Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kevin .... Kline?

At the office the postman came in with a package, asking "is there a Kevin here?  I have a package for Kevin," was directed to my desk where he handed it to me and left.

I wasn't expecting anything and a quick examination of the box showed it didn't have the name "Kevin" anywhere on it.  It was addressed to somebody with the last name Kline, a tenant in one of the residential apartments above the office.

What's funny is for a few years I used to work with a guy named Kurt Kline, back at First Insight, who started off in technical support and moved to sales and marketing.

Repeatedly in the office people would mistake us for each other.  They'd address me as Kurt and him as Kevin, even going into conversations that were relevant to the other one of us.  And not just once or twice, but frequently, with people who worked closely with both of us on a daily basis and knew who we both were.

Kurt and I didn't even look vaguely alike.  I'm short, chubby, and back then I had long, messy, dark hair while I shaved less than once a week, the epitome of a slovenly computer geek.  Kurt was tall, lean, very clean-cut, well dressed with short, blonde hair, and all the confident bearing of the ex-Army paratrooper he was.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Apartment Hunt - Weekend 2

Friday February 10, 2012

I left work around 12:15pm.  I took the subway home to get things organized, but got extremely frustrated at Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street because the blasted R train took longer to come than it would've taken me to walk home, though of course I couldn't have predicted that.

When I got out of the subway station I had a voice mail and SMS from Elise at Manhattan Apartments.  She works with Crystal, who I'd arranged to see apartments with today.  Elise said to call her about scheduling a time and place to meet up.  I got to my apartment, then called Elise and we fixed up for 2:30pm at the corner of East 83rd Street & York Avenue.

I quickly got dressed and went down to the subway, and again the R train took longer than average to come.  Fortunately at Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street the 4 express train got there as soon as I got to the platform, and that whisked me up Manhattan to the Upper East Side.  I got off at 86th Street & Lexington Avenue and walked the few blocks down.

Just as I got near the corner and saw one woman standing alone at each of three of the four corners of the intersection, I got an SMS on my phone from Elise saying she was at the northeast corner, so I went over and met her.

She took me to see the first apartment, on 83rd Street.  It was a 6th floor walk-up.  That means, no elevator…  I was huffing and puffing by the time we got up there, and sweating like crazy from the effort.  She was fine…  Other than that, it was a decent apartment.  It had more windows than I've seen in other apartments, on three sides, and being so high up it wasn't blocked too much by other buildings.  It was a bit of a mess as one of the two tenants hadn't moved out yet and she had stuff all over, partially packed (she wasn't there, but from the clothes and shoes strewn about, it was obviously a "she").  The one who had moved out was a smoker, and there was lots of cigarette debris in her room.  This one was $2,395 a month.

I told Elise that it was some of what we wanted in an apartment, but not the sixth floor without an elevator, that just wouldn't work.

The next one she was going to take me to was one that Andrej took me to last week, with the view of the river.  I told her that, since there would definitely be a conflict if two brokers took me to the same place, if I picked it.  She said that was okay and we skipped it.

Then we went to another that was awful.  It was on the 2nd floor, with an elevator, but the apartment itself just wasn't very good.  One bedroom had a view of the back yards of all the buildings around, and would get decent sunsets.  The other windows all faced another building just a couple of feet away, and were dark.  The kitchen had a big area, but only an itty bitty counter top.  I didn't like this one at all…

Back on the street she couldn't get hold of the person to let us into the last apartment on her list, so we couldn't see that one.

She called Crystal at the office and went over my feedback, and also said she didn't like that second apartment, either, "it's just not a good apartment," then gave me the phone to talk to Crystal.  I told Crystal that now we're thinking about one bedroom apartments and she said that gave a lot more possibilities, including nicer, more luxurious apartments in the same price range.  So, she'll do some research and I'll meet her tomorrow afternoon.

From there Elise took the subway back to the office, and I walked around the Upper East Side a little.  It's a nice neighborhood.  I made my way to Central Park, and through there down to 58th Street.

I took an F train down to 23rd Street where I got out and walked over towards the High Line.  I stopped at the New York Burger Co. for some dinner or lunch.  I got a beef burger, well done, with sweet potato fries and a blueberry milkshake.

Then I went up onto the High Line for a little bit.  And then over to Union Square.

