Wednesday, September 7

Living in Flushing (Barclay and Bowne)

My superintendent, real estate agent and two maintenance men were all standing in a semicircle on the sidewalk in contemplative silence.
“See, I didn’t know you moved in until just now when you told me,” my super Louis Carrero, tells me again.
“Right, because I just signed the lease this morning. So can I get into the apartment now?” I explain a third time.
“It’s all Monica’s fault. If she had only just…” Pearl, my real estate agent from Apartment Management Associates, mutters.
Supposedly if Monica had done whatever it is she was supposed to do, I wouldn’t be waiting outside my future home with all of my possessions sitting in a truck double parked across from it.
The day I moved into my apartment in Flushing, about seven minutes walk from the train station, I learned that my entire block is under the ownership and supervision of a management company whose way of dealing with tenants is voicemail. Whenever I called Pearl while in the process of applying for a studio I would most often be redirected immediately to leaving her a message. I’d leave one and she’d get back to me sometime later that day. Only a problem if you have other things to do. It’s now the same procedure to reach my superintendent. The repairs and maintenance service hotline actually works much better. However, something puzzles me. No matter where I live that the Apartment Management Associates controls: Shorehaven, South Hampton, Falkon, Flushing, Astoria—I have the choice of addressing a Russian speaker. How many Russians live under this management company’s purview?
Four identical buildings take up two thirds of Barclay Avenue between Bowne Street and Parsons Boulevard. They’re each two separate apartment buildings making a total of eight apartments in this area. Since the exteriors are identical—red brick, simple two frame windows with guards in them, a small park in front, and two pathways leading to the main entrances—I assume the interiors are identical as well. They’re probably all small to medium sized apartments in fair to good condition and inhabited by a non-Caucasian family or a non-Caucasian couple or a non-Caucasian young professional. The one Caucasian I have seen so far was a senior citizen, which puts him in two minorities on this block.
Though trying to get something fixed or reaching the superintendent can be tough, the Flushing apartment lifestyle suits me. Three supermarkets are close by, delicious food is always to be had and my neighbors are generally quiet, but pleasant. If you’re considering moving though, I’d only recommend my own situation if you’re good at leaving messages and—if you’re white—don’t mind sticking out.—Charis Poon

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