You see, it all started last May, when due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, Spence and I had about 2 weeks to find a new place. We both thought "2 weeks? Sure! PLENTY of time!" And then after some deliberating, we realized that we were really stupid and worked opposite schedules and had basically more like 2 days to find a place.
How could we possibly find a decent place in such a short amount of time? Simple. We didn't.
We looked at a couple places in the couple days we had, with each of us going at separate times to check the places out. It was approaching the zero hour, and we had viewed a place that had been newly renovated and wasn't totally awful. It was close to a park and across from a school, so good enough!
When it comes to where you're going to live, "good enough" is not good enough, but we had no choice.
On most maps, our place was on the very southeast corner of crown heights, which as a whole isn't terrible. But you see, it basically bordered Brownsville. When everyone heard that we were a couple of blocks from Brownsville, they all immediately said something like "LOL YOU LIVE IN BROWNSVILLE!" Actually more like "..Oh god you live in Brownsville?" Well, not geographically, but socio-economically, basically yes, so I get it.
Oh! Have you not heard of Brownsville? Check out the wikipedia page. About halfway down, the page shows a couple of attractions, one of which being "a large vacant lot". Seriously.
Also, here is a direct quote from the wikipedia page:
- Brownsville's 73rd police district reported the highest murder rate in the city in 2011, according to crime reports complied by DNAinfo.com. Brownsville has significantly higher dropout rates and incidents of violence in its schools.
Good thing we weren't going to school there!
We didn't live in the thick of this area, only just outside it. But before we moved in, we weren't really aware that we were living so close to an area with these..statistics.
But hey at least the apartment was nice! I did just say newly renovated right? Well yes and no..
This apartment boasted the following:
New cabinets, and countertops.
New...hmm actually I guess that was it. But still, the place looked good at a glance. A GLANCE. As with any apartment, there are always calamitous shortcomings lurking just below the surface. Here are a few:
The first time I saw the shower I basically only noticed the shelf at one end which provided ample space for shampoo/soap etc.. and there was a window! BEST SHOWER EVER. Except god damn this awful awful shower. To start, the shower head came out of the SIDE of the fucking thing. What showerhead on earth comes out of the side instead of at the end? And there was no type of fancy plumbing fixture fastened to this pipe. It was just a stupid bare copper pipe of the variety you generally see on the ceilings of unfurnished basements. At the end of this pipe was the world's most boring shower head.
"But all of that is cosmetic!" You say. And too true, function over fashion. I just like to make fun of how stupid it looks. But wait! From this shower head cascaded the weakest water pressure I've ever experienced. It was horrible. It doubled the amount of time I needed to shower. There were no quick showers, unless you wanted to leave the bathroom still covered in fucking soap. Also, I'm a lazy son of a bitch in the morning, and I was not a fan of this extra few minutes I suddenly needed to get ready. Why didn't we just get a new shower head?
BECAUSE WE'RE STUPID I ALREADY SAID THAT.
On top of the terrible shower, one day someone from our building management company knocked on our door, asking to be let in to check our bathroom.
"Um no, our bathroom's fine thanks, buhbye!"
But it turns out, there was some convoluted situation going on. Something like a lady on the first floor had a leak, and to check out the source of it they needed to run water through pipes of the apartments above it. Now apparently there was also some crazy lady on the second floor that refused to let anyone inspect anything, and they had to go to court about it, and were eventually able to remove her from the premises for two days or something, so they had a very small window to check out her pipes, and needed our apartment to be available during that same small window.
STELLAR PLANNING YOU GUYS!!
I don't even know where to start when it comes to how poorly the management decided to execute this plan. But whatever, fill up our bathtub, let it drain and figure out what you need to figure out. And they did, but they weren't done!
They came back ANOTHER day and had to do this again! Tough shit, we had to leave. They were all "no but you don't understand!" I DON'T CARE, I HAD PLANS. Eventually we worked out a day they could come do what they needed to do. What about the crazy lady on the second floor? Wasn't it a huge ordeal to get her out of the place before? And now no mention of her? Pff, who knows. Probably a bullshit story to begin with. So, THIS time, they needed to bust some tiles in the bathroom to get to the pipes they needed to inspect. It wouldn't affect the water flow at all, it would just be a cosmetic issue that they promised they come back to fix in a few days. FINE JUST DO YOUR SHIT AND LEAVE. So smashy smash. They didn't come back to fix it in a few days though. We called them, and had to leave a message. More time passed. We called again, they said they'd come by to fix it that next week. They didn't. We called again, and again.
9 months. They never fixed it.
Heat and hot water was included. I know that's a good thing, but there's a downside. We couldn't control the heat at all. "But that's not that bad!" You say. Well, it is if whatever or whoever does control the heat is totally FUCKED. I don't know what sort of mechanism/mystical heat goblin was in place, but in the dead of winter we would regularly have to have all of the windows open to counteract the blistering inferno that was our few meager heat pipes.
That's right, we didn't even have to hook up our radiators. The sheer power of these nondescript pipes in the corners of our rooms was enough to keep the entire apartment sweltering. This was actually kind of great after walking in from the cold, but only for about 8 minutes. It quickly became unbearable. We have an air conditioner, but it was WINTER. We refused to turn it on out of principle.
"But what's so bad about it being hot?" You say. Haha, stop saying things. But you're right hypothetical reader, to keep things in perspective, a lot of people can't control their heat, and usually this means they are freezing cold, and I recognize that our heating situation wasn't terrible. But what if say, the pipes screamed at you constantly?
YUP! The pressure release valves on these pipes apparently couldn't be closed all the way, and when the heated blasted on occasionally, several of the pipes emitted a nice high pitched whistling noise that came and went, interspersed with gurgling and sputtering. Why didn't we ask to get this fixed? Oh, you mean ask the same people that refused to get back to us regarding the giant hole in the side of our shower? Perfect!
The Total Lack of Anything to Do
Remember that we lived basically in Brownsville? Well that meant "no going out late at night". But what about the daytime? Maybe there were restaurants or bars (for early evening drinks!) or something?
We're dudes, and comparatively, dudes smell, I know. But this was something different. Our kitchen had a smell that I still can't identify. It was one of those smells that we could never locate the source of. It smelled a bit like gas, but not quite. Better get the gas checked! No, the guy that came by said there was no leak, plus our gas bill was normal, and the stove had a failsafe that would spark every once in awhile, so if there was a leak it would've flamed up. Maybe it was something else inside the stove? No, we tore that thing apart and cleaned the hell out of it, and nothing. The sink? Nope, cleaned the hell out of that too. Fridge? No, also clean. Any time we stuck our faces close to something to see if it got stronger, the smell would disappear. We would regularly take out the trash, and the smell would never get better or worse. It just lingered, and lingered and lingered. Not enough to make you totally grossed out, but enough to make you grimace slightly and furrow your brow every time you entered the kitchen. For months. What the fuck was it?!?!
Well who gives a shit now we don't live there anymore!
That's right. We don't live there anymore. We have moved to prospect park south, gotten a HUGE upgrade in square footage, and we are closer to better trains, and more food. We're close to the park, and have 10 times as many food options, be it grocery stores or restaurants.
We're slow as hell as far as unpacking goes, but we should be totally settled in soon. Expect a housewarming party to be announced shortly.