New York City had light snow on Wednesday, and it looks like they scraped it all up into a pile in Union Square.  There was a lot of snow there, more than I thought we had altogether.

I stayed there for a little bit, then took the Q train to Brooklyn and transferred to the R train to Park Slope.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

After Leena and I got off the phone I hit the shower, and then waited for Crystal from Manhattan Apartments to call.  I thought she'd said on Friday that she would call after she got to the office at 12pm.

By around 1pm she hadn't called, so I called and left a voice mail for her.  And waited, getting anxious and frustrated at nothing happening…  Around 2pm I called and left another voice mail. But this time I said I was just going to head to her office, since that would get me there sooner than if I waited to hear from her, and if she'd planned on having someone meet me at an apartment, her office was closer to that than my apartment would be if I was waiting.

So, I got dressed and headed out.  It wasn't snowing any more and none had stuck to the ground, but I moved all my gear into a more weatherproof backpack, just in case, and wore shoes instead of sandals.

I dozed off quite a bit on the R train, but managed to wake up enough to get off at the 49th Street stop, which is right at 7th Avenue.  The exit is right at the Manhattan Apartments office, so there's not much of a walk.

I went up to the 4th floor and went in.  I told the receptionist that I was there to see Crystal, and she said Crystal was in a conference call, but she'd go tell her.  A few minutes later Crystal came out, with a phone to her ear, and indicated "one minute".

A few minutes later Chris, the guy she sent me with last Sunday, came over and led me to her desk.  She'd arranged for me to see two apartments in Midtown West, or Hell's Kitchen, the neighborhood between Times Square and the Hudson River.

The first one was on 46th Street, one block from where 46th Street has an official city street sign that says "Restaurant Row" because of all the restaurants…  Lots of good food options there.  But I didn't like the apartment much.  It had windows that only faced north, so it wouldn't get much sunlight, and a too small kitchen (granted, bigger than that one Friday).

The second one, on 49th Street, was much better and I didn't immediately say "no" to it.  It's one I'll definitely consider.  It had windows on the correct side of the apartment to get sunlight, a better kitchen, a nicer bathroom and all that.  The floor looked pretty good, too.  And at $1,950 a month it's less expensive.

On the other hand, we were there for an "open house" in which a representative of the landlord was there to show it to anyone who came.  A few other brokers and their clients came and went, too…  The landlord's representative was a cute college girl with a European accent doing this part-time.  Chris was busy trying to chat her up, and she was giving the shortest possible answers without being too rude for a professional work day…

After that Chris and I walked back towards his office and made plans for tomorrow.  They want him to show me some apartments on the Upper East Side, which weren't available today, as the company that has the keys closes at 2pm on Saturdays.  So we arranged for noon on Sunday.

After Chris went to his office, I walked around the area a bit.  I went over to Grand Central Terminal, used the bathroom, then bought a container of sushi from a take-out place, and a pastry from a bakery.  I took those over to Bryant Park to get a table and write in my diary about the day and eat, but the music from the ice skating rink was too loud, so I figured I'd go somewhere quieter, Times Square.

A quick walk over to Times Square and I found all the tables and chairs were folded up and locked, probably from some event that might've needed more space there or something.  So I went back to Bryant Park, and found a less noisy part of it to sit and write until my fingers were too numb from cold to continue.

I took the F train back to Brooklyn, and it was one of the most crowded subway trains I'd been on.  Maybe there was some event somewhere, I don't know.  It was standing all the way, though that's not unusual, but I was getting squashed between some of the stops when there were more people than between others.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

After Leena and I got off the phone I quickly got dressed and headed out.  I went down to the nearby station to get the R train to Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street for transferring to a 4 express to the Upper East Side.

But things were confusing…  Signs at Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street said the 4 train was running on the local tracks due to weather.  However when I went to the local track, there didn't seem to be any sign that the 4 would go there.  And while I was waiting, I heard an announcement from the express platform that a 4 train was approaching.  I dashed down the stairs, under the tracks, and up the stairs to the express platform, just catching the 4 as it came in…

On the way up to 86th Street three different people got on the train to solicit money from other passengers.  I gave a buck to a young woman who said she was a college student from the Virgin Islands and sang a beautiful song she said she wrote herself.  I couldn't hear most of the words, but she sounded good.

