We wanted a true two bedroom apartment. Not the railway car kind, or the kind that guests walk through your bedroom to the bathroom. We were willing to stretch our budget because we knew it would only be for a year or two before we moved out of the city, and we wanted to live it up.
After looking for many weeks at many apartments, we found that every apartment was either way too expensive, way too small, or had an intolerable quirk. There was an apartment where all the windows faced walls, another one whose elevator took one minute to climb per floor, and another one that smelled like cabbage. Most apartments were 700 square feet and over $2500 a month. I didn't want to leave the high priced Upper Westside because it was Mommyville, but we were losing hope. I finally convinced Alex to visit an apartment that was outside our already exorbitant price range. It was a beautiful, remodeled, doorman, 1,100 square foot apartment in the low 90's, a block from Central Park with two excellent restaurants on the block. As the broker showed us around, I started to get suspicious. Even though the rent was a king's ransom, it was still a good deal by New York standards. Every apartment we saw had a catch, and I knew by now that there was no such thing as a free lunch in Manhattan real estate. We were leaving the playroom in the basement when I asked him, "So, why is the apartment so cheap? Was there a mass murder in there or something?"
The color drained from his face and his mouth was slightly agape. "How did you hear?" he asked.
Huh? Yup, I correctly guessed there was a murder in the apartment. A double homicide and suicide to be precise. The owner was going to disclose this to any potential renters, but I beat him to the punch. His sister-in-law and her boyfriend was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. It was a tragic end to what I could gather was beautiful life.
The apartment had been locked up for months for the investigation and litigation. By the time the brother-in-law was granted access, he had no choice but to gut and refurbish it entirely. He remodeled it very tastefully, but I could understand the challenge of renting it as many people are superstitious. Hence, the reduced price.
Alex and I are not that superstitious. If anything, we felt the apartment needed some fresh karma. After filling out more paperwork than a mortgage (it was a sublet in a co-op building), an interview, and paying more than we could ever imagine, we moved into our dream apartment.
Our year in the apartment was filled with joy: Aiven's birth, the bris, hanging out with new friends and old, and loads of Indian takeout and movies on demand. If we had decided to live in New York for years, I would have wanted to buy the place.
If there's moral to this little story, I guess it's that one should not let superstitions get in their way. You may miss out on a great opportunity, especially to infuse good karma where it is needed.