Entertainment

Say ‘Goodbye’ To Dishwashers And Bedrooms: A List Of Things You Shouldn’t Expect To See In A Small NYC Apartment

Television shows like Friends and Sex and the City lead you to believe that every NYC apartment is spacious and affordable, equipped with plenty of space on an affordable price tag. Unfortunately, the reality is a bit harsher. Between landlords’ strict rental qualifications, exorbitant broker fees, and sky-high rental prices, your apartment options are pretty narrow in the end. Usually, by the time you find an apartment that’s within your budget range, you’re left with a group of apartments that are affectionately called “cozy” (i.e. shoe-boxes). But not to despair! There are plenty of shoe-box apartments in New York City that are both highly livable and adorable. 

Still, if you’re one of the thousands of people that move to New York City each year from small towns, the reality of small-apartment life in the big city can nonetheless be jarring. The things you’ve taken for granted in your rural-America homes can now seem like downright luxuries. So, in order to soften the blow, we’ve compiled a list of all of the things you shouldn’t expect to see in a small New York City apartment. Take a look below for a friendly reality-check! It might make all the difference. 

1. A Dishwasher

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a small apartment anywhere in New York City in which the kitchen was equipped with a dishwasher. If you’re planning to live in the Big Apple on a budget, you better get used to cleaning those dirty dishes the old fashioned way: with a bit of elbow grease. 

2. A Closet

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Some newbies are shocked when they start apartment-hunting in the City That Never Sleeps and they discover that a chunk of smaller apartments don’t even have closets. On the bright side, if you do opt for a closet-less apartment, you can use it as an opportunity to use your clothes as decor. Just make sure your clothes are worthy of being displayed…

3. Counter Space

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If you’re a cooking enthusiast and you’re looking to rent a small apartment in New York City, be warned: it is a rarity to find a kitchen with plenty of counter space. A lot of small NYC kitchens have two tiny slabs of counter space on either side of the sink. It’s a pain in the butt, and many people avoid cooking and relying on feeding themselves through takeout and TV dinners. Welcome to the New York way of life!

4. Elevators

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There are a ton of smaller apartment buildings in New York City that don’t have elevators. At all. This is especially unfortunate for handicapped apartment-hunters who are forced to constrain their search to buildings with the proper accommodations. It’s unfair, to say the least.

5. Outdoor Space

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Yes, we’ve all dreamed of having our very own apartment with an adorable veranda where we can entertain friends and look at the stars, but the reality is a bit bleaker than that. If your budget is restricting you to a tiny NYC apartment, you’re likely not going to have a cute little balcony. You’ll be lucky if you can swing a window or two!

6. Bathtubs

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If you’re used to winding down at the end of the day by soaking in the tub, the apartment prospects in the Empire City might be a bit jarring for you. Many (if not most) small bathrooms in New York City offer shower-only options. 

7. Plenty of Outlets

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If you’re renting a super-small apartment in NYC, chances are, the building is old. And old buildings are notoriously short on outlets. You’ll likely be forced to buy extension chords and power strips.

9. A Bedroom 

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Yep, you read that correctly. There may be space to put a bed, but there probably won’t be a dedicated room for a bed. Studio apartments are much cheaper and cost-effective housing solution for bargain-hunters.

10. A Dining Area

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If you’re planning on renting a small apartment in New York City, say goodbye to the dream of hosting grown-up dinner parties for your cosmopolitan friends. Small apartments in the city have little-to-no room for dining. In fact, most tiny-apartment-dwellers probably eat on their couch (or, more realistically, their futon). 

11. A Washer and Dryer

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If you currently live in New York City, you know that having a washer and dryer in unit is pretty much a pipe dream. Heck, having a washer and dryer in the apartment building is even a luxury! Many people are forced to slog to the lavanderia to do their laundry with everyone else. What can we say? It’s a jungle out there.

