I often tell whoever is willing to listen, how much I disliked living in New York City. Now I wish I had started blogging back then so I could have presented fresh details of my adventures. I do feel today the inspiration to share some of my apartment hunting stories. Kid you not I have more than enough to write a book. I rather decided to blog about the juiciest adventures.
I moved to NYC from Wisconsin for graduate school and I was beyond excited to move to a big city. I’ve always had a big crush on NYC; well no actually, I was in love with the city, the diversity, the ease of transportation and the unlimited activities to do. It is after all the city where there is nothing you can’t do, right?
Well I first moved with a family member, just the time to settle and find a place of my own. My cousin had also promised to help me find a room in a catholic dormitory a few blocks from my school. So it seemed like a good start from there.
I still checked out craigslist ads and immediately realized how expensive the cost of living was in the city. I considered places in Jersey as I learned many commuted to the city from closer neighborhood in NJ. I set an appointment to visit apartments all the way in Newark despite all the crazy stories I had heard about that neighborhood.
Being new to the city, the transportation system can be tricky and GoogleMaps wasn’t helping much for my commute to Jersey.
Anyway, I did end up somewhere in Jersey, maybe actually in Newark, I can’t quit remember now; but no one at the train station could show what direction I should take for my address. The neighborhood looked sketchy and I couldn’t risk getting lost. Recalling my mother’s warning about walking around sketchy neighborhood, I decide heading back was the wisest decision. Disappointed about my failed first attempt I head home. I have another apartment visit the following day.
Now this next apartment is near Central Park, 59th street! The girl advertising it on craigslist promised it was a great deal offering $750 for a room in an apartment with 5 roommates! Now I am super pumped, convinced that is my new apartment before even seeing the place. It did seem like a wonderful deal and I had always fantasized about living close to Central Park. I head to the place around 9 PM after my night classes. My GPS takes me through dark alleys and I get a little anxious. I call a friend as I do always in those situations and as I get in the building I ask my friend to call 911 if she doesn’t hear from me after 30 min (security measure). I am not quite sure why I was increasingly getting paranoiac. Might have been because of the Caucasian male I found in the living room yelling at his cellphone. He might have been speaking Russian; I am not too sure. I sit next to him, legs crossed, holding my bag closed to my chest, already wondering if this really was my fantasy apartment. The girl from the craigslist post is showing off the offered room to another applicant. I automatically feel I don’t have many chances to get the room because my color was on the other side of the spectrum compared to the individuals in this apartment. I sit still, eveningdreaming for about 20mn before it is my turn to visit the room. The craigslist girl takes me to a tiny room with double beds (smaller than the average dormitory room). She shows me the top bed and announces that would be my “SPOT” if I were to be selected (Han?). I can’t hide the perplexity on my face. I take a deep breath and with all the cool I can gather I ask: “so you mean we will be sharing this room (for $750)?” The girl is impatient and fails at hiding it. She already knows she won’t be picking me and she won’t have a hard time finding someone (or so I suppose, its NYC!!!). “Yes, the bed below is mine”.
Thinking about this scene now makes me smile broadly. But back then I was flabbergasted. I already knew this was over but I couldn’t help it, the ridicule of the situation pushed me to ask more questions. “So where will I put my stuff?” The girl was already out of the room and showed me a small closet in a corner of the living room (seemed like a closet for guest’s coats). I probably could have fitted a suitcase in there. She goes on to tell me about the other roommates and sharing of bill expenses. I had already tuned out.
I tell the girl I will think about it. We say polite goodbyes both knowing I wasn’t coming back. I rushed out and sit on the building staircase. I know I am supposed to be sad and disappointed, but I burst out laughing. I had just lived a WTF moment and that will make for a good story one day. I pull out my phone to tell my friend about my adventure. I see 5 missed calls and 3 messages, the last one stating “I am calling 911 now”.