On my key ring, there are two new keys. One opens the front doors to my new apartment building and the security doors to the elevator lobby; the other opens the door to my new studio apartment on the 9th floor overlooking the Hudson River. It's not the million-dollar view on the 35th floor, but it's the $50k-view 26 floors below.
Getting the keys today wasn't easy. I now have another story to add to my growing collection of New York City residential war stories. I arrived at the management office around noon as directed. After almost an hour, I still had no keys. Later I was asked if I could return in the evening for my keys as the apartment was still not ready. I agreed, but asked if I could see how much progress (or lack thereof) had been made on the restorations. Reluctantly, the manager agreed.
I discovered that my apartment still had no oven, refrigerator, bathroom sink or mirror. Electrical sockets were still uncovered, construction dust was everywhere. Fortunately, the manager and his employees are amiable people who really do seem to aim to please so I didn't feel like creating a scene nor did I see the need. He simply promised that construction would be finished in time for me to begin the bulk of my move, which is planned for Saturday.
However, I was permitted to return this evening to get my keys so that I will have access to the building and the apartment over the next few days. Tomorrow they will complete any unfinished renovation and wax the newly installed wood floors.
Even though everything wasn't ready exactly when promised, I am very happy with my new apartment. It's no luxury building, but it's far better than I bargained for when I first moved to New York, and it's mine. Tonight I'll still be sleeping on my air mattress in the Bronx, but when you finally have the key to your very first apartment, it really does feel like you have a key to the entire city.