I got off at 86th & Lexington about half an hour earlier than our meeting time, so I wandered around a little bit.  Once I reached the street corner I sent Chris an SMS saying that I was there, so if he was around we could meet up, but if he was in the subway that was fine, I'd just walk around a bit.  Which is what I ended up doing, admiring the metal grills on some of the apartment buildings that I was pretty sure were far out of my budget…  There was a biting cold wind around there and I kept my hands in my pockets to keep them warm.

At about 11:55am I returned to 80th Street & 3rd Avenue and spotted Chris there.  He said he messed up on the plan, and needed to go to another realtor's office first to get keys.  I knew the office from when Andrej had to keep returning there last weekend, being given only a single key at a time.  Chris said he'd try to ask them for all the keys at once, but couldn't guarantee they'd give them.  He said it would be a real pain for us if they made him come back for one key at a time.

It was about four blocks out of the way, and he said I could stay where I was, meet him at the first apartment or join him on the walk.  So, I joined him on the walk.  On the way I told him that we were still thinking about the 49th Street one and he got on the phone with Crystal to confirm that it was still available.

It was nice and warm in that company's office, a good break from the biting cold wind outside.  It took him a while, but he managed to get all the keys he requested, but he said there was a complication, his realtor's license hadn't yet been received by his employer, so if I ended up liking one of the apartments he was going to show me, he'd have to get someone else from his company to come out and do the paperwork with me.

We headed out…

The first apartment was close to where we met, on 80th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues.  The key the company gave him opened the downstairs door, but when we got up to the actual apartment, the key didn't work and we couldn't get in…  He was busy trying to call up the company about the key when another broker came with another client.  He had a key that worked, so we all went in.  While we were there, yet another broker came with yet another client…  Chris asked the broker which other places they were going to see and their list was a pretty close match to our list...

I didn't like it at all…  The other buildings nearby were taller, so the sky wasn't visible at all from this one.  The living room and kitchen were just one room, no divider or anything between them, and very small.  The only two things nice about this one were the gigantic bathroom, that was the biggest room in the apartment, and a high-tech video intercom to the front door of the building.

The next apartment was up on 89th Street, between 1st & 2nd Avenues.  While we walked the nine blocks up he called Crystal at the office, giving her my feedback on what I didn't like, and she told him to cancel two of the ones he got keys for, as she knew I would reject them as well for the same reason.

The one on 89th Street was also very small, with almost no kitchen counter space, and the windows faced north, so they'd get very little sunlight.  The building to the east was taller, so that would eliminate even early morning summer sunshine.  The bathroom was really classy, though, with nice black and white tile work.  And the bedroom window opened out onto a nice, big fire escape for sitting outside during nice weather.  But it was one to reject anyway…

Then the next one was a block away on 89th Street.  Chris's key got us in the door, but when we climbed up to the fourth floor (that would be third floor by Indian floor numbering) and found the door, the key didn't fit in the lock.  We waited around a bit, and he tried calling both the company that gave him the key and Crystal at his office, but we didn't have any way to get inside.

At that point, having been disappointed in the ones up there anyway, I said I'd go for the one on 49th Street that he showed me yesterday, the one we both liked.  So, he said he'd go return the keys and I should take the subway to his office for Crystal to do the application.

I went over to Lexington & 86th to catch the subway where I got off of it earlier.  I started to wait for a 4 express, but then realized it wouldn't stop at 49th Street near Times Square, by their office, but only at Grand Central Terminal, giving me a 10 block walk or so.  But then I also remembered that its next stop was at 59th Street and Lexington, where I could transfer to an R train that would stop right across the street from their office, so I did that…

In their building, I went to the lobby and got into an open elevator.  As I was pressing the button I heard the security guard ask me what my business was, but I was already on my way up.  In their office Crystal saw me come in and waved me to her desk.

We started the paperwork for it all.  I had a long application to fill out, including some credit stuff.  I had to pay a nonrefundable $60 fee for the credit check, which I was expecting.  What I wasn't expecting was she didn't get any money for me for the deposit on the apartment.  She said she prefers to wait till the application goes through, so that if things don't work, it's less hassle about refunding it.

