Sex And Systems

Plenty of times, is how many times I’ve fucked the system. The system deserved it. The biggest mistake you’ll make is to underestimate me. P.s I’m from NYC we don’t do that punk shit, we’ll run pull up when disrespected, with our names attached so you know who learned you. When’s the last time you stood up to the man, or some hierarchy that does people dirty? Via: Nevermind My Mind

NYC Weekend Squad

Two parties, one city. Which event are you attending, 1983 with rockstars or 1965 with art stars? Currently drinking the same Jack as Keith, so I gotta go with the rockstars. Top: Rock Rebellion Bottom: Cosy Nostalgia

Google Your Tenant State Laws

Living in New York City is expensive and what you don’t know somebody can use against you. Be it landlord or primary tenant you’re subletting from, if you allow them to cut corners with your money they will. Personally I’ve lived in every situation imaginable: with my boyfriend (living expenses were so very low), on my own (pure bliss, except it’s true what they say bout people knowing you’re a woman alone), with roommates (this can be heaven of hell for obvious reasons), with friends (friendships can and have terminated due to this dynamic, be careful)…so I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. In addition to that I’ve been to housing court twice and won both times.

The first time was when a landlord falsely accused me of being behind in rent, by six months. In reality the formerly dangerous neighborhood became gentrified, so he wanted everybody out. Bed Stuy do or die, was transforming into Stuyvesant Heights. Purposely leaving mold to rot, with necessary repairs falling by the wayside. Ignoring court ordered repairs to make the apartment inhabitable, he craved that tripled rent. By the way you are allowed to withhold rent until repairs are made, but that money MUST be in your account when the court ask.

The second time I lived with two people in an insanely big, insanely cheap apartment in Mid-Wood. After spending my life in Manhattan I was on a Brooklyn kick, as it blossomed into the new art Bethlehem. The primary tenant only had to contribute a measly $65 to the rent. This moron couldn’t have screwed herself more, spending the rent money to live beyond her means. Telling the landlord that she’d moved and we remained as squatters. The property management tried to place her debt on us, didn’t bode well for either of them. I should have known Dani couldn’t be trusted, revealing a warrant for her arrest in Vegas. Identity theft. My sister vouched for her so I stayed.

People will play on your ignorance, even if they’re fraudulent. Each state has a different set of housing laws, NYC favors the tenant to prevent the homeless population from multiplying. Some basic info you should know:

First, Last, Security: It’s illegal for someone to ask for first, last and security. They can ask for two of the three, but not all three.

Security Deposits: Are given to secure you and whomever you’re paying rent to. It’s your money to use for unpaid bills, missing rent and repairs. Security deposits cannot exceed one months rent and must be kept in a separate bank account, bearing a minimum of 1% interest. The tenant is suppose to be given the name and information of the financial institution where their deposit is kept. There should be no commingling of funds, meaning that money should not be spent on personal items, or deposited into a personal account. Doing so can result in huge repercussions. Deposits should be given back no later than 14 days after vacating the premises, if it isn’t take them to small claims court.

Rent Stabilized: Apartments are different from rent controlled. It is mandatory that the landlord renews your lease, unless you breached the basic contract in some way. The rent is to be divided by how many people occupy the apartment, period. 3 rooms 5 people? The rent gets divided by 5. You can only charge an increase of $52 if the room is furnished. The courts may charge the violator three times the difference, which is what happened to Dani. She owed the building, then she owed my roommate times three. They also have their own court to expedite the process.

Eviction: Is only legal via court. The locks can’t be changed on you, your stuff cannot be thrown out, unless the grand marshal does so by court order. Squatting is allowed if you can prove you’ve lived there for thirty days, by receiving mail or some other means. If you’ve live there less than 30 days then you can be kicked the hell out. For example a roommate of mine moved her friend in without anyone’s permission. On day 8 the primary tenant kicked her out. Allowed.

Three months: Technically they can’t start the eviction process until you’re three months behind.

Receipts: Save em, without them you are nothing.

