I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for quite a while, but I’ve been kind of busy, with my birthday, the holidays, taking care of the New York Bear Den, and lots of other things! So this is to update things, and bring things to the present.
I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned it previously or not, but I’ve had something going on for several years that is finally finished! 6 or 7 years ago I discovered that my landlord was overcharging me for my rent, based upon the New York City guidelines for a Rent Stabilized apartment. They had broken the law by not providing me with the information regarding how my rent amount was determined based upon the rental history of my apartment when I moved in. They also had filed a fake lease for a tenant that never existed in order to justify raising my rent by double the amount that was legally allowed. I didn’t know what to do about it at the time. I attempted to do some research, but it seemed to be a lost cause trying to fight the system, because these types of cases are typically ruled in favor of the landlord, so I didn’t pursue it at that time.
Jump forward to 2012 and I was unable to continue paying the inflated rent I was being charged. I was behind in my rent and was on the verge of being evicted from my apartment. They took me to Housing Court, and while I was before the judge, I brought up the fact that I had discovered the rental overcharge but didn’t know what to do about it, and the judge informed me that I needed to file that information with the agency that handles it to be investigated, and put my case on hold while I explored my options. So I filed my case, putting together the facts on my own, and eventually was able to get assistance with my rent to keep from losing my home. It took over 6 months for the agency to even assign my case a docket number, and another year passed before it was ever assigned to an investigator. Yes, you’re reading that right…. a YEAR AND A HALF before the wheels of justice even began to move. After another 6 months of not hearing anything, I began to get upset and started rattling cages and stirring things up by contacting anyone I could think of that could help move my case along. FINALLY, in December of 2014, after over 2 years of fighting, I received notice that I had won my case. My landlord had been ordered to lower my rent by $500 a month and was ordered to pay me back the overcharged rent plus penalties and interest.
I had to wait 30 days to allow them time to appeal the decision if they wanted to, which they did not do. Then, according to the law, I was required to file a request with the agency for a certified copy of the judgment which would then be filed with the court clerk’s office to force them to pay me the money. Little did I know that it would take another 8 months just for them to process my request, all the time increasing the interest charges. When I received the certified documents, I had to file my judgment at the court house and at the same time I filed another case in the courts because the decision in my original case had only covered up through the dates of the original case, which left 16 months of overcharge unaccounted for. When I filed my judgment, the people in the clerk’s office gathered around the desk of the lady who was helping me, to look over my case and the outcome and apologized to me saying, “You’ll have to forgive us, but we don’t see that many of these cases where someone wins against their landlord, maybe 4 or 5 a year, and this is the first time anyone has ever won without an attorney, so it’ll take us a few minutes to do the calculations.” I was dumbfounded to find out that I was one of the lucky ones!
FINALLY, in late October of last year, I received not only the amount that I was awarded in my judgment, but also the amount that I was suing them for in the additional case I filed, settling my entire case with them. I’m not going to say just how much I received, but after 9 years of just struggling to survive, I finally have enough money to take a couple of vacation excursions and travel, which I really love to do, meeting new people and exploring other cultures and their lifestyles. I also updated my ancient technology, finally buying my first television since I moved to NYC 14 years ago. Up until now, all of my televisions have been curbside rescues that someone else had put out for the trash pickup. I was still using the old style of TV with a picture tube! My desktop computer was a hand-me-down from a friend that was over 10 years old and still running Windows XP because the processor was too old to update even to Windows 7, much less Windows 10!
Now I have my first flat panel high-def television (48″ screen) and a new laptop computer with Windows 10 and an Apple i-Phone 6s! I flew my family out to New York for the Christmas holiday so that we could spend our first holidays together in 10 years!
I had custom made rings made for both daughters and my grandson for them to have a lasting heirloom memory of me. While they were here in New York, the first night on Christmas Eve, after they arrived and were checked into their hotel, we went to Dallas BBQ for dinner. It was really great being together again here in New York City! The last time my daughter and grandson were here in New York was way back in 2005 when he was only 9 years old. Now he is 18 years old and brought along his girlfriend for us all to meet. She brought along her service dog due to her being severely diabetic and he had to be with us everywhere we went. With there being 5 of us plus her dog, the only option for us to get around other than public transportation was using UBER’s SUV service, which was really somewhat expensive.
I cooked Christmas dinner at my apartment and they all came over to see my place for the first time since I moved into it back in 2007. My daughter and grandson were glad to see the Grandfather’s Clock which was made by my dad back in 1980 as my graduation present from the Culinary Institute of America. Someday, it will be theirs when I’m gone. I cooked a nice 15 pound turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, just like my mother used to cook for us when we would go to her house for Christmas. After eating and the dishes were washed up by my son-in-law and grandson, we all opened our Christmas presents. Afterwards, we went to the Lincoln Square AMC theater to watch the special Christmas presentation of Quentin Tarantino’s “HATEFUL EIGHT”. The movie was great but it was a 3 hour event, so it was past midnight when we arrived back at their hotel and me to my apartment.
Saturday was planned as sightseeing day, getting a somewhat late start due to the lateness of our getting to bed Christmas night. First, we took the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry and took it across to get some great pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, but still a nice day. After returning on the ferry, we walked up to the Wall Street BULL and then did some shopping at Century 21 and got pictures of the new World Trade Center building. We had planned on going up in it to the observatory but we were behind schedule, so we grabbed some lunch and took off via subway again to Canal Street for some more shopping. After making some bargain purchases, we proceeded up to the West Village to Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue restaurant. I had their Brontosaurus Rib which was just awesome, and we discovered Coney Island Hard Root Beer, and it was delicious!
After eating, we took the bus up to the Rockefeller Center to see the beautiful tree and the light show on the Sachs 5th Avenue building across the street, and then it was time for us to proceed to the Radio Center Music Hall to see their Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes! Our tickets were for the 10pm show, which was truly spectacular, and my family was thrilled to be in such an iconic New York City landmark. It was another late night, getting back to our respective beds well past midnight.
After sleeping late on Sunday, we headed out to the Queens Center Mall to have some lunch, get my watch battery replaced and do some more shopping and then it was dinner time, so we headed off to the Buenos Aires Tango Restaurant located out in Forest Hills Queens where we had a delicious Argentine dinner while Tango music played. It was a great way to end our great weekend together!
On Monday, after checking out of their hotel, they came to my house to say goodbye and had some lunch. It had been a wonderful Christmas weekend together and everything had gone just as planned.
After getting New Years off to a great start, I began planning the first of my vacation getaways! At the end of January, I am going to be flying down to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to escape the winter weather here in New York and to have some fun on the Copacabana Beach and to see the Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras!!! So 2 weeks from now, if the weather cooperates, I’ll be soaking up the sun on the beaches of Brazil! The extended forecast, as of right now, is calling for high temperatures in the mid 90’s with isolated showers. Unfortunately, my timing was off just a little bit because the wind chill here in New York City tonight is in the single digits and they are calling for measurable snow this weekend!
In the late spring or early summer, I also plan to take a trip to Europe where I haven’t been since 2007, to meet some friends I have over there! I plan to visit the UK, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Croatia, and Czech Republic!