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Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

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In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm

1. THE BROKER just texted me that our application got approved. hu-fucking-za!

2. THE DUDE at the corner duane reade is no longer asking for my NY state ID as i purchased my six-pack of stella artois because, in his own words, “i know you and i am very good with faces”. this is both funny and sad. funny, obviously, and sad because this ought to happen in the proper context of a bar and not at the drugstore. just the other night, i dreamt of our favorite pub in dublin and a perfect pint of guinness. my celebratory drink as we move into our new york home would be pint at a pub two blocks away called ryan’s daughter. they have guinness on tap, there is an irish flag on the roof, and internet research sez that the barkeep is cool. we shall see.

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L

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

WE PUT up an application for the loft yesterday. checks were written, applications accomplished, and contracts signed. NY state IDs were scanned and emailed, including other documents like bank accounts, employment records, and credit reports. we hope to hear by tomorrow and, gods willing, will get the keys and the fob by the first of may. because i am the one who always sees the glass as half-empty, i am not making any assumption despite the broker and the management representative telling other prospective tenants during last sunday’s open house that the unit “has just been rented”.

TWO THINGS i love the most about that loft: one is the half bath at the living room area and the other are the two full windows that open out two balconettes (webster dictionary says there is no such a term and google says that it is a kind of bra, anyway, one balconette is by the living room and the other at the stair landing leading up to the bedroom). this being the upper east side, a half bath is rare and an outdoor space, no matter how small, is even rarer. of course other factors made it into the final decision like how clean the building is, its proximity to the subways (somehow, finding a unit in between second and third avenues is of herculean feat in the spring), and the friendly doorman (i am not into the doorman lifestyle but the building have a day doorman and he looks cool). oh, we also got those fob keys that allows easy access to the main door. and laundry, a big concern of any houseband, is electronic, no more problems about quarters.

THERE ARE learnings to be had about this particular apartment hunt.

• widen the parameter of the search as an extra avenue or street might lead to good finds. one of our top choices is in the east end, a block away from the river. it is far from the subway but there is a huge garden and every room has a window including the kitchen and the bath. if we have widened our search, we could have gotten this unit. i am still mourning the loss  of this one with all the possibilities a garden could offer from summer barbecues to growing my own tomato and basil.

• work with a transplant broker, not a native new yorker. the only reason is that transplant brokers (we’ve worked with french, south african, and hungarian brokers in all our years of stays and apartment huntings) do not nuke you with love. meaning, they will honestly tell you that the apartment is shit, unlike new yorkers who will spin yarns like you have just walked into a palace. maybe it is because they can detect the new york bullshit better than new yorkers who are given to accepting the bullshit as being new york. i saw an apartment once euphemistically termed by a new yorker broker as a “railroad apartment”. the thing is  horrendous as horrendous comes with the only serviceable part of the house is the bedroom by the window. i almost laughed when he asked me how i felt about the apartment. then, there is also this dump off madison avenue. the layout is wrong as wrong can be with the door opening inwards into the kitchen (think major fire hazard), the bedroom has window that leads to the building dumpster, and a very small living room that opens into a supposed garden but is just a concrete alley that leads to more trash. and the management company has the temerity to say that he upped the asking price by a couple of benjamins because of the demand. our broker, the hungarian, said on our way out and within earshot of the management said, “i am so sorry to have wasted your time, but that apartment is shit.” a native new yorker would have the courage to look you and the eye and ask, “so what do you like about that apartment?”

• trust your first impression. if the main door is crappy, the apartment inside would be crappier. and when the management says that a new carpet or washer/dryer will be installed within the month? it is not gonna happen, baby.

• when visiting the unit, observe tenants as they come and go. same rule applies to doormen. i have crossed out may doorman-provided apartments simply because the doorman, who should have known better that i could be paying his future salary and holiday bonus, is an asshole.

• inside the apartment, find out where the sun will shine during the morning. as most viewings are done in the afternoon, this is really important so that you know where you stand during the winter months.

• inside the apartment, try to imagine where the dining table would be. sofas and tv sets and of course the bed are all easy to place. but if you can’t find a space for a table for two, you, my friend, are well and truly fucked. this is very tricky as most showings are empty and an empty space will fool anyone with a less than average spatial ability.

• inside the apartment, flush the toilet. this is a personal quirk. nothing irritates the shit out of me (pun intended) more than a languid toilet that takes the whole finnegan’s wake before it flushes.

