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 a couple horror stories each day with a vote for the best on Thursday. (Note: today we're putting up three because voting starts at noon tomorrow.) The winner will advance to the national round of our network-wide contest. Horror stories to firstname.lastname@example.org, if you please.
"Rather than narrate one particular rental horror story, I created a list of a few "greatest hits" from my recent hunt for a 2 bedroom apartment in north Brooklyn in the hopes that it would convey the static, across-the-board, horror of the experience more richly.
I know most of your readers will look at this list and think, "this person is a total bonehead, who tries to move to Williams-point-wick in 2011?" To which I would respond "who tries to move anywhere, at all, ever, in New York?" Such is the plight of an overeducated but basically still unemployable member of the insufferable creative underclass. I also want to stress that I've exaggerated very little.
India and Franklin
This second floor apartment was covered with ants. It seemed like the current tenants had just stacked up their trash/belongings along the walls, maybe a smart move considering the cost of heating some of these older apartments. They were actually both sitting on the couch when we visited, silently watching a 50-inch flatscreen TV. We met their cats, dog, and their snake, who was actually pretty charming. The floors were warped and rotting. When we left, my roommate and I both felt really itchy. The next morning, I woke up to find that I'd scratched my ankles raw in my sleep.
Price: $2,200 (one month fee).
South 3rd and Driggs
This basement apartment greeted us on the street, with a sharp stink. There was no floor, just dirt. The landlord explained to us that "Irene" had "flooded" the apartment, which was obviously his way of saying "someone died here, recently." Crusty red handprints stained the walls and cabinetry. I'm not on CSI, but it seemed like a "struggle" had taken place. All horizontal surfaces in the space were covered with wispy, lace-like white mold, hanging in stalagtite formations. In the closet, a past occupant had scrawled "live, laugh, love!" in sharpie marker.
Price: $2,100 (no fee - or oven, fridge, or floor).
McGuinness and Eckert
This 7th floor walkup was by far the best we'd seen until we found our current place. We were ready to take it, until the broker spent a suspiciously long time describing some of the living room's charms to us. What was behind that last closed door? A 7x8 bedroom without a window.
Price: 2,200 (one month fee).
Bonus: One bedroom at Bushwick Ave. and Montrose
When I was still looking for a one bedroom, I started bringing a friend along as company. My friend and I met the landlord, a middle-aged man in a fanny pack, on the corner. He greeted us with a inexplicable "It's a pretty small space, so I'll just take you up," motioning to me, "while your friend stays here." We told him we'd rather go together, maybe overcautiously, I thought. But the man responded with a sharp "you know what? I think your energy just isn't right," and ran off down Montrose. I can't speak to the quality of the space, but I assume it was pretty baller since the listing disappeared minutes later (yikes).
Price: $950 (no fee)."
· Curbed Horror Stories archive [Curbed]
· Renters Week 2011 coverage [Curbed]