Thursday, July 31, 2008
I give a lot of prompts in class which are designed to get students writing, or at least get the rusty gears turning in their heads. For some reason everyone always says they loved writing -- until they got to college and were forced to do it all the time. My job is to clean up the mess academia left behind.
Not everyone has the time or the discipline for a six-week long class, yet they still want to write, but don't know where to start. A few days ago I found this link to the Imagination Prompt Generator. Just click the button and you'll get a writing prompt. If you don't like, just keep clicking until you find something that inspires you.
Imagination Prompt Generator
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Are you looking for a great one bedroom in a doorman building? Through the end of July these are being offered as no-fee. Just come and look and apply.
87th and Broadway $3600: Doorman, elevator, pool, healthclub and kid's playroom. It's a wonderful building and this apartment is drenched in sunlight.
Large bedrooms with plenty of closets. Easily fits a king-sized bed.
A few blocks farther south on 45th and 8th is a doorman/elevator building (I personally met the owner today) that has a great one bedroom for $2800 -- and NO FEE! It gets great light, is renovated and has a new marble bath as well. Steps from all theaters and restaurants and any subways you could imagine.
Bedroom is large and has great closets
Thursday, July 24, 2008
New Yorkers know that if there's no reason to go to Times Square, it's best to just stay away. Between the tourists, the crowds and the bad food, it's a place best left to those who are only in for a few days.
There is, however, a no-fee apartment building in the area, and so for a few days I found myself on 45th Street showing a few studios to a lot of people.
My job revolves largely around my iPhone, since I need it to call people, check my e-mail and check the web. Yesterday I got out of the subway, headed towards 45th Street and dug into my bag to check my phone. Oddly, the screen was black. I clicked the assorted buttons on the iPhone, and nothing happened.
Black screens are nothing new with the iPhone or even Mac products in general. What is odd is that it keeps happening in Times Square. It's happened twice now. I've also had issues with service.
So what's the deal? Has anyone else ever had cell phone issues in the vortex of consumerism that is Times Square? My iPhone was back to normal once I got to Chelsea, but it seems that Times Square is some sort of Bermuda Triangle of service.
No fee building or not, I don't think I'll be going up there again anytime soon.
Monday, July 21, 2008
I turned to look around, and it seemed to be coming out the the ground, from below one of those grates in the street. How on earth would a cat get into one of those things? The meowing kept getting louder, to the point that two other people stopped and were peering into the grate in the sidewalk. Were these the people I would eventually call the fire department with? Who do you call to get a cat out of a street grate? Can you just get a crowbar?
We looked around a bit more, and then we noticed the homeless man who was milling around. One of the guys who was looking in the grate with me said to him, "Wait is that you?"
The homeless man looked up at us and meowed.
We looked at each other, and we turned and walked away. There was no cat in distress, just a bored homeless man who liked to meow at strangers.
I love New York.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
After the whole James Frey debacle there's been a lot of attention paid to truth in memoir. How much can you fudge? How much can you rely on your own memory?
I like David Carr's piece because he accepted the fact that his memoir, and one about addiction at that, may have some murky parts, mostly because parts of his memory were shot due to the drugs and booze. So he did what any good journalist does: he went out and reported on it. He tracked down people from his past in order to verify what really went on, or at least get another perspective.
Methinks this is the way that memoirs are going to go from now on. Publishers have to be wary about the veracity of memoirs, because any un-truthiness ultimately hurts the bottom line. If a writer really believes in their story and feels a need to tell it, I think they will go the route of David Carr and report the heck out it.
I can't wait for the book to come out on Tuesday!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
$1750 a month. New hardwood floors, high ceilings new marble bathroom.
Kitchen is new with full-sized appliances.
Down the hall is another studio, slightly larger, for $1800. Same hardwood floors and new kitchen and bath. This one has a deco fireplace.
Also: serious closets.
Need a one bedroom in a quiet area? I'm having an open house from 2:00 to 3:30 today for a one bedroom on Riverside Boulevard on the west side. Be the first to live in it!
- High floor
- Hudson River views
- New kitchen
- Marble baths
- Cherrywood floors
- Doorman/Elevator/Full service
- Building has gym, theater and billiards room
Drop me a line if you'd like to come by or see it another time.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Down on Wall Street there's this fun little bar called Ulysses. If you work down there you've probably been there for happy hour. It's pretty standard frat boy fare, but after a long day at work sometimes an Amstel and Dave Matthew's tunes are exactly what one needs.
