This past January I was unceremoniously informed that I had to vacate my apartment by April. It was through no fault of my own that I had been giving the boot. It was simply that the landlords’ son had graduated college and they had decided to give him my second floor brownstone apartment (they inhabited the ground and first floors).
This was a shock but not necessarily a surprise. I loved my spacious one bedroom with a cozy but comfortable living room that was flooded with natural light. I loved having my landlord a flight of stairs away and an older and lively retiree living above me who was available to accept my packages. I had been living in my Clinton Hill neighborhood for eleven years and paying well under market value. I had watched the neighborhood’s gentrification and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew my days were numbered. I thought the ax would come in the form of higher property taxes which would lead to a rent spike which would lead to me getting the hell out.
My lease was not set to expire until July so I was pissy about them breaking the terms. It had been an unseasonably harsh winter so I was pissy about looking for an apartment in the record breaking snowfalls. I knew that I wouldn’t find a comparable apartment for the rent I had been paying so I was pissy about the imminent decrease of my disposable income. In short, I was a little pissy about the entire situation.
In the midst of treading in my self-pity I remembered a conversation I had with a friend years before, during his first visit to my apartment. He loved it and immediately exclaimed, “I want this place as soon as you move into your next place! This is such a great starter apartment!” I remember brushing off the statement with a short laugh but for some reason the words starter apartment had nestled themselves deep in the recesses of my mind. I had intended on staying in that place for at least another couple of decades or until my knees could no longer take the steep staircase. I had such a great deal on the rent and the neighborhood was idyllic so what would make him think I would ever search for another spot. But once in a while, when I least expected it, starter apartment would surface and then just as quickly disappear from my thoughts.
So in my search for a new apartment I have acknowledged a few things. I have a fantastic, huge walk in closet. It is the only closet in my apartment. It is the storage room, linen closet, coat closet, clothes closet, and everything else closet because it is the ONLY closet in my apartment. My kitchen should not be used for any meal that requires preparation. No chopping, slicing, dicing, mixing, stirring, or blending can comfortably take place. There should be a marker outside my bathroom that states, “You must be this tall to use these facilities.” Of course, at 5’9″ I would be disqualified from ever entering. Whoever thought that a decorative fireplace adds charm to a space should be smacked. It doesn’t add charm, it subtracts space. Yes, I’ll miss my beautifully preserved wood floors and 10 foot ceilings but I will happily trade those in for an extra bedroom/office and washer/dryer. I’m ready for a grown up apartment.
Next up…the search for my perfect apartment and learning to live without it.