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Blog: Trip to the big city

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POSTED: July 3, 2007 5:02 a.m.
I’ve spent the past week in New York City, watching a nephew’s Brooklyn apartment and dog, touring and learning more about City College of New York where R2 will be attending classes starting in August, and hunting for an apartment for him and a couple friends. It’s been an education.
My stereotype of the city has always been that it is cold, ruthless and dangerous, ready to swallow up us naïve rubes from the hinterlands. As with earlier trips, however, the people of the city have proven my stereotype wrong. When you engage them they are as helpful and caring as your typical Georgian or Kansan.
There is a sense of danger. The papers each morning have stories about mob hits, random muggings and venal authorities. But, as with other places, when you know how and where such things happen you can avoid them.
What you can’t avoid is the rigamarol and red tape of getting anything done here. It took us four days to get an apartment. The first three were spent walking, riding the subway, calling brokers and private property owners to look at possible places R2 and his friends could stay. We were out on the streets 8-10 hours a day and still saw only two-three places each day.
And when we decided on one place it was a full day’s work dealing with the broker, getting approved, reading and signing the lease, meeting the owner and building superintendent, going over the building rules and amenities and looking around the neighborhood for banks, groceries, laundromats, etc.
It’s an interesting neighborhood, on Manhattan, along Broadway at 157th Street. That’s about 20 blocks north of City College and about 90 blocks north of where another of R2’s friends will go to school. Both students will have one-train commutes to and from school.
So our trip has been a success, R2 and his buddies have a place to stay when they start their college careers, I’m wiser to the world and a New York landlord is richer.
Hopefully I’ll get more written about the city and our trip, and the upcoming transition of the Watkins/Williams household with the oldest son headed off onto his own.

Blogger: Pat Watkins
 

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