Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Harm City
'My Cute Little Apartment'
Cutie Homesteader Moves to Harm City, Thinking it was a Fictitious Metropolitan Center Known as Baltimore

I went to Towson University to become an occupational therapist. It was either there or Temple and Temple is not in a great area of Philly. I lived in the dorms in Towson for the first two years and then lived in Mount Washington for three years, then I ended up in Bolton Hill. I wanted to get an apartment in Mount Vernon and I couldn’t find one that I liked and was affordable. I didn’t even know about Bolton Hill until I was looking for apartments in Mount Royale and noticed this beautiful neighborhood and found an apartment there.

Being a naive Lancaster County girl, didn’t actually prepare me to realize what I was getting into in the city. I obviously did not know a lot about the city because I actually took my mom and grandmom to Lexington Market on the light rail. My grandmother said, “I never felt like a minority before.”

It was an eye-opening experience for both of them.

The apartment was the first floor of a brick rowhouse [an 1880s single family home cut up into apartments during the housing crisis in WWII].

I was just struck by the fact that it had hard wood floors, pocket doors and exposed brick, which I later found out was the worst—no insulation, no noise cancellation from my drug dealing neighbor, and his dank weed smoke was coming through the wall and I was getting a contact high while I was sleeping. It was so cold! All that and we had on premise laundry in the basement that you could share with the people on the second and third floor apartments.

It was very cold and I turned on my heat for the first winter, for the first month to 70 and the gas bill was $350! So I did a lot of bundling in front of space heaters and did a plastic sheet over the window and blow-dried it—didn’t work very well—shivering in my cute little apartment.

The rent was $850 a month over ten years ago [about $1600 in the 2017 market].

There were two parking spots, one for the second floor. The third floor people had no parking spot. From the front street side-there was a stoop that I spent many nights sitting on with my upstairs neighbors. There was a pretty little vestibule with marble going up the wall. The main foyer area had the staircase leading up to the other apartments. There were three doors to get into my living room. The living room was really skinny, because of the staircase, with a bay window. My pocket doors lead into the kitchen that had a lot of dead space—a huge kitchen—high 13-15 foot ceilings.

I had a kitchen table, kitchen island and a couch in my kitchen. It was updated in the 80s—rental class stuff.

Then the bathroom was right past the kitchen on the right. The bathroom had a skinny, long window. I would keep it open in the summer but this was the dead space where the fire escape was, where people would do all kinds of weird stuff—people running up the fire escape to escape arrest. It was attached to the ground, went all the way up to the roof.

A narrow hallway leads to the bedroom at the back with a door that lead out to a short fire escape down to the ground level [where the basement was, at ground level] to go out to the parking pad.

My landlord told me that if I ever saw somebody back there when I was going to park my car, that I should not park and get out. She lived above me when I first moved in. One time a man was taking a piss on my fence in day time, after I got out of work, a homeless looking man. I got out and yelled at him and he left.

In the alley behind the parking pad, there was this offshoot of three or four parking pads and it was just covered with condoms, a tremendous amount of female condoms, male condoms. I was in bed, had to work the next morning and my drug dealer neighbor's lively Rottweiler, who lived on his deck, would not stop barking and I looked out the window and there is this car parked and I thought someone was hanging out the car door getting sick. But what was happening was the catcher was bent over the passenger side seat halfway in the SUV—definitely both men.

This was what was happening when I was sleeping?

I knew people where having sex back there I just hadn’t actually seen it.

Welcome to Harm City, White-Boy

Add Comment