In the summer of 2005, I moved to New York to live with a girl I had been dating long distance. And—as "moving across the country to be with a girl" stories usually go—it didn't work out. Our reunion was short-lived, and I needed someplace to stay, quick.In my experience, finding good housing in New York is largely based on luck, and I had that in low reserve. I tried all the usual avenues—Craigslist, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances of friends… and, after a few weeks of searching, I finally managed to be put in contact with a guy who had a spare room to sublet for a super-low price in the Lower East Side.The owner of this apartment (we'll call him Doug) was a heavy-drinking, chain-smoking freelance writer who had also recently split from his girlfriend. His ex-girlfriend's office space was in the apartment, which made the perfect bedroom to rent out. I was in a sort of headspace at the time that necessitated a lot of shut-door boozing and miscellany, and I found it highly attractive that Doug seemed to be into the same kind of mopery that I was. Plus, the room for rent was large (for the Lower East Side), seemed cloistered enough from Doug's area that I would have a decent amount of privacy, and—while it gave off the kind of "dude" funk smell that some might have shied away from—it wasn't that big of a deal considering it was also devoid of rats, mold, and water damage. It seemed perfect."This place seems perfect!" I said to Doug. And of course, the follow-up: "What's wrong with it?" Published by
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