12:00-12:45: Take the N to Queensborough and switch to the 7. Meeting is at 42nd street and Queens Blvd. I eat a leftover samosa, then stop at a Starbucks. Check email to see if any roommate postings that I responded to on craigslist the previous night have received a reply. Nada. Chirpy broker calls at 12:30. I tell her I texted her about cancelling our meeting and apologise if she didn’t get it. She sounds sad. Me, too.
12:45-2:15: Walk around the neighborhood before making sure I am at rendezvous point at 1:00. Broker is on time and there are two others (son and visiting mom) who are also meeting her. She shows us three apartments, one that she has to drive us to. The others voice objections to all three—they are from my country of origin, and the mom is worried about her boy’s future apartment being perfect—but I like one. Lots of space and light, galley kitchen, stainless steel appliances, stone’s throw from my job.
It has linoleum flooring but that’s fine, especially as it’s in my price range. Broker is sweet, not pushy, just the kind of salesperson I like. She thinks she can work around my time issue and do the lease by mail. We sit in her car and she calls management company. Turns out, someone already applied for the place. #$@*%. She says the company will know if the person was approved by closing of day. Do I want to take a form, try to put supporting documents together, and call her at 5? Okay. She also looks at her listings to see if anything else in my price range is available for viewing. Nope. I call the Astoria studio broker and ask for her to hold it for me a bit longer till I figure this one out. She agrees.
2:15-3:30: I take the train to Jackson Heights so I can go back to my apartment, get all my documents organized, and pick up my social security card to make a copy. But I am starving so I stop for sushi. The food is sadly mediocre but I enjoy watching a child on a toy horse.
If only one never acquired more wants than the ones that could be satisfied by a quarter…
My host has told me about an internet cafe where I can print out documents and the owner says they have a copier as well. I walk back to the apartment and gather all my e-documents in one folder. The phone rings and it’s the owner of the Greek myth realty. He has just received two new listings, one in this neighborhood. We agree to meet in a half hour.
3:30-5:30: I walk ten blocks east on 34th avenue. It is a pretty neighborhood and there is a bike path. I am filled with hope. The broker is late but not by much. Finding a parking spot is a bit of a hide and seek game here. In the meanwhile, I call the non-pushy broker again. She says she has another viewing we can do around 5:30 or 6:30. I pick 6:30. The other broker arrives. We take an elevator up the condo building. The apartment is huge, with a great kitchen. Carpeted, but in light of the rent, the carpet could have children and become a duvet, and I wouldn’t care. But it needs board approval, i.e., no guarantees till I come back and do the interview. I am heartbroken. (Hence no photos here as a reminder of what I have lost/given up/never had.)
He tries to be reassuring, says that with my credit score and new job, I should be a shoe-in. I am too anxious. We drive to Woodside to see another place that is in my price range as well and could be signed on quickly. It does not speak to me in the same way. I tell him I will think about the board approval place. He is kind enough to drop me off in Sunnyside. It is early enough that I call to see if the other broker wants to meet at 5:30 instead. She says yes.
5:30-8:30: She tells me the apartment I loved (with the lino floors) has been approved for the other applicant. She shows me one that we saw this morning, just to remind me of its attributes.
It has an eat-in kitchen and the living room gets a lot of light. Hardwood floors. 10 blocks from my job. No laundry. In my price range. I am inclined to say yes. She says we should still see the other four she has. One super tells us we have wrong info—there is no apartment in her building ready for viewing. The other two are nice but there’s always something missing. The last one is in Jackson Heights and it has enormous rooms but a child-size kitchen. I ask her to put in my application for the Sunnyside one above. She agrees but says that in case someone else has applied, we won’t know till Monday as the offices of the company are now closed. Should we have the Jackson Heights one as back-up? It would be the same company and the same application form. I try valiantly to think about whether this is a good choice but fail, so I agree.
She is willing to receive most of my documents by email so she can email the application to the company tonight and try to beat any other applicants—to the electronic punch. But we still need to make copies of some documents like the SSN card. We drive to my block and I get money from an ATM for the application fee and then find a copier in a grocery store near by. She gives me a handwritten receipt and adds her real estate agent license number to it at my request.
8:30-10:00. I pick up Indian chinese food—look it up—and walk home. I email the remaining documents and call her to make sure she has them. She does and will contact me if the application is approved and she has to mail me the lease. I agree to mail it back with a certified check. I do all this while eating chicken lollipops. Things are looking up.