Monday, March 20, 2006

An open house's closed doors

This weekend, in our quest to find affordable housing and to be somewhat settled in it prior to the wedding, we went to a couple of open houses. The first one we found in the NYTimes, called Flagg Court in Bay Ridge. I think that complex has great potential: a couple of old buildings joined together with a huge courtyard in the middle, which gives it a campus quad feel. There is a gate that encloses it but you can also enter into each of the separate buildings through doors on the side. They also have a sizeable parking lot and tennis courts (which need quite a bit of work and are currently being used for storage). Unfortunately, the apartment had much to be desired (tiny, odd-shaped rooms, all electric cooking, in need of much upkeep, mostly rental) but I think it has character that, if used to its potential, could rival Peter Cooper Village.

The other open houses that we went to we came across while driving through the neighborhood. Because fiance couldn't find a parking space, I went in by myself to this nice condo on the second floor of a 16-unit building. The unit was pretty nice (2 small bedrooms/2 bath, plus laundry room), but twice our budget so I thanked the agent after taking a quick look and left. Since it was just on the second floor, I decided to go down the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Bad move! I realized that the fire doors do not open from inside the staircase so I had to go down all the way to the parking area. Unfortunately there was no way out of there that I could see -- I tried all the doors and they wouldn't open, including the one that I walked out of. The "Exit" sign pointed to the garage doors which didn't open despite my frantic pushing of a button on the side. I hoped that they activated by motion sensor so I started jumping up and down to make it recognize me. Of course that didn't work. So I walked back up the bird poop-laden driveway to try other tactics. To make matters worse, I really had to pee. The lot was desolate except for a sad beat up Hyundai and there were walls all around that reached way above my head. I thought for a brief moment, am I going to die here?! I had to pee so bad that I thought of at least relieving myself in the corner since there'd be no one around to see me (but I didn't). I called fiance, who still hadn't found a parking space yet but said that he'd come get me once he did. He couldn't help laughing at me though (it is somewhat funny in retrospect). I thought about calling the realtor, who had given me her card but she'd probably laugh her head off at me, plus she probably didn't know how to free me either, nor could she leave the apartment empty. And I think her card just had her office number. So I tried all the doors again, this time also trying a door that I had not seen behind a corner. Whew! That door opened and led me up a few steps to the lobby. Freedom!! I will now think twice about taking the stairs, especially in newer buildings!

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