The Trailer For ‘In The Heights’ Is Finally Here And It Looks Like A Latino Fairytale

Entertainment

The Trailer For ‘In The Heights’ Is Finally Here And It Looks Like A Latino Fairytale

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In the final weeks at the end of a decade that began with promises of a film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical, “In The Heights.” Well, the full trailer is finally here and it’s more rico than we could have imagined. Fans have been waiting for the movie since 2008 when Universal Pictures announced their plans to adapt the musical for theaters by 2011. Universal canceled the project. Big mistake. Huge. Then, The Weinstein Company gained rights to the film. After Harvey Weinstein was canceled due to heinous sexual misconduct, Lin-Manuel Miranda removed Weinstein from the credits in 2017. Finally, Warner Bros won the rights to the movie in 2018 and finally, finally, a decade later, the trailer is here, and it’s delicious. It’s no accident that the trailer begins with the voice of a young girl asking, “What does suenito mean?” Each frame and verse will inflate your heart with the immense weight of hope that our immigrant parents and many of us carry to this day in America. Anthony Ramos answers la niña’s question: “Suenito? It means “little dream.” 

“That’s it? No story?” another little boy asks Ramos’ character, Usnavi de la Vega. 

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“Alright, alright everybody sit down,” Usnavi tells the children on what seems like the beaches of the Dominican Republic. “It’s a story of a block that was disappearing,” he tells the children, “En un barrio called Washington Heights. The streets were made of music.” 

As the music begins to play, the trailer swells to fast cuts, showing countless scenes and characters.

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We see Usnavi, named after the first thing his Dominican parents saw as they arrived in America – a ship with the sign US Navy open up his bodega and lock eyes with beautiful Vanessa, played by Starz’s Vida, Melissa Barrera. “These blocks, you can’t walk two steps without walking into someone’s big plan,” Corey Hawkins, who plays Benny, says. The trailer promises to be a story of a neighborhood full of dreams. “A dream isn’t a sparkly diamond. There’s no shortcuts. Sometimes, it’s rough,” Ramos tells the children.

Olga Merediz powerfully reprises her role of Abuela Claudia.

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“We have to assert our dignity in small ways. Little details that tell the world we are not invisible,” Claudia softly touches a traditionally embroidered tea towel as she confides in another woman. If you’ve had the privilege of watching the musical, you know how Claudia’s story goes. For the rest of you, we won’t spoil it. Rest assured that the massive production of the film does Abuela Claudia justice, as we see velas lighting the streets as neighbors raise their hands and march in her honor.

Miranda’s America in the early 2000s is far different from 2019 America, and it seems that Abuela Claudia may face a different fate in the film adaptation.

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“They’re talking about kicking out all the dreamers. It’s time to make some noise,” Gregory Diaz, who plays Usnavi’s cousin, Sonny de la Vega, calls his neighborhood to action. “This is going to be an emotional rollercoaster. The odds are against you,” we hear a lawyer tell Usnavi and Sonny. “But there’s a chance right?” Usnavi asks. From there, the trailer erupts into dance and song as we hear Ramos rap, “We came to work and to live here. We got a lot in common. DR, PR, we are not stopping until the day we go from poverty to stock options.” Intermingled we hear Merediz belt, “Every day, paciencia y fe” Usnavi and Vanessa dance in a club, a group of dancers perform in a classic Washington Heights fountain at the heat of summer, and the trailer’s final words: “Today’s all we got so we cannot stop, this is our block!” 

Fans are actually weeping at the release of the long-awaited trailer.

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NPR Latino’s head journalist Maria Hinojosa tweeted, “I AM WATCHING ON REPEAT stuck on my plane and I can’t stop CRYING 😭❤️✊🏽!!!!” Another fan asks, “Why am I crying at a trailer??” while another says, “I might be full on bawling right now I can’t wait for this.” “Hydrants are open!!!!” tweets another knowing Washington Heights resident. This daughter of a Nuyorican is right there with y’all. 

“In the Heights” comes to theaters on June 26, 2020.

You’ll have to hold onto more paciencia y fe as we count the days until we can sneak mofongo and arroz con gandules into the theaters and watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s student project come to life on the big screen. When Miranda makes it, we all make it.

READ: We Finally Got A Peek At Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Casting Picks For ‘In The Heights’ The Play That Made Him Famous

A California City Is Being Sued Because Of Evictions Of Black And Latino Residents Considered Discriminatory

Things That Matter

A California City Is Being Sued Because Of Evictions Of Black And Latino Residents Considered Discriminatory

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against the city of Hesperia and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department alleging discrimination against black and Latino renters. The suit, filed earlier this month, takes aim at a 2016 Hesperia rental ordinance that requires landlords to evict tenants who had allegedly committed crimes on or near their property. 

