Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Love Thy Neighbor

More than the denizens of any other city, New Yorkers fantasize about apartments. We read the Times' profiles on celebrity brownstones, and we have dreams where we miraculously "find" another room in our current studio. Yesterday, engaged in this New York occupation, I found myself leafing through online real estate ads. That's when I found this, http://www.elliman.com/Listing.aspx?ListingID=725119&SearchType=sale. What appears to be a relatively normal ad for a 3 bedroom on the Upper West Side, is actually evil cleverly masked as optimism.

The ad reads: "Looking for more? You have a prospective future opportunity to grow by purchasing the apartment next door. There is currently a RENT CONTROLLED TENANT occupying 14G, however, you can invest now and start planning for the future!"

I probably wouldn't even have noticed this, if it hadn't been for RENT CONTROLLED TENANT in all caps. The most obvious subliminal message here is, "buddy next door is gonna croak!"

Just when you thought New York neighbor relations couldn't get more strained, this ad is encouraging people to move next door to someone they literally WANT DEAD. Exactly what would that relationship even look like? "Hello Mrs. Stevens! Do you mind if I take a peek around? We're figuring out how big a T.V. the future rec room needs!" or "Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones! I made you some fudge for the holidays, extra butter for your hypertension!"

All in all, the whole thing is creepy. I've actually seen the Law & Order where the real estate agent murders the rent control tenant, and this ad just seems to set up the episode. Besides, everyone knows the real reason people are against rent control, we all wish we had it.

Ms. J

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

You make fun, but that is exactly what happens. For example, if someone's dies in the city, the neighbors are on the widow like a pack of vultures, asking if she is looking to sell. Evil is a good word for it. But I still consider it one of the charming aspects of New York City.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous natalie said...

wasn't there a seinfeld episode about this once?

it seems like there is a deep connection between greed and fear, doesn't it? if fear is an aversion of the undesirable, then greed might be a more aggressive way of warding off the undesirable by surrounding yourself with buffers.

maybe that's not all that greed is, but it seems that when their objects are insecurity, you could break down their relationship as something like that - which shows why greed is such a sin for christians. greed demonstrates a fundamental refusal to live in that space of grace - trusting that we are freed to love our neighbor because our God is abundant and wise and good and it is in that God that our final meaning is found and our true needs are met.

so much of grace is waiting and stillness, and it's so hard to cultivate a quiet spirit in a city where scarcity seems to be everywhere. i mean, if you're living in this space of waiting and quietness, how will you EVER get a seat on the subway?

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Solomon said...

Food for though Natalie, but Jesus never had to find an apartment in New York.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Berry said...

Scary Stuff!

1:33 PM  

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