Welcome back to Lifestyles of the Rent-Stabilized, in which residents of the city's rent-stabilized apartments tell us how they lucked into their homes. Today, an anonymous South Williamsburg renter explains how she landed her 1BR. Have a story to share (anonymity guaranteed!)? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"My place: 900 square foot $1100/month 1BR in south Williamsburg
I’ve lived in Williamsburg the entire time I’ve lived in New York, which is about a decade. For a long time I lived on the north side, in a super trendy four-people-in-three-rooms kind of situation. My room had a door (!) but the window overlooked the street, which was right by the L train. I eventually learned how to sleep through drunk people yelling at each other, fighting, and falling onto our metal trash cans at 4 AM. (Later, we sold our landlord on the merits of plastic trash bins.) At some point, I just snapped. It wasn’t anything in particular, but eventually being in my late 20s and having a real job and living with a bunch of 'freelance stylists' and 'part time DJ's' stopped being cool.
I was planning to leave Williamsburg entirely, but a friend of mine told me that his landlord was trying to fill an empty apartment in another building on Broadway. I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to live alone, but I looked at the apartment anyway as a favor to my friend. They were doing renovations on the building when I showed up, so the apartment was empty. The bedroom faced the street, and had a slight octagonal shape on one side and got a lot of light. There was a proper bathtub, something I had really missed at my previous place. Even though I wasn’t sure I could afford it, I said I’d take it."
"There was one more catch?I had to meet the landlord. I knew that he was an Orthodox Jew and I’m? well? more of a feminist hippie Jew. I showed up to our meeting in a long skirt and had my hair demurely pinned back. He was wearing a Yankees cap instead of a yarmulke. He was pleasant, chatty, and didn’t have a problem when I said I wouldn’t require extra cupboard space for my kosher dishes. We shook hands. We signed the paperwork. As I got up to leave I blurted out, 'Do you think women count in the minyan?'
'Well, yeah, sure,' he said, startled.
I moved into the place a week later and have been there for three years. I just reupped my lease in December. It’s a wonderful fit for me, especially now that I telecommute and have enough room for a proper workspace. But I really regret not asking for the extra cabinet space."
· Lifestyles of the Rent-Stabilized [Curbed]