Sunday, October 21, 2007
Visitaton Rights: Brooklyn (The Second Coming) or "Arf Arf"
As promised, this week would be a quick write up and posting of our second visit to Brooklyn in two weeks. Last week, after venturing through Ft. Greene, Clinton or Cobble Hill, or COCO or something, we came up on Park Slope and fell in love. So it was with that that we decided to focus this week's attention solely on the area b/w President and 12th street, and 5-7 avenue. 8 open houses, 1 heart-breaker, and a few close calls. The hunt is still on.
A and I started our venture early. For her bridal shower she had received a gift certificate at an Israeli brunch place called Miriam's so off we went leaving Manhattan at 10am trying to beat the morning rush to eat. We walked up to 59th street, hopped on the 5 down. (We actually had to stop and switch to the 4 but my geriatric mind can't recall what stop we had). Either way, we made it in time. Amanda enjoyed two poached eggs in tomato and pepper sauce and I enjoyed two eggs with borek, tahini and yogurt. (Sorry, no photos...when we get hungry that overtakes everything else).
The night before we had planned our day out meticulously, plotting a course that would take us around the various open houses in the allotted time frame. Our first stop was Union Street and we got there a few minutes early. What's a guy to do with time to kill? Get dragged to a store to go shopping. But luckily, it was Brooklyn Industries, which is kind of like Urban Outfitters only with less crap and only 2/3 of the price tags depending on the t-shirt.
Amanda found a blazer an sweatshirt, but since it was getting warm and we didn't want to drag around (Read:I didn't want to drag around), we left it with store and went off to visit the apartment.
The first few apartments weren't really worth writing about. Well that's not entirely true. Part of what this process is us learning more what we DON'T want as what we DO want. The first apartment was a 1,200 sq foot, 3 bedroom apt on the 3rd floor of a brownstone. The apartment was huge, but unfortunately, very very dark. We could afford it, but we'd have spent all our savings just to buy the place, which would leave us with not much money to fix it up, which clearly this place would need. We thanked the broker and went on our way.
Our second stop was at a quaint little place on 5th avenue, a couple selling a 2 bedroom apt on their own. Once again, this apartment was nice, but on 5th which to us Westchester folk felt a little like central avenue, plus for my tastes it was a little dark. I would put up pictures, but the people didn't let us take photographs. (I didn't ask to, but figure they would've said no).
When you live in Manhattan and have a rental, you don't really think about things like Feng Shui or flow. You don't think about the set-up or how the rooms look. When you're buying and you start to visualize how you might actually live, it changes things up. Specially when you think how you might feel in 5 years when you actually grow up (My god, I'll be 35). And it is with that that we begin to tell the story of the heartbreak apartment, the one that got away.
First, a quick side note. Last weekend, A's parents came with us to Brooklyn. It was great because they asked tons of questions, things we didn't even think of, like whether the super was on site, who cleaned the common areas, outside storage space. One apartment we saw last weekend was beautiful, but in essence the tenants acted as supers, and everyone was expected to empty the garbage for everyone else once a week. It was a little odd. One question it is important to ask is whether a building is pet friendly. This is important if you are an animal lover or hater. Hate pets? Go to a place that hates them too. Love them? Make sure the place likes having them around, specially before you go looking around.
Amanda and I showed up at a GORGEOUS 1,000 sq. ft apartment on 8th street b/w 6 and 7th. A gorgeous 3rd floor brownstone on the block we dreamed. A darling woman and her father-in-law greeted us at the door with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies (I had two, Amanda none). The apartment was fabulous. A perfect, open kitchen with lots of room and beautiful floors. A huge living room with space for a table and bookshelves and storage. Two big rooms, 1.5 bathrooms, lots of light, washer and dryer. Even better? In our price range. SOOOOOO In our price range.
So...not a condo. That's OK. Pet friendly? Yes. If you're pet is a cat. Or a bird. Or a hamster. We didn't ask about ferrets, but no, they don't like dogs.
What? Yup. The board is older and we are younger and they've yet to catch up with the times. So the rationalization began....'we don't really want a dog, right?' We could be happy without a dog for the next....7-10 years. We could get one at our next place. And with the notion that it wasn't going to happen...we had to say goodbye. (Tear).
We saw a few more places...one on prospect park west that was beautiful. The problem is and was that despite also being in our price range and also having the right price tag...despite being right next to the park (and i mean LITERALLY right next to the park) was that it lacked the Brooklyn feel. it lacked that special quality that makes Brooklyn Brooklyn. It kind of felt like being on Central Park West. Now while in about twenty years the future Mittfarbs might find that appealing...right now we want the authentic Brooklyn feel. And we're not ready to settle. We want our Brownstone, damnit! (And our little dog too!)
The most important thing is we left Park Slope feeling more sure than ever that this is the place we want to end up. And b/c we can extend our lease as needed, we don't have to settle for anything less than exactly what we want. Huzzah!
After a long day, we went home and drowned our sorrows in a healthy turkey meat loaf (Of course A made her own dinner of pumpkin soup, quinoa, millet, and tofu). If you're asking yourself why it looks like a giant overcooked brownie with tomato sauce and cheese on top, well that's b/c I've never cooked it before. But it was good.