Also, You Will Never Know Whether What You Call Love Is Experienced Comparably By The People Who Love You
“I know from experience that Internet events like this have consequences.”
In December, my husband and I bought our first house. Our house cost $500,000 on paper, and in real life we spent exactly $91,068.31—money that used to be in our bank accounts, but is now somewhere else. A lot of our money went to the bank, and a bunch of other people and places got some money too. Here’s where it all went:
Before we put an offer on our house, we paid an inspector to come over and tell us everything that was wrong with the house. He said it needed a new roof, a new boiler and more attic insulation. We said, “Thank you! Here is a credit card!”
Deposit, with the offer: $15,000
Our real estate agent suggested we provide a deposit of $15,000 with our offer to make us seem as serious as possible.
We made the decision to buy the house quickly and didn’t have thousands of dollars in accessible bank accounts (free online banking is the best, except when you need a certified check for thousands of dollars and you need it right now). My dad offered to go to his real bank and get a certified check for us.
My husband met my dad at his office to pick up the check. My dad gave him a tour of the office and a bottle of apple juice from the office fridge.
We paid my dad back three days later.
If you want to pretend that the weather is anything other than suicide-inducing you could do worse than to press play on this one right now and occasionally look out the window before the flurries start to fall. You’d be lying to yourself, sure, but at this point in the season lies are all we have left. Lies and sorrow. Anyway, ambient genius Leandro Fresco’s El Reino Invisible is available now and my feeling is you should get it.
★★★ The sky and air were crystalline to the north, hazy southward into the sun. If the winter was unceasing it was also for the moment out of tricks: standard cold, standard breeze, standard ambient frozen matter. Beside the bodega flowers, under the ever-higher angle of the light, one could pretend to catch an intimation of spring. Later in the day, high wispy clouds curled so extravagantly they came out undulating. The building tops were in loveliness; the sidewalks were appalling with melt-freed soggy garbage. The cigarette butts alone were a time-lapse allegory of misery. Up the stairs from the subway, uptown, a bright print dress and high-cuffed pants stood in a department-store window.
“I will never read The New Yorker again.”
“NYC bores nowadays.”
“Thank you New Yorker for helping me kill time the other day.”
“I had lost interests in their article qualities so I stopped subscribing paper version a year ago. However I would like to have a free New Yorker logo tote so I subscribed digital version…Today In receiving this tote I feel not only disappointed but also cheapened myself.”
“This is a great magazine to subscribe to if you’re too busy to find a better one.”
Think about the cost of living where you live. Think about what you actually need, financially, to live on. The bare minimum. Does it sound like $70 a week? Probably not. But I’ve done it three times—in New York City.
There was a time when I was very good with money. I still am, to a degree—I use a budget app, pay off my credit card almost monthly, regulate my spending, and prioritize saving. I’m conscious, if not exactly frugal; you learn to be when you’ve lived here flat broke.
I attended Fordham University in the fall of 2008— a few months after the housing market bubble burst and sent my dad, a real estate developer who’d been making risky deals in the up market, into the financial red zone. “Poof” went the money that was supposed to help me get through college in the most expensive city in the country. Naive and a little spoiled, I had believed my dad when he told me I didn’t have to apply for financial aid or work study, that I would be taken care of, and that he “had me.” I thought that my meager waitressing savings would be pocket money, and most other expenses would be covered.
Then I was told, a few days before leaving for the Bronx, “Sorry, sweetie. You’re on your own.” I had $3,000 in my bank account and needed to make it work over nine months in New York.
“Fuck,” was all I could say.
“OK,” I thought. “So what do I need to live on?” Though I hadn’t yet experienced New York’s higher cost of living, I could imagine it. I sat in my dorm the first week and calculated a budget with an accountant’s precision. With $1,500 per semester, and after the cost of schoolbooks, holiday train tickets (I didn’t yet know about the Chinatown bus), and the fee for a new Blackberry (my trusty flip phone died, with perfect timing, one week into school), I was left with $70 per week to spend. I wrote every single thing I spent in a pocket Moleskine, then recorded the weekly totals, plus any other large needs, in a marble notebook; every Sunday, I subtracted and recalculated how long it would be until my money ran out.
“On the social web, the person who doesn’t share is subscribing to an outmoded identity and cannot be included in the new social space. If not off the grid, he or she simply is not on the grid that matters – he may have email, but is not on Facebook, or he is present but not using it enough. (The prevailing term for this is ‘lurker,’ an old online message board term, slightly pejorative, describing someone who reads the board but doesn’t post.) It is not uncommon to ask why a friend is on Twitter but rarely tweets, or why she often likes Facebook statuses but never posts her own. Why are they not busy accumulating social capital?“#
Welcome to Surreal Estate, a new column in which we will explore listings from the tumultuous New York City real estate market.
• 1.5 Bedrooms, 1 Bath
• 650 square feet
On Tuesday, I took a short tour of Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens—which used to be considered part of Red Hook, and is still served by the same zip code, 11231—after a visit to one listing fell through. The broker, Realty Collective’s Josephine Ciliento, and I drove over to a $2,300/month, one-and-a-half bedroom fourth-floor walk-up down by the water, at 144 Summit Street. “This was called Carroll Gardens West. And then it was changed to Columbia Waterfront District,” Ciliento said. “Realtors like to rename neighborhoods.”
“What are they calling Ridgewood now?” she asked. “Bushwood?”