Former renter in Greenwich Village, waiting out the turnaround in Manhattan's midtown. Working on a blog-to-book project about my NYC/NJ ancestors. Everyday I'm amazed by what I find with Ancestry and in old newspapers.

April 17, 2019

Making my way back to Greenwich Village

Are you stuck with your lease, wishing you lived somewhere else? I made a mistake. I left Greenwich Village. Tempted by larger apartments and lower rents in other neighborhoods, I left. But once you've lived in the Village, you'll miss it.

I'm trying to get back. I signed a lease for a one-bedroom in Midtown . . . 
. . . and knew I was in a bad situation on moving day. The handyman threatened to shut down the service elevator at 4:00. I was at his mercy and couldn't reach the property manager. It doesn't matter how much rent you pay. This is life in a doorman building.

I've lived in doorman buildings before, in Murray Hill and the Upper East Side, but I'd forgotten what they were like. As a freelancer I worked from home and workingmen were a constant presence, calling out to each other in stairwells and the courtyard--it was hard to think. When I complained a doorman told me, "You're not supposed to be here. The only reason you're home is 'cause you didn't feel like going to work today." When I moved out, on both occasions, they shut down the freight elevator for the porters' lunch hour; it didn't matter how much I'd tipped them at Christmas. In my current Midtown building, you need a certificate of insurance for each delivery to your apartment, even those from recurring companies like Home Depot and Ikea, and staff isn't permitted to do odd jobs like putting up window blinds, so COIs are needed for outside handymen as well, and doormen won't sign for deliveries from accounting and law firms. Living here is complicated, and a hassle.

In my old building in the Village, a five-story walkup of ten apartments, we didn't have doormen and life was simpler. We didn't need 'em! I scheduled my move-in day with the property manager, of course, but tenants weren't strapped with rules. If I needed help with something, I called the super and we worked it out.

Within a week of living in this new apartment, I'm pursuing a leasebreak. I commiserated with my former Village property manager who told me, "Your landlord doesn't have to be nice to you." Another realtor who knows me well said, "You have to learn to put up with crap." There's truth in what they say, but I need peace of mind and I had that in the Village.

Hopefully my Midtown nightmare will be over soon.

Contact: Debbie Carter, VillagerExpat@aol.com, (212) 925-3721

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