• is there a wine shop nearby? probably the least important, but hey, winters are long in new york and friends do tend to drop by unannounced.

FLATOGRAPHS WILL be posted, if and when i get the keys and the fob. i cannot wait to hung sunny’s poster(s?) and the ones we bought from berlin.

H

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

TWO WEEKS of daily househunting. and by daily, i mean daily including saturdays and sundays. and since the missus needs to get her step back in the new york cadence she also needs to work on weekends too.

 

SO FAR, after seeing everything, we’ve shortlisted two possibles, both on 81st street. one is a renovated pre-war with twenty-foot ceiling near park avenue. the other is a loft on an updated post war building on third avenue built the year i was born and redesigned by anderson cooper’s architect.  i am going to see another unit today, and tomorrow, me and the missus would review all the possibles, and on sunday, we sign the papers. 

 

MY PERSONAL choice would be the loft only because it has one and a half baths. a full shower on the bedroom and a powder room at the foyer. and the building is super clean. in my five years in this city, i have pretty much seen everything–like joy’s former boss’ home on wall street that spans two floors, and a TNT’s crib with no sink on the bathroom and the floors are sagging on one side. my rule of thumb in choosing a listing that would make it into the possibles shortlist is that the building itself should be welcoming before i even enter the unit.

 

AND HENCE, not a singe one with a full doorman made it. i’ve seen a few that are all within our budget but doormen always throws me off. i always get the vibe that these uniformed men and women are like airport personnel: the limited time that they are on authority grants them the false sense of being holier-than-you. i have seen one smirk at my broker. as a response, i said to the property manager: “this is really great, fits our budget, too. too bad your doorman is an asshole”. yep, you should have seen his face. this is the same doorman who, after receiving a deliver from diapers.com kicked the package from the lobby all the way into the storage room. now, how hard would it be to lift a fucking bunch of unsoiled diapers?

 

MY BROKER is eastern european and i have learned a lot. like their country’s official flag carrier just went bust. and how they don’t have any ethnic restaurant yet in new york. and that his son, who speaks very limited english, is studying to be a chef.

 

NOT A single word has been written down, but i ran twice within the week and will ran again tomorrow. 

Y

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 at 8:54 am

THE IMMIGRATION official at the dublin airlport was one of those cheerful and chatty ones and we went through the pre-derarture clearance with more chikka than actual interview. if you can even call feigning disbelief about the number of whiskey bottles i have bought at duty free, interview. the very same experience with the bermuda immigration where the border people are just warm and welcoming–it is always a good thing versus going through that process in any US airport during winter at 3 ayem in the morning. the flight was not full that we had the full row all to ourselves. joy, who can sleep on command, propped up the armrests beside her and achieved verticality as soon as the plane did.

 

TODAY, I woke up to a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep having hit the bed around 10.30 payem. as a consequence, my pooping has also been rebooted, having unleashed a floating kraken due to the salad and sashimi i had for lunch. small victories.

 

THE APARTMENT hunting went very well yesterday. the sun was out, the weather was not so called and the broker seemed receptive to what we said we wanted. we saw one, an elevator and doorman building with really huge spaces. that is number one on the list so far. tomorrow, we do another round and he promised that he would show us a unit with an outdoor space plus a dishwasher plus a kitchen with a window beside the stove/oven. that kitchen with a window would really rule. i hope the rest of the house is okay too. we shall see tuesday.

 

ONE OF goals for the year, aside from wrangling down the words that would be the next novel, is to introduce bopis into the united states of america. serious-fucking-ly. the plan is to cook bopis and join a new york underground supper club. that bopis will be cooked the bicolano way and then packaged the american way in a delivery system that is the rage of the moment. as yoda sayeth, do or do not…there is no try.

 

 

S

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2013 at 12:27 am

(An iPad entry, so caps and lower.)

THIS IS the state of my mental affairs. I am getting on the emotional side of things with the thought of leaving this city. Not even the fact that we are going back to New York to a new apartment can console me, not even the chance of having a proper summer, not even the idea of the immigration official at the border greeting us permanent residents with a “welcome home”. I will miss Dublin terribly and is missing it already.

