It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Dead Neighbor

There comes a time in every New Yorker's life when he/she must ask: "Excuse me officer, can you tell me if the death was from natural causes?"

I've told you before about the little old lady in apartment #4. In fact, she became the subject of an entire blog post. She was older, she lived alone and it was pretty apparent she hadn't showered or cleaned her apartment in our pre-war building, well, since before the war.

The smell wafting from her rent-controlled apartment was enough to smack you in the face when you walked into the building. I often apologized to friends and family members when they came over, joking that eventually you have to get used to the smell of a dead body, right?

Well, on Tuesday, that was put to the test. I left around noon to meet my visiting family for lunch. As I walked by her apartment, I thought it smelled nastier than usual. Like really pungent. But, I shrugged and just figured she was cooking her usual lunch of rats and garlic. By the time I came home though, there was an ambulance outside and four police officers hanging out in our lobby. When I asked one what had happened, he told me she had died.

Well now, didn't I feel like a jerk? I never even alerted the authorities.

Now, here comes the really awkward part. Since we're moving out of our apartment, I've had brokers calling me daily, setting up times for their clients to come look at our place. And wouldn't you know that on Tuesday afternoon, we had an appointment set up. I could only imagine what an apartment buzz kill it would be for the naive Wisconsin couple if they came to look at our place at the exact time the NYPD was removing the woman's body.

That couple re-scheduled, but another broker and couple came by that afternoon without an appointment. But here's the crazy part--they didn't ask me ONCE about what was going on downstairs. Isn't that nuts? Not one question about why there were officers with rubber gloves processing an apartment just four floors away. Weren't they the tiniest bit curious? They must already be jaded New Yorkers. 

Oh, and yes, the officer assured me the death was from natural causes. He laughed and said there would be a lot more officers on the scene if it wasn't.