A bunch of my friends like to go there every few weeks, although due to my schedule I've missed most of the antics. A few weeks ago a friend of a friend, we'll call her Rachel, met a handsome banker who we'll call Sven, even though he is from an Eastern bloc country.
Rachel is 24 and fresh to NYC from The South. She works in PR. Sven was 34, recently promoted at JP Morgan and all around seems like a nice guy. He worked long hours and had a beach house in Long Island with some office friends. They began seeing each other, having dinners, dating like a regular professional couple for about two months.
One evening Rachel was Googling Sven and stumbled across his profile on Reunion.com. What to her wondering eyes should appear but his profile, which stated that not only was he married, but he had a daughter as well. Egads! Oh, and he was 44, not 34. No shock there.
Rachel knew that if she confronted Sven about this he would claim to be separated. So she did what any smart girl would do: she called the home telephone number listed on Reunion.com and told the wife that she was from their bank, and needed to speak to her husband about a recent deposit. Sure enough, the wife gave her Sven's work number.
Armed with all this intel, Rachel organized a dinner with Sven where she planned to confront him once and for all, not to mention dump him. My other friend Patricia was privvy to all of it, since she was sitting at the bar watching and acting as moral support for the inevitable fall out.
Sven and Rachel sat down for dinner and Rachel laid it all out. Sven, admitted to it all, especially since Rachel had spoken to the wife.
But wait...there's more!
As if being married with kid wasn't bad enough, Sven said that his weekend beach house was in Rhode Island, not Long Island, and he used it to see another woman he was sleeping with.
Even worse: Rachel is the second young woman I've known who, unbeknownst to her, met a married guy at Ulysses.
Moral of the story: Maybe Ulysses isn't the best choice for after work drinks. And ladies, if your man says he's going there, maybe you should be suspicious. I have to wonder how much Sven's wife actually knew about her husband's behavior.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Here's an amazing find in the heart of the West Village: Three floors of an 1840s towhouse, plus a separate studio apartment, that is available for $15,000 a month. It's gut renovated with a huge livig area, new kitchen, marble baths and an elevator. Three large bedrooms. There is also a backyard. The basement is refurbished as well with a sauna for two as well as a washer dryer.
Contact me if you would like to schedule a viewing.
Large living area
Wood burning fireplace
One of two marble baths
New kitchen with granite counters, lots of storage
Backyard with optional fish pond
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Yesterday I stumbled across this enormous two bedroom, two bath on Park Avenue South, literally just steps from Union Square. It's drenched in sunlight and has some amazing city views, including of the Flatiron Building.
The bedrooms are enormous and there is a master suite. Lots of closets. Central air. New kitchen, full service building. Pre-war marble lobby. Building has roofdeck, pool, jacuzzi and gym. $8500 firm.
Master bedroom, 12 x 21.
One of two new bathrooms. All have showers. Master bath has a tub and and a shower.
View from the living room and kitchen
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Luxury Building on 34th Street, many with river views. Doorman, elevator, laundry.
1 Bedroom: $2895
Convertible 2: $3850
Convertible 3: $5095
Sunny, alcove studios, some with outdoor space, high floors. Doorman, elevator, fitness room $2650
Convertible 2 - $2750
Prince And Sixth Avenue
1 Bedroom: $3350
Prince And Mott
1 Bedroom: $2995
Mulberry And Grand
1 Bedroom: $2195
3 Bedroom: $4395
20th And Seventh Luxury Building
Large Alcove Studio: $3495
1 Bedroom: $4695
Living in Union Square means being in the middle of everything. Subways, nightlife, action, it's all on 14th Street.
This is an enormous two bedroom on the 8th Floor of a high rise right on 14th and Fourth Avenue. It has two large, sunny bathrooms, two new marble baths, a new kitchen and an enormous living room (about 550 square feet) which also has a dining area. $6200 a month. Doorman, elevator, laundry, etc. It's one of the largest apartments I've seen in a long time, and for its size and location it's quite a deal.
One of two new marble baths
One of two very large and sunny bedrooms that overlook Union Square.