She gave me a list of some other papers to get and email to her for the application.  If the application is approved then I'll need to go to their office and pay the bigger chunks by credit card, or get bank checks at the bank to give to them.  She actually mentioned the bank checks first, and I asked if it was possible to pay by card and she said it was, they'd run the card and then their company would get bank checks to give the landlord.  I told her that sounded easier for me, so I wouldn't have to wait in line at a bank.

I left there and walked back over by the apartment I picked again to take a look and see what else was around there.  I didn't see any large grocery stores, but hopefully a little walk around will turn something up like that.  We'll see…  Lots and lots and lots of restaurants to order from, of course.  And for a break to get outside the apartment, there's Times Square close by…

Then I walked down to the Port Authority Bus Terminal where I used the public restroom and caught an A express train to Brooklyn, where I transferred to an F train to Park Slope.

South facing view from the 6th floor walkup...

One of the bedrooms in the 6th floor walk-up...  Not quite vacated yet...

Living room of the 6th floor walkup...

View from the bedroom of the 2nd floor elevator apt.

Kitchen of the 2nd floor apt, surprisingly, not the smallest I'll see by the end of the weekend...

Apartment on 46th Street. Later I realized the floor boards not running the length of the room is part of why it felt wrong.

This one on 49th Street is the one I picked and have applied for...

Living room on 49th Street

View from 49th Street.

Chris in the 49th Street apartment

Kitchen in the 49th Street apartment.

Bathroom in the 89th Street.  One of the few with a vanity for storage.

80th Street.  I could not tilt the camera up high enough to get even a glimpse of the sky...

80th Street. High tech security next to the doors (bathroom white, entrance black)

80th Street kitchen and living room combination room (door leads to the bedroom)

Back of the 89th Street apartment, lots of space to go outside, but faced north so no direct sunlight.

Bathroom of the 89th Street one, very classic and nice.

Kitchen of the 89th Street apartment.  Yeah, the whole kitchen.

Living room view of the kitchen on 89th Street...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Apartment Hunt - Upper West Side

After yesterday's apartment hunt resulting in a broker saying they didn't have anything matching my requirements at my price range, today I started with Craigslist listings again.  I SMS'ed a few brokers with interesting ads, left one voice mail, and sent a couple of emails.

I looked on Craigslist for both Park Slope in Brooklyn and various neighborhoods in Manhattan.  Eventually one broker with a couple of Manhattan apartment ads, one for Murray Hill and one for the East Village, replied to my SMS, about ten seconds after I sent it saying to give him a call.  I saw both of his ads last weekend, too, so that means those apartments haven't been snapped up in a week, despite being relatively inexpensive…

So, I called him, and he said his office is open till 3pm so I should go there and we'll do some searches on the computer and go out and see some.  I asked for directions and it was right at Times Square, so I got dressed and headed out…

I got to the office around 2:15pm.  The elevator opened up onto a gigantic office with neat rows of small desks, each with a small computer and screen and telephone on them.  Being Sunday it was mostly empty.  The receptionists' desk was right at the front, so I went to her to tell her I had an appointment with Mike Z.  She gave me some forms to fill out, the same ones all brokers give, so I filled those out and returned them to her.  She said "someone will be with you in a moment."

And in a moment a broker, Chrystal, came to get me and took me to her desk.  She asked a bit about what I was looking for and my budget and all that, with a little small talk while she hit keys on the keyboard and made notes on paper.  She said looking for a two bedroom apartment in my price range would be tough, though not necessarily impossible, and only being able to look at apartments on the weekends would make viewing them a little harder.

After a little while a large fellow came into the office and sat at the desk next to Chrystal's and they chit-chatted a bit.  She mentioned something about sending him back to where he'd just come from.  And that turned out to be that she wanted me to go see an apartment on the Upper West Side that he'd just shown some other people.  Chrystal said that Chris would take me up there, and after I saw it he'd call her on the phone and I could tell her what I thought.  She said "I don't own this apartment and my company doesn't own it, so you can be totally honest about what you think of it and I won't be offended."

So, Chris took me out…  He asked if I had a MetroCard for the subway, and I did.  He said we'd take the B train up there, as he only realized on his way back to the office from the last trip that the B was right by the apartment, much closer than the 1 train.  We headed down into the Rockefeller Center subway station.

