Monday, July 5, 2010

My NYC apartment

Just a few days after arriving, exhausted, in Minneapolis from Santiago last weekend, I slumped, still exhausted, onto yet another airplane. The fatigue was worth it, though: Within 24 hours, my sister, Q., and I had signed the lease for the apartment we'll share in New York City starting in August.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as involved in the apartment search as I would have liked to be. While I've heard many people gripe about the tedium of sorting through listings and making appointments, I actually enjoy house hunting. I've even toured apartments I have no interest in renting simply because the writer in me can't resist imagining all the possible lives that could transpire within their walls . Therefore, I would have liked to accompany Q. on her marathon run of apartment visits, but I wasn't able to make it to New York in time. By the time I arrived, essentially all that was left for me to do was approve the apartment that had emerged as Q.'s favorite.

Luckily, I really liked it. It met my two primary aesthetic requirements: hardwood floors and plenty of natural light (call me impractical, but I couldn't care less about the number of bathrooms). Even better, it's located in an older building (we all know how I feel about new apartment towers) on a pleasantly leafy street and has views that actually include trees.

The apartment has another feature which, like the bathrooms, doesn't rank high on my priority list but constitutes a surprising benefit all the same: a dishwasher. Unless you count my family home in Minneapolis, I haven't lived in a place with a dishwasher since I moved to Ecuador in 2006. During the fourteen months I lived in Quito, I never once saw a dishwasher in a private home. I saw a few in Santiago, including at my host family's house, but the vast majority of people I know in Chile rock the sink after dinner. When I expressed doubts as to whether we really needed such a luxury, I was told that many New York City building owners are installing dishwashers in an attempt to curb rat and cockroach infestations; apparently, not everyone washes the dishes.

When it came time to sign the lease, I tried everyone's patience by reading very carefully through all the articles of the contract and asking a slew of specific questions. The reason for this is pushing 90 and, as far as I know, still terrorizing tenants on Quito's west side. One of these days, I plan to devote an entire entry to the duplicitous landlord who made my life a living infierno until my roommate and I had the good sense to move. Despite the anguish this man put us through, I am grateful to him for teaching me the value of being an assertive renter, requesting clarification and insisting that everything be put in writing.

Up next are furnishing and decorating -- quite the tasks when you consider that neither Q. nor I own any furniture. Oh, well. At least we have somewhere to wash the dishes.


Anonymous said...

ahhhhhhhhhhh Leigh! Can I come visit you sometime? Congrats on your new place! Are you in Manhattan? Brooklyn? Where where where?

(I'm obviously living vicariously through you right now, of course ;)

Leigh said...

Upper West Side! Come visit! What are you up to these days?

Julie said...

Remember when we used to go to Parade of Homes each year? We had so much fun doing that.

Eileen said...

yay! great location! fairway here you come. And I'm sure the furniture thing will sort itself out. It always does. And a dishwasher? Now that's fancy!

KM said...

congrats on your move. i just moved back to nyc from chile as well. also living on UWS. what will you be studying? good luck!