This jogger, seen crossing the soon-to-be-repaved Third Avenue in Midtown on Friday, reminds me of a singular regret I have from living in New York for almost thirty years. It’s that I never got this place. It was, or was reputed to be, a rent-stabilized one-bedroom in the heart of Midtown, somewhere along what later what came to be called “6½ Avenue”. Midtown is, was, and always has been my favorite part of New York, and to this day I still want to get a place there if I can. But I’m lazy when it comes to things like moving, and I’ve lived in this place for over 20 years to show for it.
I didn’t get the place because I don’t think it was ever available. I went along with a classic bait and switch from what I naïvely assumed to be a reputable real estate concern, Prudential, whose agents showed me apartment after apartment with the promise that we’d get to this one when the current occupant was home.
My intentions could not have been clearer. I told them I’d look at every apartment in New York but that’s the one I wanted. Maybe that’s not a tenable or workable attitude to have when going after New York City real estate but I stood by it.
For all that, in the end it might not have been in my best interests. It wouldn’t have mattered that $1,300 was way more than I spent on this place at the time. The increase would have been alright as I was sucking the corporate teat and making pretty good coin in 1999. But where would I be now, as a poorie, with rent on that place probably well over $2,000? No point speculating.
The place also looks quite a bit smaller than what I’ve gotten used to here.
I can still love midtown without living there, but its individual characters and excellences feel just out of reach. And I have no problem whatsoever with having been in Astoria all these years. But man, I wanted that place. Some day I’ll get it.