Monday, February 28, 2011

Iconic IMages of Long Island

From our favorite Long Islander, Daniel:
I would have to say...

-Montauk Lighthouse
-North Shore Harbor towns: Stony Brook, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Northport
-Vineyard region
-Beaches: Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Cupsogue, Coopers, Smith’s Point
-Historic Trails
-Fire Island, Shelter Island, Hamptons
-State Parks: Sunken Meadow, Heckscher, Robert Moses, Accompsett
-Museums, Whaling, Vanderbilt, Carriage

-Historic Cottages/Homes
    -General Stores

Friday, February 25, 2011

Interviewing New Jersey

Just had a chat with a recently transplanted UES guy - originally from New Jersey (Princeton).  To him, iconic NJ images include the Princeton Battlefield and The Pinelands in South Jersey.South Jersey is more rural (except western portion) smaller feel. Central is more urban, and Northern is more suburbs.

"NY is "the city" and you don't see a lot of people doing long commutes to the Jersey cities. NYC is the best for fun but you feel like outsiders (non-NY region people) look down on you for not being from NY"

"The inclination is to always stick up for Jersey - there are a lot of good things about it too"

A chat with a Long Islander

Here is the LI scoop:

Nassau vs. Suffolk Counties: Nassau is closer to the city and also more affluent, usually snootier.

North Shore vs. South Shore: North shore is usually more affluent, but also located on the sound, beaches aren’t as nice. South shore is notorious for being pretty trashy, the loophole the South Shore has are the Hamptons.

Long Islanders refer to Manhattan as “The City.”

When heading to the east end for beaches or vineyards, we refer to it as, “Out East.”

Predominantly Italian or Jewish

Mostly White, not a large ethnic population

Suburban families with children mostly

An accent unlike any other, so take a seat Jersey!

Guidos and Guidettes are abundant

We go to the beach, not the shore. The hamptons are obviously the chicest and best beaches. Robert Moses and Jones are staples and also have a nude part..hehe

We say hero, not sub or hoagie, usually piled with fresh Italian cold cuts or meats! Haha
It’s Soda, not pop
Pizza is a way of life
Food is Love
Seconds, sometime third helpings are required

Proud: You have the best beaches in the world, live near the best city in the world, great food & shopping..why live anywhere else?


You know you're from New Jersey when...

 You know you're from New Jersey when...

  • You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges".
  • You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
  • A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter.
  • You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
  • You've eaten at a Diner, when you were stoned or drunk, at 3a.m.
  • You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.
  • At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from.
  • You know what a "jug handle" is.
  • You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
  • You know that the state isn't all farmland.
  • You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey-there's the shore and you don't go to the shore, you go "down the Shore". And when you are there, you're not "at the shore", you are "down the Shore".
  • You know how to properly negotiate a Circle.
  • You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.
  • You know that this is the only "New __" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (like, try...Mexico,...York, .Hampshire - doesn't work, does it?)
  • You know that a "White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich.
  • You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege.
  • You don't think "What exit?" is very funny.
  • You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different". Yes they are!
  • You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton -that's for out-of-staters.
  • The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or localbar.
  • You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
  • You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers. (except for "the Parkway" and "the Turnpike")
  • Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.
  • You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.
  • You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall.
  • You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood.
  • You weren't raised in New Jersey -- you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.
  • You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.
  • You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's.
  • You also remember Palisades Amusement Park.
  • You've had a Boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.
  • You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.
  • You've NEVER, NEVER pumped your own gas.

    I've taken the liberty of hyper linking these things to explain them too - just click on them!

Long Island Christmas Tree

Obviously this is just for fun - but my long Island friends swear it's their mother...

From a NYC cab driver: Why I hate Jersey and a "Jerseyite" Response

"New Jersey drivers do not know how to drive properly in New York City. They never use their turn signal, they drive like they're sightseeing, they have an incredible sense of entitlement, and they're almost always on the phone. I've figured out that the worst cars on the road are white Mercedes SUVs with New Jersey plates. Each of these characteristics stand alone as a sign that the person will drive like an asshole, but put them together and you get the shittiest drivers ever. These are the ones that will dangerously cut you off, forcing you to slam on the brakes or swerve into oncoming traffic, and then, to add insult to injury, they will give you the finger because you honked. I'm not saying that the driver of the car in the photo did anything wrong (because that might be considered libel), but I'm not saying he didn't either."

