Location Spanish Harlem
Rent $1250 (rent stabilized)
Square feet 1150
Occupants Marcelo Romero (repo man; drummer, Double Agent Girlfriend); Lizabeth Jacobsen (assistant manager, home furnishings store)
First the man, then his castle.
[Marcelo] I’m a repo man. I repossess cars. When people stop making payments, companies hire somebody like me to get the car back and drive off with it. Last week we took this guy’s car when he was at his mother’s funeral.
Seize the moment! You moved into this huge white apartment three months ago. This building has beautiful marble halls, though it’s slightly mournful. What an unnaturally long hallway. Who else lives in the building?
Stewardesses, some jazz guys. The landlord’s some Middle Eastern guy. Nice guy. [Liz] He’s nice.
You said you’re roommates. Who has the room with the floor covered with a mound of clothes?
[Liz] It’s mine. I’m kind of a slob.
There are all these cut-out, gummy little pictures of music stars all over.
[Marcelo] They’re Liz’s. She’s only 19. I’m 35. [Liz] Here’s my Britney Spears poster. It came from McDonald’s. It’s awesome.
You have so many nearly empty rooms here. What goes on in the room with the iridescent kelly green drum set?
[Marcelo] I practiced there once. There’s a computer. I don’t know—it’s just another room.
How did you become roommates?
I was living in Park Slope with some people. [Liz] I moved there in May from Seattle. I shared a room with this guy. [Marcelo] We called him Phyllis. [Liz] I was living there during the summer. I got it on the Internet. It was awesome. I only had to pay $540 for July and August. [Marcelo] But you had to share a room with this Phyllis. [Liz] Yeah. About two weeks after living there, we didn’t have any power for three days. This other girl we were living with went down and yelled at the landlady. [Marcelo] We had one party. The landlady came up and totally fucking freaked. [Liz] Is that the party where Phyllis got all mad? [Marcelo] Yeah. [Liz] The last day we were there, this girl and me, we’re sitting outside waiting for the movers and these two girls came to rent the apartment and we just looked at each other and started laughing. We had horrible flies there. Like, they were all over the walls. It was, like, disgusting in there. People would be like, Oh, this is disgusting.
So, you have an Early-American coffee table!
[Marcelo] Park Slope was full of stuff. All these doctors, lawyers, throw stuff out on Wednesdays. We found a big Sony TV, three VCRs, fax machine. [Liz] Awesome. [Marcelo] We found another table. It had termites in it.
How did you find your new apartment?
[Marcelo] On the Internet. Initially I was thinking we gotta find shares. I said, Fuck this shit, we gotta find an apartment. I asked Liz if she wanted to come in with me. I kind of took her under my wing. There was the apartment available below this one, but it cost more. I told the landlord, I’ll take the top floor. I like to be on top, just the kind of guy I am.
What are all the dolls under the TV set?
Elvis getting fellatio from Britney Spears. [Liz] It’s just like a junk box.
Liz seems to be comfortable on that black couch in front of the TV.
[Marcelo] We don’t watch anything. [Liz] We don’t get Beverly Hills 90210 reruns. [Marcelo] Only show she wants to see. [Liz] Why? Brandon’s always doing the right thing. Kelly’s always OD’ing on something. Donna’s just stupid.
Liz, why did you move to New York?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 9, 2001