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East Village Scent of Death Still Haunts Longtime NYC Resident

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Curbed Horror Stories are firsthand reader reports about terrible NYC apartment experiences past and present. This week, in honor of Renters Week, we're having a rental horror story showdown. We'll post one or two horror stories each day with a vote for the best on Thursday. The winner will advance to the national round of our network-wide contest. Horror stories to tips@curbed.com, if you please.

"Had a tiny East Village walk up for years which involved numerous indignities. Woke up in the middle of the night to find thug trying to enter my apartment from the fire escape. Went after him with a tall gothic candlestick. This was the days of crack, and, undeterred, he was later caught by police while he was trying to enter yet another apartment in the building. I ended up pressing charges, at great personal risk to my safety. There were of course, mice at this lovely pied a terre. Stepped on one by accident in my kitchen and killed it in my stocking foot once, while cooking brunch (screamed like a girl). But, no, this is New York and neither of those were the big indignity.

Had an elderly neighbor in wheel chair two floors upstairs who died, and nobody found him for days until leakage from his body began to seep down through the wall of my closet. Yes, the smell of death—gag inducing--became so strong, that the police finally came and found his decomposing body. Believe it or not, I’ve lived in other buildings in Manhattan where people died and weren’t found for some time, but that stench that was long lasting takes the cake. . . Will never forget that particular living nightmare. Eventually moved to Sweden to escape that scent, among other things . . . increasingly aggressive drug dealers on the block, another neighbor on crack who would pawn his wife’s jewelry creating endless and very loud daily dramas, insane former vet constantly complaining of beg bugs down the hall—the good old days."
· Curbed Horror Stories archive [Curbed]
· Renters Week 2011 coverage [Curbed]