Two-Bedroom Apartment in Tenement


Location Washington Heights

Rent $1194 (rent stabilized)

Square feet 1200

Occupants Dee Tee (manager, A&R,; Jon Klein (director of documentaries, TV, music videos)

Tell how you got your apartment through the secret superintendent underground.
[Dee Tee] The supers around here all know each other. When you’re cool with the supers, they let you know what’s going on. I took this place in February. Jon came three weeks later. I couldn’t afford this by myself. I’ve lived in every borough except Staten Island. I was on the road managing Eminem for a year. I came back, needed quick, cheap housing.

You’ve got that club thing going here—blue walls, low lights.

[Jon] Yo! And this neighborhood, yo. They got machines on the street that cut mangos like a rose. The café con leche. [Dee Tee] Seventy-five cents will buy you an orgasm. I’m lactose intolerant, but I drink it anyway. [Jon] This is a real neighborhood. I was in a doorman building on Mercer and Broadway, paying the same price for half a room. Look at all this space. There’s a lot of cop action up here. Cop comes up, Hey what’ya doing. I’m walking out of the deli with a bag of milk. [Dee Tee] We had a note on our door from the cops. A guy Frisco was killed. They wanted information, Crime Stopper thing. [Jon] This is a major cocaine block, literally on a weekend you can’t walk 10 feet without someone whispering in your ear. [Dee Tee] Lot less than in the ’80s. There was that club on 158th and Broadway, girls, fights, guns. [Jon] I’m from before that era, I’m Palladium, Ritz. [Dee Tee] I went there. [Jon] I’m going to be 40 next week. I’m ancient. [Dee Tee] I’m 28. Our landlord, Mr. Ratner, wears an orange baseball cap, beady glasses. My rent check has bounced every time except twice, but he’s nice.

What are you holding?
[Jon] My pet mouse. Pokey. [Dee Tee] Jon, put it away. [Jon] Here’s my room. This photo is my ex-wife, she’s English. I was a young married, now I’m an old divorced guy. I was in London ’86 to ’99. I was one of the five Yanks who started MTV Europe. [Dee Tee] I found this street sign, Broadway and West 57th, lying in the intersection. I stole this one from the South Street Seaport. [Jon] What does she care? [Dee Tee] Yes, she does care. I got this couch, Salvation Army, 200 bucks. [Jon] You’re the man. This other couch was my late grandma’s, Ethel Horowitz. She just died, ’98. She was the last white woman in Flatbush. I’m from Tenafly, New Jersey. [Dee Tee] Kind of place where you have sex with your sister. [Jon] But not me. My father was a hematologist. So, Dee Tee and me, we’re a couple of guys who work in the music industry. We chose to live outside of the trendy matrix. [Dee Tee] I like to be around struggle. [Jon] It’s more real. [Dee Tee] You see struggle on people’s faces here. It keeps my creative juices flowing. I grew up in Queens. There was struggle in my house. My area was very mixed, Rego Park. But it wasn’t a sucker neighborhood. Though Queens is not the Bronx. Killers don’t come from Queens. Queens is where you grow old. Manhattan gives you the edge. [Jon] I remember when we moved in here. Now this sounds a bit hippie, but I told Dee Tee, I can feel people living here, people have been living here for 80 years. [Dee Tee] The street in the morning—people are bringing cars to have their oil changed, spark plugs. It’s all old men. At night, the kids, the nephews, they rule—car alarms, guns, music. [Jon] Salsa, man. [Dee Tee] No, merengue. This neighborhood has a lot of soul. Think it’s a good investment for me to buy around here?

Yo! Want to?

[Dee Tee] I’m still bouncing rent checks, but sure.

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