Not too long ago I was a real estate agent. The neighborhoods/areas I specialized in were Chelsea, the East Village/LES, and North Brooklyn. Despite this, I would occasionally get the odd client interested in the Upper East Side. If pressed to give one common denominator to be found among all these folk, I would say it is this: I grew to despise damn near every single one of them.
More often than not, these apartment-seekers were single women, mid-30’s at the very oldest, holding low-to-middle level admin jobs with commensurate pay (READ: chump change). Lest you harbor any notion that I look down upon women (or anyone else for that matter) who work(s) in administration, I do not. I have held numerous administrative positions myself; I understand how hard (and thankless) the work is and how difficult it is to make ends meet with a $35,000/year salary (if that) at your disposal. Do I ever…
For this reason it is quite remarkable that the intransigence, haughtiness, and overall inability to face facts (e.g., apartments on the Upper East Side can be had on your budget, but they are going to be east of 2nd Avenue) these women had was enough to completely alienate me. Much less, sufficient to foster abject hatred from me.
To the best of my understanding, these woman all wanted to live in a safe neighborhood and their concept of a “safe neighborhood” was the Upper East Side. Faulty logic, but comprehensible— even to me. That said, there are numerous “safe” neighborhoods to be found in New York City (some are even in Manhattan), but when I tossed out these possibilities, my ‘clients’ recoiled in a histrionic disgust rarely found outside B-grade horror movies.
It didn’t take too (terribly) long for me to “catch on” to what these women were really looking for (consciously or unconsciously): prestige. It didn’t matter if the apartment was a total shithole, they wanted to hob-nob with the elite. The thought clearly had never crossed their collective minds that the elite may not want to hob-nob with them, but I digress…
Yesterday I had the pleasure of vulgarizing the Upper East Side with my presence. I rarely go past the East River, much less north of 40th Street, if I can help it. But when I do it is always for a damn compelling reason. The reason du jour yesterday was a job interview. The chamber of horrors I beheld strolling the streets of mid-60’s east-side Manhattan made me recoil and ask myself: why in would anyone want to live here? I saw:
- A heavily pregnant woman clad in yoga pants and a tank top chattering away on her cellphone while smoking a cigarette.
- (Too many) women (old enough to be my mother at least) with faces pulled tighter than Donald Rumsfeld’s asshole. You could bounce a quarter off of ‘em for chrissakes!
- Filipino nannies pushing humvee-sized strollers teeming with frankenkids.
- The remains of Dr. Bartha’s abode…
DAMNNNNN! Call me plebian, but I don’t want to live in a neighborhood where people blow-up shit. Even if I am only steps away Hermes or Chanel. I bet the local neighborhood association loves Mr. Bartha. Sarcasm aside, I am sure realtors do: he pulled a Guttman (albeit due to mental illness, not greed) and came damn close to doubling the value of property by doing so. Kudos to Bartha— but I would prefer to keep an arm’s length or more (the East River and straight-jacket) away from him.
- Dog shit. Plenty of it. Guess what? Upper East Side designer doggie doo stinks as bad (if not worse than) dog shit to be found in the outer boroughs or *gasp* New Jersey.
Boy was I happy to get my K-Fedtastic-ass* self back to the G-Point. Big Time. I got on the E train at 51st Street with a renewed sense of purpose: get me the fuck out out of here. When I arrived at Court Square, my fairy (angel dust) Godmother was there to secure my passage to the home of Queens (Kings County, DUH).
My fairy Godmother was exquisite. Beyond description (and too dangerous to hazard photographing)— but I will try, nonetheless…
She was about 5’6″, 130 pounds, and of African-American descent. She was clad in a dress (black) that was about 2 inches too long to qualify as lingerie, footless fishnet hose (black), and 4 inch pumps (black). Her person was impeccably groomed and ‘high on life’ or something else. Who knows?
What I do know is that she did a dance while giggling inanely (people walked around her) and the G train appeared. (Undoubtedly conjured from seven sewer rats, regurgitated vodka, and four empty tins of pickled herring in mustard.) And when it did, my Godmother saw fit to “hail” the mighty G train like a cab— as if to say “take my downtrodden sister” home. And it did. I love her.
*One who prospers at the benefit of an another, be it actual or perceived.