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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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It's one of those days. It's been one of those weeks. It started out so promisingly! And now. I barely have enough energy to move these fronds at the ends of my torso-extensions on this here letter-tapping board.

Feel free to take a look at some of my Twitter eruptions from night, if you have the time or inclination to make sense of my jabbering. Short version: for the umpteenth time, something violent and horrifying occurred in our building. We called our old buddies, our friendly local police officers, who for the millionth time strolled in and out of the building faster than it could possibly take to glean any information at all.

We've tried to help, to make sense of this place, to see if we can't get some assistance from the landlord or the authorities so we can live safely enough, but it has become imminently clear, if it was not before, that this is not where we should live. This is not a place any sane or reasonable person should live. So I have to add on "find a new apartment" to the already overflowing list of all that there is to do.

All I want to do is go back to bed. But alas, that is not on my list.

Reader Comments (46)

Stay safe!
March 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent
Wow. It's been almost 20 years since I lived in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Boerem Hill, um....that old Crack-haven near the museum...).

I miss NYC like nothing else. I talk to my kids (two boys, ten and eight) about it a lot. I even told my youngest (who asked) that I'd probably move to NYC if I won the lottery.

But your worries break my heart. I know how much it means to you to be back "home".

I hope it all works out.
March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane
Oh, wow. We used to live in a neighborhood that got progressively worse over time and eventually we were able to move, but the time between realizing we needed to get out and actually being in a new place was the most stressful, traumatizing time for all of us. We heard some things I still can't think about without my blood pressure going up. It's a shame moving can't be instantaneous.
March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeana Birks
It's terrible not to feel safe - you're never off your guard. Good luck!
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
this is what gets me every time I hear some uberhipster asshole lamenting the "loss of true brooklyn" or whatever. like this shit. the nostalgic glorification of crime and dirtiness and crazy neighbors is so stupid. those guys are the hipster equivalent of the old man shaking his cane at the kids these days.

keeping the fingers crossed you'll find a home that doesn't need the NYPD on speed dial. . .
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjdg
Oh I feel your pain. I live way, way uptown in Manhattan, and this type of thing happens occasionally, thankfully usually OUTSIDE of the building, but sometimes in the hallways. Only difference is they are all speaking spanish, so I never know what is going on. We did have a problem with a large family living in a small apartment, Landlord took them to court and LOST...Rent Control (yes we still have people with rent controlled apartments here! not just stabalized) protected them. Ugh.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrebeccanyc
If it were me, I'd break the lease and get on out of there. It will be a drag to find a new place but well worth it in the end. Good luck to you.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChandra
Oh, gosh, Alice, I have to agree with you on this one. I'll send out all sorts of positive thoughts your way, for you to find a safe place for your family.

Not pleasant. Good luck in your search, from the bottom of my heart. From what I've read of you, this anxiety can't be good for you.

And it does sound as awful as you said it was, I looked at the twitter comments. Awful.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
I was reading your twitter stream the other night and was biting my fingers down to the nubs. I'm so sorry, there is NOTHING worse than a shitty living situation. It affects EVERYTHING.

Hope you find an awesome place soon. Like, the MECCA of all Park Slope apartments.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersamantha jo campen
i got mugged entering a small brownstone in park slope (just off 7th ave at 8pm in the evening) a month ago, and had a black eye to show for it. i know how you feel to be frightened at home and i'm sorry for your scare.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterguffo
I guess I'm lucky in the South... the only problem I have is that my neighbor's children play naked in the back yard... except for the adopted one. Go figure.
A hidden room is better than a panic room. We've got some incredibly crummy council housing near us (SE London) and you def don't shortcut thru there to get to the convenience store after dusk... and if you MUST, then you buy a tin of something and carry it in a plastic bag so you have a ready-made weapon. But we're stuck where we are for the time being, and luckily it's not right outside our door.Good luck with the hunt.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTinkersdamn
Oh no. A few weeks ago I would have sent you immediately to my dad the wonderful park slope landlord with a two bedroom apt. w/ big backyard and only nice literature grad students living upstairs and nice me living next door with some baby chicks...But he just rented it.I hope you guys can find a great new place, filled with safety. Brooklyn can show you the best and the worst sometimes. Looks like you guys saw some of the worst.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermolly
Yikes! You poor thing.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWendyPinNJ
You live in NYC. You used to live in NJ. Get used to it. You are such a hysteric.
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda Gomez
I don't think she's being unreasonable. I live in a less-than-stellar area of NJ, and while i'm used to encountering odd characters on the street, I wouldn't tolerate violence and confrontational behavior in my building. And considering there is a young child in the apartment, I don't think "getting used to it" is a viable solution. You shouldn't be scared in your own home. You shouldn't be afraid to take your dog out. People "getting used to it" is how assholes like those neighbors are created in the first place.

Home is a place where you should be able to feel secure, at the very least. Why would someone want to pay to live somewhere when neighbors are screaming right outside of your door and you've had to call the police more than once? That is stuff you only tolerate if you don't have a choice.
March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Am not sure if you would consider buying at this point but an apt in our small (8 apt)limestone condo is about to go on the market i believe, as it was just renovated. 3 beds 1 bath, fourth floor walkup, we are on the 3rd floor and the stairs are short and its really not bad. Nice, friendly, quiet building. Park is across the street! Please email me if you want more info.
March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren Kamin
That sucks Alice. I'm sorry. Hope you're out of there sooooon.
March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheyjoe
Hey Alice,uh....are you ok?Miss you.

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
i am a first time commenter, but felt compelled after reading your last post. i too live in brooklyn, and have, for the last few years suffered horrible harassment from a downstairs neighbor including threats of violence and stolen mail. my husbands' response is a defiant 'fuck that guy' whereas i am reduced to shaking and crying and frantic whispers at 4 in the afternoon. even without the worry of children (although i was quietly convinced he would climb up the fire escape and poison my 2 cats) i simply could not handle the anxiety. pretty much everybody's advice was 'don't be a baby' and 'fight back'.

i am with you. such a toxic environment can do you and your family no good. this is an un-winnable war, find somewhere else, leave asap. don't be sentimental about the space you are leaving. it is just a box, and nobody should be shackled to a box.

i move out next week, for somewhere half the size and 10 times the peace. i hope that your move is quick and painless.

and i totally get it
April 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermoxie block

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