September 16, 2006: We found an apartment in Newark!

Apartment hunting day. Dominica and I slept in as long as we could both of us being completely exhausted. Oreo had his first full week of day care and he was pretty worn out as well. He isn’t used to this busy, strenuous lifestyle.

We had to leave North Brunswick at ten in the morning to make it to our appointment in Newark to look at the apartment that we were interested in. It is a fairly long drive from here to there. But not as far as Dominica has to commute every day. But that should end soon.

We arrived in Newark on the early side but were glad so that we were calm and just had to find some nearby parking. We managed to get in to see our rental agent twenty minutes early and she started by “walking” us through the neighbourhood so that we would have an idea of where we were and what we would have access to. Then she told us about all of the amenities that would come with the apartment or would, at least, be available to us. Some things like the health club are not included in the rent but are quite reasonable if we should decide to take advantage of them. There are cool “pay for” services available like maid service, dog walking and grocery delivery.

The rental office was acros the street from the actual apartment building. We starting by looking at a studio apartment. We liked it but it was too small for us. The layout was fine but it was very confining. It was so small that the living room was, I feel, a complete waste of space. So we ruled that unit out. Then we went to look at the one bedroom options. We looked at two. One was a traditional single bedroom unit with windows facing in a single direction. It was nice but we really loved the other unit that we saw which was a corner unit with windows on half of the walls. That was awesome. The models were on the eighteenth floor and the corner one bedroom had a nice view of Manhattan. You could clearly see midtown and downtown was partially in view. It was awesome. We really liked the apartments and the upper floors were really cool. The building is, in total, thirty five residential floors so this was about the midpoint of the building.

We looked into options and prices. We were sure that there wasn’t going to be any way for us to be high enough in the building to be able to have a view so we had resigned ourselves to getting the nice corner unit but on a low floor below the level of the adjacent buildings so that we would have less light and little view. But the rental agent worked with us and got us a way to get into a better unit higher up so we jumped at it. So we got a corner unit on a floor around the middle of the building and we are very excited. Our lease begins on September 23rd, one week from today. That gives us a week of overlap with the apartment that we have now in which to get moved and to get this place cleaned and turned over to the rental company. Our moving window in Newark is from eleven to two on Saturday the 23rd. That is when the moving elevator is reserved for us. Boy are we ever excited.

We are the first people moving into this apartment and the apartment building is only half finished and less than one third populated. It is the first downtown Newark luxury rental in decades and we are really excited to be part of the rebirth of the city. The whole area around where we are moving is being completely rebuilt and it is going to be quite neat. The location in Newark is totally ideal for both Dominica and I commuting as it is situated between our workplaces and for Dominica is only about six miles from her office and very near where Oreo goes for his daycare. So she will be going from a commute currently of well over an hour to closer to fifteen or twenty minutes. What a difference that will make both for time and for cost. My commute change won’t be so dramatic but we are hoping that it will drop from fifty minutes to closer to thirty.

The apartment building is located just about a block from the big Newark Penn Station which houses the Path (light rail to downtown Manhattan), NJ Transit (heavy rail all over New Jersey) and Amtrak. A five minute walk away. Next door to that is the bus station. And right in front of our door is the subway entrance should we need to travel by light rail. Newark’s main airport is just five minutes away by car and there is a small airport somewhere even closer. We are directly against the city’s largest park – Military Park and our cars will be parked underneath the park itself. All of the car access is by valet. How cool is that?

The apartment isn’t big but we really don’t need very much. The kitchen is small but has granite surfaces and stainless steel appliances. It has a little “breakfast bar” so that we can just pull up stools there and won’t need to have any additional dining surface which is awesome since the place is small and we don’t want to be adding any unnecessary furniture. The view is spectacular and we are really excited about that. It is mostly hardwood floors but the bathroom is real marble and the bedroom is carpeted. Oreo will appreciate that. There is a good amount of closet space.

