Horror Housing in Jersey City

I had planned on going to a class with Green Smoothie Girl, but it was canceled due to inclement weather, so I went apartment hunting with a friend instead. I should have listened to my gut many times throughout the night, but I was also trying to be considerate of my friend.

To start, a worker from a management company was supposed to meet us at 4PM. When we called him, he told us that he would be two hours late. I was weary at this point, but still went along on this adventure. We decided to go eat and take our time getting to Journal Square in Jersey City. When we got there at 6PM, we contacted him and he said he would pick us up in an hour. At this point, I was very annoyed, but still was going along with this. Another girl, who lived in this area and recommended him, decided to take us to her apartment while we waited. Her apartment was really great, it was about a two block walk from the PATH train and we were hoping that the cost and apartment type would be similar. She was renting it for $700 a month–though it was a studio apartment, it had a hallway entrance into the apartment and a hallway to the bathroom, so it felt much larger than a studio.

After three hours of waiting, we called the manager again and he said that he would be there in 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. At this point, we had waited for 3 hours and we were going to have to wait another 20 minutes. Needless to say, I finally had had enough and called him myself. He hung up on me several times, told me he couldn’t pick us up because his car was stolen and he was in a cab, but finally arrived after four hours of waiting for him.

I am not sure why I got in the van, but I guess at this point, it was more the culmination of waiting for so long and the hope that my friend would get a similar apartment for a similar price. What ensued was nothing like I imagined. He pulled up in a large red construction van filled with about 6 guys and tons of construction equipment. After the girl who dealt with him assured us that he was fine, we squeezed into the front seat of the van and were on our way.

After seeing that we were driving further and further away from the train station, I spoke up and said, “Where are you taking us? You’re going far from the train station.” I also said a few other things that are not appropriate to write. He told me that he was just taking us to see a great apartment. I should mention that while he drove, he dropped off the various workers at different points along the road to take care of their errands.

After I spoke, he turned the wheel and I saw that we were in a completely different neighborhood. It was not a place that I could imagine my friend walking home to after she got off the train at 11PM. He parked and outside the van was a prostitute. I just laughed. I mean, what was this? I knew that this story would just make a good blog post now, so I just wanted to see the apartment because it was obvious that it would be bad. If only I had the gall to photograph all I saw in those few moments, but all I can give you are these few photos I have.

We entered through a broken down door through a hallway filled with garbage, beer and large hard liquor bottles. To the right was the door where my friend, Monika, could possibly live. An eviction notice was posted on the door and that was just one of the 1000 red flags that occurred to me in a matter of seconds. After he unlocked 2 deadbolts and a padlock, we walked into the 250 square foot studio. The smell was like a punch to the face. The filth was not surprising, but the bugs made me suddenly itchy and want to get the heck out. The best part was that a man, clearly high on something followed us into this very small space and mumbled something, then walked out.

I asked him if he would allow his sister to live here and he laughed and then said that he would, but he understood that I was “too educated” to live in a place like this. Nonetheless, the price was $725 and it included everything. What I wanted to know was if his price included the bugs!

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and a Banana. I apologize, there is no photo of oatmeal this morning! I was rushing this morning and I had the choice of eating a full breakfast or only half and having a photograph of it. I chose the former.

Lunch: Panang Curry with Brown Rice.

Dinner: Chicken Terriyaki Salad. Remember when I said we took our time and ate? This is what I had. Delicious!