Down there the first train that came was a D, which we got on, but then he checked a map on his cell phone and held the door when it closed, saying we had to get off, it was the wrong train. So we waited, chit-chatting a bit.  He was happy to dress casual on a Sunday workday, when he isn't required to wear a suit and tie.  He asked if I was going to watch the Super Bowl, that he lost interest in sports a while ago, but was going to a Super Bowl party with friends, mainly for the beer and food.

Another D train came, then an F on the opposite side of the platform, but still no B.  When yet another D train came he said we'll just get on that to 59th Street and switch to a 1 train.  Which we did…  The 59th Street station was jam packed with people and we had to run through the crowds to catch the 1.

We got off that at 103rd Street and Broadway, with a few blocks walk to the apartment, which was near Central Park.  Unfortunately, we had to walk through "the projects", which didn't feel safe at all.  "Projects" is the urban terminology for gov't built housing for lower income people, and in many cases they're centers for gang crime, violence and drugs…  The apartment wasn't actually in the projects, just one block away.

This apartment was the biggest I've seen so far, with really tall ceilings and a long, long hallway from the entrance to the living room, off of which there was the bathroom and one of the bedrooms.  The main bedroom had a really tall closet, as well.  It was on the ground floor, but the buildings around were all a bit taller so to see the sky meant moving up really close to the window to be able to look upwards.  Otherwise it only had views of the neighboring buildings., and since it was at the back of that building, no view of the street out front.

I asked Chris about safety there, being so close to the projects.  He said he couldn't honestly say it was safe.  He said it wasn't likely "anything would go down" but that "if something were to go down, this is where it would happen."  He said he know some guys who lived in the projects and they were great guys, but not everyone there is.  I asked if I'd be safe coming and going at night and he said that would be a little bit of a risk, and I asked "how about my wife, could she walk around here alone at night?" and he admitted it might be a risk.

On our way out he called Chrystal at the office and said that I really didn't like the location, and she said that was okay, since I liked other aspects of the apartment that we were on the right track.  She'll look at listings and things and we'll see about going out to look at more on Friday after work next week, since I have a half day.  In the meantime she said she'll be in touch about listings by email during the week.

From there, I was the last client of the day, so Chris took the subway wherever he was going, somewhere to watch the Super Bowl with buddies.  And it was early for me to head back to the apartment, so I walked along Central Park West from 103rd Street, where we were, all along the park to Columbus Circle, which is by 59th and 60th Streets.  I sat there and wrote in my diary a little bit, then walked down to 57th Street to catch the Q train back to Brooklyn where I changed to an R train to Park Slope…

It was a long trip there to look at one apartment...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Apartment Hunt - First Day in Manhattan - Upper East Side

I left work after the usual Friday half-day, taking the subway all the way home, at about 12:30pm.  I took the 4 express from the office to Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street, then changed to an R to my apartment.  I wanted a quick bite pretty badly before going to the Upper East Side to meet the broker…

I was in the apartment for about half an hour, forty minutes, time to relieve myself and take a quick, hot shower, shovel some sliced lunch meat into my maw, get dressed and head out…

I took the R train from near my apartment in Brooklyn to Atlantic Avenue - Pacific Street, where I took a 4 express train to Manhattan.  The express train made really good time, cruising up Manhattan under Lexington Avenue.

I got off it at 59th Street, shortly after 2pm.  I'd arranged to meet A., the broker, at 3pm at the corner of 73rd Street & 3rd Avenue, so I had a little bit of a walk to get there, but for me 14 blocks is a "walk in the park", and I was really early anyway.  The Upper East Side there is a fantastic neighborhood.  Those parts aren't the fantastically wealthy parts, but are very respectable.  I walked past the street where the fictional Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City lives, in the same neighborhood…

I arrived at the corner where we arranged to meet about half an hour early, so I called A., to let him know I was there and I knew I was early.  He said to meet him near his company's office at 78th Street & York Avenue (York is one block east of 1st Avenue, and doesn't run the full length of Manhattan) and we'd start a bit early.

