Monday, March 05, 2007

Wanted: One nice, roomy non-hole...

Wanted: One roomy, nice non-hole one bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood near Central Park and the red subway line for under $1500. Basically, I want to live in my neighborhood or Cameron's neighborhood. In a nutshell, this is what I want, but as Cameron has been quick to point out, there are some terms in my ideal home that are somewhat subjective. Looking for an apartment in New York is about as bad as waking up in the morning finding your head stapled to the carpet... at least for me. There is probably no other activity in this city that reminds you more of what little your hard earned money can buy in terms of real estate. In most places around the country, $1500 a month could get you residence in some really nice places, perhaps on a golf course, with a backyard, barbecue pit, three bedrooms and a chef's kitchen. But I can't think about that. Today, I am just trying to get the most for my money on this small island 12 million of us call home.

Roomy. Standards of roominess are quite different here in the city than they would be anywhere else. Most people would consider themselves lucky to find a 1000 sq ft. living space with windows. Roomy to me means I don't want my bed to be in my kitchen. I also don't want my bed to take up the entire bedroom. This also means I don't want my shower in the kitchen. Sure, this might be every multi-taskers dream. Make some eggs while taking a shower. Why not kill two birds with one stone? However, this is not any way to live. Roomy also means I would like a decent size kitchen with counters and cabinets. We went to an apartment yesterday that had an oven and a refrigerator... no cabinets, no counters, no closets. What kind of place is that? Bottom line, roomy means I don't want my living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom to be the same room. Is that too much to ask?

Nice. This is probably the most subjective term. What I consider to be a hole and unfit for human habitation might be a palace to a guy living on the street. I need windows that let in lots of light... not windows that open to a brick wall or the building next door. Nice to me means new appliances and fresh paint. I don't want to walk into an apartment and see bars on all the windows, or even worse no windows at all, floors that haven't been cleaned, no counters or closets, a refrigerator and oven made for pygmies and a bathroom I would be afraid to use. That is not nice. Nice is walking into a place and feeling like it could be a home where you would want to invite your friends. In addition, it means that I don't want the building hallways to resemble anything from a 1980s NYC cop show - flickering lights, rats potentially scampering across the floor, cracked and missing tiles, broken windows, etc.

Non-hole. A hole is a place that you could not imagine living in. This is just another way of saying I want to live some where that is nice. For example, Cameron and I went to look at a few places last night. The first two I would definitely classify as holes. The first was the place mentioned above that had no cabinets or counters in the kitchen. The bathroom was tiny, the paint was chipping, the building a little sketchy and the whole thing pretty much gave me a creepy feeling. The second place was similar but the kitchen seemed like an afterthought of an addition tucked away into a closet sized space. A hole. I left with a feeling of repulsion and disappointment. So this is what my $1500 can buy in the city? Yikes.

Safe. Once again, a subjective term. Back in the 80s and 90s, NYC was not the safest place to live, but it has since been cleaned up and most places are relatively safe. When Cameron asked me what I mean by this, I said I didn't want to live in a place where I could get stabbed by my neighbors. This probably wouldn't happen in most places around here and if it did, it would be an isolated incident. However, there are some places I feel safer than others. In terms of the subway, I feel pretty safe anywhere on the red line within reason. The blue line is kind of creepy and unreliable. Someone got stabbed a couple of months back on the platform of the blue line not too far from my house. No good.

I looked at an apartment back in December within our budget managed by a company that a couple of friends obtained nice apartments from. It was completely renovated, new appliances, lots of closets, counters, etc. It's only downfall is that it was on the first floor and had poor natural lighting. I walked out thinking that I could definitely find something better. But after last night, that apartment is looking better and better. I have promised myself and Cameron that I will not freak out about all of this or give myself anxiety trying to find the perfect place. So, I have to trust Cameron and know that everything will work out exactly as it should. I am confident that it will. So I might not be living on Central Park West in the Dakota building and have copious amounts of space, but I will have a home where people will always be welcome.

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