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I moved to Brooklyn in 1999 and fell in love with it. I came here for grad school and I can't imagine what would tear me away. But, trust me, it hasn't been easy. I was here to witness the gentrification of Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy; I witnessed September 11th first hand; I watched the slow, polarizing destruction of Coney Island and await it's revival; I was here before there was an Ikea or a Trader Joe's. I'm no veteran, but I've seen a lot in my ten+ years here.
The most strenuous thing for me has been the number of times I've moved. This will be my 12th move in ten years. So more than a story, I wanted to write my Brooklyn Provenance, as it were, since 1999 that has landed me to this move into a home I now own.
In 1999, I moved here to go to school and lived in the dorms (that's 1). In 2000, I moved from the 16th floor of the dorm building to the 17th and got a new roommate who I hoped was less sketchy than the first one I had (that's 2). In 2001 I moved to an apartment on Willoughby and Kent (that's 3). I loved that apartment. Small, but cheap; those never last. I then moved in with a boyfriend (who soon became an ex) on Bedford Ave (that's 4) in Bed-Stuy and stayed there for a few months. The economic uncertainty after 9/11 made finding a job after grad school a bit of a challenge. I made it through the break up and the job freezes, but not without moving all my stuff out of that apartment and into a storage unit over on Park under the BQE (that's 5). I then surfed couches for a few months. I finally got a job later that same year and moved my stuff out of storage and into a place in Windsor Terrace (that's 6) and lived with a roommate who loved too much booze and too many candles. I left willingly before an accidental fire drove me out. I had a couple of friends in Kensington and in 2002 moved into the cheapest room I've ever lived in in NYC - $300 a month (that's 7). Like I said, those never last. My roommate's family decided to move to NYC and needed a place to live. I got the boot since she happened to be the nanny for the landlords and her family moved in and took over. That was 2004 and I moved into an apartment not far from there - my first studio with a giant kitchen and lots of space (that's 8). I lived there for 2 years until my landlords had another baby and decided to expand their space on the first floor to include mine in the basement. In 2006, I moved to Bed-Stuy to a place I found on Craig's List (that's 9). Needless to say that only lasted a few months until I moved into another place way out in Bed-Stuy near where Malcom X blvd. turns into Utica Ave (that's 10). I lived there for 1 year and was harassed every day for being the only white girl on the block. In 2007, I moved to where I live now - Flatbush near East 18th and Church (that's 11). A West Indian neighborhood that turned me on to Roti and Doubles. I've lived here nearly 3 years and in this time, a death in the family made it possible for me to have a down payment on an apartment.
That leads me to my move tomorrow (thanks in advance, Rabbit). I bought a Condo in Bed-Stuy (That's 12). It's a small duplex that my dog, Millie, and I will make a home in. I'll have space to have a studio (I'm an artist), live in a neighborhood I love, and have a dishwasher in my kitchen. Most of my friends are jealous of that last one the most. What it will really mean is that I can freely paint the walls a color I want, I can really get to know my neighbors, and most importantly, I can start to buy books again without worrying about my next move!
This particular story takes place in a time where things were simpler, where moving was just about getting a bunch of friends together to help you move your stuff while you pay them in pizza. The only incident we experienced was unheard of in the history of moves.
No one was a pro at moving when it came to our friendly band of would-be movers. We thought we were the bomb when we rented the trailer at Uhaul. We said, “No problem, we got plenty of time to beat traffic.” That time was very precious to us, because what happened next could have changed our lives forever. While on the Long Island Expressway, nearing our destination around 5am, we noticed another Uhaul trailer gently speeding past us. We thought, “Hey that’s funny, that’s a similar trailer like the one we have…” then more thoughts gathered into our puzzled mind, “You know I think that trailer has the same stuff we have” . Lastly the final thought grazed our minds at the same time right where we yelled out. “THE TRAILER GOT LOOSE!!!!”
It was a rough race to catch up with the trailer while the adrenaline is pumping into your head and people yelling at you to watch out for the manned vehicles and unmanned vehicle on the road. Luckily the Gods shined upon us, the trailer decided to slow down and it being so early, we had no traffic jam to deal with.
We rehooked the trailer up again, double and triple checking the connection, then proceeded to move at a blazing 30 miles per hour along the BQE. Needless to say no one was hurt during the whole ordeal, but the morale here to all readers is simple…Hire professionals next time.
I have a love hate relationship with New York as many people do but a couple of months ago, I finally came to the inevitable realization that despite its many flaws, I will never leave New York. I finally realized that New York was my home and soon after things started to really fall in to place. I was given my dream job to direct a gallery and design its program. Then I soon realized that if I was really going to stay here forever, then I should start acting like it. My current apartment was unsustainable. The mice kept coming back. Shadows started looking like mice and I was beginning to feel a little nuts. The traffic kept me awake at all hours. So I made the ultimate commitment. I bought an apartment. After looking through many tiny apartments and strategizing how to best fit my life into such tiny corners, I finally found my home. It’s not perfect but it just felt like home immediately. There is something in the air in your home that says, ya this is it. So I did it. And I’m really glad I did!
Moving to a new apartment sounds exciting. But then one encounters the inevitable nightmare of searching and planning and paying and packing and fretting. What should be an occasion to celebrate is instead a minefield of logistical explosions, each more overwhelming and discouraging than the last.
It's no wonder, then, that by the time I found my apartment, I was exhausted, and the mere thought of the actual move gave me hives. My apprehension was not without warrant. The last time I went through this process in New York the movers were rude and unprofessional. I couldn't afford another experience like that one, not financially and not emotionally.
Rabbit Movers renewed my faith in New York movers. In the weeks preceding moving day, they corresponded with the kindness and readiness of an old friend, providing answers to all of my questions. I knew from that first email that I was in good hands, that no matter what difficulty I encountered, Rabbit Movers would happily take care of it. They never once made me feel like a burden, never once dismissed a request.
8:50am. I will never forget this. Nate from Rabbit Movers called my phone on moving day at 8:50am, a full ten minutes before he and the others were scheduled to arrive. Up until that point Rabbit Movers had provided some of the best customer service I had ever received. I'd think of something at odd hours of of the day - boxes! storage! a large picture frame! - and someone would find a solution for me. But I didn't expect promptness. I didn't expect the entire crew to be ready when they said they would be ready. Yet there they were, and I was over the moon.
I can't thank Rabbit Movers enough. They turned a potentially disastrous situation into a pleasant one, a mountain into a mole hill. Movers who can get the job done are easy to find. They lift, they carry, they pack, they unpack. But Rabbit Movers are the only ones who can also be nice, who can also be honest, who can also be helpful, who can also be genuinely invested in the well being of the person pacing back and forth, wondering if everything will be okay.