So, I did that.  I thought I was going into his office so I was walking all over looking for an office with his company's name, and didn't see it.  Then I overheard some guy standing on the street, holding a bunch of papers, talking into a cell phone about "I'll get the keys, but first I'm meeting a client to look at an apartment," so I turned towards him, got his attention and he noticed me, and seemed to guess the same thing.  I asked "are you A.?" and he said he was, so we shook hands and introduced ourselves…

He said he wanted to show me four apartments, and we'd start with a nearby one, and we started walking up two streets and then turned left…  We were looking for the 220 street address, and after we saw 222, there was another building with construction going on, so he asked if that was 220, but none of the workers seemed to know.  He was sure it didn't look like what he was planning to show me…

Then he realized we were on the wrong street, we were on 80th Street, and he wanted to show me one on 78th Street…  Okay, strike one for this guy, we met at a corner of the same street where he wanted to show me an apartment, he named the street on the phone as to where to meet and then took us the wrong way…

We walked a couple of blocks and found 220 78th Street.  He struggled with the key to open the outer door of the building and it wouldn't open.  He kind of gave up when I said "the outer door should be open" and I pushed it and it opened.  Then we were in the lobby between the doors, and his key wouldn't open that one, though we both tried numerous times.  The tag on the key said 220-230 78th Street, so we also tried it at 230, but that didn't work at all…

He was a bit upset, and said we'd have to go back to the office at 78th Street & York Avenue.  He needed to exchange that for the right keys. But he said first he had to meet another client he'd already arranged to meet and show her a 1 bedroom apartment.

So we did that, he dropped off the key and picked up a key to another apartment and then we met Stephanie on the corner of 79th Street & York Avenue.  The apartment he wanted to show where was on 79th Street, near the east end of the block, not far from the East River.   We went there, the key opened the outer door of the building and we went into the big courtyard, then found the right corner for the P apartments…

We climbed up four flights of stars, found the apartment and his key wouldn't open it.  He tried calling the office but there was no signal in the stairwell.  He left me and Stephanie outside the door of the apartment and ran back to the office.  Stephanie and I just sort of looked at each other, shaking our heads…  A. came back around ten or fifteen minutes later with another set of keys, and this one wouldn't open the door, either.

Stephanie was getting impatient, saying she only had a two hour break for this apartment search, and A. was getting really frustrated as well…  He went downstairs again and came back about ten minutes later with the building superintendent, who opened the door, and changed the lock, since it seemed that the problems was the lock in the door was the wrong lock.

I wasn't sure if I should go in or stay outside.  I decided that staying outside might make Stephanie think I was impatient and I didn't want to rush her in her decision, so I went inside, but didn't really wander around the apartment.  She did and then told A. that she liked it and she'd take it.  He suggested she look at the kitchen but she said "Oh, I don't cook at all."

From there we had to go back to the office for him to get her started on the paperwork, and to get keys to show me an apartment, since the office only lets him take one set of keys at a time.  Stephanie started filling out the forms and paid in cash for the credit check, and A. got a set of keys for us.

He took me around the block to the building next door to the one he showed Stephanie, and we had no problems getting in.  This was similar in that the main door opened onto a big courtyard inside with stairwells at each corner.  We found the L series and went there.  I kind of liked this apartment.  It was two bedrooms, not very big, but not bad.  It had a great view off the east of the East River and Queens across it, very nice, and a minor view between buildings.

The only problem was there was no hookup for the washing machine.  He said he didn't know of many buildings, especially not in my price range, with washing machine hookups, but said the best thing would just be to get some hoses and if necessary, hire a plumber to run them in the kitchen from under the sink.  This one had space in the kitchen for the machine, though it'd be a little cramped….

I wrote the address on a page in my notepad, photographed it and then took photos of the apartment.

When I was done with that we went back to the office.  Stephanie was still filling out forms and the office was very crowded with other brokers and their clients.  Brokers were talking on cell phones, and with each other.  They all asked each other "so, which one is your client?" and then the other would point to the client…

And A. got the keys for that 220 building again, so we walked there again.  This time we came on 230 first, and the key said 230 on it, so we went in, found the right apartment and he rang the bell.  No one answered so he started trying the key in the lock and fiddling it it.  Then a young woman opened the door, "what the fuck do you want?".  A. was "um, this apartment isn't for rent, is it?" and the woman, probably thinking we were trying to break in or something just said "fuck off assholes!" and slammed the door…

I told A., "um, I think we want 220, not 230, they probably aren't separate entrances to the same building…"

So, we left there and went next door to 220.  This time it was the right one, and the key opened it.  We went up four or five flights of stairs to the right apartment, but I didn't really like it.  It was two bedrooms, but they had windows that only faced north, so they wouldn't get much sunlight (sort of like my current apartment) and it seemed dark and "closed" inside…  I did the photo thing again and told A. want I didn't like about it.

