lease, she was gone after a year. I don't blame her: sharing a 350 square foot apartment (and a small bathroom) with Brian and I would drive anyone away. Also, one time she and I got in a pretty crazy fist fight. She lost. Big time.
Entree Ben. Ben and I met at the law firm where I work, and because we are both fat and like beers and nachos, quickly became friends. At the time, Ben was living with a random Asian attorney who worked at our firm and wore more product in his hair than the EPA should allow. Seriously, I don't know how people smoked within 100 yards of this guy, because the shit was caked on. But when Ben heard that Clare was moving out and we needed a third roommate, he moved in.
Thus began a tremendous year. Brian, Ben and I living in the LES, getting drunk, over-eating, and being ignored by the opposite sex.
I just read that last part over, and it doesn't sound very "tremendous". Possibly "sad", but definitely not "tremendous". I guess it's one of those things that you had to be there to appreciate. So stop your judging, asshole.
After a year in the LES, Ben, Brian and I got tired of our tiny, 5th floor walk-up, and moved on up to the (Upper) East Side to a fancy doorman building with an elevator, a gym, a pool, and a sundeck, where we've been living since June of last year. And I need not get into how well that has worked out (think of whatever the opposite of "really great and convenient and centrally located" is).
And now here we are: the cycle begins all over again, as Ben departs and Brian and I start looking for a new home. There is but one problem: both Brian and I are extremely lazy. I honestly don't see how this is going to work out for us, because I can't see Brian or I making any sort of serious effort. Unless we can turn apartment hunting into some sort of drinking game/drinking competition, we will most likely be homeless come June 1.
So that's where you come in. I know what you're thinking, "Jason, why are you so provincial? Your site is read in over 40 countries and on all seven continents [thanks for the Antarctica t-shirts Sherri and Co.], so why are you talking about New York all the time? Also, you still can't turn this into a pity fuck? Your site crashed last week because you had too many visitors and not a single woman will let your squirm your slimy, baby pinkie-sized penis into her love envelope? You must really be worse than you write."
I'll completely ignore that question and instead issue a plea for help. If you or anyone you know is living in but leaving or knows of a two bedroom apartment available starting June 1 that is a) no more than $2000 a month (possibly could go a little higher) and is b) somewhere downtown-ish (nothing above Times Square, preferably 14th Street or below, Manhattan only), please PLEASE email me. Or if you live in an apartment that fits this description, please ask your super/landlord if any apartments in your building will be available on June 1. Please. Pretty please. Please. Seriously, just fucking do it.
I assure you that Brian and I would make great tenants and neighbors. You wouldn't have to worry about people coming in and out of our place at all hours, since we have no friends and would only leave the apartment to get beer or attend various court proceedings that have been filed against us, either jointly or separately. We are quiet, since as we've been living together for so long there's nothing left to say, and we both have decent incomes, Brian's recently supplemented by his latest hobby: card-sharking. Deep down, we are really nice people (as long as you don't get to know us).
So drop me a line if you have any leads. That email address again is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your help and support and God bless.
Otherwise, expect to see me passed out in your hallway around June 4. See you then!