My first apartment was a two bedroom apartment off the Ditmars stop in Astoria, Queens. I shared it with my friend Dan, who moved here from St Louis. He wanted to live in Williamsburg or Greenpoint, and we looked and applied for multiple apartments in both places. We either lost the apartments in the application battles, or we didn’t even apply because some of the apartments were truly disgusting. After two weeks, we gave up on Brooklyn.
We decided to start looking in Astoria, as it seemed like a nice, friendly place to live. It’s what my husband calls a good starter neighborhood, and indeed it was. It was clean, people were friendly, and apartments were the nicest I had seen in our price range.
After looking all over Astoria, we weren’t having any luck with getting a no-fee apartment, and decided to go to a local broker. For those of you who don’t know, Astoria is a predominately Greek neighborhood, so of course, our broker was Greek.
The broker showed us a few apartments, but pushed one specifically as she said the landlady would be more lenient about the credit issue we were dealing with. We agreed, and the landlady came to the office to talk to us. There was a lot of negotiating in Greek, and I am sure our broker was vouching for us as we didn’t have jobs, or really any money. The landlady had been very skeptical of us, but then the tides turned in our favor, and she said, “OK, I will rent to you.”
We moved in, and about 2 months later Dan left to go out on tour and never came back. I subleased his room, but there was a huge issue when the super found out. The landlady was under the impression that Dan and I were husband and wife, and it’s the only reason she rented the apartment to us. The broker had lied to the landlady right in front of us, and we had no idea. Married!!! I was furious!
It was a weird first year in the city. It’s complicated being married, and not even knowing it.