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Graham lived in “the greatest apartment in a suburban area of Staten Island”--a 15-minute walk from the ferry--for about two years starting in 2007.
The key word to describe this apartment, which he shared with a roommate, was “huge." It had it all: two large bedrooms, an enormous kitchen that included a dishwasher and tons of counter space and an actual separate dining room. In addition, the spacious (sensing a theme here?) living room had two beautiful stained-glass windows.
“We called the apartment our castle because the stained glass looked like something out of medieval times,” recalls Graham.
He had “the biggest bedroom I’ve ever had in New York City,” complete with (here we go again) huge windows, more than ample closet space and original crown molding. And after having four other places in the city, he had many other rooms by which to judge.
“Everyone always wanted to hang out at our place because it was so big, convenient and comfortable, and our landlord was really easygoing," he says.
But sadly it was not to last.
Graham's roommate started dating someone, and she spent less and less time at their apartment. They grew apart, and a friend of Graham's who had recently moved to the city took over her room for the remainder of the lease. But then they had a falling out.
“It got to a point where neither one of us wanted to live together anymore when our lease came up for renewal,” explains Graham.
When the lease expired three months later, Graham moved out. The $1,650 rent was too much for him to afford on his own; otherwise he would have never given up that place.
“I decided I would live better by myself, and ended up getting a really substandard studio in the more urban part of St. George directly across the street from the ferry," he says.
That building got a bed bug infestation--a horrible letdown after being King of the Castle.
“Everything about it was the opposite of what I had—size, neighborhood quality, and neighbors," he says.
Graham has since left New York.
The One That Got Away chronicles stories of love and loss in NYC real estate.