Monday, February 06, 2006

Poodles and Other Roommates

From a spike in my visit stats I noticed that brownstoner linked to my post on NY living situations. For all those who got here that way, welcome. I promise I will try to be more interesting and thus worth your visit. Heh.

I'm always fascinated by people's NY housing stories. I just spent some time yesterday helping a friend pack who has to move out of her Park Slope apartment due to a break-up. She's decided to get out of the country for a while and will be putting her stuff in storage - a big change from her lifestyle. We've offered her a bed if she needs it, as eventually she plans to come back to the city and will be crashing at friend's places.

Now, this friend is an ex-roommate of my ex-roommate; that's how we met. That is, the friend, whom I'll call X, was rooming with Y. Y moved out and became my roommate, but they stayed friends. I got to know and become pals with X through Y, get it?

So, that brought up a couple of questions for me. One is, just how often and in how many ways do people "crash" at friends' apartments while looking for a place in NYC? I never did it - I went straight from living in the NYU dorms to the first spaces I sublet. I did visit friends before I went to college, but that's it. If I had friends to stay with or look for a place with, I may have avoided some of the seedier arrangements I ended up with, such as staying in hallways and rooms separated by curtains or not at all, or cohabitating with the aforementioned geriatric toy poodle who was always trying to bite me and his aging gay parents who pronounced his name - Pierre, of course - with three syllables in true southern belle fashion. (It sounds faintly fabulous in retrospect, but it was wearisome at the time.) However, it seems to be pretty much the norm to live with friends temporarily amongst people I know who were not raised in the city or wealthy when they moved. I wonder if this is the same everywhere, or, as I imagine, more prominent in areas with decent housing shortages like NYC. Do people in other areas just find apartments almost immediately? They can't all be staying at the Y (although I do have a friend who did that when she moved here, which strikes me as particularly old-school and ballsy).

The other question is, how often do roommate connections branch into a sort of web of friendships? We've all met a roommate's friend that we can't stand, but sometimes we end up sharing buddies. Being something of a reclusive curmudgeon I don't have many extant connections from such circumstances, but I know a lot of folks who do. I'm not going to go all "the chart" on you, but I'm curious.

Any stories out there? Where did you stay when you arrived, and how many friends have you made through cohabitation? Maybe we are connected, and not just though Kevin Bacon.

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