Tuesday, January 21, 2014

9 Things I Want From My Next Brooklyn Apartment

Guys, I really was not expecting the fantastic response that I got for my last post wherein I discussed my resemblance to Josh Groban. You guys are awesome. If you want to tweet at him to let him know about our uncanny likeness, I'm definitely not going to stop you (on that note, if you're not following @avoidingatrophy on Twitter, you might be missing out on lots of insight into the Animal Planet series, My Cat From Hell). 

Anyway, just in case you have never experienced jealousy for my life, here was my day today:

Nothing but cat leggings, wool socks, and writing stories while snow fell right outside my window (not pictured: green tea and a live feline who may or may not have decided to cuddle right up next to me). I get to have days like this because I work from home, so while the rest of New York City gets their faces assaulted by frozen water, I get to watch it all happen as though it were my own little snow globe.

But as you can see, I didn't really get to watch much. The windows in my apartment face out onto a dank ally where, for whatever reason, my neighbors have lately decided to throw a bunch of burnt toast. It's a rough life here in Brooklyn when scorched bread has to be thrown out of a window instead of into a trashcan. 

On that note, I want to move. Not from the city, not even from my neighborhood. I just want a different apartment. The thing is, right now, we don't necessarily live in the hell hole that I'm sure many out-of-staters might assume a young couple would live in Brooklyn. Our apartment is a true one bedroom with plenty of space (bigger than our apartment in Texas), hard wood floors, and since it's a prewar building, we have all of those cute little accents like archways and a weirdly grand lobby. Of course, by our standards, we pay through the nose, but relatively, it's a steal.

So why do I want to move? It's a lot of small reasons that collectively provide the framework to dream that something better might be out there. I've become obsessed with the Trulia app. I scour real estate listings like it is my job, and every now and then, when I think I may have found a slightly respectable diamond in the cesspool that is New York real estate listings, I shoot a breezy email to see if I can view the apartment. My husband and I have decided -- if we find a new place, we're moving, but I've not had a lot of luck so far.

Here's what I'm looking for in the Brooklyn apartment of my dreams:

1. A dishwasher


Having a dishwasher would eliminate 90% of the tension in our marriage. We wash everything by hand these days, and our dishes just never feel clean (anyone want to come over for a dinner party?)

2. A parking space


We are the rare freaks of New York City who have a car, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Come the zombie apocalypse, we're going to be able to hightail it out of here in just enough time to not have our brains eaten. That's the hope anyway. Still, it would be nice to have a permanent parking space so we wouldn't have to do laps around our block like a couple of sharks.

3. A top floor unit (as well as an elevator to get me there)

I mean, is this so much to ask for? (Via)

If I have yet to complain about my upstairs neighbors on this blog, I am seriously surprised by my restraint. They are positively obnoxious in their aggressive loudness. We've talked to them, been screamed at by them, reported them to our management, and NOTHING. It's a lost cause, and living on a top floor and becoming someone else's loud upstairs neighbors just sounds like a better deal to me, honestly.

4. A view
My current view...no joke.

It could literally be a view of anything. A bare street, someone's unkempt backyard, a cemetery -- I don't care. Anything other than a dirty ally full of burnt toast. That's all I ask.

5. A laundry room on site that doesn't look like Hannibal Lecter hangs out there


There's a fun story here about how my husband watched an insane man go down into our basement with a butcher knife and now I never use our laundry facilities. All I want is a place to do my laundry with machines that work and where a horror film has likely not been conceived.

6. Central AC


This is a rare amenity in these prewar buildings, and I totally get it. These are old apartments. We have a window unit. It works fine, but man, I miss the days of being able to equally cool every room in my home. 

7. Lots of sunlight


Sunlight = inspiration. Inspiration = the next great American novel, maybe?

8. A normal shower

Our present-day shower. Are you depressed yet?

Right now, our shower is on the long side of the wall. We have to use two shower curtains because of our weird curtain rod. It's actually a lot less inconvenient than it sounds, but every time I'm in a hotel and I take a shower facing the normal direction, I am reminded of how strange my daily life is.

