Connect
To Top
 

Did I ever tell you the time I lived in a…

On a crisp winter day in January, I woke up at the crack of dawn (that’s what I call 6am, or really any time before 10am) to get to JFK in time for a lovely tropical vacation. In all honesty, I am unsure if where I was heading is considered tropical, but let’s pretend it is. As I was leaving my apartment, a huge white envelope resting against my door greeted me. 

I knew what the envelope contained. I’d been anticipating this particular envelope for a while. It was the lease renewal to my apartment. My lease was up at the end of February, and I was expecting a bit of a hike in my current rent. The new lease I held in my hand was not a hike; it was a hot-air balloon ride. My management company, the villains in this story, wanted a $500+ increase. Yeah, my heart skipped a few beats.


As I lugged my over-packed luggage to the subway, boarded the plane and finally arrived to the beach house I would occupy for a week, I tried to decide what I should do. Will the evil Management Company negotiate? Do they realize a $500 rent increase is the definition of absurd? How much do I really love this city? And oh crap, I don’t have a job!

 To better understand the predicament I was in, you need to understand how much I looooovvvvveee my apartment. To better understand why I love this apartment, you need to know more about the apartments where I’ve paid my dues.
My first apartment in Manhattan was my first apartment EVER. I had never had an apartment to myself before. Living in college dorms just doesn’t count. I searched for my first apartment for months. I was ridiculously picky. It should only take anyone about two weeks to find an apartment in New York, but I wanted everything without paying the cost for it. I wanted all the things considered luxuries in Manhattan. Things like an elevator, a dishwasher, laundry in the building, close to the subway, grocery store near by. You know, just a few basics. 
What I got was an apartment on the sixth floor of a small building above a Cuban restaurant. The building did indeed sport an elevator…the size of a refrigerator! The uber small elevator only reached the fifth floor, which meant I had to walk up the last flight of stairs. No problem, I can manage 20 steps. Except the elevator hardly ever worked. So what this really meant is that I was living in a 6th floor walk-up. Worse yet, the heat wouldn’t work in the dead of winter. Numerous calls to the management company didn’t yield any change.  

But it was a spacious apartment for a Manhattan studio, so I dealt with the lack of amenities and heat. I walked up the stairs, and convinced myself it was exercise. I hauled my laundry to my parents’ house, and filed it away as more convenient since my mom lovingly washed my clothes for me. When I got really cold, I used my oven as a heater. Yeah, that’s safe!
My denial was manageable until one day I heard a knock on the door and opened it to find two very burly men wearing NYPD badges around their necks. After introducing themselves, they asked me if I had noticed any illegal activity in the building. The detectives informed me they had received a call suspecting narcotics activity and prostitution in the building. Needless to say, I freaked out! It couldn’t be true. I can’t possibly live in a place where criminal activity was taking place, I thought. As I’m processing the bomb which was just dropped on me, I realized the detectives are staring at me.  

It finally dawned on me they were wondering if any such activity was occurring in MY apartment. I let them in to inspect of course, all the while astonished anyone could suspect me of doing anything illegal. They asked me if I heard my intercom buzzing a lot in the middle of the night. I told them I had, but I thought it was just rogue kids. They smiled. It took me a while to put all the new information together. It turns out the rascals buzzing me each night were not annoying teenagers, but johns! I was living in a brothel.
 
It would be an understatement to call my first apartment a nightmare. But if it weren’t for that nightmare, I wouldn’t love my current apartment so much. The elevator works, I have a washer and dryer on my floor, and to date I have only suspected one person of being a prostitute. Compared to my first apartment, I live in paradise. I was not going to lose this apartment! I negotiated the $530 hike down to $180. Take that evil management company! Oh wait…I still pay the equivalent of a 3-bedroom house mortgage for a tiny studio. Damn the evil villains!

Featured Image by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    May 25, 2012 at 9:36 am

    You crack me up, cousin! I’ve always loved your sense of humor!

  2. rygod

    May 2, 2012 at 11:11 am

    The good times being a new yorker!

  3. Sy

    May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I had no idea! Well one alleged prostitute is certainly better than a whole building full. The perfect first post, Sarah. Well done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in NYC Life

  • Last-Minute NYC, February Edition

    The last weekend of February is upon us! To enjoy this brilliant weather and savor the last days of the Valentine...

    Diba BijariFebruary 24, 2017
  • Eat More, Spend Less in NYC

    There’s no better way to start off your week than with some great deals on amazing food! New York gives you...

    Ariana KraftFebruary 20, 2017
  • What to do in NYC This Weekend

    The month of February is filled with fun and exciting events all over New York City. The city is pulsing with...

    Diba BijariFebruary 14, 2017
  • A Cheaper Way to Have Date Night

    Finding the right thing to do on date night is always a tough choice. Many worry about finding an inventive and...

    James BattleJanuary 24, 2017
  • Hiding in New York City

    One of the great things about living in New York City is being able to go out and explore your neighborhood on...

    Sarah RizkallaApril 30, 2013
  • Can You Hear Me Now?

    In major New York news this week, it was announced that cell phone service would be coming to 30 more subway stations...

    Ugonna OnyekweApril 26, 2013
  • Seven of the Worst Urinal Stations

    When you live in New York City, the urinal is a necessary evil. If you’re like me, you have at least one...

    Sarah RizkallaApril 24, 2013
  • Boston Strong

    Going to college in Boston was one of the greatest experiences of my life. While applying to colleges, going to school in...

    Sarah RizkallaApril 23, 2013
  • Giveaway: Three Ty Allan Jackson Books By Big Head Books

    Enter to win three amazing and inspiring children’s books!  We have partnered up with Big Head Books and are giving away...

    Sarah RizkallaApril 22, 2013
  • Five At-Home Treatments to Look Hot for Spring

    If you’re like me, you’re dreading swimsuit season. The winter was bountiful with fabulous food. Soon we’ll have to shed our...

    Sarah RizkallaApril 12, 2013