Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apartment Hunting: The Upper UWS

For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan, the place where the red arrow is pointing (125th Street), is far, far away from where I currently live. I'm down in Chelsea, which is on the west side of Manhattan about midway down the island. 125th street is almost 100 blocks north of where I live, or approximately 5 miles. In most places in the United States 5 miles would be nothing. In Manhattan, it's the difference between being happy and feeling like you're stuck in Siberia. It's even North of Central Park!

Not that I'm being negative at the moment. On the contrary, I'm extremely impressed with myself. I had never been that far North. I took off the afternoon from work (fuck 'em) and explored the border of Harlem! I have one friend up there who swears it's the greatest because it's away from the buzz of the city, you get more space for the money, and it's just "cool" in the way that neighborhoods in the process of gentrification are that haven't yet become hip.

However, I happen to like the buzz of the city, and as I was exploring the area between 100th to 125th street, my overriding impression was one of depression and isolation. It just felt so damn far away from everywhere I want to be (i.e. The Village, Chelsea, Soho, East Village, Union Square, UWS, etc.; basically anywhere on the West side up until 96th street, and many places on the East side).

Despite not being enthused by the upper, upper West side, I'm still really proud of myself for getting my butt in gear and checking it out. I saw two places, neither of which was anything special and way to small for the money and the location. CG told me yesterday during our session that I could feel miserable and sad, but that I had to "empower" myself while at the same time allowing myself to work through those feelings. Basically, she was saying that I needed to take some control of the situation, and even if I continued to feel sorry for myself (which I was totally doing two days ago) I still needed to take some action and act like the competent, bright, confident woman that I am. She suggested "educating" myself about the available rental options as a way of empowering myself and damn it, she was right. I do feel empowered because even though this situation totally sucks, I'm taking action to try to get myself out of a bad situation and into a better one. Go me.

In educating myself today by tramping all over the upper, upper West side, I learned that 100th street is my upper most limit. I also realized that I need to consider my mental health and the impact the darkening days will have on it. As the sunlight faded on 125th street, the area began to look even bleaker than it had earlier, and I thought to myself that though I could bear not snuggling with who I thought I was going to snuggle with this winter, I don't think I could bear it if I was trapped all the way up in Siberia. The isolation would wreck me. I'm just not ready for that. I'm a Manhattan girl, what can I say. And if I'm going to live in Manhattan, I want to live in Manhattan, not Harlem (even if it is the new cool place to be with slightly cheaper rent). I prefer veggie stands over fried chicken and a steady stream of cabs over vacant streets.

In addition to looking on Craig's List, I've contacted almost everyone I know in the city and enlisted their assistance. Shockingly, for a girl who has been convinced that she doesn't have close friends here, there are a large number of people on my list and almost every single one of them has come through. In trying times, you always find out who your true friends are. Lucky me, I have a good number of them.

Tomorrow, the search continues.


InterstellarLass said...

Good for you for getting out there. I hope you find a place where you can be happy, and where you can still feel part of the 'vibe' of the city.

Wood said...

I love these posts; I love the way you manage to combine what is an incredibly heartbreaking process with the new hope you're finding. I also love CG, from afar. She is very smart. I'm glad you're empowering yourself; you've always been good at that and I'm glad to see you back at it.

Pas said...

It is cool to see you checking your options and getting ready to make a decision -- aka taking charge to do the right thing for yourself. Go Buttercup!

star shine said...

Here's to apartment hunting! I hope you find a place where you can feel comfy.

Anonymous said...

I think that was brilliant that you noticed the neighbourhood at different times of the day. Very smart. The thing is, you may work long hours, fo for a drink after work, and then what? You need to feel the streets are safe. And what makes streets safe? Lots of activity and people and shops on them, open and around.

It's great though that you learned about another section of the city. I would probably like the 100s but would be afraid to go home late at night. Thats huge.

I am really enjoying hearing about all your processes. This is all going very very well. And it's so true, it's just as easy to be upset and do nothing...as be upset and do something. Empowering? I'd say!

You can kick back and veg watching chick flicks when you get your own cute apartment. Besides..focus on the positive. You get to DECoRATE!!!!!!

Hang in there like you are...this too shall pass...


Buttercup said...

Wow, I just wrote a post about how crappy I'm feeling today, and then I checked my comments and I found all of your positive, encouraging words. Thanks for not thinking this blog has turned into the most depressive boring thing on the face of the planet. Thank you also for your support.

Decorating and watching "chick" flicks are definitely in order once I get throught his. Thank you all.

Gypsy said...

Good job for getting out there and figuring out where your next place ought to be. Good luck!

gravelly said...

OMG, please don't choose Harlem!

Sparky Duck said...

Im going to interject Queens. My cousin lives in Queens, but not Soho and if I had to live in the NYC, I would be here neighbor