Elle's First DayThe other day I was reminiscing my first day in New York City with an old friend of mine. It’s been awhile since I had thought about that day and realized that it was a completely ridiculous experience - and likely on par with everyone else’s cliché “moving to New York” experiences…
Prior to moving, about six years back, I was all proud of myself because I had already found a job and an apartment. I thought, “gee, all I have to do is get there.” Little did I know that it would be such a “shit show.” (Thank you Snob for such a fabulous phrase)
I had packed 2-3 large suitcases and 2 carry ons with everything I could pack in. I got off the plane at LaGuardia with written instructions on “how not to be screwed by the cab driver who will clearly guess my naiveté via copious amounts of baggage.”
As we drove through the Midtown tunnel, I was still smug about how smoothly things were going until the cab dropped me off on the corner of Mott and where-the-hell-am-I, smack in the middle of Chinatown. My said friend was in town visiting her boyfriend and she was to meet me on the specified corner, as I was going to stay with the happy couple until my sublet opened up on June 1st.
After 20 minutes on the corner my friend finally showed up. I was sweating like a pig in the sweltering heat, had been cat-called at by about four pseudo-homeless men, and had been freaking out at the thought of my bags being stolen by a mad mob of angry New Yorkers. At her arrival, I could finally relax…or so I thought.
My friend and I dragged my bags over to her boyfriend’s apartment, getting a kick ass work out in the process. It's about here where my cozy idea of a “hip, downtown, New York apartment” was blown out of the water. We climbed up to the third floor where her boyfriend lived with (wait for it) seven or eight other random people. I was curious as to how this could possibly work out. We stepped in and finally realized the apartment was one where each person got a small, dorm-sized room (with accompanying padlock). The bathroom, living area and kitchen were all shared spaces.
It was then that the boyfriend explained that the apartment used to be none other than a fully operational brothel just two short years back. Hence the individual rooms and small living space.
Inner Monologue: “OH. MY. GAWD.”
Fast-forwarding to my so-called relaxation time, I was the lucky lucky gal that got to sleep on the carpeted brothel bedroom floor, right next to my friend and her man who were sharing a twin bed. Talk about close quarters.
In the morning, I immediately called my new roommate and volunteered to help her “clean the apartment” (i.e., move out of brothel and into my own space). Four subway rides to-and-from my apartment in Hell’s Kitchen and two ass-kicking luggage workouts later, I was finally all packed in. I immediately showered off all remnants that could have potentially amassed from the nasty-ass brothel carpeting I was forced to cozy up to. It was smooth sailing from there on out.
I’m sure there are far worse stories out there on nightmarish apartments and moving to the city, but considering I was a little, 22-year-old, fresh-faced midwesterner I was shocked right out of my britches.
Rest assured it was all worth it in the end. After all, I know now that New York wouldn’t be New York without a bit of strangeness here and there.