It’s too damn high.
Jimmy McMillan said it first. You remember Jimmy McMillan. He’s the guy who was running for New York governor when, during the 2010 debate, he had a little outburst: “THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!”
To be sure, that debate was bizarre, to say the least. Among the seven candidates, besides Jimmy, representing, of course “The Rent is Too Damn High Party,” we watched a convicted madam, a former Black Panther, and of course, current governor Andrew Cuomo, who, looking back, had to have been more than amused at the barbs flying back and forth. I must say, I was working that night and I’ve never been so entertained. McMillan has gone on to run for other various political offices. Saturday Night Live did several parody sketches about him and his crusade. He always draws crowds wherever he goes. His mantra is catchy.
Crazy as it seems though, Jimmy McMillan had a point: the rent IS too damn high. I mean really, how can people afford to live in Manhattan anymore?
The rent is SO high that I’m moving. I have no idea where. Pains me to do so. I’ve happily lived in my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood for nine years. The longest I’ve stayed in the same place ever. That’s saying a lot.
But it’s time to go. Plus, change is good, right?
I was thinking of going anyway. My apartment building owners gave me the nudge I needed to get moving. They’re raising my already-too-high rent by $325 a month for a one-year lease, $525 a month for a two-year lease. Yeah, you read that correctly. Whoa. Really?
Oh, I can afford this, um, little blip, as my landlord put it. But why should I pay it? To get the same thing for so much more money? No way. I could downsize AND buy a place in Florida or wherever for what I pay in rent. I may just do that.
You’d gasp if you knew how much I shell out a year in rent. Recently a friend of mine from Michigan who has a pretty nice, big spread in Okemos told me he pays less for his mortgage and taxes a month than I pay in rent. Oh the price of living in the big city.
My neighborhood has drastically changed since I moved in. At least a dozen highrises have gone up around me, some obstructing my beautiful view. There’s a new high school under construction across the street. The noise level is ridiculous. Beginning at exactly at 7am, six days a week: banging, hammering, drilling, jackhammering, blasting, yelling. Consistent. Relentless. Deafening. And, for whatever reason, the construction workers have butterfingers. They can’t seem to hold onto their tools. So we hear loud clanging about every ten minutes. Dropped wrenches. Tipped-over dumpsters. Kicked-over buckets. Ugh. Yes, the noise is too damn loud. On top of that, once the school is completed, I’ll have teenagers lurking on my block. No thanks.
My neighborhood is a changin’…the tourists are getting closer. Before, Hell’s Kitchen was just too far away from Times Square (two big city blocks). But since I’ve moved here, there are lots of new bars and great restaurants. Hence, more tourists.
I know I’ll miss the convenience of “The Kitchen.” My door-to-door-commute-including-elevators is 20 minutes. I’m spoiled. I’ll admit it. But I’m not crazy enough to pay ridiculously high rent anymore. My faucets need to be coated in gold to fetch what my landlord is asking. Ain’t gonna happen.
So…the search begins. And it’s not like searching for an apartment anywhere else. Where you live, you can search the want- pads, drive up to a complex and rent a space. Here, wheeling and dealing is involved. If I use a broker — they seem to have the best buildings — I’ll pay a fee that feels like extortion — up to 15% of the year’s rent. This amounts to THOUSAND$ of dollars. I’ll have to do a lot of homework, but that’s okay too. It’s a great way to see the city. Do I have the gumption to look at the death notices to see who’s vacating their apartments? I don’t think so. But folks do do that. Do I have the desire to move to New Jersey? No way. This will be an interesting challenge for me and I have to have it figured out by October 1.
I have no idea where my search will take me. Gasp…maybe over a bridge or through a tunnel. A different borough. Yes, I admit it. I have Manhattan snobbery disease. Bad.
But…the rent is too damn high.
PS: the noise is too damn loud.