Jersey does have a reputation for having the worst drivers south of Massachusetts....

Here is a response his posting got:
Anonymous said...
"A Pennsylvanian by birth, I used to share your sentiment. After living in South Jersey for the past 15+ years, I have changed my tune. Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers drive like tourists when in NJ. Just like Jerseyites do in the other two states and so on. There are the "by-the-book" rules of the road that everyone needs to follow and then there are the de-facto rules that apply to specific stretches of road during specific times of day. I could cite numerous examples, but suffice it to say that if you drive a particular stretch of road every day, you know the nuances of speed/swerve/potholes/bottlenecks that someone driving there for the first time does not. Of course there are cars of any state that are operated by assholes. They are assholes in every other facet of their miserable lives, so why should they be magically transformed when they get behind the wheel of their car?"

New Jersey vs Jersey SHore

Check this article out on Jersey VS Jersey Shore:

New Jerseyans across party lines can agree on at least one thing: they have put up with the 'Shore' long enough. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that 54 percent of the state's residents think the ubiquitous reality TV show The Jersey Shore and its tabloid-friendly "stars" are bad for the state's image. Governor Chris Christie, who lashed out at the MTV show last month, might consider that to be understatement, saying on ABC that:

"What it does is it takes a bunch of New Yorkers — most of the people on ‘Jersey Shore’ are New Yorkers — drops them at the Jersey Shore and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey."

Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll, was more candid than Christie in a CNN interview: "New Jerseyans to New York: Keep your low-lifes at home and away from our seashore."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Worth a Look - a photographer walking through Harlem

Although this is from a few years ago, some of this can be worked with - worth checking out:

Map of Harlem

Just to give you a better idea of what you're working with!

Calling Harlem a place is like calling the Eiffel Tower a building....

Some really insightful observations in Harlem from someone who is not from Harlem.
The author, Greg Gross is a New Orleans native. Southern California resident. Award-winning journalist. Lifelong writer, traveler, dreamer. From this blog:

I wanted to describe my first impressions of the place, but calling Harlem a place is a bit like calling the Eiffel Tower a building. Technically correct, but woefully inadequate.
It’s a name, an attitude, an emotion. A storehouse of legacy, memory, history. Cultural anchor and political third-rail. The unsanctioned, unofficial and universally recognized capital of Black America.
The least of what this place is…is a “place.”

It also may be a misnomer to call it a “neighborhood.” Harlem is home to about 119,000 people, making it more populous than at least 64 American cities. The MTA gives you several options by bus and subway to come here from anywhere in New York City — but honestly, what option does a first-timer have but to “Take the ‘A’ Train,” the Duke Ellington classic that introduced this neighborhood to the world?

So I did, entertained along the way by jazz saxmen, gospel and rap singers on station platforms, and a three-man break-dancing crew on the train itself — while the train was in its rocking, jerking motion.
Leave the subway at 125th Street, Harlem’s commercial heart, and you come up within sight of the Apollo Theater, whose stage has launched so many stars of music, dance and comedy that it has its own sizable Hall of Fame.

People come here just to be photographed under its marquee, as if hoping some tiny bit of fame might somehow rub off on them. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while still drawing more than a 1 million visitors a year.

And it’s still holding Amateur Night.
In a larger sense, though, all these streets are historic places.
These are the streets where Ethiopian sailors and black free men formed the Abyssinian Baptist Church as a cradle of gospel music and a cauldron of protest against racial injustice. The streets where Frederick Douglass touched the conscience of a nation reluctant to give up slavery and Malcolm X told us we’d been “hoodwinked and bamboozled.”

As you stroll the bustling boulevards that bear their names today, you scan the lean faces and sharp eyes of the young men passing by, and you wonder. Which of them might be the next Douglass, the next Malcolm, the next Marcus Garvey? Who will be next to speak the truth out loud?
Perhaps someone like the young black man I came across in a drug store, teaching his sons:
FATHER: “How old are you?”
SON: “Five.”
FATHER: “And how old is your brother?”
SON: “He seven.”
FATHER: “Well, if he’s seven and you’re five, how many years older than you is he?”
SON: “What?”
FATHER: “You’re five. He’s seven. Five, then six, then seven. So the difference between five and seven is what?”
FATHER:NOW you got it! NOW you’re in the house!”

This is not the image of a black man you typically see on the evening news or in a music video. But you’ll see it in Harlem.

Or maybe it would be the young woman sitting with her daughter in a storefront Mickey D’s, praying at length over a couple of sodas.