Google state tenant laws everywhere you live. Check for updates every 30 days, all this information is accessible online. The internet, my real estate license and experience has given me the full scope of my rights. Ignorance is not bliss. Photo: Spoiled NYC

Redemption Of The Wrong Black Girl

He’s got the wrong black girl, he’s got the wrong black girl. I pleaded to the crowd indignantly, after my entry to a gay bar was denied. A line of irises looked blankly up at me, not sure whom to believe, such was the passion on both sides.

“She’s not getting in, you were an asshole to me on Thursday.”
“Thursday? Are you kidding me? I wasn’t even here on Thursday. I was at work. This is crazy.”
“You’re not getting in.” It was final. His beady blue eyes peered at me through round, wire framed glasses. He had a gray goatee and wore his staple black beanie. His hefty weight spilling over his wooden throne. His skin against the background looked like a dollop of milk just as it drops into coffee. Stark pale white against the darkness and smoke.

Why wasn’t anyone defending me? Looking at the faces of my friends (there were four of us total), who were unusually quiet. One of them shook their heads, signaling we should go. The doorman sat pompously, as if he had righted some great injustice.

“We were here on Thursday.” Jamal informed me.
“What…?”
“You really don’t remember? I was like wowwwww she really believes her lie.”

I had no recollection of Phoenix. Zilch.
Thursday started with five of us meeting to celebrate one of my bosses birthdays, at the second restaurant location in the East Village. On multiple occasions including that very night, Val and I ardently vowed never to touch the punch again. It tastes like juice, sneaks up on you and blacks you the hell out. Upon arrival my manager handed out round, after round, after round of shots of this exact punch. Followed by continuous cups of the same. I never turn down a zero dollar drink.

We were spinning free, dancing, joints were passed, harder liquor drank. Next thing I knew we were sitting on a stoop up the block from The Box. An aerial view of Jamal’s bald chocolate head, as we waited for Tessa’s cab to arrive. Keep in mind this is a PC version of the events that’d occurred.

Between punch and the stoop we went directly to the Phoenix bathroom for a half hour. When confronted that we needed to buy a drink or leave, I screamed. The male bouncer was in the women’s restroom, accusing him of all sorts of perversion. Interrupting me he pointed at Jamal stating the obvious, he’s a man too. Both of them gay. Apparently that didn’t matter to me so he went to get a female employee.

“What’s the problem?”
“Y’all have been in here for thirty minutes and haven’t purchased a drink.” The scantily dressed brunette told us.
The damage done, our offer to buy drinks was rescinded and we were told to leave. Please note my posse has been kicked out of this place countless times over the years. I mean an astronomical amount. He always let us back in next visit no matter how mischievous, errant, or disorderly. Smugly I remind him of this on my way out, according to Val. Which is why he made an example of me Saturday night. He in fact had the right black girl. From the jump it was asinine, my signature coiffure could not be mistaken.

I was flummoxed, not that I just bragged earlier that evening that I hadn’t been kicked out of a bar in years, not only because I returned two days later after my statement, but because I should be eternally banned. Hand to god a group of people wouldn’t have deserved it more. Never have we exhibited any signs that we would behave. Time and time again we’ve only proven that we weren’t about shit, lawless heathens the lot of us. And still we are redeemed. Via: Afropunk

Relax You Were Never In Control

An ancient proverb. I heard it first from my fourth grade teacher, Sharon Hill. “Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” She pulled me aside after I’d gotten angry over something trivial. My guess, it had something to do with my nemesis at the time, Cosimo. An Italian boy who worked all my nerves daily. He’d do idiotic things, like waste a whole pen to mark up his forearms, pronouncing them chicken pox. Diverting the attention of the entire class with nonsense, making it apparent why he’d been left back twice. I absorbed her message, but didn’t apply it until I entered the school of hard knocks.

A perfectionist, who’d gladly bite off more than she can chew, to guarantee everything is done properly, that’s me. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. A control freak method that worked, until I stepped out of high schools structural realm. I was so type A, that minute things going wrong would send me into a fury.

