Sunday, May 24, 2009

Justice, New York Real Estate Style

Todd and I have been looking for a slightly more baby-friendly apartment - our tiny 4th floor walkup without laundry in the building has served us well, and if we had to, we could make it work with a baby, but it seems that because of the recession the Manhattan real estate market has actually been taken down a bit, with the upshot being we can probably afford a bigger place with elevator and laundry in a desirable neighborhood for about what we are paying now.

Suburban readers of this blog are probably still reeling at the thought of no laundry in the home, much less in the building. To this mind-boggling concept I will add that searching for an apartment in Manhattan also involves checking potential buildings at this highly informative website:

Bedbugs. Oh, yes. They are coming back and they are taking over Manhattan. Part of the reason for the comeback is at this point, the only pesticides that will consistently kill them are illegal (officially, anyway) in the United States. Bedbugs don't spread disease, but they are gross and their bites itch. And I know this because I have lived with them in India. Many of them, actually.

So far, Todd and I have escaped the plague, though one of my colleagues at work was not so lucky, and this became a source of concern because my office is next door to his office. My office mates and I went in on a - I kid you not - bedbug sniffing beagle to sweep our offices for potential contamination:

The beagle gave us the all-clear and has subsequently cleared my colleague's office, too. Beagles are apparently 98% accurate when properly trained. So far, so good.

Anyway, the point is, we've been looking for a bedbug-free two bedroom for about two weeks now and have possibly come up with a good situation, but we won't know if we have it until after the long weekend. There have been some tragedies along the way which are still too fresh to be funny, much less blog fodder, but this I can report:

We were chatting with a realtor who told us something that we had already heard from another realtor, namely, that the Coldwell Banker group was going under. Mostly I think that real estate agents in New York City are bloodsucking bedbugs in human form whose "profession" consists largely of collecting upwards of $2,000 to $4,000 (or more) to unlock doors of vacant apartments and then stand around looking at potential renters/buyers like they are taking too long. So my sympathy for Coldwell Baker employees is limited.

Anyway, this realtor, who worked for Coldwell Banker, mentioned that the current theory among employees as to why Coldwell Banker is shutting down is as follows: at the height of the real estate boom in NYC about three years ago, Coldwell Banker rented a very, very expensive set of office suites somewhere in midtown. Now that the market has crashed and rentals and sales are not bringing in as much revenue, the rent for the office suites - which Coldwell Banker is locked into by the terms of its lease - far exceeds the revenue that the company is bringing in.

Which means, as alert readers may have already deduced, that Coldwell Banker, a real estate company, is going out of business because it made stupid decisions about the real estate that it chose for its headquarters. Which is a rare instance of deeply satisfying poetic justice in my book, almost making the past two weeks of apartment seeking stress worth it.


tara said...

laundry on site will be quite useful- babies somehow use some 50 times the amount of fabric that adults do (ignoring cloth diapers- which we didn't use)
fingers crossed, good thoughts sent your way that the apartment comes thru!
& i like the story about the Realtors- it makes me giggle
the book i'm using is "Style your own Kid's Knits" by Kate Buller. While it doesn't have tons of unique styles, it is handy for basic sizes 0-12 years old with options- a few stitch ideas, a few colorwork ideas, different collars, pullover, v-neck, cardigan for each size. If you aren't needing it be everything or you just want to make a decent basic sweater that's the right size- then this is your book.

Abbeykins said...

Speaking from experience, Beagles are exceptionally accurate. Having three, I can attest to their ability to detect smells near and far.

Good luck on the apartment. :) And yes, a lack of laundry IN the apartment, blows my mind.