Saturday, November 21, 2009

Uptown Girl

When I arrived at the apartment, my cab driver actually helped me get my things in the front door. I was floored. I haven't always had the best experiences with NYC cab drivers, but he was pretty cool. I'd been to my new apartment exactly once in my life... the day that my mom and I had gone to look for apartments in NYC. I was determined to find the right place, but I didn't have much time to do it. I'd gotten the offer and they didn't want to give me more than two weeks to end my job and get settled in NYC. Well, I negotiated like my life depended on it, because... well... really, it DID depend on it, and they agreed to give me three and a half weeks. I gave my former employer two weeks notice the next day, and then I planned to take a week to get settled in NYC before I started work.

But in order to be settled, I'd need a place to settle-in! Several friends told me that everyone uses Craig's List to find apartments in NYC. Who knew? I certainly had no idea! So, I decided to check it out and see what Craig's List had to offer. My mom and I saw 8 places that day. Six of the places were "shares" where one person was looking to find someone to live with them in a 2BR apartment. The apartment I chose was definitely the best of the day. The woman who was my roommate seemed to be the most "normal" of the lot, the rent was reasonable, and the living space was clean, modern, and quiet. Can't beat that in NYC! I jumped at the chance to room with her, and the rest (as they say) is history.

So, here I was arriving in this place after only meeting my roommate and seeing my room once. I had no idea what to expect. When I walk through the front door, there is a black "doorwoman" sitting at the front desk. I tell her who I am and she hands me an envelope with my key. She doesn't smile, gives me the side eye when I thank her for finding my key, and doesn't respond when I say "Have a good one." Welcome to New York...

When I finally make it inside, my roommate is home and we go over some paperwork, and then she heads out for work. My friends Shari and Kim had invited me to have dinner and then to go see "Precious" (GREAT movie, go support it!!) as an introduction to the concrete jungle. I was exhausted, but I figured I'd be good as new after a hot shower and a nap. As I unpacked my duffle and tote, I realized that the one thing I forgot to bring with me is deodorant, so I ask my roommate to point me in the direction of the nearest drug store. She tells me that Duane Reade is about 6 blocks away. Waaaay too far to go for deodorant, in my opinion. So, she suggests that I try this little pharmacy that's a block away from our building. When I cross over to the next block, I'm surprised at how drastically the neighborhood changes. It was then that I realized... I'm in the 'hood! I'm okay with that, but it's still something that you have to be prepared for. I wasn't ready for that sudden realization!

At any rate, I walk into the pharmacy that was really more like a bodega with a few medicine bottles on one of the shelves in the back, and grab some deodorant. Then, I head back to my apartment. When I get inside, there's a different doorman at the front desk, so I walk over and introduce myself. When I tell him my name, he looks pissed.

"You have about six boxes back here, and they're big and they're heavy."

I peek behind the desk and recognize the boxes that my parents and I had shipped on Monday. The same boxes that weren't supposed to arrive until the next day. For once in my life, UPS was EARLY with a package. Of all the dumb luck! Not only that, but the flat-screen TV I'd ordered that wasn't supposed to arrive until Friday was there, too!

"I know you're new here, so I'm sure 'they'll' be more forgiving toward you, but this is a co-op and 'they' don't like packages to stay behind the front desk for too long. If I were you I'd go get a cart from the super and take the boxes upstairs now."

Uh... okay. First of all, who is "they" and, second of all, I was NOT trying to hear that I needed to carry anything upstairs after the day I'd just had. But, duty called, so I schlepped down to the basement to locate the super, found a dolley, and came back upstairs where the doorman half-assed helped me load the boxes on the cart, and then brought them upstairs and began unloading in my apartment. By the time I was done, I was a hot sweaty mess with a broken back... again.

But, I just couldn't bring myself to stay in the house on my first night in New York. So, I showered, dressed quickly, pulled my hair back, threw on some lipstick, and headed to the subway to take my first train ride as a "New Yorker" down to Lincoln Center to meet Shari and Kim for dinner and a movie.

Shari picked a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Now, if you know Brown GIrl, you know that I do not really dig "ethnic" foods. And that includes Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Ethiopian, etc. So, I wasn't happy, but it wasn't until I sat down at dinner that I realized I hadn't eaten all day! Needless to say, I tore my dinner to shreds... I probably looked like an animal! But I was soooo happy to have my tummy filled that I didn't even care that I probably just looked like a pig in the middle of a very nice restaurant... We headed over to the movie, and that was fantastic... just PHENOMENAL (go see it! Really... GO SEE IT!), but by the end, I was physically and emotionally spent. It had been a LONG day. Kim drives (thank God!), so I didn't have to battle the subway this time... she just drove me home.

But as soon as I hit the front door, Karina called to say she was chillin at a friend's crib nearby and invited me to come hang. Of course, I couldn't say no... it was my first night in NYC! So I hopped in a cab and headed over. The "friends" apartment was a highrise on the 31st floor, and it had panoramic views of the city. Just... SICK views. So I took that in for awhile, chatted with a few other folks who were chillin over there, and then Jenna called and invited us to come have a drink at a wine bar near her apartment in West Harlem. Within minutes, we were out the door and headed crosstown for that drink. Jenna, Karina, and I chatted until about 1am, and then finally called it a night. I was beyond tired, and couldn't wait to hop in another cab (this cab riding WILL stop, because I will NOT go broke over transportation!) to head back to the apartment and spend my first night in my NYC bed.

In all, it was a good introduction to NYC. I had a good first day... long, but good.

And the next few days would be even more entertaining. Trust me...


Rochelle said...

Welcome to the Big Apple, LBG (Lovely Brown Girl)--and if you don't love ethnic food now, I bet you will once you live in New York for a year and get excellent sushi, Thai, Brazilian, Ethiopian...(I'm getting hungry just thinking about it)...

Robert Kravath said...

I am an experienced UWS real estate broker. If you want some help send me an email at
My blog is at