I’ve created a new blog to document our year in NYC. It is located here.
November 6, 2007
An uneventful day. We had brunch at Cafe con Leche where we had delicious Dominican fried chicken, rice and beans, fried plantains, arroz con pollo and of course, cafe con leche. It was a nice, comforting end to our 6 days in NYC and a reminder that while certain things in NYC are expensive, eating well doesn’t have to be one of them. The whole meal came to like $17.
It was also a reminder of why we were going to NYC. To eat. To me, everything else is secondary. Yes, I’m looking forward to all the other things the city will provide, but most of my excitement comes from the idea of eating authentic and delicious food within blocks of our place.
BTW – If you ever get stuck in Denver airport, check out Pour la France in B concourse. It’s my favorite airport restaurant, which granted, isn’t saying much, and you can’t go wrong there. It ended up ruining an appetite we were saving up for Shiro’s.
November 6, 2007
One thing about selling complex software is that it tends to make you very verbose. Nothing makes sense unless you explain the past, the present and the future.
Everything is a setup.
You spend so much time in the setup that by the time you get to the point, the audience is no longer interested.
I think that is where my blog writing has gone. In an effort to get out the details, I’m missing the point.
And onto the story of day 5
I’d like to tell you that I had a great time getting up at 6am, walking 20 blocks to meet a pack of strangers for bagels in a strange apartment, making small talk for half an hour and slowly making our way into Central Park to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials.
I’d like to tell you that but I’d be lying.
In fact, I was tired. Exhausted even after 3 days of 12 hour apartment hunting with some work thrown in. I mean, I’m glad we saw the trials. It is a decent story, but oh man I really wanted to sleep and except for a few moments at the end of the race, nothing changed my mind about that. Even the cute Asian women among the strangers we met.
After all that and a nap, I went to the broker to finish this apartment deal off. Maybe it was my exhaustion or maybe it was my ego but I quickly grew annoyed with the whole process of ‘qualifying’ for an apartment. Look, we own two properties in Seattle and have never missed a payment on anything in probably 10 years. Our credit scores are both over 700. I’m putting down first, last and another whole month of rent down up front. WTF is the problem?
But just like in every other business, they have a process they follow and they don’t deviate. They aren’t allowed to think for themselves. They just align dots on a page. Somehow landlords in NY have taken a huge upper hand in the rental market and because of that, they can require all sorts of ridiculousness and because of our schedule I just sucked it up and finished it off.
In the end, the landlord is actually fairly nice and we got the place and it all worked out but I can tell you that this whole process wouldn’t fly anywhere else in the country.
November 5, 2007
We decided to call a broker and by noon we were in their office going through apartment listings. After an hour or so, we were in a cab with one of the brokers and on our way to NYU, or at least the neighborhood around there: Soho. The one apartment we saw there wasn’t bad, but looked exactly like something i lived in during college.
We headed up to the UWS afterwards and saw a couple places there (did I mention we were being totally schizophrenic about where we should live?), but none were as nice as the place we saw the day before. After a slightly awkward lunch with our broker, we headed back to see another broker in the LES.
We saw four places in the LES and they were all worth decent enough to live in. Each one was better than the last and after seeing the last one, we knew we wanted it.
And then we learned of the problem. it wouldn’t be available until Dec 1. UGH. Can we wait until Dec 1? We had flights booked for the 12th. Where would we live? should we just take the place on the UWS? It was still available and so was the studio on rivington.
But it was 6pm now and there was nothing we could do now. We would contemplate that night.
We met some friends originally from Seattle at Bua, a very cool little English-type bar with exposed brick walls and a menu consisting of pulled pork sliders and 4 different grilled cheese sandwiches in EV where we had a few beers before stopping at an incredibly mediocre Indian place called Calcutta. it was some of the blandest Indian food I’d had in a long time. Somewhere during this time, we convinced ourselves that we’d rather live in a smaller place in the EV than a nice big and pretty place on the UWS. Not because the UWS is bad, but because it was just generally similar to living in Seattle. If we wanted to do the NY thing, we should do it all-in and go LES.