Making matters more troublesome is that the housing law was passed at a time when Hesperia, a Mojave Desert city of just under 100,000 people located 35 miles north of San Bernardino, saw it’s Latino and African-American populations growing. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Latinos living in Hesperia rose 140 percent, and the number of African-Americans by 103 percent, according to Census Bureau data.

The housing law, called the “Crime Free Rental Housing Program” led to the eviction of countless families, including children, for alleged criminal activity that included one tenant or even some non-tenants. This was in addition to the eviction of family members who had reported domestic violence to the police. The housing act even involved allegations from authorities of criminal activity even if the individual wasn’t arrested, charged or convicted. 

According to federal authorities, city councilmembers’ statements in creating the controversial ordinance show that it was designed to reverse “demographic” changes in Hesperia.

The suit, alleges that the housing law was put in place for one primary reason, to drive minorities out of the city of Hesperia. The DOJ is seeking to stop future similarly discriminatory housing laws and for financial compensation for those tenants that were affected by the ordinance. The housing law was put in effect from Jan. 1, 2016 to July 18, 2017.

The DOJ says that the ordinance violated the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. With the city’s sheriff’s department having determination in which tenants would be evicted, there was an instance when an older Latino couple was removed due to their adult son, who did not live with them, being arrested, the suit said. 

When the measure was initially being drafted, Hesperia Mayor Eric Schmidt made comments about the number of renters that were coming into the city from parts of L.A. County that were known for having large minority populations. According to prosecutors, Schmidt allegedly said that groups left L.A. County  “because it’s a cheap place to live and it’s a place to hide,” and that “the people that aggravate us aren’t from here,” they “come from somewhere else with their tainted history.”

Another questionable comment came from city councilmember Russ Blewett who allegedly said that Hesperia needed to “improve our demographic,” and that he wanted “those kind of people” that the ordinance would particularly target to get “the hell out of our town. 

“I want their butt kicked out of this community as fast as I can possibly humanly get it done,” Blewett said, according to the suit.

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits local governments from enacting ordinances intended to push out African-American and Latino renters because of their race and national origin, or from enforcing their ordinances in a discriminatory manner,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in the press release. “The United States Department of Justice will continue zealously to enforce the Fair Housing Act against anyone and any organization or institution that violates the law’s protections against race, national origin, and other forms of unlawful discrimination.”

As of now, the city of Hesperia has denied any and all wrongdoing in regard to the DOJ lawsuit. 

Rachel Molina, a spokeswoman for the City of Hesperia, told the Victorville Daily Press that the information presented in the DOJ lawsuit is “factually incorrect and grossly misleading.”

“First and foremost, I would like to say that Hesperia is a very diverse community,” Molina said. “We love and embrace diversity in Hesperia. At no time did the City’s crime-free ordinance discriminate against residents of any ethnicity. There are crime-free programs across the United States aimed at providing residents with safer communities — in the recent past HUD supported such programs.”

Before the DOJ filed its own lawsuit, the ACLU took legal action two years ago against the city on similar premises of housing discrimination. 

This isn’t the first time the city and it’s sheriff’s department have faced legal action over the ordinance. Back in 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California filed a suit on the claim that the housing law restricted housing and services for those individuals who had criminal records. In retaliation, Hesperia made adjustments to the law to make the program voluntary for landlords. Just last year, the city agreed to settle with the ACLU lawsuit for $485,000 dollars. 

That lawsuit was filed on behalf of Sharon Green, who leads the Victor Valley Family Resource Center, a housing nonprofit organization. Green told the LA Times that the DOJ suit is important in regards to other cities that might be considering similar discriminatory housing laws. 

The DOJ suit will “send a strong message to cities around the country that they cannot discriminate. Our homeless numbers are far too large and there are far too many obstacles to housing already to be dealing with this kind of foolishness.”

READ: Schools In Mexico’s Yucatan Have Made Mayan Language Classes A Requirement And Here’s Why That Matters