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Apartment rental horror stories

By A. Ready  | November 15, 2010 - 1:33PM

New York Times CityRoom blogger Constance Rosenblum asked readers for their tales of New York City apartment terror. How much do New Yorkers tolerate to stay in the big city? Um, quite a lot. Consider these three tales posted by commenters:

Elizabeth: One summer I lived in a poorly built room in a warehouse next to a toxic waste dump in Bushwick. There was a babydoll factory downstairs and there would often be dumpsters filled with doll parts outside. It was so hot in there that I would sometimes sleep on the roof an be awoken in the morning by the blazing sun, the smell of chemicals and garbage, and helicopters hovering overhead.

Sarah After I broke up with my live-in boyfriend, at 22, I wanted the comraderie and company of roommates above all else. I thus chose to live with eight people in a “duplex” (read: first floor and dank, dark, basement) on 6th and Avenue C after they wooed me with a backyard BBQ. 

My 8 x 8 subterranean room was $500 but also wet and cold, and one morning I woke up to find an ant line marching from the window (which was near the ceiling and looked out into the dirt of the garden) across my duvet over my chest, to a muffin on my nightstand. 

I did have company, though after all: A giant African bullfrog one of the roommates had freed in the garden would mush itself against the windowpane at night, and croak to me at all hours. Unfortunately, not the prince I was looking for.

Margaret Ah, there have been so many over the last 25 years….

  • East Village: 7 people in a 1-bedroom tenement floor-through, including 2 (non-rent-payers) in the kitchen
  • East Village: nice apartment but my roommates (a couple) were in a cult and the husband beat his wife
  • Tribeca: I lived in a curtained-off shelf in a rehearsal studio and had to hide and remain silent when the rehearsal space was being rented
  • West Village: fabulous crumbling townhouse; no rent (hooray!) but no heat or running water (eg, plumbing) in my side of the house

I could list a dozen more….

(NYT CityRoom)


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