Thursday, June 17, 2010

What price a terrace?

From the dirty underbelly of renting a tiny 1 BDR apartment (with terrace) in sought-after Cobble Hill, Brooklyn we bring you...fringe benefits.

One of the major attractions of paying $1,700 in rent (low by our fair city's standards) for a space about the size of a ping pong table (with terrace), is the laundry in the basement. Two nice white washers, and two nice white dryers. Except that for over 6 months only one dryer has been functional, the other turning out damp clothes that have a whiff of the (pre-aerated) Gowanus about them. Emails and phone calls to landlord. Meanwhile lint from the one overworked dryer piles up to 6 inches high in laundry corners (next to the open boiler room), and one thinks thoughts about curating an emergency backpack with ID, cash, spare laptop and just how heavy is the cat anyway?

Comes the day when smoke fills the basement after the working dryer works so hard it forgets to stop and just keeps at it, for hours and hours, like Oprah. Emails, 'fire hazard', promises of action. Lousy workmanship, dryers still do not work, an inch reduction in the lint piles. More emails.

This afternoon, three fire trucks, the police, an ambulance, and crews of requisitely attractive, heavy-equipment-bearing fire persons descend on the brownstone. I approach this melee from the street carrying my Russ and Daughters bag wondering just how many ways I can split the smoked Irish salmon for the aforesaid, and walk into a brownstone filled with smoke.

The dryer. The lint. Le Fire. Small, but legitimate. Violations issued, heads shaken.

So we have no super. So the trash downstairs is bagged about every other week. So the roof leaks. So living in the apartment is like living in a Russian submarine with little hope of rescue.

(Pass wodka, Vladimir...)

Upstairs, cat, hater of smoke, and first responder whenever I cook anything that sizzles, glares at me from a corner.

But who's bitchin'? We have a terrace.


  1. And maybe the violation will cause landlord to fix the other dryer. You did get good looking firemen, tho!

  2. Oh, dear .. At least cat and terrace are safe! Hope your lazy-ass landlord gets the lead out and fixes the problems.


  3. Worth it for the good looking firemen.

  4. I'd tempt you with the cost of living down here in NC (I bought my 1536 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhouse with large enclosed patio for $93K), but you'd have to give up:

    Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
    Times Square
    Empire State Building
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Brooklyn Bridge
    etc, etc...

    We have us some intellectual and artistic endeavors, but it requires hours of driving to the cultural centers of Raleigh and Charlotte.

    I guess we'd have to call it a toss-up.

  5. Just got word that the landlord was here when`the fire started and put it out himself?

    Yep, I'd say a hoard of smiling firemen (and one woman) was worth it.

    And I get to keep the smoked salmon for supper. Hey, I could have bought fresh and just hung it in the hallway...

    But Karen, you are so funny. Vince would have kittens if he saw the Empire State Building comment as he's working there and is accumulating a novel's worth of ...ideas, about it. Nice to look at, though. The building, I mean. Times Square? Ick, keep it. What I love about NYC is the hoods. The little places, the yo-yoing mango prices at the deli, the guys on the chairs on the sidewalk with their chihuahuas on their laps, the lady planting flowers in the dog pee-y tree pit, the drinks on the front stoops at dusk, ...that's New York. Then there's the terrace :-)

  6. I just kind of stumbled here. When I first moved to New York [mumble-mumble] years ago, I lived on Hoyt and Bergen. Then, a few years on South Portland in Ft. Greene. After that, 10 years on Clinton St. Not pretty Brooklyn Clinton St. Ratty old Lower East Side Clinton St. My wife and I were thrown out of the neighborhood when we had a baby and now I’m in lowly New Jersey.

    This post made me Brooklyn homesick.

  7. but... surely here is somewhere else with a terrace? somewhere with a bit more safety? ..competent landlord? ...

  8. Yes, you do have La Terrace. With Pat Austin and lovely glasses.;-)

    And thanks to you and Mr.Unbearable Banishment my piggy bank is being force-fed.A sort of holiday money foie gras!

    We make light of these things, but it's a scary thing to come home to.I know.

  9. Marie,
    Now you have 2 friends in NC. Karen, let's brainwash her together. I'll find you mango eating chihuahuas, and merengue delis.
    Mees you.

  10. When you find me a 'competent' landlord, you let me know.

    Cheap is as cheap does.

    Earnings in the savings you know.

    And that's why landlord says...."why do I have a washer and dryer in da buildin?"

    And I won't trade my place in cause I got me some dirt.

  11. why don't you use the terrace to dry your clothes? Works in Europe...

  12. Sorry to hear about this mishap but glad everything's alright. I used to live near the uptown Fairway and gee, wouldn't you know that I'd coincidentally do my shopping when the firefighters were getting off work and grabbing groceries in their uniforms. Hm.

    Also, Estorbo can glare all he wants; at least you're not subjecting him to a catio.

  13. Cons - you find me a mango-eating chihuahua and I'm yours.

    The cat eats mangoes, and perhaps chihuahuas, too.

    The Unbearable Banishment? Having a baby grants you automatic admission to Cobble Hill, no questions asked.

    Frank - you said it.

    Jill - the cat happened to think the same thing. What IS it with firemen and grocery shopping?


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