Over a beer last night, my friend Josh told me a nightmare story.
The city came by his friend’s Brooklyn apartment and condemned the building, giving the friend and the other residents two hours to gather their stuff and get out.
I had a million questions. Was this a slum building? (No.) The city can do that? (I guess, if it’s unsafe.) How can an entire building’s worth of people get their stuff and get out in two hours? (They took as much as they could carry and left the rest.) Were they given hotel rooms or somewhere to stay? (No, the friend called Josh to stay at his place. The friend needed a button-up shirt for work, so Josh gave him one.) Did your friend get any kind of compensation? (Yeah, they sued management and were given two months free when they got back into the building. The building was also fixed up and nicer than when they moved in originally, but the friend bounced from couch to couch until he could get back in because they kept saying it would be soon and soon became months.) Was the stuff he left in his apartment still there when he got back months later? (Yeah, most of it. Some was damaged or missing, Josh thought.)
I’m still astonished this could happen. I have no idea what I would do. Obviously I’d have to grab Carlos and a bag of clothes. But two hours isn’t enough time to move out, especially considering you have a building full of people using the stairs and freaking out, though Josh said this was a small building with just a couple units. It would be hard to get ahold of a friend and expect him or her to make it up to help in a two-hour window.
I’d have to grab a cab (receipt please for my lawsuit!) and hope Quyn would be cool with Carlos and me staying with her for a few days. As the months dragged on, however, I’d have to either move into my sister’s guest room, with my parents or get a new apartment, I suppose. Josh agreed with me: “I think I would have been done with New York.”