This community still has its struggles, not the least of which is how to lose its poverty without losing its identity. There are worries about gentrification, fears that changing demographics and rising housing values may cut off Harlem from its cultural roots.

Its black population has dropped from 98 percent in 1950 to about 69 percent today.

You know that the police officers stationed on strategic street corners are there to discourage thugs from preying on locals and visitors, but they still have the look and feel of an occupying army.

Young men who perhaps should be getting treatment in a mental facility ride the subway, ranting almost incoherently about racism. Older men with no place to live sleep at the base of the Stalinesque statue honoring one of Harlem’s most beloved political figures, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
They lie there without so much as a old blanket to ward off the cold night, face-down and motionless, as if they’d been shot.

But this is not a stagnant place. Throughout its history, up or down, Harlem never stops moving. You would expect no less from a community that created a neighborhood called Strivers Row.
In ways large, medium and small, Harlem gets its hustle on.

For every chain drug store, office supply center or fast-food stop along 125th Street, you’ve got the homegrown men’s clothier, the Mom-and-Pop soul food joint, the neighborhood club, the hole in the wall selling African fabrics.

And lining the block along with the storefronts are the street vendors, selling everything from caps for your head to scents for your skin, spices for your kitchen and hand-crafted African figures for your soul. Meanwhile, there’s the super-block of shops built around the multiplex theaters built by Magic Johnson of basketball fame.

Meanwhile, over on 116th Street, West African immigrants are creating a community within a community, a collection of businesses, cultural centers and places of worship that have come to be known as Le Petit Senegal, Little Senegal.

Then there’s Red Rooster Harlem, which is what brought me here in the first place.
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson named this $2 million project in honor of the original Red Rooster, an old Harlem speakeasy.

That wasn’t a casual choice. By tying world-class dining to community history, Samuelsson is making a brave attempt to bring Harlem’s heritage new life in the 21st century.

A day in Harlem doesn’t make you an expert in anything, but a day is enough, more than enough, to show that there’s more here than just a name or a place. There’s a heritage worth preserving, a community that’s evolving, and a lot of folks worth knowing.

The history books describe this period or that as a Harlem Renaissance, but the reality is that from its inception as a Dutch enclave in the New World, Harlem has never stopped reinventing itself. And visitors are always welcome to come see how it’s done.

All things Harlem...

Some cool sites worth checking out:
" The Harlem Week/Harlem Jazz & Music Festival is an annual summer festival taking place each August, with food tasting, art exhibits, concerts, seminars, music, street entertainment, sporting events and an auto show. And don't miss The Greater Harlem Historic Bike Tour in early August. The Urban World Film Festival also takes place in August every year."

Moving Up - Harlem

Albert Maysles, Moving Up In The World (update)

Documentary filmmaker, Albert Maysles, has met the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fidel Castro and Haile Selassie.  Now he’s meeting some of the residents of Harlem.  He moved from the Dakota to Central Harlem because “I felt it was time to move up in the world.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

So New York (Region)

New York Public Library
Chrysler Building (from 42nd street view)

Rockefeller Center Statue

The View from the Top of the Rock

The most "New York" images...

    I asked a few people what the most iconic NY imagery was to them - what places resonate as their initial thought of New York, this is what I got:

    • Empire State Building
    • Chrysler building, the bull, yankees stadium, Madison Square Garden
    • Statue of Liberty, Times Square
    • Central Park too!
    • Harlem!
    • statue of liberty, time square, lots of advertising and central park, oh i cant forget people walking everywhere and really fast
    •  ‎30 Rock Fountain(or the statue IN the fountain at least.)
    •  Grand Central Station, Citi RInk, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Public Library, Macy's on Herald Square
      George Washington Bridge (for those coming in from CT)
    • museum of national history, MOMA, guggenheim, the lincoln center, rockefellar center, grand central station, carnegie hall!
    • Well I would say Shea stadium but they had to go tear it down. 
    • Clark Street in Brooklyn 
    • Rockefeller Center
    • The view of Manahattan from the Jersey Side of the river - Jersey City/Newport
    • Madison Square Park
    • 5th Ave 
    • Herald Square
    • The network of tunnels for the subway at 42nd street and Penn station
    • The Apollo!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Queens - an interview with a native

I got an interview from my favorite girl from Queens today - I had her take a look at the blog, give me her thoughts about the borough....Ashley is a 23 year old Queens native (born and raised), American by birth and Jamaican by the love of her family.