We get free access to a four lane bowling alley and the apartment comes with complementary bowling shoes. How funny is that? There is a billiards room and a conference room. If we need there is a storage space in the basement. There is also an “entertainment room” that has a big flat panel television with an XBOX 360 and other new video game consoles that we can go use. That is pretty cool. I might find myself buying a game or two since I have free access to a system. That makes the games a pretty good deal. There are a few titles that I might find myself playing to relax from time to time.

I am also quite happy that the building gets its cable from Cablevision who we have currently in North Brunswick and who has been so awesome to deal with. Their prices, service and customer service have been really good since we moved here and I don’t want to move to any other companies after having dealt with them. I am hopeful that Newark will have access to their higher end services that we can’t get out here in the boonies.

The rental agent said that getting into midtown Manhattan would take only about fifteen minutes by train and downtown should be about twenty minutes. That is awesome. In theory that will allow us to go into Manhattan anytime that we want whether it is for food or for a show or to go to a museum. That is exactly what we have been wanting. Dad measured it and the apartment is just under eight and a half miles from the city as the crow flies. Now that is close!

We spent a couple of hours up in Newark dealing with the apartment and getting paperwork filled and out and everything so that we could move as quickly as possible since we want to be moved in in a week’s time. That isn’t very long at all. Nothing like waiting until the last possible moment to find an apartment. But we are really happy that we found this place and that we weren’t able to find anything too tempting in Jersey City or Hoboken since this is so much less expensive and will let us spend a lot more time together and with Oreo.

Dominica did some research and found some light history on the building that we will be living in. You can see the apartment building’s current website to get an idea of what it is like today. The building is a beautiful 1929 Art Deco masterpiece that is being totally gutted, revamped and renovated. It is gorgeous and I believe that it is now on the register of historic places. It is one of the most prominent and recognizable buildings in Newark.

We went to TGI Friday’s to get some late lunch. It was okay. Nothing special. But it was something different and that is what we needed. Although soon we will have all new food choices and we will have to see what our options are once we are up there. We also stopped at the Walmart that we loathe and grabbed a stack of plastic bins with which to pack up our apartment and some bargain movies including Dying Young, Out to Sea, Center Stage, The Sweetest Thing, The Presidio and Anywhere But Here.

At home I spent the afternoon and evening doing work for the office. There is a ton of work left over from yesterday. What a long week it has been and still is. But hey, overtime is good and makes it worth it. It isn’t stressful work, just a lot of it. A lot of it that we were unable to get to during the week and the weekend gives us the chance to get caught up.

Dominica had some homework to get caught up on since her Object Oriented Programming with Java class started a week ago and she hasn’t had a chance to do anything with it yet. Of course, we should have expect this, it appears that this class is also going to be skipping all of the technical learning and avoiding the course description and providing a blow off class for the professor that doesn’t meet any of the requirements of the program that Dominica is in. This is getting to be really frustrating and Dominica is quite upset that we keep paying for classes just to have it turn into a ton of pointless busywork with no actual learning involved. Empire State is really digging itself into a hole here. She wrote a letter to the professor to see what is going on and I wrote to some of my contacts there and tomorrow she is supposed to follow up with the dean to get to the bottom of this. At this point it is really starting to look like SUNY Empire is just trying to make a quick buck and is skipping the entire education process for its online curriculum for which is boasts so much. We will see. So for now she has decided not to waste any additional time on the class as everything that they are doing currently is really juvenile and gives the appearance that the professor doesn’t understand the knowledge domain very well or just doesn’t think very much of Empire’s students.

Dominica headed to bed around half past nine. I had too much work to do to be able to join her. I took the time to do some really serious BASH Shell scripting tonight. This is by far the largest shell scripting project that I think that I have ever done. Not that I am any shell scripting master but I like “doing it right” and not just making something silly that works but is hard to extend. So we have a new deployment tool now at the office. Pretty nifty. I didn’t get to go to bed until almost midnight, however, which was much later than I had been hoping for. Nothing like putting in a five our weekend day when you have been doing overtime all week. Unfortunately there is some work to be done tomorrow as well but not nearly as much as today – I hope.

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