Thursday, December 20, 2007
Divine Providence Story -- We found an Apartment!
It has been quite a busy two days. Because my job is in New York, my wife and I went around New York to look for apartments. We looked in the city and we looked in Long Island, but it was too big to see in just two days. We decided to go to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and look for apartments there. We drove around looking for "for rent" signs, checked out a few horrific apartments, and stayed near the airport after our first night quite exhausted.
Day two, we drove around Long Island, but the Jewish neighborhoods that were recommended to us seemed so residential that it was so hard to find apartments for rent. We visited a few of the local Chabad houses, but it seemed that many of them were there for the non-religious community to give them an atmosphere for growth in their yiddishkeit. I spoke to one young Rabbi who told me that aside from me, there would be few Jews at morning minyan (prayer) who had a beard like me. I thought, "okay, there's a Jewish community here, although it's not a frum (religious) community, at least there are restaurants here and places to pray." The problem was that the cost of the apartments were extremely high, and we couldn't find anything respectable for less than $1200 per month when we wanted to pay less than a thousand dollars of rent per month.
Towards the afternoon, my wife suggested that we go back to Crown Heights because she saw an apartment complex online that advertised large apartments. I wanted to make sure that I was within a mile of the large Jewish community, and this one was 1.3 miles. The apartment complex was a few blocks off of Eastern Parkway, but a few blocks away from the Jewish community. However, we knew that there were thousands of Jews here, so some must have lived here. We saw an apartment complex where the rent was $850 for a large apartment -- new carpets, nice kitchen, nice bedroom. We were very excited to have found a place, and the man showing the apartment said that all we needed to get into the apartment was one of their applications and a $100 deposit. Sweet!
We drove all around looking for the post office, and finally we found on on the other side of town on Empire Blvd (the people working there were very rude, by the way), and we got a $100 money order and drove back to the apartment complex. Happy that we secured our spot, we drove over to one of the restaurants on Kingston Ave. Someone saw me and asked if I was new to the area (my bluish shirt probably gave me away, even though most days I wear white), and I told them of our success. He asked me where I found the apartment, and I told him. He stood up, walked over to me and in a quiet voice, he said, "You made a mistake. That's a dangerous part of town and there are no Jews there. That is outside the community." He proceeded to tell me about the police officer that was recently shot and the Jewish man who was killed in that area a year ago while moving his car to the other side of the street. He then proceeded to make a few phone calls to someone who knew of a few open apartments.
The restaurant owner overheard our conversation and told me that his cousin owns a home which has apartments in it that he rents out. My wife and I were happy to look into it, but we were leaving NY that evening. He made a few phone calls right there on the spot and told us that if we waited half an hour, the guy who owns the house will show us the apartment. It was a beautiful apartment right in the middle of the Jewish neighborhood, and we left a deposit, and so we will soon be Crown Heights residents.
Later on when talking to my wife, while she was very happy that we finally have an apartment (albeit still in a city -- we preferred to have chickens in our back yard), both she and I were annoyed that G-d had to have us lose $100 to find this place. Thinking about it for a moment, if we didn't spend all that time going to the post office and dealing with the rude women behind the desk, we would have gotten dinner one hour early and we would have missed the guy and the whole conversation about housing, and the owner of the restaurant might have never overheard us talking and wouldn't have suggested his cousin's apartment house to us and thus we realized that finding this apartment was completely by divine providence. After thinking about this and relating it to my wife, we both stood there stunned because we were amazed by the coincidences that happened today.
So B"H, I have my attorney job, a salary, and now we have an apartment and a community to live in. I am very excited by the stability that we hope is soon to follow. Baruch Hashem (thank G-d), We have come a very long way from being unemployed and out of law school to being a patent attorney in New York City (the job isn't patent prosecution, but it is close enough doing contract work, licensing, etc.)