Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hellsgate

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
-Dante

I've hit the ground running since I landed in New York again. I've started back to work again. Bills are being paid. Friends are being caught up with. The apartment search is done.....basically.....but there's a twist to the story and it goes like this:

When my Mom picked me up at the final port in Fort Lauderdale she brought all of my mail from the past four months along with her. We drove to Miami and spent the night at the same hotel where I started my voyage. The day after I got back I was feeling pretty weepy and I spent most of the day under an umbrella on the beach, hiding behind big black sunglasses crying. I missed my friends. I didn't even get to say goodbye to some of them when we disembarked. I felt like I should be going right back to the ship that night, swiping in at the gangway, and sailing on my merry way to the next port, wherever that may be. They told us that we might experience something called "re-entry" (i.e. reverse culture shock and such) which I somehow thought I might be exempt from. Au contraire. I felt kinda lost for a few days. A sailor lost at sea. I am still feeling a little off.

So because of these feelings, I couldn't sleep that first night in Miami. So at 2:00 AM I sat in my bed at the Eden Roc Miami Beach, and went through all of my mail for the last four months. I almost discarded an envelope from an unfamiliar address, but after opening it I realized that I had won a housing lottery I entered last fall. Nyc.gov sponsors several lotteries for middle-income housing. Basically you have to make under a certain amount to qualify, so that folks can buy affordable housing in the city. I was so excited, because I could never afford to buy a co-op on my own in the city! So I woke my mom up to tell her and I think she was slightly confused, but also excited.

And it just so happened that my co-op interview was scheduled the day before I had to return back to work! (Which was yesterday). I had to bring all but my first born: bank statements, paycheck stubs, 401K statements, tax returns for the past three years, etc. Not an easy feat to drum all of this up after having been gone for four months! But I did it.

The co-op is in Bed-Sty in Brooklyn. A neighborhood with a rough history, but still has potential, just like all of the other up & coming neighborhoods in the city. And it is a brand new development, not even finished being built yet. And the best part is that I can sell it at market value, which is more than double what I will be paying for it!

So now I wait. A bank has to review my paperwork, check my credit, check my background, etc. And I'll know in about two weeks if I get to purchase. And then I make a decision if I want to live in Bed-Sty. The place is still under construction, so I can't visit the actual building yet.

In the meantime, I signed a lease for a place to live on the border of Upper East Side and Spanish Harlem. It's a roomy one-bedroom and I am excited to not be in Inwood anymore (please see blog archives about the nightmare of a neighborhood where I came from.) So this new neighborhood is on a blurry border of two other neighborhoods, but I noticed the post office around the way is called "Hellsgate Station". Hellsgate is also the name of a bridge nearby. So I decided just to start calling my neighborhood Hellsgate. It's catchy, no? In fact, when I lived in the north part of Chelsea, I started calling it NoChe (NOrth CHElsea.) Noche means "night" in Spanish. I thought it was cute. It never stuck though......maybe this one will.

Lease starts June 1 and soon I will go home to the place where angels dare to tread: Hellsgate.

2 comments:

Mendy said...

That sounds incredible! I'm happy for you! Wish they had that kind of lottery here (even though I like my house).

Dara said...

I just assumed "Hellsgate" was the actual name of your hood...