Jen Doll is a former staff writer for The Wire. She is the author of Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest.
"Top bunk is $500 per month, bottom bunk is $600 per month."
It is a dreary, rainy, plodding sort of day in New York City. (Or at least it feels that way to me.You too?) But hold on a minute, there's a fantastic Tumblr to take the edge off of your pain.
Making waves across the Internet and appearing on all manner of blogs and tweets near you, there's The Worst Room Tumblr, which began on May 2 as "A Blog About Trying to Find Affordable Housing in New York City." It features photos of disgusting-looking places found on Craigslist, along with locations of said spots, prices, and commentary: "Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. Looking for two roommates. Top bunk is $500 per month, bottom bunk is $600 per month" for example.
The photo may be as terrible as the apartment:
So, if you think your apartment is bad, think again! At least you don't look at a stone wall (or do you?), or pay $1600 for a windowless East village apartment that resembles an empty bank vestibule. This is perfect real-estate schadenfreude, with closets-as-bedrooms, really low ceilings, old mattresses left behind, abysmal conditions, and general yuckiness.
It is a long-acknowledged reality that New Yorkers and those outside the confines of the city enjoy freaking out about how horrible our living conditions are. Remember all the hemming and hawing about Mayor Bloomberg's proposed new "micro" apartments, which would measure 275 to 300 square feet? Remember the hemming and hawing when the New York Times piece featured photos of even teensier places? It's not over. It will never be over.
That's because it is ever so much fun to gawk at the tiny, terrible apartment, even if it's our own. In fact, maybe that's especially true if it's our own. For those who live here, perhaps there's a certain honor to it. It's our way of saying it's not easy, this city, but we choose to stay here anyway, because we're tough. Outsiders, I'd wager, prefer to view "tough" as "not that smart." But either way, there's something for everyone in ogling someone else's gross place they pay too much for, someone else's gross place that could someday, if you play your cards wrong, be yours. Feel good about yourself! Look at someone else's rotten apartment today.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.