From Ashley:

okay, reading through this blog again....Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia!

anyways, having been brought up in the most diverse county in the country (and damn proud of it!), i have a few things...

City and Neighborhood:
people in other parts of the city (other boroughs) may *refer* to their neighborhoods as if they're their own little cities, but we neighborhoods in queens get to put it on our mailing address.
For example, if you're from BK, your address says whatever whatever Brooklyn, NY 11208 or some ish. If you're from Queens, you get to put:

Cambria Heights, NY 11411 (SHOUTOUT!)
Forest Hills, NY (11375)
Jackson Heights, NY (11372)

and ish like that.

The 718 area code & The most diverse county in the USA:
The 718 area code makes you extra proud if you've got the landline area code on the cell. doesn't mean we don't jive as a whole borough, bc that's not true. we've got every culture in the world represented here (thanks to having BOTH nyc airports, oy vey), but the neighborhoods flow like liquor on an ice luge. they're never *really* segregated to begin with (i grew up in a mostly caribbean/orthodox jewish neighborhood but there were non-carib/jews all over), but you'll def see mixes in between when neighborhood shifts start. Like if you're btwn rego park and corona (BEST ITALIAN ICES IN THE WORLD at King of Corona), then you'll see a lot of indian restaurants mixed with italian places, a couple of indian/italian takeout. hell, you'll even see a higher proportion of indian italian kids than in the general population. our neighborhoods mix well and thrive off of each other.

Cabs versus Dollar Cabs, and of course the train:
You may have noticed that outside of manhattan, there aren't that many yellow cabs. that's because the outer-borough residents aren't pansy-asses who are afraid of mass transit in the early am (unless you're my parents ><). aside from the buses and the trains (E train's my train!), we've got the livery cabs and the dollar vans. Don't let the name fool you: the dollar vans charge a $1.25 AT LEAST, and they have no problem giving you a discount if you/your family's from the same island/country they immigrated from (or adding extra if you're not...).
Summertime in NYC:
summertime means free concerts (which means cool picnic dinner parties if you're among my friends) in cunningham park. every borough has their major park:
bronx=van cortlandt
staten island=some shit, i'm sure it has one.

Arthur ashe stadium, where the US Open is played, is in flushing meadow park. i used to teach swimming out there. you've got the gorgeous swimming/skating complex, the hall of science (which is still fun no matter how old my ass is), shea stadium (no way in hell i'ma call it after some punkass bank), and the marina out by laguardia airport. driving by during low tide on the CIP (cross island parkway) is a bitch on the nose, but it's perfect being on the bike trails when the water's in.

hope this helps! big hugs and bigger bottles of liquor to split.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

On the Path

A friend shared this picture from on the Path Train in New Jersey...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Area codes

A NYer is very protective of their area code. It says a lot about who they are - think of Elaine on Seinfield when she loses her area code:

The episode also featured the New York area code 646. When the 212 area code ran out of numbers, 646 was created. Elaine repeatedly gets a piercing high beep in her phone after Kramer signs up to receive restaurant menus by fax with a service called "Now We're Cookin'". Elaine then gets a new number with the 646 area code. She is not happy with the new number because she believes the area code makes it too long to dial. She is proved correct when attempting to give her number to a man in the park. Initially eager, he reads the number, asks if it is in New Jersey. Her response is, "No, it's just like 212 except they multiplied every number by 3… and added 1 to the middle number." He makes an excuse and walks off. When an old woman named Mrs. Krantz dies, Elaine manages to get her old 212 number. Mrs. Krantz's grandson Bobby keeps calling Elaine's apartment, ignorant of the fact that his grandmother is dead, and that Elaine has her number.

Two of everything to serve this City...QUEENS

In an earlier post I mentioned that NY needs more than 1 of everything - 5 boroughs, 2 NFL team, 2 MLB teams (The Mets are in Queens on Roosevelt Ave), 2 Airports etc.

Both major airports are in Queens. (JFK & LaGuardia) And if you're not from NY you ALWAYS mispronounce LaGuardia for some reason - tourists say "La gard E uh", it's "La-gwarr-dee-uh" (it's the Spanish influence of the meaning of the word) - EVERYTHING has the "W" sound, it's part of the NY accent.