November 5, 2007
Day three was considerably better than day two. We actually saw apartments that weren’t total slums! We must’ve walked another 10 miles on Thursday but at least the the apartments were mostly better, despite seeing several apartments missing kitchens and plumbing and sometimes even walls and being expected to “imagine” what they would be like and “would i like to take one?”
Aside from that, we checked out a very nice and large apartment on the Upper West Side within half a block on central park. It was veryu cut, but after walking through the UWS, we decided that we wanted to be some place a little dirtier and with more nightlife.
On the Lower East Side / East Village, we did see a few that would be OK including a studio on Rivington with an alcov bedroom and a 1 bdrm on 11th and Avenue A. We listed these as fall backs and seriously considered just taking them, but K talked me into at least trying out a broker. OK. We can try. We called the lady with the UWS apartment and told her that we would not be taking her apartment.
That night we headed down to LES for dinner at Kuma Inn with our friend Seno, stopping on the way at a wine store (that’s going to take some getting used to) to pick up a bottle of chardonnay as Kuma Inn is BYOB. The Japanese tapas were mediocre to great (especially the tofu and chinese sausage), but nothing amazing. Afterwards, we grabbed a couple beers at a local bar before heading home. If the day was stressful adn exhausting, at least the evenings were full of good food and relaxation.
November 3, 2007
Day 2 is very easy to sum up: It sucked!
I made a nice list of places to check out in the LES and EV and booked a few appointments for this Tuesday. We started off on Delancey, which is just a big, nasty street in downtown. We show up to the apt, call the super and he brings up to the 3rd floor of a nasty building to show us a 2bdrm for $2600/month. The building smelled like rotting flesh and the unit itself looked like it had been empty for months. It was dusty, dirty and all around nasty (my fav word today). Moving on.
We walked through the gritter part of LES and made our way to another unit where the super didn’t answer the phone. Off to unit 3 and we have an appointment with something of a broker. We see the unit and it is clean, in a nice building, but incredibly small. Too small and everything is old. All for the bargin price of $2500/month. Good times. Things not looking good.
Over the next 5 hours we looked at several more god awful, nasty buildings and units (anything by Jakobson properties is going to be nasty) and I attended two business meetings in mid-town, shuttling back and forth for each one. The only positive thing that happened on Wednesday was our lunch at The Shake Shack. Even Kelly enjoyed her shake burger and was asking for more the next day.
By the end of the day we were beat and depressed. Rent Direct (which is the listing service where we got our rental infomatio) seemed like a truly worthless service, but after a little rest we hit up craigslist and noticed a few nice places appear in the LES in our budget. With a little bit of restrained enthusiasm, we headed off to a nice dinner at Vice Versa in mid-town and caught a little of the NY Halloween sights. I only wish we’d have had energy to go see the parade in the village.
November 2, 2007
We arrived on Tuesday night at about 6:30pm, having took the United flight through Chicago and arriving in La Guardia, which is the generally the closest airport to Manhattan. We had decided several weeks ago that we didn’t want to ship anything to the city so we packed up 3 full-size boxes with our stuff. The boxes, hovering at the airline 50lb weight limit, arrived quickly at baggage claim looking like they had crossed the ocean. They were severely beat up and each one had been opened by TSA. We took those, along with a full-sized piece of luggage and two large carry-on bags and grabbed a taxi to meet our friend Seno at his apartment on the upper west side.
Seno is nice enough to let us store our luggage there for a couple weeks while we try and find a place to move into. My work is nice enough to put us up into a hotel while we’re here during the week as I have managed to fit in a few meetings into my travels. On friday, we’ll check out and move into Seno’s for a few days and then return to Seattle on Sunday. A week later we’ll come back to NYC with some more things to officially begin our time here. It’s all excitement, nervousness, and a bit of scaredness as we get into the city.
We had dinner at ‘the eatery’ located on 9th and 53rd. Seno used to be K’s boss so they talked about old times and the newest MS gossip, of which there is much. Afterwards, we headed up the street to grab a beer at a local bar (I don’t remember the name) and saw a bit of the opening day of the NBA season. To be honest, I don’t care for the NBA at all. Somehow they score every 20 seconds and to me it is still boring. Of course, it is the one sport K actually likes. Go figure.
Tomorrow is a mix of business meetings and apartment hunting. Poor sleep comes quickly.