Thursday, April 7, 2011

Going Down in NYC: Part 1

When I was six and first watched Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver," New York City ensnared my impressionable senses. I knew I had to move there. Even though the movie debuted in 1976, I figured a written letter to Jodie would still satisfy my specific questions to be move-in ready.

"Dear Jodie,

I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Suffice it to say, I loved your prostitute performance. You nailed it.

So, can you please offer assistance on my relocation to Manhattan? I need a list of desirable street corners and viable movers that specialize in Little Tikes merchandise.

Also, any help in securing me Robert's personal trainer would really give you extra points in my book. I’m looking for a similar set of abdominal muscles.

Regards,

Chad Dooley"
Jodie never wrote back, which pissed me off until I saw her in "Nell." After that I felt nothing but pity for her and her battered breasts. As I traversed through grade school and my testicles began to descend at an alarming pace, the New York move drifted from memory. However, ten years later, the city yanked me back into her clutches when I accidentally stumbled upon an episode of "Sex and the City." The series title excited me in a time of extreme horniness, as the fuzzy Spice channel refused to cooperate, necessitating another venue. My channel surfing brought me to HBO with its provocative title. You can imagine my displeasure to see Sarah Jessica Parker waiting to be seated at a trendy restaurant rather than naked people penetrating each other on a loop. My penis was not happy with this new direction in stimulation. After the erection deflated and blood flowed easily back to my head, I noticed the city's architecture, late-nineties fashions and Kim Cattrall's parallels to Jodie Foster in "Taxi Driver." I had to get there somehow.

The chance to head north did not occur for about a decade after that fateful night. My employer at the time offered me a job in Manhattan, and the erection returned. I closed out my Craigslist search of nearby homosexuals, aged twenty-two to thirty-five, and investigated apartment listings in zip codes 10011 and 10010. Those areas exude youngness and gayness with a little grit, much like Fifty Cent. When I received my offer letter the next day and cried out "What the fuck is this salary?" I promptly changed the zip code filter to 10014. While still in Manhattan, 10014 diametrically opposed my standards, as it looks like J. Crew threw up on "The Diary of Anne Frank" - preppy and Jewish. On their own, preppiness and my Jewish brethren sparkle, but together they’re just too much to swallow. I also refused to do borough. I spoke to Ukrainian landlords, Hasidic tenants and uncouth female brokers. What kind of hellish operation was the apartment industry running? They told me that apartments go off the market in a matter of hours and one had to be pre-approved by some sweaty Italian asshole in a pee-stained wife-beater that runs whatever building on whether or not a place could be "awarded." This was a major dubs-tee-eff moment. Snooki's father could determine my housing fate based on my credentials, a young, queer professional with impeccable taste and cautiously silent visitors in the middle of the night? And, I'm white.

I scheduled several appointments and flew up the city for a long weekend to meet Snooki's father and visit Little Ukraine. Luckily, my friend Bryan, a Manhattan resident for years, offered to be my escort for the weekend and basically make decisions for me. We exhausted an entire Saturday afternoon in ninety-degree August heat looking at some of the most fetid, poorly lit places I've ever witnessed. And, I've been to Vegas. We've all heard the apartment horror stories in this city, but this shit happened to me, so that made it real. Tucked away in the ninth floor of a luxurious tenement building in Midtown West, a true one bedroom sounded promising. However, cobalt blue paint blighted all of the doors, and what was I'm sure gunshot holes speckled several of them. I can live with bullets, but chipped blue doors are never acceptable unless on the set of "Law & Order: SVU." After that experience, viewing a studio apartment in the Lower East Side with a lofted bed above the two-burner stove failed to shock me.

Luckily, I dropped five pounds of water weight in the heat. Bryan and I endured about fifteen apartment visits that weekend, and the last place we saw was "the one." I don't mean like "The Bachelor" the one but more like "The Biggest Loser" the one. Craigslist actually came through for me this time. I found a large studio with two dusty windows, a dorm-sized refrigerator, and two - count 'em - two closets in Murray Hill. It also exceeded my price range and perched itself on a fourth-floor walkup, so I had to acquire it at any means necessary. I interrupted the property broker's conversation with a tiny Indian woman that surprisingly did not reek of curry. She was gunning for the apartment as well. I introduced the broker to my bank statements and said "I will top whatever she offers, and if I continue to sell my body at Manhattan prices, you'll never have an issue with late rent payments or five screaming kids in one apartment."

I knew Jodie would approve wherever she was.

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