Saturday, August 20, 2005


what the journal is good for

Fifty cents is not very much to pay for an emotional experience. This I explain to Hilary, who wonders why I've bothered to buy today's copy of the Jersey Journal. Silly bird, I have no interest whatsoever in the articles. I've begun the scrupulous process of scanning the print classifieds for interesting-looking apartments.

It's too early to call any of these numbers. We're not leaving here until the end of October, and I don't want to run the risk of having to turn down something perfect because the landlord can't wait that long. Ads in this newspaper have a certain urgency that Hudson Reporter listings do not: they are caustic and blunt, and push their apartments like a backalley weed peddler. Heavily abbreviated and terse, they are piled interchangeably atop each other, stuffed into dense rectanguar cells, and left there beyond comment.

We found this flat in the Journal. The ad was buried at the bottom of the page. Unlike most of the Journal listings, it didn't mention a street. We were told it was Downtown. This meant, we believed, that it was far beyond what we'd be able to pay. We expected to stay in Union City, or perhaps to relocate to the Heights. But I forced Hilary to examine as much as we could, because I enjoy the scrupulous process. We visited a house on Van Vorst park that had once belonged to a mayor from the turn of the century. We looked at a ritzy penthouse that the Del Forno realtors had renovated on Newark Avenue.

These places would have bankrupted us had we rented them. Yet just looking at them expanded the parameters of our search -- they convinced us that if we chose to pinch our finances sufficiently, we could fit our lives into a container suitable for much wealthier people. We are no ascetics. Once we see something we like, we usually perform the sacrifices necessary to make it ours. We decided we would move Downtown and force it to work. I figured that even if we ended up in serious debt, we were setting ourselves up for two years of the sort of adventure we were unlikely to find in Union City.

We're not in debt. And it has been an adventure.

There aren't many advertisements for neighborhood apartments in the Jersey Journal. I estimate that there are two hundred and fifty Jersey City listings in today's paper. Only four of these are Downtown. Most landlords in this area prefer to list in the Reporter, which is virtually a real estate circular, or with a real estate agent. But if we can help it, we prefer not to go to realtors. I pretend that we do this to avoid the extra cost. Really, I fear losing control of the search, and missing out on the experience of circling advertisements and wandering into neighborhoods I haven't yet visited. And I confess to a secret fantasy, too: I have occasionally imagined becoming a realtor myself.

The newspaper closes on its own. Maybe that's just the August breeze. Others would advise me to try Craig's List, or to confine my search to online sources. That would save me two quarters, coins that I could use on the Ms. Pac Man machine in the basement of Southpaw, or that I could lend to Jed Smith, a much better Ms. Pac Man player than I am. Save enough quarters and perhaps we could afford the properties listed in the Reporter. We don't want to move to Greenville, and we don't need Section 8 vouchers. But today I am given over to this honeycomb of letters, numerals, dots and lines and dollar signs. Decoding the heiroglyphs in the Journal is where the scrupulous process begins.

Tris: I am a landlord. For advertising my apartment, I gave up on Hoboken Reporter ads a year or so ago, and I feel like a disnoaur in waiting that long. I went Craigslist and got an overwhelming number of responses.

But even better: because of Craigslist, I was contacted by the most nimble broker in Hoboken, Brownstone Realty. Now I just hand them the place to rent and they have great tenants signed up in a day. My advise to you, FWIW: Go with a broker - but find one who lives and breathes online. You are wasting your time with the Journal - you'll find something, but it won't be the best you could have done. The best stuff gets snapped up too fast, the papers have what lingers on the shelf.

I also know a landlord near the old Medical Center who recently suffered a fire and is renovating his apartments. Because the Med Center is going condo, and other neighborhood improvements, it's an up and coming area but still off most maps. You have my email if you want more.
this is all good advice. thank you.

i do not really expect to find a place through the *journal* or the *reporter* this time out.

mcginley square is definitely one of the areas we're going to be looking.
i live in the old jcmc/mcginley area...i tend to say journal square when describing it for others, but i'm closer to bergen and mcginley squares then journal or india squares. point being, i too am very curious to see (for better or for worse) how this area would be nice to have more services, on the other hand i don't want things getting very gentrified.

in any case, it's much cheaper than downtown or even right around journal square proper...

-Marcy A.
Mr. Snitch's advise is good and if you ever decide to go that way I've got a name as well.

However, since you actually enjoy looking for an apartment, I expect you'll be riding bareback. There'll be better stories that way, too.
The biggest problem with McGinley Square is that the local SID (Special Improvement District) is grossly mis-managed, and as a result the commercial district is much more of a dump than it should be. The private garbage cleanup crews are a joke, trees get knocked down and never replanted, repairs to the wannabe fancy streetscape project never happen, etc. But on the residential side there are a lot of new people who care about their properties and make a effort to keep things nice.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?