THE SPECIFICS:

THE SUNDAY masses at the church that we attend, a block away from the apartment. The priest is one of a kind who delivers inspired and inspiring sermons in a service that is always thematic. Always. From the welcome greeting, to the prayers, to the collection of offerings. I cannot begin to describe how he threads each and every prayer and sermon so I will not even try. All I can say is that his prayers are very, very personal to each member of the congregation (especially in relation to the dead and the sick, really, one needs to experience this) and each sermon is crafted with great care. I will always remember his way with words like “those that are frugal with forgiveness” and “thus making sure the tomb is not his current address” and “why the need to depend on facts and artifacts” among countless little gems that always deliver a well-thought out idea. And the music which I can only describe as Enya-esque. I wish all masses are this spiritual.

THE PINTS at The Old Stand. A very old pub who serves food and drinks with dignity. That’s right, dignity. Something that the New York dining scene can never have out of its shameless pursuit for money. The publicans are impeccably attired, cheerful but without a single dose of fakery, and very professional in how they pour the pint and hand it to you. They can talk about the weather and finance and everything else. They are humans. Just a few hours ago, someone walked in, asked for a glass of water and was given one with ice without a question. Travelers leave parcels with verbal instructions about what to do with them, secure in the knowledge that it will be handled with care. Because we’ve been sort of weekend regulars, we have a few personal experiences. Like my wife’s gin comes double every time, we get free chocolate bars, and my pint is an even fiver giving me a twenty cent discount. This I remedy by doing it New York style–I leave a one Euro tip for every order, rounded up to the nearest fiver, and, as much as possible, the tip is in clean, crisp bills discretely tucked under the empty glass of my last pint for the night. It is comforting to know that this pub will endure the insidious Brooklynization of Dublin (sadly, it is happening if you know where to look).

THE DUBLINERS themselves. With that, I mean the Irish. Never have I met a collective group of people who are genuinely interested in other people. Like the mass and the pint, this needs to be experienced first hand because there is humor involved that just would not translate. Then there is the intelligence with the Nobel prizes in mathematics and literature to prove it, not to mention history (google “how the Irish saved civilization”). And there is that something that cannot be quantified in this day and age of Big Data, passion. Cab drivers, publicans, my wife’s fellow professionals, my fellow bums, the cinema dudes, the street market vendors, the artists with their paintings at St. Stephen’s Green (back in summer and fall), everyone else really, they are passionate. Say hi and you will learn something. Maybe that’s why when the Designer made the heavens and the earth, the cloud and the rain went to Ireland because He knew, sunshine is already in them.

THERE ARE a lot of other small things that I will never forget.

I WISH I could go back sometime.

S

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2013 at 4:42 am

FINALLY, SUNSHINE.

 

YESTERDAY, ACCUWEATHER sez that the temperature in new york and in dublin are the same. the sun was out throughout the day and even the sun set at way past seven in the evening. this morning is still frosty as winter though although sun rays are penetrating the room. after laundry, a walk around the city is in order. flatographs of streets and storefronts will be taken.

 

TWO NIGHTS of sleeping at 6 in the ayem due to writing on the bond paper and on the moleskin to kickstart act 2. this is going to be tricky. half of me wants this to deconstruct the narrative and half of me wants to soldier on. a very small part of me, as always when the halfway point is reached, wants to start from scratch. and right now, after a good night’s sleep and a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, and coffee, the small voice that wants to restart the whole thing from chapter 1 (act 2 being chapter 1 and the rest of the word will either be unwritten backstory or will appear as flashbacks) might win.

 

EASTER SUNDAY and we got drunk as fuck with a couple of irish oldies at the old pub. we closed the pub, literally the last one to exit. before that, we followed the family motto of “so many food, so little time” and travelled to howth for some seafood: prawns, oysters, kraken, soup.

 

SO GOOGLE has joined the tablet zine game. and it looks like the “r” names have been deposed by the “ly” names. but still all these are surface. what is really important is what is being read. that’s why i am renewing all magazine subscription as soon as we land back in new york, real magazines delivered in the mailbox. there is one magazine which shall remain unnamed here that was just launched last month whose editorial policy is that each article should not fall below 6,ooo words (who also happens to be one of the highest payers of contributors in the field) that i am really excited about. here in europe where people are civilized and literate (haven’t seen an iPad in public since august last year) authors are actually releasing bookstore-only editions that have extra pages not to be found on the kindle edition. hu-fucking-za. i think this model will just save the written word. so yes, i wonder what delusion the assmunches in the digital world will come up with next once everybody marketer knows that nobody reads SEO driven content except the robots.