Rent $2900 (market)
Square feet 1200
Occupants Heather Samples (subsidiary-rights assistant, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Andy Enright (editorial assistant, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), Aaron Lord (investment-banking analyst, Salomon Smith Barney), Pia Shah (management consultant)
You live in a bright, white legal loft. You love your landlord. You have five periwinkle blue chairs from Ikea. But before we get into that, some biographical details. [Heather] Andy and I have been together since we were 16. We all went to either high school in West Virginia or college in Maryland together. [Pia] I met Heather in women’s studies in college. I moved between Bombay and New Jersey four times before I was 14. My father is a sexologist.
Well! Why did you move to Williamsburg? [Andy] We wanted to live in kind of a cool neighborhood. [Heather] Andy’s art professors all said, “Williamsburg.” We started looking while we were still in college last spring. We came to New York for a weekend. [Andy] We looked in a lot of crappy places. [Heather] Like with Captain Dandruff. [Andy] That’s what we called him. He was this broker. He drove us around in his car. He took us to a place where the stairs were so damp, they sank in places when you stepped on them. But we had to keep going along with him. We didn’t want to be rude. [Heather] Then Andy walked into Kenn Firpo, the broker for just about all of Williamsburg. He had this loft, and immediately Andy and I wanted it.
You said your landlord is the best in all New York. I saw his memos on the bulletin board. An excerpt: “We removed the water tank off the roof. . . . Live well & prosper.” [Heather] He really takes care of us. Once there was no cold water. He called us back from JFK. He was going somewhere. He said, “Oh, this sucks. Oh man . . .”
I called your landlord, Bernard Goldglancz. I asked, “How did it all begin?” He said: “My father, God rest his soul. The building was an investment he made years ago. It was the ’80s. Interest rates were down. So he bought buildings. We rented them out for next to nothing—commercial buildings, old textile mills. Williamsburg was developed according to supply and demand. In recent years, the textile business started going to Hong Kong, China, everywhere but the U.S. Artists were moving in. That affected my life tremendously. I had to get involved.” I said, “But, Mr. Goldglancz, why are you so kind?” He said, “Look, I have a textile business. I’m doing a garment for Sears. Why do they pick me? Because I give them the right product. It’s the same with tenants. You don’t mess with them. For them, you know what? This is exciting. They’re moving into a trendy neighborhood. They have their whole life ahead of them. This is where clubs are opening up. Do they have the landlord pigging out? Going for top dollar? Giving them a little box? No! So we renovated the building with the intention of making tenants happy. It’s a totally legal situation. We want them to feel comfortable. We have a legal C of O. Of course, today you’re brain-dead if you don’t do conversions according to code. In addition, we give our tenants 200 square feet of storage space in the hall, free. We are giving these people somewhere to put their skis, their rollerblades, things they want, sight out of mind. We put a washer, dryer, free on every floor. They don’t have to schlep a bag outside and put quarters into a goddamn machine. The hot water is free. They can take 20 hot showers a day knowing they’re not paying for it. I have a T-1 line in the building. People need it to survive. I haven’t charged them a cent.” I said, “It sounds like a utopia.” He said, “My broker says I go the extra mile. Without the tenants, we’re nobody. If you’re nice to them, they’re nice to you. Did that come from my father? I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist. But you can’t pig out, because if you pig out, they’ll go to New Jersey. I could go on and on. My wife tells me I talk too much.”