Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Hunt Continues

Rules of the House
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion
Being interviewed as an employee and a roommate in the same day makes the soul feel like a splotch of water on the countertop, shortly after being touched with a dry sponge. I need a place to live soon, and the process of finding one is exhausting.

I got lost going to an open house underneath the BQE. Once I made it, the open house was over, but the doors to the building were still wide open. I wandered inside. All the doors were shut, except for the front and back door to the concrete garden. An enterprising building manager had inscribed the rules of the building right on the wall with a Sharpie -- see the photo.

The super's number was written on another part of the wall in permanent marker, and each floor was carefully labelled, too: "3rd floor" on the 3rd, "4th floor" on the 4th, and so on.

This was written on the wall on the ground floor hallway, just above a stepladder leaning against the wall:

What Is The Former?

My inner grammarian shrieked: "What was the former? And how can someone stand on it to thank me?"

I looked at a place in Bushwick last week, and it was not the artsy-gentrified Bushwick that I was hoping for, the part that less scrupulous brokers refer to as "East Williamsburg." It was the "mattress leaning up outside the front door" part of Bushwick.

There is one tough lesson in Brooklyn real estate that I am quickly learning: there is an inverse relationship between the quality of apartment and quantity of neighboring fried chicken joints. If the ad mentions an apartment's proximity to White Castle or KFC as a selling point: no, thanks.

The building itself smelled like tigers had been pissing in the hallway. It seemed to be working to suppress the gazelle and springbok populations. The room was tiny, dingy, and painted a color precisely at the midpoint between dark brown and a diseased wound.

I lasted ten seconds in there and may have said "fuck this" out loud.

This place seemed right -- great location, good price. Then I read the ad:

The building is kinda dirty and smelly, but the apartment isn't. There are mostly Hispanics in the building, and some blacks and Italians. Very Brooklyn. I love it, but I understand this is not for everyone.

A lot of these ads, it's what they don't say. It's between the lines. This one reads like Annie Wilkes is looking for a roommate, which makes the question "what happened to the last occupant" exceptionally important.

The search continues. Every morning that sponge wrings a little more of me out on the countertop and I respond to a few ads and get soaked up again by nightfall. If you live in Brooklyn and want to share a place with a quiet writer who doesn't smoke, let me know.


At 12:27 PM, Blogger Carli N. Wendell said...

That "rule wall" reminds me of this:

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Mike said...


We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for . We'd like to give you the opportunity to
give us some insight on the "person behind the blog."

It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
be submitted online at

Best regards,

Mike Thomas

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh.. the writing is on the wall?

At 11:52 PM, Blogger Daniel Poehlman said...

Tell them you're Canadian and, as such, all signs must be in English as well as French in order for you to fully respect them.

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

was up there last stillll..owe me a drink..but..
would you be interested in talking to the juxtapoz folks???
its not an apt..but it might be a j.o.b. my experience good jobs are waaaay easier to find than good apts in NYC...

At 4:52 PM, Blogger cheryl said...

jeff, email me -- i might have a lead on a place. it's probably real pretty, it's in park slope, no idea of the cost, but email me if you're still looking.
cheryl.huber at gmail.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger NYC taxi photo said...


your blog is alright man. I love the cynical descriptions, all from the eyes of a newbie, its lovely. I'll be back for sure.


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