From little stuff, like leaving my house an hour early to be fifteen minutes late, to a job, or class, that was only thirty minutes away, because shit happens between where you are and where you’re going. Even adding an additional thirty minutes to ensure timeliness, didn’t stop me from getting stuck on the L train, with the announcer broadcasting that the train was no longer heading into Manhattan. Let me get a cab. Except all 120 people, who were just in platform purgatory have the same idea (this was before Uber). To big things, like starting a business from scratch, using educational resources, researching every nook and cranny myself. I did such a good job I landed an investor and brokered a deal based on my business plan. Putting in more than my fair share of sweat equity didn’t deter me, eye on the prize. Everything was going well, until the investor went haywire. Last minute right before our launch, despite the extensive and elaborate contract he’d signed. Using the website we’d hired him to build as leverage, in an attempt to bully us into his vision. No way were two black girls, with a minimum of thirty years less life, going to tell him what to do. We had to start from scratch, weary of seeking outside help to speed us up. Plus the financial game is discriminatory, it is insanely difficult to get a loan as a black person. Double whammy we’re women.

Confirming what Sharon Hill taught me; that life is going to do what it wants, the only thing you can control is how you adapt to it. Anything can happen on this spinning rock, orbiting circles in infinity. Everything is probability, there are factors in your life that increase, or decrease the likelihood of what does and does not happen to you. Mere mortals, delirious in believing we have more power than we actually do in the cosmic universe. Yes we’ve ‘conquered’ nature, with our slabs of concrete and metal shapes. But nature can take us out in one breath, with some destructive force. As the Queen Of Dead-Ends, I’ve learned that faith is essential. Having so many horrible things happen that were beyond my control, taught me there’s a higher power you must yield to. It will force you in directions you didn’t know existed, it will do everything for your highest good. Sometimes your highest good is to reap what you sow, to teach you there are consequences, or rewards to your actions. To make you a better person. Keep the faith, with as many setbacks, I’ve experienced as many miracles. This virus is a lesson to humble yourself homo-sapiens. Surrender to the powers that be, for you are smaller than an ant in the bigger picture. Via: Arts Genetic

An Intro To Perspective

How can Martin Scorsese’s New York City be the same as Woody Allen’s New York City, which is not the same thing as Spike Lee’s New York City and Mike Nichol’s New York City? That was my introduction to perspective.

Photo: Raymond Mair

Happy Halloween

From the B in apartment 23. Not only is it Halloween, but Mercury in retrograde begins today. This means massive spiritual shifts and purging. Have fun, be smart, be safe. What are you dressing up as tonight? Photo: Sunset Witch

Reppin’ Reppin’ Time

One would have thunk I told her to fly into the sun, without dissipating, and blow out it’s light. All I did was suggest she apply to restaurants in Manhattan. The idea alone was daunting to her. A state of disquietude emanates from her body, as she goes wide-eyed and stock still. Confused, I tell her she would make five times the money. Duh. There are levels to this ish. A franchise like this is considered a joke in the service industry. Pete Wells would never spit on this place, informing him of it’s existence would be the highest form of impertinence. She had no idea who I was talking about.

“I had some time one day, so I walked around the Financial District and when I looked into those fancy places, I didn’t see anybody who looked like me [black].”

A poignant observation, reminding me shooting for the moon was different for everyone. A server job wasn’t a big deal to me, but meant everything to her. Katrina was a single mom, with a Staten Island mortgage to boot. Representation across the board is essential, it is the barometer which people base their potentiality.

Imagine if Michael Jackson had seen this cover? He wouldn’t have bleached his skin, but found beauty in his vitiligo. Shahad Salman, had the good fortune to grow up in a world with Winnie Harlow. Now a skin condition that was considered a beauty blemish, is embraced. This is why we fight for flesh matching band-aids, skin toned ballet shoe’s and Disney princesses.

Name an instance where you doubted yourself, but seeing someone else do it gave you confidence? Each of us play an important role, because we spark each other.