Queens is also the 4th most densely populated county...and NY's most diverse borough. Queens is world diversity - everyone from everywhere.
  • Were each borough an independent city, Brooklyn and Queens would be the country's third and fourth largest cities, respectively, after Los Angeles and Chicago.
  • The tallest tree in the New York metropolitan area, called the Queens Giant, is also the oldest living thing in the New York metro area. It is located in northeastern Queens, and is 450 years old and 132 feet (40 m) tall as of 2005. 
  • Queens and Brookyln both speak to leaving Manhattan behind, even the subway comes above ground as you get out into Queens and near Coney island.

Memorializing the past - it's about pride and respect

The hip hop culture becomes part of the landscape in NY. In Queens, this  mural for Run DMC DJ Jam Master Jay who was murdered in 2002 has been featured from the NYtimes to Jay-Z's autobiography. Jay-z used this location as one of many he built into his album and books digital scavenger hunt - it's worth checking out here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More from Reginald...

Some relevant facts and points of interest for inspiration
  • Brooklyn is the birthplace to some of the greatest rappers  – Notorious BIG, Jay –Z, LiL Kim.
  • Brooklynites consider Brooklyn to be the “Realist” borough and the epic center of Hip Hop and Fashion.   
  • Harlem has the famed Apollo Theater that still holds amateur Night contest. If you can survive the Apollo theater crowd, you can make it on stage anywhere. 
  • The Bronx has been affectionately called the “Boogie Down Bronx”.

When you get more into the details:
The Apollo theater is world renown and is famous because of it’s Amateur nights that launched the careers of stars  such as Ell Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown , Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill , to name a few. It Billed it’s self as a place "where stars are born and legends are made”. Because of the caliber of talent that has passed through the Apollo Theater, the audience developed a high standard for applauding on the best of the best during Amateur night. If you can make it on the stage at the Apollo Theater, then you can make it anywhere. The same as the New York motto. To past and future legends that braved the crowd at the Apollo Theater

Expand beyond rappers born in Brooklyn and focus on New York being the birthplace of rap legends. The list is long – LL Cool Jay, Mar J. Blige, Heavy D. , Russell Simmons founder of DEF Jam records, Puffy, Queen Latifah . It’s really the home of East Coast Rap - to the city that gave birth to East Coast Rap.

The Life of trends...

Reginald also gave us these popular Fashion/accessories to keep in mind when thinking about trends and their life cycles...


  • Chuck Taylors (Converse Sneakers)
  • Hoodies are fashionable
  • Workman or utilitarian boots with pants tucked inside
  • It’s cool to wear shades at night

  • High end headphones – Skull Candy, Dr. Dre Beats
  • Scarves for guys even during the summer and warm weather
  • Mixed tapes
  • Return to more socially conscious themes instead of misogynistic and material wealth themes in Rap music

To NY, Love Reginald

Hi Guys,

Here are some interesting things provided by Reginald - worth thinking about for sure!

Brooklyn – Heavy Concentration of African Americans – “Bed- Stuy” aka Bedford Stuyvesant is neighborhood in Brooklyn that is a hub for African American culture and is often referenced in rap music. It is the birthplace of rappers  Biggie Smalls and Jay Z. ("Bed Stuy Till i Die" is a saying here)

Harlem – Historically the epicenter of African American culture – The birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance. The home to the Cotton Club and the famed Apollo Theater that still conducts amateur night.

Spanish Harlem also know as East Harlem/El Barrio  – Largely dominated by Latinos or Nuyoricans

The Bronx – Heavy concentration of Hispanics. Was coined the “Boggie Down “ Bronx in rap music during the 80’s. Also home to Yankee Stadium.

Newark – Heavy concentration of African Americans. Nick named “Brick City” which captures the feeling of the city being a city that is tough as Bricks.  Newark also has a heavy concentration of Portuguese and Brazilian in area named the Ironbound. Also home to the new Red Bull Soccer Stadium.  

 Little kids in Bed Stuy Brooklyn


Kind of a snarky blog, but some interesting and weird observations about NY....


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Renting your first NYC apartment...

Anther great post from Thought Catalog: Renting your first NYC apartment, Enjoy!

You’re on the cusp of graduating from Reed, Oberlin, or Williams College. You flew to New York for the weekend to lock down a pad so you can finally move here to become a freelance _________. Start by picking a neighborhood, telling yourself you can only live in a studio, by yourself, in Williamsburg. That’s where everybody from your liberal arts college flocks when they graduate, so obviously that’s where you need to be to feel hip, cool, legit.

