27 June 2005

This is embarassing...

...every time I write a new blog and announce that I'm back, and ready to blog some more, I pull another disappearing act. And when I actually feel like coming back and writing something, i'm too embarassed to even do it. And now that I decide to write again, I give people the idea that I'm actually committed to this again. Am I? Only time will tell with this one...

But I still haven't forgotten how to do a great Larry King...


a) Am I the only person in America shocked to the core that this "Dancing with the Stars" show on ABC is a hit? I like to think I understand the pulse of this country, and I would have relished the idea of calling Security to escort anyone out of the building who would pitch a show like this. "Okay, how about this? Let's take a guy... uhhh.. Evander Holyfield! Yeah, I know he's a boxer, and I know he was a pretty benign champion, and I know that no one really likes boxing in this country anymore... but.. let's take him.. and uhhh... watch him dance!"

What in the world?

b) I love this, I really do, and I apologize to Michael Hiestand of USA Today and others for lifting some of this, but I can't let this go by. (I'll paraphrase). David Stern comes out and declares the NBA Finals a TV success because while the the ratings were down, and down bigtime in the US, they are up all over the world! I'm sure the advertisers are dancing in the streets because the overnights in Denmark were up! And then he says, the ratings are down in the US because kids have so many different ways to access information and media. Of course! Obviously the kids were watching the games on their cellphones. I can't believe he gets away with this!

c) If you ever go apartment hunting in New York, bring a helmet and a bottle of xanax. You can buy a helmet at any hardware store, and for the other stuff, just send a cousin to Tijuana, or call your younger sibling at college. Funny thing is, if they had to race (like one train leaves Chicago at 7, another from Philadelphia at 830), I would put money on the kid at college. Next, and this is key, DON'T BOTHER WITH CRAIGSLIST. I'm sorry, Craig. You've been good to me. You helped me find my first apartment. You even helped my roommate find a used mattress. I don't know why he decided to buy a used mattress. I don't know why ANYONE would decide to buy a used mattress. How can anyone account for what sort of shenanigans went on? Can a mere cotton sheet erase the faint scent of a dead hooker and goats blood? I'm sorry... I got carried away, this was about you, Craig. You can't be held accountable for the choices people make. You're just the facilitator. I get it. But your apartment listings have gone to hell. It's a giant bait & switch.

Pop Quiz: Where can you find a true 2 BR on the Upper West Side beneath the 90's for $2000 or less? Craigslist.org will tell you who to call!

"Can I see it?"

"Sure, first come in and fill out some paperwork."

"But, I've already filled out your damn paperwork."

"Okay, well come into the office and we'll show you what we have."

"I don't care what you have, I want to see this place."

"Okay, well, you're going to have to come into the office."

It's not my fault I didn't figure out what the hell was going on the first eleventybillion times I had this conversation with a broker (It's my fault that I didn't spot the trend of the aforementioned apartments not quite living up to their billing... or existing). Nonetheless, my hunt began. Here's the highlights: First, we started in the East Village.. When I saw true two bedrooms, they were true-ly big enough to fit a big dog and his doghouse. They were also up a flight up stairs steep enough to have required a base camp midway through the climb. Some buildings smelled like hell. Some buildings looked like hell. There were moments when if I really really focused, I could pretend I was apartment hunting in Burma... Myanmar... whatever. None of this would be objectionable if the prices reflected the merchandise. So, for a 5th floor walkup, in a grungy part of town, in a building that smells like a baseball stadium men's room, two "bedrooms" and a living room even a buddhist steeped in nirvana would object to... all they were asking was $2200 a month. (Did I mention the 15% broker's fee?)

I'll take a moment to describe one of the brokers we went out with. I won't mention his name, because I think if you should happen to use him, you'll have some great stories... or, if you're my roommate, ready to buy a gun. If you asked him a question, not only would he not answer the question, he would talk for 15 minutes about nonsense. He was full of jokes, but if you had one of your own, he'd get pretty angry and short with you. An apartment on 14th Street between 1st and 2nd - We walked in. There was a stove. Two rooms. And a closet with a pair of dirty shoes in them. You couldn't pay me to live there... that includes a 15% brokers fee. My roommate says to him "Okay, if the shoes come with the place, I'm ready to talk." The idiot nearly blew a gasket assaulting our expectations. (This was after we asked him if he could find us an apartment above a fire station, because we preferred quiet. I'll let you figure out if he got the joke.) I'm not a broker, and even though I did stay in a Holiday Inn express last night, I still won't claim to know everything. But here's one thing I do know - your job is to show people what they want to see. If you can't figure that part out... well, you are fit to be a broker in this town!

The epic story of Apartment Hunting in NY will continue tomorrow. Coming up next, except on the west coast, it's your local news...