Not being a native New Yorker, or even East Coast-er, I’ve come to notice the things that don’t resemble strip malls and shirtless guys listening to Sublime/Red Hot Chili Peppers/the worst radio hits of 1995. Especially, though, when apartments are concerned, there are some especially funny and idiosyncratic things about New York apartments that still stand out to me all these years later.
Here are some things that have pretty much been a presence in every New York apartment I’ve had or have been inside (except brand new ones, obviously):
Why does my existence hang on the very balance of this ONE power strip that has every appliance/computer/lamp, etc. plugged into it? Why have I never, EVER been able to plug a toaster in anywhere near my “kitchen” without a 50 foot extension cord? More importantly, why are there like two power outlets in my entire apartment building?
I’m still not entirely sure why landlords can basically do whatever they want here. Maybe it’s because most everything anyone does in California is policed, and frankly,there are much bigger fish to fry here in New York. But, what the hell? It seems like everyone has had at least one landlord that has brutally fucked them over in some horrible way.
I’m still not clear on why the pest problem in New York is like medieval times level out of control. The climate? The old buildings? I’m even scared to talk shit about rats because I’m scared they’ll hear me and seek revenge one day on the subway or in my very own home. I think if there was a rat problem in my house, I would literally move out of the country. To where? I have no idea, because I can only begin to imagine the level of rat problems in Italy.
Maybe this is just a Williamsburg thing, but like, WHO decided to ruin every single building with aluminum awnings? They’re THE WORST looking things ever. Maybe they do well in cold weather, but like, Jesus Christ they’re ugly.
I’ve gotten burglarized and mugged no less than four times living in New York. None of these times has anyone ever been caught or have police ever taken me seriously. Dial M For Murder, you’ve totally given me a false impression of crime not paying. It totally does pay, and they will get away with it. And there’s nothing you can do about it. The good news is that I’m pretty much the only person I know who this has happened to.
6) Weirdly uneven door levels
I don’t know if it’s because old buildings weirdly shift toward one angle over time, or if it’s because landlords/supers always do the absolute minimum amount of work possible, but almost every door I’ve had– front, closet, bedroom, bathroom, whatever– is ALWAYS misshapen and at a slanted angle.
Does every landlord/super shop at the same light fixture store? Why has almost every light fixture been that one that looks like a giant boob? Yes, the accents have been different– gold, silver, clear nipples, but it’s always the same basic shape.