Go on Craigslist. Skip the past the “Broker” apartments, click on “All No-Fee Apartments Only.” You’re saying, “Who uses a Broker to rent an apartment?!” Believe you’ll get a better deal this way, don’t realize nobody gets a “deal” in New York real estate.
Type “Williamsburg” in the search window and limit your max rent to “$900.” 26 results materialize. You’re seeing stuff in non-Williamsburg neighborhoods you’ve never heard of, such as Bushwick, Far Rockaway, and Gowanus. You’re like, What’s a Gowanus? Open up Google Maps to see what “Gowanus” means. See that it’s toxic, has Gonorrhea, is nowhere near Williamsburg. But Whole Foods is coming, so that’s kind of rad.

Scroll down. Here’s one, an “AmaZinG 1bdrm Aptm***(Williamsburg)”—no price listed. Click it. Inside the link there’s just a picture of a wall, which obviously tells you everything you need to know. But it’s by the Bedford L train, a major plus. The owner is having an Open House tonight from 6-9PM, something you’ve never heard of, so you go.

By the time you get there you realize the place isn’t by the Bedford L at all. It’s actually on the Lorimer Street J train. Whoa. To get to Williamsburg, all you have to do is walk to the Flushing Avenue G train, coast two stops up to Metropolitan Avenue, get out, walk up the stairs, walk, then go down the stairs, then up more stairs where you catch the L train at Lorimer and move one stop west to Bedford. Total travel time: 35 minutes.

By the time you get there, 10 or 45 people are already inside, plus a line of people outside waiting to get in. All this for an apartment? You take a look around and realize everybody’s handing out cover letters, resumes, employment letters, tax returns, bank statements, blood test results, health records, police reports, school transcripts, and photo albums to the owner dude. Everybody’s filling out questionnaires.


You go over to the owner, tell him you’re about to graduate from wherever with a degree in whatever. Tell him you really need to lock down a place today because you’re leaving Sunday—you only flew out to find an apartment. He’s like, I don’t rent to students or freelancers. Do you have a guarantor? And you’re like, What’s that? And he goes, How’s your credit? So you go,        I don’t think I have any, and that’s when he asks if you have a parent who makes 250x the rent who can get on the lease with you and you’re like Um and then he asks where they live so you’re like in California and he’s all, Sorry, kid, I only take guarantors in the Tri-State area.

Basically you just wasted a whole day on that one apartment. Call your parents. Tell them getting an apartment is like trying to get accepted to Harvard. Ask them—plead— can’t you just buy me a place? No. Call your best friend Max, tell him what happened. He’s like, Bro, you gotta use a broker dude.
Next day. Roll around (real) Williamsburg and pop into a broker such as Apartments and Lofts. Speak to Lisa (hot, maybe 25-29) and tell her you’re leaving tomorrow, you really need a place today. Tell her what you want. Say your budget is $900. She throws a stack of paperwork at you and you fill it out in her office while she sifts through phone calls, text messages and other alerts on all four of her BlackBerry’s. You’re just on the verge of Carpal Tunnel from all the paperwork and she puts down the phone and says, Okay I have a couple places to show you, one for $1250, one for $1500, and the other for $2300. All totally out of your price range. She talks with a New Jersey accent and has on a spray spray tan. Big hair. Reaches for her Louis Vuitton, Starbucks, and you both climb into her BMW M6 convertible, top down.

Apartment 1, noisy, under the BQE, 15 minute walk to the subway, no doors. Apartment 2, a one-bedroom with a shower in the kitchen, no stove—just a microwave and a hot plate. Apartment 3—a breath of fresh air (sort of): new construction, doorman, center of Williamsburg, 100 square feet. $2300. You pick that one, almost three times what you wanted to pay. Lisa’s like, Great. I’ll need a copy of your cover letter, resume, employment verification, tax return, credit score and bank statements to get you approved.

You: Um…

Lisa: How much money do you have, kid? You need to make 65x the rent in a year. Plus first, last, security, holding deposit and my broker’s fee.

You: Oh, um…how much is all that?

Lisa: Let me add it up. [Typing on her BlackBerry]. It comes out to $11,500 total.

You: To rent an apartment?!

Lisa: This is New York Fuckin’ City.

You: Um…

Call your parents. Tell them the news. Dad freaks out. Dad says That’s ridiculous. Dad says We’re not giving you $12,000 to rent an apartment. Says to settle for a different, cheaper city, such as Burlington, Vermont. TC mark