9. Proximity to the subway and fabulous restaurants/groceries

For the record, I would like to live exactly two blocks from this subway stop.

A girl's got to get places and girl's got to eat.

Anyway, all of these things probably don't seem like that big of a deal, but for the price I'm looking for, I'm basically asking for a miracle. I hold out hope though, and I'll definitely keep you posted if I find something worth while. I just have to keep reminding myself, I live in New York City, a town where anything is possible.

And hey, if you have any savvy New York real estate advice, please let me know in the comments section! The same goes for anyone who just wants to complain about their living situation. I hear you, man.


  1. OH my gosh! Our shower in England was exactly like that! Except it was ALSO built along a slanted wall so you know, you could only stand up in half of it. And I had to tape the second shower curtain to the wall or it just kind of hung there protecting nothing. It was also weirdly high off the ground. Like 8 inches. I don't understand why it would have been so difficult to extend the pipe for the shower head another two feet or even put the shower along a normal wall, but I seriously get the weird shower woes.

    1. So glad you can relate! It is seriously the strangest thing in the world. I don't know what these contractors could possibly be thinking.

  2. You-have-no-dishwasher?? This is the saddest thing I have heard all day. That's worse than your shower, which I find quite funny.
    But if it makes you feel better, where I live there is no public transportation whatsoever, and the closest store is 5km away. Which shouldn't be a big deal, but is a pain when you're cooking and missing an essential ingredient.
    And even though I LOVE our house, it does not have much natural light. It's pretty gloomy even on sunny days.

    1. Yeah! New York City apartments, for whatever reason, often come without dishwashers. It's seriously such a bummer. And I totally understand about living an awkward distance from the store. I grew up without any form of public transportation, but now that I have it, it is hard to imagine a world where it doesn't exist.

      I've seen on your blog some LOVELY images of your home, so natural light or no natural light, it looks like you live somewhere awesome.

  3. We are currently in the process of remodeling our kitchen and just hooked up our dishwasher a few days ago. It is magic, let me tell you. I fully expect the number of arguments I have with my husband to decrease exponentially now that we no longer have to hand wash EVERYTHING.

    Also, your shower is crazy! In our former apartment, the shower head was about 5.5 feet off the ground, which was okay for me because I'm only 5'2". But my husband is 6'3". I'm not sure the top of his head was ever clean the entire time we lived there.

    1. Oh man, SO jealous of your dishwasher! It is truly the #1 thing on my list of wantish needs. Enjoy marital bliss from here on out.

      And so sorry your hubs had to take those awkward showers! Suddenly, I'm just thankful that our shower head is at least the right height.

  4. Wow, that is the craziest shower ever!

  5. I feel you! I live in Boston and I'm paying twice as much for my 1 BR apartment as we paid for a 3 BR house back in AZ. It's rough, but you'll find something that works!

  6. I love this. We just moved to the east coast and actually ended up in New Jersey because of our wish list, plus our company picked northern NJ instead of Long Island for our office location. We have a washer/dryer in our apartment. It's crazy awesome. But, I LOVE Brooklyn, so I'm a little jealous of you.

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  8. Ha! Of all the things, I thought the shower was the least awful of the items. In my last brooklyn apartment, the landlord put flower tiles in the shower. For. every. tile. It was like someone vomited flower tile all over the shower walls. I would get vertigo when taking a shower. (My landlords exact words when I asked if I could paint over them: "No! Those were $2 a tile!"). And in Brooklyn, you are LUCKY if you have laundry in your bldg! I totally feel your dishwasher envy - I had a portable that I purchased at my last apartment. My apartment in Parkville has a built in (and a soaking tub in the bathroom! But to balance it out, I have screaming, foot pounding neighbors upstairs).
    Maybe you should look into renting a co-op on Ocean Parkway?

  9. My laundry room looks like Hannibal Lecter's playground.. :(


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