Supers in New York

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When I first moved into my apartment on the Upper West Side, I had a doorman and a super who I knew by name and would often chat with when I ran into him. He was very considerate of K and I and we tipped him accordingly.

Then I moved to Hell's Kitchen, and I learned what a real New York super is like when you don't live in a luxury building.

To start, my landlord lives on 180th street, and I've never met him, as he owns several buildings in New York and doesn't seem to care about the conditions that people live in, which was made evident by the condition of my apartment when I moved in.

Before moving in, I called my super and made an appointment with him to go over what needed to be done before we moved in. Unfortunately, I had to work late and missed that appointment, but K was able to go. She said he was really nice and that she thought he would take care of everything we asked him to. For the most part he did and we assumed there would be no problems with him. We were wrong.

When our refrigerator broke and we had no cold food, it took him three weeks to finally answer my call. He told me a repair guy had fixed it, though it was clear that no one had been in the apartment. I finally had to leave an irate message on the landlord's machine to get the super to call me back. I have since used this approach on several occasions.

My most recent blunder with my super regards my air conditioning. My parents had ordered an AC unit for me and it was set to arrive during the workweek and there was no way I was going to be able to be home for it's arrival. Up until this point it had been in the 90s the entire week and my apartment was stifling. I slept with the windows open, and even though I had screens, I was getting eaten by several mosquitoes a night. I was down to two options: sleep in an uncomfortably overheated apartment while mosquitoes buzz around my ear or sleep in an dangerously overheated apartment with no bugs. It was a lose-lose. Literally, I was sleeping naked with damp washcloths and taking cold showers at 2am just to be able to fall asleep. Needless to say, I was ready to get my AC!

It was scheduled to be delivered during the workweek and there was no way I would be able to sign for it. I tried to have it delivered to my office, though Sears couldn't figure out how to do that. But that's a ranting story for another day.

Thankfully, the AC arrived and my super signed for it, so I knew the AC was in the building. Unfortunately, my super has a history of dodging my calls, which he did for a week when I desperately needed my AC! Let me repeat: my AC was in the building, yet I had to go a week without it. I can't even begin to describe my frustration with this man, who I have never even met (he sends his "minions" to do his bidding). Finally, after my 3rd call, I was able to reach him. He told me his wife would answer the door to their basement apartment and I could get my AC!

His wife didn't answer. And he didn't answer his phone after that. Thankfully, the next day, she did answer the door and I got my AC!!! Did I mention that this box was 70 pounds? No? I asked K to help me carry it up the stairs, but she said the gym was going to close and she really needed to leave. Go figure. Did I mention I also had a fever?

This box was joyous fun to carry up the stairs. I got about 1/3 the way up before taking a breather. I was sweating like crazy,panting like a dog, and still had two floors to go! But, right at that moment, a neighbor of mine was making his way up the stairs, when he picked up my box, heaved it onto his shoulder, and walked up the stairs like it was nothing! I couldn't believe it! I'd been saved!

...So much for a super, eh?


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