Thursday, June 16, 2011

Main Street Manhattan (Part 1)

Most people who live in NYC don’t know their neighbors. You could be living next to a drug dealer, a prostitute, or Mother Theresa and usually you’d have no idea. Daily you’ll ride the elevator in your building, and even if it’s the size of an umbrella stand, and it’s just you and one other neighbor, you won’t exchange words. Even if you get out of the elevator only to realize they live next door to you, you’ll just keep walking without speaking. It’s what most people do in New York City, that is, unless you’re me.
I’ve always talked to everyone and virtually anyone that I see, on a regular basis or sometimes even randomly, during my day. I talk to the mailman when he’s dropping off my mail. I talk to the old, cranky guy who sits on the corner with his fold-up chair who makes comments about everyone. I talk to the deli guy where I buy my bagel, and I talk to the crazy lady who talks to herself if she happens to start talking to me. At the very least I like to wave to her. Some say it’s a curse, but I think it’s a blessing that I can talk to a wall. But sometimes it gets me into trouble.
I had just moved into a new building. Actually, it was a decrepit, rent stabilized, pre-pre-pre-war building. Trust me, all of the wars happened after this building was built, but it was new to me. It was an absolute steal for a huge, according to Manhattan standards, apartment with a big walk-in closet. A place for my shoes? I was sold. When I moved in, I immediately met all of my neighbors on the floor including some of the neighbors a few flights up. The building was small, so it didn't take me very long to make my rounds.

At first, it made no sense to me why this apartment was so cheap. Until I slept there the first night and was woken up to “HIIIII----YAAAAA!” My apartment was directly above a karate studio, who knew people get up early to practice karate? Why people find the need to be healthy or learn self-protective strategies at 8 am is beyond me, so it was tough at first, but soon I was able to sleep through all of the shaking, jumping, screaming and board busting that went on. Whenever I wasn’t home to take packages, the owner of the studio always took them for me. I figured if there was ever any trouble in my place, there were 55 black-belts nearby. I started getting comfortable in my apartment, and on my new block. I lived on Lexington Avenue and everyone from corner to corner knew me. I turned New York City into my very own Main street.
I was cutting out of work early one Friday to go to the beach for the weekend. It was going to be a weekend full of drunkenness and sun. I ran in from work and since it’s about 8000 degrees in NYC in the summer at all times, I immediately hopped in the shower. Between the entire city smelling like a urinal and feeling like you’re walking around in a sauna all day taking showers twice a day is critical to not feeling repulsive. I was psyched that I was going to have a great weekend and that I was getting an early start. I was packing a bag while standing in a towel, when my phone rang.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hi. I’m your neighbor Frank. I live in the apartment above yours.”
“Oh, hi. It’s so nice to meet you. How’s it going?”
I didn’t question for one minute how the guy got my phone number, how he knew my name, or why he was calling. I was living on Main Street, and I was enthusiastically talking to my new neighbor Frank who could only be calling with good news.
“It’s going okay, but there’s a little problem with our apartments. It seems that there’s a hole in my floor that goes into your bathroom.”
Wow, I was glad he was calling to tell me that. But then he said...
“Basically I see you when you shower, and I know when you get period.”
Okay, first of all, gross. I walked into my bathroom and looked up at the ceiling, and I didn’t see any holes. But with the building being 500 years old the ceiling was shoddy. I quickly exited Main Street and came back a little Jersey.

“Really? You can see me when I’m in my bathroom? Well I’m in my bathroom now, so what am I wearing?”
He said, “A towel. I’m only calling to help you out...”
Unable to hear anything else after “towel,” I freaked. “You’re trying to help me out? You call me up and tell me that you see me when I shower and you know when I get my period and that’s supposed to be helpful? Thanks alot *^&%&* I guess I’ll be caulking my ceiling this weekend!”
I hung up the phone, and I ran out of my bathroom and got dressed in my kitchen. Creeped out and not sure what I should do next my phone rang again. Is this guy kidding?
Gruffly into the phone I said, “Yeah?” But the voice on the other end was one of my coolest friends. She was calling to see what I was up to for the weekend. I told her about the phone call from Frank, and she came right over to call the police. The idea of the police coming made it seem serious. Plus before my friend called me she had just smoked a ton of pot. But even in her stoned state she insisted I call the cops, so I threw some sunglasses on her, and we made the call.



  1. Holy s@#t! That Frank sounds like a special type of crazee...time to call the black-belts...

  2. Not cool----- BE SAFE--And CAULK, and even check or get a geek friend to sweep apt. for cameras--Seriously--everywhere!!!


    Erin ESPN Whats-her-Name- Andrews!

    But that is a total safe mi lady OK????


    PS: The towel was pretty!

  3. I would have been a wreck just going back in the bathroom to caulk, thinking he would be watching! Then again, why did he call??? How weird.
    Well you have me hooked again!!

  4. When i was growing up in suburbia, i was once sitting on the toilet and i looked out the window to see a guy staring at me! horror! my guy disappeared, never to be seen again - i hope frank goes that way too!!!

  5. Living in San Francisco, I did get a few weirdo calls that made me nervous. I called the police after one that I found threatening. They told me to change my phone number. Say what? I'd rather they called than just decided to "drop by". Bastards to make women feel uneasy are the doo doo on my shoes!

    I can't wait to see what happens next! Again you have me hooked, all the way!

  6. Ish! Glad you have the black belts around Wonder what, if anything, the cops will do. Yeah - check for cameras. Will be interested in next installment!! Stay safe.

  7. omw the dude is creepy farreals! hope u've got the ceiling fixed though lol

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  9. I can't wait to hear how this one ends up! You can't make this stuff up! Crazy yet absolutely hysterical!!!

  10. LMAO!! I love this blog, full of awesome excitement! I'm so jealous, I need a stalker woman.. Any takers Cristen? I'm actually working late tonight, but will now take some time to read this entire blog.. I need another starbucks coffee.. Cristen?

  11. Oh dear. What a creep. Well, its good he got so happy and told you isn't it? He could have gone on watching you for years ewwwwwwwww. On to part 2.

  12. I shared this on FB. Your suspense is so good (as is your fun writing style) that I hope more people get to enjoy it as much as I do!

  13. This is an awesome story! Can't wait to find out the next part. I don't mean "awesome" as in, isn't that cool? Because stalker guy is making my skin crawl and I didn't even talk to him. I mean awesome in how you're telling the story. Great stuff. I'm bookmarking your blog. (p.s. Linda sent me over via FB. Glad she did!)

  14. ohh thats creepy....onto the next page....

  15. What a creep! How disturbing. Good luck sorting everything out. xo style, she wrote

  16. Stylish Blogger Award for you: I've awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. You can see the details and copy the award from my post here: Have fun!

  17. Creepy. What a cliff hanger. Can't wait to see what happens next!

  18. Holy crap! I think saying he saw you in the shower was creepy enough. Mentioning your period was just too crazy!