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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Monthly Archives: March 2010

It is still cold, though. I took this picture of the first blooming plant I saw. The Empire State Building is in there, too.

Happy Monday!


It is amazing how often I find myself in this position. A need, identified and well contemplated. A solution, within reach. A human being, standing in between us. Being a broker in this city must be tough work. I believe that what they do can add value to the equation; I simply have not experienced it yet. I spent a couple of exhausted evenings after work last week following a young broker around east Manhattan. She seemed to know what she was doing. All it amounted to was seeing apartments that were either completely unaffordable and beyond my price ceiling or nearly impossible to fit inside. That was disappointing, but I did get to establish a barometer to aid my search. Tomorrow, I will meet another broker in the east village. I hope to see a place in east midtown that is a fantastic deal. Well, it appears to be a fantastic deal, but she is unwilling to disclose her fee, or the address of the place. I don’t blame her, because if I found the place without her I could save a lot of money. The completed application on my bed is for an apartment I found on my own in the upper east side. I spoke directly with the building’s management company and they faxed me an application. It’s really a shame. The person who did the most work for me will end up getting nothing out of it. Someone has said that “she didn’t do her job, then.” Even though I believe we could have found a place if she had listened to me, I still don’t believe she did nothing. Because tomorrow, when I meet with the hostile broker who I am terrified will waste my time, I will look back on all the apartments the first broker showed me as a means to making a decision. Part of me wants to say no to this place for her sake, even if it is perfect for us. How messed up is that? In the end, I have a sneaking suspicion that no broker will benefit from the time they invest in me. I would feel bad, I think, if they weren’t necessary to the hunt. Tomorrow’s broker stands as a gatekeeper. There is no way around her. I must let her show me the apartment, and if I choose it, I must pay her as if she is credited all the work of the other. Hopefully New York brokers plan on losing some.

The concept of apartment hunting has always existed in some obscure section of my brain. Looking for a place to live is one things. Trying to convince someone up here to take almost all of the money I make is another. I found a great apartment and got ready to submit my application when I realized I lacked the documentation. My boss became a US citizen today (he’s Italian). I understand the naturalization process here. It’s difficult. We want it that way. He even remarked earlier, “They want to show you their power.” Somehow, the process of securing a dwelling place here is remarkably difficult. Why? As I investigate it, I will post more. For one thing, it is pretty hard to evict someone up here, so I guess ending up with a dud tenant can mean a serious loss of cash flow. Maybe that excuses them.

Hello my friends. I would like to thank you for your support over the past few months. For whatever it’s worth, the words I have put together in this space have brought me comfort in trying times, and I would not have written it without you here.

I have been working as a full-time freelancer for almost two weeks now at Siivo Corp, a web design and ecommerce consulting company located at 27th and 5th Avenue. They have asked me to stay with them on a permanent basis after the wedding. So, I suppose you could say I have a job. And since I have a job, I am able to look for apartments (which is what Amber and I have been doing on craigslist for the last hour over the phone), and since I will probably end up finding an apartment for us to live in, I imagine Amber and I will be moving here after all. What a wonderfully strung sentence!

So what’s next? There is plenty to say. Sometimes I want to write it here and end up not doing it for one reason or another. I have not decided if I will keep this blog up in its current state or not. I will say that I plan to keep blogging. It will actually be a large part of my day to day job. I have been doing some music writing as well, and plan to pursue more outlets for those efforts. In addition to music, some friends and I are starting a NYC food blog soon. That will be formidable. I will do my best to update some more here, largely for the sake of anyone looking for practical wisdom on moving up here. After that, we will just have to see how it goes.

All for now. Up next: Apartment Hunting, or what I hope will be my epic battle against brokers’ fees.

No, I am not talking about myself.

I’ve been listening to Rules by The Whitest Boy Alive all morning. The album isn’t extraordinary, but it’s really good. The music is disconcerted and funky, and each instrument is expressed in its own spatial layer. Vocalist/guitarist Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience) is the reason I gave them a chance, but as I’ve discovered this album over time, it is not his vocal presence that brings me back to it. The sound is unremarkable, not at all German, and I love it. It is great subway music. Give them a try.

A noise has been hindering my sleep lately. I only hint at the source here for the sake of the squeamish reader, but I can tell you it sounds big. If you’ve ever dealt with rodents where you live, I wonder if your reaction is similar to mine. You just sort of recoil under your covers, hoping it doesn’t come bursting through the wall or ceiling. You try beating the walls and yelling, exacerbating your fears of an intrusion and delighting your neighbors. Even now as I clumsily plod this post out on my cell phone, I find myself looking up periodically to make sure there’s no breach. Now that it’s quiet, I might not be able to sleep for fear that he is just silently skirting around my bedroom, plotting my demise as he chews holes on my favorite wool socks.

At this point you are probably thinking one or both of the following:

1. Chris has finally lost it. 

2. This post is a waste of my time. 

Sorry about that. I probably should have named it “Rats in New York.” All I can say is if you’re moving here you are going to deal with them one way or another.

If you made it this far into this post, take heart. I will have a silver lining for you tomorrow.


I rose out of the subway this morning with a new perspective. Flatiron, named for an iron-shaped building where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect, is a lively place. As a tourist, I was never interested in it. Nothing in the area ever attracted me, and most subway lines that I rode as a visitor bypass it. As a new resident working in the city, I am thrilled to be learning the area and am enjoying its architecture and culture. Almost everyone you see on the street works somewhere nearby. In the morning the sidewalks are lined with the fast-paced crowds you see in movies. At lunch, people wander to corner cafes and delis for a quick break from their computer screens. Today I took my grilled vegetables, fruit and cheese from a nearby cafe with a hot and cold buffet inside to Madison Square Park. It was full of vibrant young professionals chattering about the day’s troubles. Two girls next to me commiserated about their old boss and how he didn’t understand their generation. At some point during that lunch, I looked up at the New York Life building’s exquisite golden roof, the early spring sun warming my back and the droning, frustrated urbanites’ banter sitting dull in my ears. In that moment I felt excited. Excited to be alive. Excited to be working. Excited to be in this place. Excited about our future.

There are days when I am not excited at all, and sometimes I feel like giving in to my fears and my desire to be in control. Up here, I have no choice but to surrender – either to my own fears or to the one who sustains me. Today, I was reminded of His goodness. And I am looking forward to the ways Amber and I will grow here.

My optimism usually comes in short bursts, but I will let you know how things are going. Also, I will share a link to my main client soon.

Thanks for keeping up with me. If you’re reading and havent commented, I would love to know you’re out there.