ajp moves to nyc… here we go!

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the chorus

so it seems that a lot of my life is revolving around thinking about/gearing up for/saving money for the upcoming move and condo purchase, and – it’s been an incredibly frustrating and brain-stretching process, thus far (especially for someone whose brain is not necessarily slanted in the direction of finance… as mine is not).  as part of this journey, i’ve gotten to meet a lot of thrilling folks who are alternately helping this process along or hindering it – so let’s meet a few of them!

The Realtor: This gent on the left is Aaron, and he’s my real estate broker.  I’ve worked with brokers in the past (I once owned a condo in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood), but this is a bit of an atypical situation because he’s one of the main representatives on the project.  All that said, I do genuinely feel that he wants this to work out for me and has my best interests in mind.  He’s been genuinely nice to work with and I have ongoing faith in his intentions for me and be@schermerhorn.

Side note: Aaron used to be the tour manager for The Band, which is one of my all-time favorite bands and gives him 10,000 bonus points on my coolness scale.  I promise, however, that this did not factor into my decision to buy a condo from him.

The Real Estate Attorney: This person is your advocate, and negotiates sticky and annoying things (contracts, fine print) from a legal perspective.  In my particular case, she is also a friend from college and that makes the entire thing go down a bit more easily.

Note: This is not actually an image of my attorney… which is sort of unfortunate.

The Mortgage Broker: This is the middle man between the banks (who have the money) and you (who need it).  And in my experience, he’s also the guy who listens to you explain how much money you have and how much you want to spend on your prospective purchase, and then ignores all those figures and promises you that you can actually afford the taj mahal (and doesn’t explain that you’ll also be paying $363,000/month as a mortgage).  He will subsequently confuse you with a bunch of terms you don’t understand while he’s explaining what a great deal you’re getting, and then cancel your meetings and ignore your phone calls.

That’s it for now.  The only other character worth mentioning is me, and I have to get to work.

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home sweet homeowner…

so let’s chat a bit about housing… my current abode in nyc is a predictably small bedroom (think big enough for a full-sized bed and a tiny dresser) in a nicely-appointed 3-bedroom apartment in the flatiron district.  its central location and in-unit washer/dryer made it a perfect landing pad for a first-time new yorker, but the miniscule size of the bedroom and the lack of storage options that came along with it have become somewhat grating as time has passed.  for those reasons, i resolved some time ago to strike out on my own upon the end of my lease on august 31.

as i’d started browsing apartment listings in my budget range near my preferred locations (below 14th, above canal, east of 1st ave), it became clear that i was going to be looking for a studio.  my list of hopes included general cleanliness, adequate storage and working plumbing (it’s amazing how nyc can toy with your expectations), generally just a place i’d be content to call home for the next few years.  i looked at one available place last month, which was a tiny ground-floor one-bedroom in a superb west village location, whose two windows faced a brick wall three feet away and which came with a generous pile of vomit on the steps outside the front door.  pass.

and then life intervened.

my new company (remember, i’m working in real estate now) has literally made me an offer i cannot refuse, and it seems that i’m about to dip my toes into the murky, shark-infested waters of home ownership.  as of friday, i’m officially under contract on a 1-bedroom, 1-bath condominium in a downtown brooklyn development called be@schermerhorn, which is one of my company’s developments and one of two projects for which i’m developing marketing activities.  that’s it up at the top of this post… it’s a bit of a transitional neighborhood, but sits a maximum of three blocks to just about every subway line to manhattan, three blocks from a trader joe’s (hey!) and on the border of the luxe/hip/shopper-friendly cobble hill neighborhood.  it has a fitness center and a killer courtyard and i got a pretty nice unit that has a hallway (a big deal, actually… makes the bedroom seem separate from the living room).  here is the floorplan, for your viewing pleasure: B 3-15

wondering how a kinda-broke former intern-and-gym-front-desk-guy-who-was-too-poor-to-take-the-subway can afford to buy a condo in america’s most expensive real estate market?  me too! but don’t ask questions… just rest assured that this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is respectful of my financial situation.

