Farm to City: The secret life of my drycleaner, and more

By Emmalie Vance  | May 7, 2012 - 2:27PM

It's been three months since I came to NYC and moved into my $975/month studio sublet on the Upper East Side. As I've related in my first two columns, finding the place was challenging, and sharing a small space with a total stranger has been an adjustment for someone accustomed to a lot more space and privacy.  

But it's clear that my education as a NYC apartment dweller is just beginning. 

Feeling the heat…not

The guy I am subletting from (Adam) swears this has never happened before, but of course I receive the warm New York welcome of a broken water heater the morning of my first day at my new internship.

My power outfit was ready to go, I had my game face on, and I looked a hot mess. Not the best first impression, but luckily my desk is somewhat secluded, and I just made a point to avoid the kitchen and other common areas.

I wrote Adam about the issue, and he contacted the super for my roommate and I. I am unsure whether the super knows we are currently living in this apartment in place of the gentleman whose name is on the rent check, but I figure it’s a don’t-ask-don’t-tell situation.

Adam informs us that the heater will be down for the next 48 hours, so I make arrangements the next day to shower at a friend’s place just two stops away on the nearby 6 train.

Problem solved, everything is fixed…until two weeks later when it happens again.

I am immersed in a déjà vu scenario with a horrible first day followed by an early morning visit to my friend’s place.

This hasn’t happened since (knock on wood), but I still get a pang of worry every morning when it takes nearly two minutes for the warm water to start flowing.

Lost & found

I was expecting a package from my boyfriend, Joe, in the mail, and I knew it was going to be shipped, so I kept asking him to track it to make sure I would be home to sign when it arrived (no doorman for us!).

Several days went by after the time it was slated to arrive, and I began to worry. Joe refused to tell me what it was because it was a birthday present, so I had no idea what size of a package to look for.

We have no mailroom in my building; just mail boxes in the tiny foyer between the exterior and interior doors of the building.

After placing a call to FedEx, I found that it was reported delivered and a signature was given that read “cleaners” followed by a few numbers. My roommate mentioned that when she had a large package delivered before I moved in, she found that the dry cleaners across the street had signed for it.

Lo and behold, the cleaners had it, and the numbers were, indeed, their address.  If I hadn’t been expecting anything, I wouldn’t have known to check with them.

Apparently it's a common occurrence in NYC for the neighboring businesses to sign for and hold packages ... who knew?

Unwanted house guest

This one hasn't actually happened to met yet--only to my roommate, who recently encountered and crushed a roach in the bathroom.  From what I am told, there is never just one.

That was about two weeks ago, but I still swing the bathroom door open and peer around before entering, as if there’s a magic force field that would keep the bugs contained in that room, and I try to wear shoes or slippers when I am in standing at the sink for fear something will crawl on my feet.

It doesn't help that I have always been afraid of creepy crawlies, but a few tiny silverfish and a stray Daddy Long Legs pale in creepy comparison to a thick, black cockroach any day of the week. Ew.

The monthly visit from the exterminator can’t come soon enough.

Emmalie Vance is a New York newbie who grew up on a hay farm in western New York. In her Farm to City series, she is chronicling her real estate adventures here in the big city.


Related posts:

Farm to City: I share a studio apartment with a total stranger

Farm to City: Tough lessons in NYC real estate

Rental Rookie: Finding my Next NYC apartment

Rental Rookie: Basic steps in the roommating dance

Rental Rookie: I lay eyes on my apartment for the first time

Rental Rookie: I rent my first NYC apartment from 3,000 miles away



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