He took us upstairs another couple of flights of steps to see another apartment.  This one was actually the biggest of all the he showed me, and the cheapest.  The reason is that it wasn't really two bedrooms.  It was one bedroom and one random, not-bedroom room.  Because the the two were connected it couldn't be rented as a two bedroom apartment.  But this was nice, all the rooms were connected by wide glass doors, giving it a big, wide open feel.  It was high up so there was a good view of the sky from the windows, though, they also faced the adjacent building pretty close, too…  The kitchen was a bit small, and it was six or seven floors up with no elevator…  I did the photograph thing again…

We walked back to his office to drop off the keys.  Stephanie was still there, with paperwork.  She said she texted her current landlord about a landlord reference and got a nasty reply back about why was she moving?  She said her reasons for moving are that her landlord is trying to sell the apartment, so she wants to start the process now instead of when the landlord finds a buyer, just so she does it at her own pace.  But the landlord doesn't want to lose a rent paying tenant until the last minute…

Then one of the guys who worked at the office walked up to her and said, loudly for all of us to hear, "I'm sorry, your credit check failed, we can't accept you as a client.  You have an outstanding collections action, but if you pay that off we'll be glad to take you again."  So, that was the end of that for her…  Then the guy took A. aside into another room to talk to him about it, and he was disappointed because that was the end of that commission for him…

All three of us left again at the same time, though Stephanie split off at the next intersection to go her own way.  A. had one more apartment to show me, up on 95th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.  He got a taxi for us instead of walking twelve blocks, as it was getting late and we were both tired and he was complaining of being hungry.  Next to the apartment we went into a small laundry shop where he got the key from the building's superintendent and we went in.

This apartment was interesting…  It was decent sized, with much of it being very irregularly shaped, but the kitchen was tiny.  It had a south-facing view, so it would get the most sunlight of the four.  But there was no room at all for the washing machine anywhere near plumbing.

I told him after the last one that there was nothing he showed me that was like "wow, I gotta have it!" and nothing I was quite prepared to actually commit to yet, none to put money down on, but a couple to think about.  He said he understood.

We stood in the kitchen here and had a talk about what I liked, what I didn't like, what my "real budget" is, and what sort of realistic trade-offs have to be made to live in a good neighborhood on that budget.  For the most part, to live in good Manhattan neighborhoods, he said I'll have to compromise on the size of the apartment.  He said mostly genuine two bedroom apartments are expensive because the bulk of the renters are roommates who will split the rent between two working people, not married couples.  But like the third apartment, something with a not-bedroom room would probably work for me and Leena, as a married couple, not roommates living separate lives.

He said bigger apartments are available in that budget in some neighborhoods that are less safe, but I'd prefer not to compromise on that aspect...

So, after that we walked up to the subway station on Lexington.  Both of us were heading in the downtown direction.  I'll let him know after thinking further, and he'll look for more apartments matching my criteria and budget and let me know.

I got off the train at 14th Street - Union Square and walked over to the High Line.  I went up there and wrote in my diary for a little bit.  I know a guy was photographing me while I sat there and wrote, since I saw the flash from his camera…

Then I headed back to Union Square and caught a Q train to Brooklyn, where I transferred to an R train to my neighborhood…

Now I'm eating some of the beef stew and drinking a cream soda after not eating or drinking almost all day…  I really need the meal…

Kitchen in the first apartment

View of the East River and Roosevelt
Island from the first apartment.

The nicest floor of them all,
in the second apartment.

Really great floor in the second apt.

Kitchen in the second apartment.

Floor covered from painting work
in the third apartment.

Glass doors between rooms in the third apt.

Less than stellar view from the third apt...

Small kitchen in third apt.

Looking out the window of the third apt...

View from the bedroom window of
fourth apt.

Kitchen in the fourth apartment...

Exposed brick in the fourth apartment,
this is the entrance and living room

A. in the fourth apt, with, is that a gas
meter? in the living room?

Something in the living room of the fourth apartment,
I don't know what, but I kind of like the little
raised area to sit or read or whatever...