Some people think Hell is a place in the afterlife reserved for baby touchers and murderers and judgmental shitheads (me) and also anyone who’s ever eaten a Chipotle burrito on the subway.
Those people are wrong. Hell is on earth, and it is the soul-crushing, brain-scrambling process that is the New York City apartment hustle.
If you live in New York, you understand the struggle. You’ve lived the struggle. The struggle is real.
If you don’t live in New York, I couldn’t possibly spew out enough metaphors to convey the vulgarity of the New York apartment search. I would do terrible things—like lick a homeless person’s ankle-deposit-puff—if you told me it meant I wouldn’t have to shop for an apartment.
But here goes….
I’m taking the plunge and moving in with my S.O. More on that later, but before we do anything else, let’s just take a moment and congratulate me.
He did most of the financial planning for the search, (If left in my hands, I would end up spending our monies on eight French Bulldogs and a monthly candy delivery subscription), while I went to most of the apartments—because I have a meaningless job I can leave for hours at a time and no one will ever notice. (If you noticed, I’m sorry.)
The first apartment was pretty sweet initially. It had something called space. Also, a shitload of closet room, which basically makes it a poor man’s White House. There was this misplaced front door to the street, which was slightly concerning for murderer/robber/rapist reasons, but still quaint for Manhattan. Things were looking good so far.
The realtor jargon described this unit as a “loft”, so the bedroom was on the second level, accessible via staircase. By staircase, I basically mean a tree house rope ladder that would hardly support my left butt cheek if it had feet.
When I mastered the gym class rope climb and reached the top, only to smack my head on the five-foot ceiling, everything became clear: this was an apartment for elves.
Fuck you, New York.
On my way out, I gave a silent nod to the Quasimodo who lived next door before heading to the next hell hole.
I really thought I hit the real estate jack pot at the next apartment. It was enormous, in Tribeca, and below our price point. This does not happen. The application process was tricky, but I was ready to show my boobs to whoever I needed to in order to live there. I skipped all the way back to work to deliver the good news to the boyf, when Google crushed my dreams.
This place was the “Happy” of the Bed Bug registries. It was at the top of the charts, and it would never die.
Clap along if you feel like a homeless person without a roof. And possibly with bed bugs. *Clap*
I went home, burned my clothes, and cried in the shower for two hours.
Fuck you, New York.
I saw a slew of apartments over the next two weeks. One of them had a beach volleyball court made of cat litter in the living room (to be clear: not actually a volleyball setup, just kitty litter fucking strewn everywhere like the aftermath of a cat orgy). Another one cost more than three of my paychecks combined and was the square footage of my bathroom. This is a humorous thing.
The next apartment was in Brooklyn. This meant our broker was an Orthodox Jewish man (very common in those parts) named Zal. When we met, I almost wrestled him in effort to shake his hand, but that’s only because I’m an ignorant asshole. Eventually I realized he couldn’t shake my hand because I have a vagina, and I plastered on my shit-eating half grin I get when I do really awkward things…so, just my regular smile.
He showed us an occupied unit, which means you get to view it while the tenants are traipsing away, picking their wedgies and clipping their enormous toe nails and eating canned meats. In this case, we bust in during infant meal time (luckily there was no tit on today’s menu). So that was fun.
In retrospect, it was the gurgling baby and infant memorabilia that tainted the experience. We turned it down, only to quickly realize this place would lend itself perfectly to our Sourpatch-eating existence and come crawling back the next day—checks and souls in hand—to end the misery once and for all.
The next day was a Saturday.
Tumbleweeds were rolling through the streets of Williamsburg as we realized, only after sending sixty texts, that our broker—and the entire Williamsburg real estate and management industry—was out of reach until sundown.
The very anxious, sweaty wait began until the first three stars appeared in the sky. During this time, we became very intrigued by Orthodox Jewish practices. What access to technology does Zal have right now? Will he be shunned if he sneaks a peek at his phone? What if we show up at his door? Would we get brisket by any chance?
Eventually, the Brooklyn sky lit up, our broker called us, and we made our offer.
Oh, and we also signed eight million papers and submitted every classified piece of information that no one else should ever have in their possession. But, I guess if that’s what it means to not be homeless, or live in a hobbit cave or a bedbug wasteland, then we will give our social security numbers to anyone! Shabbat Shalom! Mazel tov!
I’m assuming other cities have much more simple rental systems. For that, I will be forever envious.
Fuck you, New York.