[Our Renters from the District and their trusty sidekick Broker J were pounding the melting pavement once again this weekend, stopping to get financially intimate with a property manager and still wondering whether they had a future in Sheridan Square or whether they couldn't really use an extra bedroom. The floor is yours, Carolyn:]
"Bright and early Friday morning, we were all dressed up in our interview best for our little chat with P from Bluestar Properties, the management company that handles the apartment we wanted at 10 Sheridan Square (see photo above). Our indefatigable rental broker J, earning every penny of her fee, met us in front of the office in the East 30's, offering cheery last minute advice ("Just be yourselves!") and toting cold bottled water and breath mints for all. Clearly, she's used to dealing with the rigors of a co-op board, since she kept urging us to relax."
After the jump, P arrives, the men discuss salary, and the Renters test their gentrifying limits.
"The mysterious P arrived 20 minutes late, with no apologies. J sat in with us, perhaps sensing that something was awry. . . P asked a few questions about information that was recorded in our rental application. He seemed primarily concerned with my husband's salary and employer (both presumably attractive to even a Manhattan landlord, thankyouverymuch). Several times, J firmly pointed out that *both* of our salary histories were presented in the rental app - could J be a stealth feminist rabble-rouser? - but P seemed content to chat with my husband for five minutes or so. For this, I took a day off of work?
"Overall, the interview seemed to go well, although we never quite ascertained what P was checking for. A little distant alarm bell went off when, at the close of the conversation he mentioned that his 'business partner' may have already rented the apartment, but he didn't present it as likely, simply something he needed to check, as he had been out of the office the previous afternoon.
"We turned to J for reassurance - had we been too eager? Too confusing about our travel-heavy work arrangements? J expertly soothed our angsty renter egos, confirming that with steady salaries and solid credit scores we were desirable tenants. She reported that she felt confident that we would get the 10 Sheridan Square apartment - we had made it to the interview round, after all! Why would the property manager waste his time? Still, she conceded that until we had keys and a move-in date, we should keep looking. We whined, we fussed, we stamped our little feet, we protested that it was entirely too muggy out to keep apartment searching, but J persuaded us not to waste our rare weekday in the city.
"Off we went, then, to check out a recently renovated one-bedroom on Perry Street between Hudson and Bleeker for $2700/month. It was an adorable first-floor walk-up with shiny new appliances and charming detail aplenty, but the bedroom would just barely fit a queen-size bed - no nightstand, no dresser, nothing else. The wall-to-wall mattress look reminds us too much of a hamster cage/Plato's Retreat, so we said no, but then peeked into the adjacent two-bedroom - soooooo tempting. At $3500/month it would have decimated our savings plan and possibly condemned us to permanent renterhood, but two bedrooms and the biggest kitchen this side of the suburbs sang their siren song.
"While we bickered about the potential uses for a second bedroom (candidates: game room, mini-obstacle course, dining room, a closet, SRO rental) J hauled us up four flights of stairs at 13 Cornelia St. - a nice enough one-bedroom, but $2400 wasn't enough of rent cut to make us want to climb four flights every time we came home. Plus, the floors had just been refinished - attractive and shiny, but the polyurethane or shellac or whatever it was was so thick that we suspected it would still be sticky three weeks from now. We'd be pleasantly high, judging the fumes still lingering despite open windows and doors, but eventually we'd come down and discover our belongings embedded in the floor. Another no.
"A quick stop at 13th and 8th resulted in another no - a HUGE one-bedroom, but a dismal block, a florescent-lit first-floor apartment located off the mailroom, a cockroach sighting in the kitchen, and a weird nursing-home vibe to the lobby made it a 30-second ding. J bought us ice cream to cheer us up, as we wilted in the 95 degree heat. She does have to jolly us along, sometimes.
"The next apartment that we saw was surely a sign of the apocalypse - somewhere between the trumpets and the pale green horse of pestilence lies 190 East 7th Street. Tompkins Square Plaza, a stainless-steel wonderland of fancy faux-industrial finishes, was a no before we even made it into the apartment for rent. The lobby features rotating art exhibits - and on display this month is a giant black and white photograph of a punk rock poster girl (piercings, colorful makeup, mildly hostile expression, etc. etc.) Beneath the photo, a couple of girls shuffled around aimless and slack-jawed in pink rhinestone-encrusted flip flops and college logos emblazoned on their pink terry-cloth-covered-bottoms, moving in with Mom and Dad carrying all their stuff that appeared to have come straight from their dorm room. We understand that we too are gentrifiers; but this was too much. We checked out the fab roof deck; saw a perfectly nice one-bedroom; but both of us have too many fond memories of getting all banged up at 7B to be able to live like decent grownups right down the street. On the plus side for all of us, it seems like the gals living in parentally-funded splendor at Tompkins Square Plaza will be unlikely to riot, so perhaps the city can save on police overtime.
"The infinitely patient J said she understood completely, but we were starting to feel like GoldiRent - this building is too old for us! This building is too young for us! We pressed on, looking for the place that was just right."
To be continued...
· The Renters: If I Buy You This Beer, Will You Leave? [Curbed]
· The Renters: Broker Love and an Application [Curbed]
· The Renters: Will We Be Mocked [Curbed]