Brooklyn Rent Crisis: 48-Hours In the Life

(Prelude: On Tuesday, an envelope arrives under the door of apartment 1, heralding a rent increase of $300 and a year-lease to begin June 1st, and generously permitting four days for decision-making purposes.)


7:30 am: Roommate 1 awakes.

9:00 am: Roommate 2 awakes. Rs 1 and 2 discuss the situation.  

10:30 am: Roommate 3 awakes, takes last of coffee, goes back into room and shuts door.

10:35 am: Rs 1 and 2 knock on R3’s door and request that R3 join them in discussing the crisis.

10:36-11:30 am: Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

11:30 am: Decision reached to negotiate with landlord, ask for three month extension at current rent, or at least before having to commit to lease.

11:35 am -12:35 pm: R1 showers, dresses and makes and consumes fry-up breakfast. Rs 2 and 3 watch.

12:36 pm: R2 asks R1 if we’re about ready to make a move on this. R1 consents. Landlord is phoned, says he’s coming right over.

1:48 pm: Landlord arrives, is seated, negotiations begin. Rs 1 and 3 stare pleasantly at the ceiling, and R2 is consequently forced to do all the talking.

1:49 pm: Delay on rent increase flatly denied.

1:50 – 2:10 pm: Delay on lease mulled over favorably. Inquiry posed as to what happens if no extension granted. Will Rs 1, 2 and 3 be out by June 1st?

2:11 pm: Somebody says ‘eviction proceedings.’ Much screaming. Landlord exits.

2:12 pm: Awkward pause, followed by nervous laughter.

2:30 pm: Landlord phones. There will be no compromise.

2:31 pm – 4:45 pm: Laptops circled. Craigslist is alternately praised and condemned. R1 emails possible listings to R3, who leaves many voicemails. R2 researches tenants’ rights, and consults with friend who is a landlord.

4:45 pm: R3 excuses self, goes in room, calls Mom, cries. She hates New York, wants to move somewhere pretty and warm, by the beach possibly, or to Paris.

5:00 pm: R1 and friend watch Kentucky Derby. A filly breaks its ankles and is euthanized on the spot. R3 goes for long, aggressive run – she will miss the adjacent park. R2 lies on bed and stares at ceiling – she is SO over this bullshit.

6:00 – 9:00 pm: On advice of R1’s friend, rentdirect joined and paid for. More laptop work, and phone calls. R3 buys and consumes large slice of chocolate cake. R1 asks for bite, and is grudgingly given a small piece.

9:30 pm: Rs too depressed to go out, retire to rooms. R1 goes to bed. R3 drinks, tinkers with personal budget and account balance over and over. Surely, must be mistake somewhere?

11:45 pm: R3 falls asleep in chair.


7:30 am: R1 awakes, showers, makes and eats eggs.

8:15 am: Rs 2 and 3 awake, dress in same clothes as yesterday.

9:00 am: Rs walk to L train. L train is on weekend service. Rs are swallowed by pressing mob.

9:30 am: Rs emerge at Union Square, walk to 6th to catch F to Park Slope. Rs are blocked by bike marathon. Rs wait impatiently. Bikers swarm past endlessly, hollering and cheering each other on.

9:35 am – 10:15 am: Rs ride F train to Park Slope. Wonder if they will be riding F train frequently in future.

10:15 am: Rs walk to open house through beautiful Park Slope area. Rs love Park Slope!! Rs are thrilled to pieces to live in Park Slope! Rs hate stupid current apartment anyway.

10:17 am: No one answers bell at open house, no sign or way into the apartment. Rs stand on sidewalk. R1 apologizes.

10:18 – 10:45 am: Rs make their way up to Bed-Stuy area, split up.

11:00 – 11:20 am: Rs 1 and 3 wait on stoop in war zone, next to construction site. R3 eats Clif bar. Building owner’s son appears, and shows small apartment with no closets, and back window overlooking small rubble-strewn lot and graffiti-covered wall. Car alarm begins to blare.

11:20 am – 12:00 pm: Rs 1 and 3 walk to nearby apartment. Realize front door is impassible due to construction, men on ladders with power tools. R3 phones landlord and cancels.

12:15 pm: Rs meet again. Rs do not love Bed-Stuy.

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: Rs walk to next appointment for many miles, because R3, who planned the route, swears is quicker to just walk than deal with Sunday train service in Brooklyn. Rs 1 and 2 are very quiet for duration of walk.

1:15 pm: Next appointment reached. Shit hole. Landlord is called and appointment is canceled.

1:30 pm: R2 goes into city. Rs 1 and 3 walk home, because is easier to just walk than try to take freaking awful trains through Brooklyn. R3 mentions how nice current neighborhood is, what a good area for going on runs. The park. Young people. Good bakeries. R1 is ready to be alone for awhile.

2:00 pm – on: Rs go about their business. They can’t think about this any more today.

10:30 pm: Landlord visits apartment. R1 is home. Landlord agrees to 3-month hold on lease, provided Rs pay rent increase.

11:00 pm: Rs phone each other, and wearily accept landlord’s offer. Crisis delayed for three months. At which point, R3 figures she’ll surely have enough saved to move to Paris.


  1. Jason Tyne says:

    We’re vacating our Park Slop apartment. It’s too small for three, but Becky used to live there with a roommate before we got married.


  2. Sarah Coe says:



  3. Sara says:

    Scene at my apartment last night (this is long):
    Landlady drops by with plumber to check on leak into apartment below. LL acts surprised when R’s say the water pressure hasn’t magically gotten better. LL schedules apt to have plumber come back and fix leak to lower apt, (no word on our crappy pressure).
    R’s both pull out calenders and discuss entire summer, then spilt, R1 to bedroom, R2 to kitchen (aka home office).
    *silence for 5 minutes*
    R1- Oh, right, friday Other girl I know is having a party.
    R2- Oh really? Coincidence, a friend told me that Girl you know is looking for a new roommate in June, but I told her neither of us were moving out that soon.
    R1- *looks away* *silence*
    R2- what? *panic rising* Are you planning on moving out that soon?
    R1- . . . You might want to go look at the place, its cute.
    R2- Wait, what are you saying?
    r1 goes into long story about how she plans to quit her job in July if not sooner, and needs to find new place to live, in south brooklyn, before that.
    r2 has internal freak out
    r2 calls sig other, scheduling time for long shower to complusively go over situation before sig other arrives.

    r2 still freaking out, but is maintaining facade of person who is on top of it… barely.


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