all those vague facebook updates last week?  they were about this… my head is sorta spinning as this journey begins, but it’d probably be unwise to let this opportunity pass.  so here we go – life is for living, right?  a new adventure awaits…

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time to move on…

(cough, cough)…

is this thing on?

hello there, friends.  yeah, it’s been a while… i last updated this beast shortly after all hell broke loose with my batshit nutty former roommate (we knew her as GIRL)… you know, the one who stole half my belongings and lied about her mother dying and sent e-mails posing as her imaginary-but-real sister.  i know many of you are probably wondering what happened with that particular situation, and i’ll sum it up with the following three sentences:

the nypd took their sweet-ass time doing, well, anything regarding this situation, and – during their three months of inactivity – lil’ miss GIRL tucked her pointed tail between her ample red thighs and hightailed it back to canada, where she is currently hiding out and reportedly unable to re-enter the US of A.  there are currently two warrants out for her arrest (ours and one other whose origins we do not know), so we feel confident that she’ll end up behind bars at some point down the line.  and when that day comes, you can guarantee that her mug-shot will wind its way onto my forehead as a giant, glorious and widely celebrated tattoo.

phtooey (i spit on her).

on the flip side, the good news is that it’s been vastly improved nyc for ol’ ajp since then… lots of good stuff to report, and i figured it was time to kickstart this rusty ol’ blog into activity once again.  let’s take it step by step:

job: since i last posted, i started a new side-job (at equinox fitness, where i was a front desk greeter-person at the broadway and 19th street location… free membership + spending money = bliss for a broke, body-conscious design intern), succeeded heartily at my interminable and ungratifying design internship, and then tossed both jobs by the wayside for a new gig in real estate marketing that started in early may.  it’s a position that actually takes advantage of my entire background (marketing… check;  PR… check;  design… check;  event planning… check), and – just as importantly – allows me to live in nyc as a normal human being that does not work 80 hours a week at two jobs just to live hand-to-mouth.  so to say that the situation is improved is an understatement of herculean proportions.

good this.

friends: i have some!  some of them are new, and many used to live in chicago and have arrived, one by one, over the past few months.

good this, too.

other: so much to do here, and i feel that i’ve done a fair amount of interesting things over the past nine months… some good, some bad, all interesting and all contributing to a persistent inability to get sick of living here.  just a sampling: walked across the brooklyn and williamsburg bridges; rode the cyclone at coney island; walked the high line about 10,000 times; ate dinner next to bradley cooper (gay) and renee zellweger (scary); attended a yankees game in the rain; sunned myself on a rock in central park; taken chelsea clinton’s dog for a walk (it is roughly 1/8 the size of a very small dog); attended parties in million-dollar lofts; looked at trash-heaped apartments down terrifying back alleys; seen concerts at tiny dives, remodeled dance clubs, the brooklyn academy of music and at madison square garden; saw someone vomiting on the subway; saw someone pooping on the subway platform; saw a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat and a dove out of his sleeve on the L train, and applauded wildly; took the train and ferry to fire island; visited MoMA (tim burton exhibit!), the bronx museum of art (exhibit on the photography of the civil rights movement), the brooklyn museum (“who shot rock’n’roll”) and the brooklyn botanic garden (cherry blossom festival, oddly devoid of cherry blossoms); bartended at fancy parties to make extra money; met great people and terrible people; bumped into a friend i hadn’t seen in 9 years – and then bumped into her again in a different part of town the next day; savored the best manhattan of my life at death & co.; found a new favorite dessert (hello, chocolate chip cornflake marshmallow cookie from momofuku milk bar); dated a few people that are worth mentioning, and a few that are not; welcomed some very good friends to visit; been startled by the juxtaposition of rich and poor in this town; succumbed to attacks by mother nature (bird poop on the upper west side, and a flying tree branch on a windy day in washington square park); walked literally hundreds of miles; experienced poverty so limiting that i was unable to afford to take the subway (that, my friends, is desperation); missed things about chicago, and not others (i’m looking at you, winter); saw no less than 1,000 rats, one of whom ran across my foot; ate more than my fair share of late-night pizza slices.

this list could go on.  instead i will just add “gone to bed” and sign off.  it’s good to be back.

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