Monday, October 01, 2007

Life in the Astral

I live in The Astral, a landmarked building in Greenpoint. From the outside it is beautiful. From the inside, it is a death trap. My lease is up in a month; I've been here eleven miserable months. Since I moved in, my bathroom has flooded multiple times through the ceiling and I've been fighting an uphill battle to keep the building's bedbugs from closing in on me. To keep this post short, I'll give you just a brief overview of the past few months.

June 15-ish: I ask the super to replace my bathroom floor which has been coming up in pieces, and to remove the mold -- both results of the constant flooding. He says he'll do it while I'm in New Hampshire.

August 21: I return from New Hampshire to a still moldy, flooded bathroom.

August 27, 2007: When walking out of my apartment to take some trash to the street, I slip and fall on the wet stairs. I fall straight onto my back, and cannot move. Instead of helping me up, the man who had been cleaning the floor grabs his mop to sop up the rest of the water. There were no signs warning me of wet stairs. After about a minute and a half of crying, immobile (while being mopped around), I crawl back to my apartment and get myself halfway onto my bed, where I wait for friends to come help me.

September 15-ish: I ask the super to please fix the bathroom, and tell him that water is pouring out of the ceiling "right now." He says he's busy fixing the pipes and when that's all done, he will fix my bathroom.

September 20th-ish (a weekday, mid-afternoon): I look out my kitchen window into the building's "courtyard" and see the super accompanying a young woman dressed in stilettos and a bathrobe to the "work" shed. He is carrying a camera.

September 25: I return from a night out to find a giant cockroach in the entry way to the building. I find a man on the street to kill it for me before I can go in (yes, I'm a girl).

September 26: My bathroom floods again. Super says he'll send someone in ten minutes. Thirty minutes pass and I have to leave. I come home and nothing is fixed.

Bathroom mid-flood:
bathtub_mid_flood.jpg

September 28: My friend leaves my place and says she saw a dog pissing on the dead cockroach... that's still there (see September 25).

September 30: As I'm walking home with boxes a local business owner asks me what's up. "I'm finally leaving the Atral," I say. "My apartment is falling down around me and the super won't fix it."

"Maybe if you pose for him he will," jokes the man. I ask him what he knows. Apparently the super runs an amateur pornography photo business. Apparently he also does this during business hours, when he could be fixing my bathroom (see September 20-ish). Eh?

The mold in the bathroom is growing out of control and is impossible to clean. In the evening, a mushroom begins to grow from the ceiling.
ceiling_mushroom.jpg

October 1: I'm in the bathroom brushing and flossing and get very dizzy. My throat has been burning for hours. I remember I'm allergic to mold. I remember that I often wake up with a headache. This is most likely toxic mold.

I won't bother to mention the bedbugs. Not even that one I caught biting me last night. In addition to moving costs, I now have to buy a new bed. Among other things.

I've given my notice, and am refusing to pay rent for October. What are the next steps I should take? Help!?

Bonus Picture: The Crack in my Kitchen Wall
(Behind that wall is the bathroom. Days ago, it was hairline.. or so I thought.):
kitchen_wall.jpg

27 comments:

Daniel said...

get out eefers!

nicholasjcoleman said...

Ugh... I wish I could help. :(

Where are you looking?

Adam H. Berkowitz said...

Wait, seriusly, there are bedbugs in the Astral? I live on the second floor in the D line. Um, how concerned should I be about this?

steven j baughman said...

Yes! I totally killed that roach for you.

I think I still have some on the bottom of my shoe.

That sucks about the Astral. Always see stuff outside with signs that read 'BUGS!'. Hope they don't start crawling up the street.

eefers said...

Thanks again for that, Steven.

sharif said...

booboo this is fucking hilarious!!

BOOBOOOO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

that's a shame, I've always wanted to live in that building. I mean for decades. I guess maybe now that I have a kid it'd be a bad idea, huh?

How's the rent?

Anonymous said...

OMG to the "i guess I shouldn't know I have a kid" poster. If you even have to ask, you deserve what you get. Who doesn't know that the Astral is a minefield?

IF THERE ARE BEDBUGS IN YOUR APARTMENT BUILDING, BE CONCERNED. How you don't know that and live in New York City is beyond me. Beyond me.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that the Pistilli Brothers still own the building. Good luck on trying to get out of owing them money - I lived there for a year ('97-'98) with no heat or hot water over the last six months and a completely out of control roach situation, got the Housing Department involved, and they still wouldn't budge over even meeting halfway for 4 months of unpaid back rent.

They're fuckers - just cut your losses and get out of there!

rowan said...

i live in the astral right now. and i did not know it was "a minefield"

my bathtub has been backed up for a few weeks. i've called the super so hopefully he'll take time out from his nudie cuties to fix it.

no bug issues as of yet...my apt seems OK but i'm keeping an eye out! good luck with the move. i read about your plight via newyorkshitty

St. Louis Transplant said...

Dude that's the building that Frank lived in for a year, he had a studio on the bottom floor and it had no problems except for this weird smell, that I for sure thought was a gas leak.
Also, for some reason he got the landlord to re-do his entire bathroom before he moved in. Are there different landlors for the different sides?
Also, when he moved out he told them that his security deposit was his last month's rent. You could do that. . .
Good luck.

TeddyFrank said...

