An Irishgirl abroad — New York life through a European lens

The Craigslist cabinet

Posted in New York, Real estate by Frieda on April 27, 2010

Cabinet of Wonders = "a place where things of interest are set out, in possibly bizarre, possibly fetishistic presentation, for perusal by the discerning."*

I know it’s somewhat cheating to cull material from Craigslist. It’s such a diverse, colorful and infinite store of both good and evil that my personal research could never match it. I’m going to do it, though, just this once, in relation to my recent search for a new home. I kept a record of the creepiest ads I found and here are two of the most intriguing.

For $550 (Bushwick, Brooklyn):
“I have beautiful loft, I use for teaching my Yoga like classes looking to share with some who teaches Dance, or Yoga Meditation, Healing massage therapy, music acting or Photography…

“We are approaching an era where many of us know that without Vision people perish, and you know this posting is slightly unusual. But I think there are many creative people out there friends we haven’t met yet. With great talents in many different areas who are willing to try different ways of thinking an operating and there by creating new Venues for creative Expressions.

“If you think you’re one of those people then respond accordingly and lets be productive . This is not just a New Year but a New Decade where a new You must emerge better than you were before, leaving behind the old ways of limited hurtful fearful ways of thinking, and Begin anew living by faith and not sight because you have an inner Vision and know that nothing is impossible. You owe it to yourself to live creatively and joy-filled, Remember No guts No Glory.”

For $700 (Soho, Manhattan):
“Ultra-modern, brand new, soho duplex with 2 large bedrooms upstairs, one available to rent. Fully furnished. Huge 20-foot floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Broadway. Huge living room, huge open-space eat-in kitchen. Upstairs: shower, toilet. Downstairs: whirlpool bath, toilet.

“It’s posted at 700 but the rent can be dramatically reduced for the right female looking to … entertain me. I am in my late 20’s and in good shape.

“YOU must be highly attractive. All I need is some company in my lonely life because of my hectic work schedule. Your rent will be reduced based upon how … happy you make me, although things won’t work out if there is no chemistry between us. You are welcome to have your own life and friends over etc and I will keep any arrangements secret. I am discreet.

“Look forward to your response. Pictures a must.”

I don’t know. Do you get this in London?

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*All true of Craiglist except “discerning.” The definition, and the image, came from this blog.


Moving house — most stressful?

Posted in Brooklyn, New York, Real estate by Frieda on April 27, 2010

It's never that simple.

We all know that statistic — that moving house is the third most traumatic life experience you can have after death of a loved one and divorce (I even checked the fact; let’s believe the NS). Blissfully ignoring this stat I’ve moved house four times in the past year-and-a-half and am about to depart for a fifth new home. When I told a prospective housemate about it he said this meant I was a nomad. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

In London and probably Dublin too, moving house is tough, but New York takes the cake. Real estate has a grand narrative here; it’s a site of tragedy and (less often) comedy. There are gossip blogs about it, local blogs, newspaper sections, and specialist blogs, all testifying to the passions that lie within the New York housing market.

In the past moving has stressed me out but this time I was determined to stay calm; which was a good thing. Let me tell you a few stories.

I saw several places before making my decision. The third was a commune/co-op where food and chores were shared among six occupants. Everyone was a member of the Park Slope Food Coop. There were two guys and four girls. The house was a gorgeous Park Slope brownstone with original 19th century features. A little old lady owned it  and it had been a commune since the 70s. At $800 per month including bills it was a steal, for New York. And it wasn’t a cult (I asked). So far, so innocuous.

One of the two men, tall and affable, gave me the tour. Then I went downstairs to the kitchen where seven or eight other prospective housemates were milling around with anxious eyes. We each had to make sure to speak to each of the five housemates because if we didn’t we’d automatically be disqualified. That was more or less fine, until one girl said to me: “So! Tell me about yourself.” It was too abrupt, and job-interview-like. But, of course, worse was to follow. We were given sheets of paper to fill out, with five or six different questions, including “What are the strengths and skills you’d bring to this house?” and “Why should we choose you?” Then, in case we were not memorable, each of us had to stand, holding a piece of paper with our name on it to our chest, while one of the housemates took a photo.

So I didn’t get that room. I got one much nicer, in an artists’ commune in a converted factory in Prospect Heights — here’s a pic:

My new apartment! (entrance)

When I gave the landlord, who will be a housemate, my deposit last weekend he said, “Oh, I think the roof leaks by the way. Did I mention that?” He hadn’t. But I am hopeful.

I kept a record of the weirdest housing ads I found on craigslist. Here are two you might enjoy.

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[I got the pic from]

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