It seemed pretty safe to get in the car. The broker had been had been at great pains not to touch me as he showed me around the apartment, pointing out the new lights, the exposed brick, the riot of natural light. When I had assured him that I was happy to see somewhere "not beautiful, like this", but closer to civilisation and a Wifi enabled coffee shop, he'd waited til I put down my Time Out New York guide to point out where his other places were. Not that the street names meant anything to me. My map of Brooklyn then was Williamsburg, Other Places That Are Cheaper But Not Cool Like Williamsburg and a lot of uncharted territory. We'd also done a polite shuffle of awkwardness as the broker tried to hold the front door open for me while keeping me at a safe distance. To be honest, it felt like I was more the sexual threat.
So when the door slid open by remote control, like the entrance to a Bond villain's lair, I got in, out of the aching cold, and hoped that the Orthodox Jewish thing wasn't some elaborate stratagem to abduct stupid New York newbies.
Turns out: it wasn't. The apartment was in a brownstone, on a tree-line street, miles from the local Bed-Stuy corner shop where I'd had an embarrassing sandwich-order malfunction just half an hour ago. It had four entrances, which seemed a little extravagant, and two huge, sun-drenched bedrooms which I knew we'd never fill with our two suitcases and badly packed rucksacks. So that was a no. As was the lovely one bedroom which wasn't quite in Fort Greene, and (although it still hurts my heart to admit it) the skanky studio on Ludlow Street, which was so deep in the Lower East Side it seemed inevitable that we'd be cooler as soon as we moved in.
Instead we're off to Boerum Hill, which is like Clapham, maybe, without the common, or Hackney, with better transport links, or the Lower East Side without the bedbugs and the glory. The kitchen is squashed between the bathroom and the bedroom and the super might be mad.