Hey There Eefers,
Don't bother paying the last month's rent and you'll be fine. I found from the beginning that Tommy'll do whatever Tommy wants to do. Be in his good graces, and life will work out fine. He's actually the one that gave me the Peugot frame that I made into that fixie of yours (do you still have that by the way?). Good luck in greener pastures.

Frank

Anonymous said...

as to not paying rent: put the rent money in escrow (if you end up in court you will look at lot better in the judge's eyes and it's EASY to do - just go to a bank, mail copies of your checks to the Pistillis). Call 311 and report to HPD all the problems you are having so they will send an investigator and you will have a record of the complaint and their findings available on the internet. I wouldn't pay those Pistilli bastards if I were you, in fact, I used to be in your position. Lived in the Astral, had bed bugs and all sorts of problems. I deducted exterminator costs from the rent, ducked out of the lease early, and used my security deposit as last month's rent and I haven't heard a peep from them asking for money so far.

Sally Tomato said...

I thought *my* shitbox was bad.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha! I've lived in the Astral for over five years, and it took me WAY too long to realize that EVERYONE in the building has something terribly wrong with their apartment. Usually several things very wrong. In my past half decade I've had

1. Roaches the size of chicken nuggets (here's a hint, more often then not they fly in the windows)

2. Bathroom tiles constantly coming up, and a wet wall with an obvious leak inside that they just keep putting more and more spackle on.

3. Peeling paint that given it's thickness, HAS to date back to lead based days.

4. Cracks in the ceiling, sometimes leaking, sometimes not.

5. Locks not being fixed in a timely manner. AND TOMMY IS A LOCKSMITH. Yeah, that's another one of his little ventures. His card is probably still up at the yellow deli that makes great sandwiches and takes effing forever.

6. A shower drain that takes FOREVER to drain and seems to clog when anything bigger then a nose hair goes down it. I can't tell you how much I've spent on drain opener while living there. I found the industrial lye crystals work best BTW.

7. Windows that were poorly installed so that they SHAKE WHEN THE WIND BLOWS, letting in cold air. They're also partially painted over where some dumbass used a spray painter to paint the trim.

8. Various heating issues, with both the apartment and water. At one point I had to schedule an extra 20 minutes in to my day to make sure i got a hot shower, and very often I ended up taking a cold one any way.

9. Mice, especially when they were doing road work outside.

It's a crappy building, and every time the fire trucks pull up outside (which seems to be about 3 times a week) I pray the whole thing is going up in flames. If you want added fun, chat up someone who works at the restaurant on the corner (Brooklyn Label) and ask them about their issues.

Clumsy said...

Oh That Sucks so much!
I have a similar issue. And my management company and Supers just keep painting over the mold.
We don't have any mushrooms yet though. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

come on 1:46 - if you're still out there - tell us about brooklyn label's issues.

Steven said...

I second that advice to call HPD. I will also point you to this suit:
Dean H.M. Chenensky, et al. v. Glenwood Management Corp., et al.
No. 120461/00, N.Y. Sup., N.Y. Co.

ASStral said...

I have ALL of the same problems. I found bed bugs last week and immediately started packing what i could salvage and throwing the rest out. I am getting out of my lease but still have my large furniture there (which I don't want). Do you think it's ok to leave it in the apartment due to the fact it's infested? I don't want this to affect my deposit. Any advice would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

when I left the Astral about a year ago I paid the Mexican guys working in the building to carry out my furniture. Just make sure you mark up your possibly infested furniture with a marker or paint. I taped notes that said "bedbugs" to all the furniture, and when I went back to check on things the nexy day half the furniture was outside, NOTES REMOVED, and half the furniture was gone (I assume people adopted it).

ASStral said...

If you don't mind my asking, how much did you pay them?

Anonymous said...

I don't remember exactly, maybe $60each because it was a lot of stuff and I didn't want to take advantage (I figured I probably could have just left everything and they'd be stuck taking it out anyway). plus I lived on the top floor.

cucaracha said...

tommy's not so bad. he gave me a free 35mm camera and he put new floors in my kitchen when I asked. yeah it took a while but shit man, he's a super for over 200 people. and yeah it was cheap plastic floor tiles but he didn't have to do it. wasn't so bad to begin with. I live in the D side. have no problem with bed bugs at all. seen a couple big roaches in the summer when the window is open but tommy told me they are waterbugs. i usually kick them into the hallway and use them as hockey pucks with a broom- its quite fun and i recommend it. I turn a bad situation into good time.

James Jefferies said...

Tommy rules - he has a sandwich named after him at that sandwich shop on the corner!!

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Astral back in 94 and Tommy was a creep then too. Back then he was in cahots with the herion dealers that worked out of the building. I am sure they were paying him off to look the other way.

Anonymous said...

I just moved in and like living here. the only thing so far is that the front door is busted and wont lock closed. plus, it wont stop beeping. as I can hear this from my apartment, I find this very, very annoying and unsafe.

buckaroo said...

It seems like all of the problems are coming from the A B and C units nearest India Street, not D or E. Come'on guys, everyone has roaches every once in a while when living in NYC! It's an old building, so its bound to have some problems. Does the building management have an exterminator on retainer? I'm sure if you put it in writing that you have a problem with bed bugs or roaches, they would bomb the place for you. Anyone who works at Brooklyn Label want to contribute any stories to this?...