In keeping with my summer of death theme, I left my building yesterday morning to find a cluster of neighbors talking. A neighbor had died in his apartment, estimated three days earlier, and was found yesterday morning when others on his floor complained about the smell.
This was another fringe character, though not a friend. If not for the “low” rent apartment, I’m guessing he would have been homeless. This is purely conjecture, for all I know he had three million dollars in the bank. I don’t know his story, maybe he was a veteran, maybe he was sick, maybe he had been deserted by a cheating wife and ingrate children. He was a hard and serious drinker, who could be spotted regularly parked in one of three neighborhood restaurants, drinking for hours until his cash ran out or the manager of the restaurant got enough complaints from other customers.
Naturally, as I walked Big Senile Dog and Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, I was thinking about all of this. Now I may not be happy here in New York, may not want to live here anymore, but I am a New Yorker. Therefore, after tallying how many people I know who have died this summer, I had the traditional New York mourning thought.
Really, it isn’t just something made up for a Seinfeld episode. Combing obituaries is a time honored way to find a rent controlled apartment. Much trickier than it used to be, as rent control laws have changed, but still valid.
I brought the dogs back and immediately stopped one of the workers in my building to ask him what size apartment the man had lived in. He laughed at me and told me I’m going to Hell with gasoline drawers on. I had never heard that saying before, but it’s now my new favorite.
And if you’re wondering, no. This didn’t turn out to be an opportunity for me and mine. His apartment is the same size as ours.