Another view of the living room
Thursday, July 10, 2008
This is a very busy time of year for real estate agents, and even if you get keys for a place, chances are someone is going to call you to take them from you. This afternoon as I was finishing off dinner at a diner on 89th Street (my first real meal of the day, since granola bars don't count as a meal) when an agent called and tried to get some keys from me. It turns out that we were headed for the same open house at 6:00 p.m., so I told him to meet me there and we would hash out the key issue.
It turns out the agent that called me was a guy named Sam that I was in training with. He and I even took a lunchtime trip to Sephora once. For a guy, he knew an awful lot about hair products and salves. He came along to one place with us after the open house and then we parted ways.
About an hour later I got a frantic phone call from Sam. He and his client went to see a place on 92nd and Lexington and they got locked in the apartment. He wanted to know if I could come by the place and try to open the door from the outside. After all, he could buzz me into the building. Constantine needed a break from looking anyhow, so I left him at a bodega on 94th Street and hopped up to Lexington.
Not only was Sam stuck in an apartment, but it was on the top floor of a six floor walk up. I know what you're thinking: six floor walk ups are technically illegal in Manhattan since all buildings over five floors should have elevators. I thought this was the case, but after this evening I can assure you that six floor walk ups do, in fact, exist. And apparently people get stuck up there.
Sam slipped me the key through a hole in the door (this place was such a dump) and sure enough, it didn't work. The lock was broken. Sam ended up climbing out the fire escape down to the street while I fetched the super from his apartment, and apparently large family, down on the first floor. The look on his face when I told him people were locked in an apartment was priceless. The he turned around and picked up a screwdriver, presumably to take off the lock.
I then hopped back down to 94th Street, where Constantine was enjoying a soda. We resumed our own tour of walk ups, but no one got locked in.
And you thought the Upper East Side was civilized? Ha!
One large management company is offering no fee on several of their buildings through July 15. Many of these have doormen, fitness rooms and laundry. Murray Hill, Upper East Side, and Midtown available. Studios start around $2350, but I know of some that are $1950, without a doorman.
These are for immediate to August 1 move ins. Call me in August if you need a September lease.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
In New York City, brokers are an integral part of any real estate transaction, be it a rental or a sale. We're conduits for landlords and management companies who don't have time to deal with the general public. We run credit and screen applicants to make sure they can actually afford the places they apply for. We're gatekeepers, but above all, we're matchmakers, matching tenants to the right apartments, so that everyone leaves happy.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Pretty Brunette: (flipping through mail) Hey, look. It' a wedding invitation from my friend Meredith. She and her fiance dated for eight months before getting engaged. Isn't that crazy?
Ugly Redhead: Eh. My brother-in-law dated his wife for eight weeks before getting engaged.
Pretty Brunette: Wow.
Ugly Redhead: (shaking her heads) But you know, they have problems. They've been to couples therapy and everything.
Pretty Brunette (saddened): Are they better now?
Ugly Redhead: (shrugs) I guess.
Pretty Brunette: How long have they been together?
Ugly Redhead: 15 years.
(The elevator door opens and they get off on the 18th floor.)
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Yesterday afternoon I was feeling glum and didn't feel like going to a BBQ, but then I realized sitting around and doing nothing would really not cure my mood.
I hosed myself down and hopped the A train with Jen and Tanner and off we went to Bed Stuy, where I met a couple who actually bought an intact brownstone with a backyard. It was originally built in 1886 and still had all its original details. Bed Stuy is not as scary as everyone says. In fact, it's actually really pretty and the brownstones are amazing.
There was lots of food and nice folks, and then the previous owner of the brownstone and his family showed up. He started playing his saxophone, which was cool on its own, and then out of nowhere someone else showed up with an upbright bass. All of a sudden the backyard was full of jazz standards, and in the middle of Bed Stuy.
I didn't see a single firework, but I did hear an impromptu version of "Night and Day." Can't beat that!
Here is Jen and I, digging the tunes.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The photo above is of the crap-tacular basement apartment I've lived in for the last five years. I moved that last of my goodies out last night. At first I wasn't all that pleased about leaving, and then I saw the dead roaches in the cabinet under the sink and the layer of grime by the window, and all of a sudden I felt a sigh of relief.