After a shooting incident in front of my building and attempted break in of my apartment, I decided I had enough of Harlem. I searched for about a month and was very excited to find a new place on a quiet and safe block of 27th Street in Murray Hill. On my first night there, it was about 1am and I was up late unpacking my stuff. Suddenly, I heard a loud banging noise coming from the hallway. I looked through my peephole, and to my horror, I noticed someone trying to break into the apartment across from me.
I immediately thought to call the police but couldn’t find my phone. I began to nervously look around for it, then after a few seconds I noticed the burglar managed to finally get inside. So I raced up to the 3rd floor where the Super lived and frantically knock on his door. When he opened I yelled “Call the police! I think someone just broke into the apartment across from me!” The Super calmly looked at me and said “No, That’s just ‘Rachel’. She’s got so much crap in her apartment that she has to tackle the door open just to get in.” What I thought was a robbery in progress actually turned out to be much, much worse.
I found out I was living across from a hoarder. She had been accumulating junk for over 20 years and it had gotten to the point where every inch of her apartment was covered from front to back. And only a thin wall separated us. Of course the A-hole real estate agent who showed me the place conveniently forgot to mention this.
It took almost six years of complaining to the super, the landlord, a lawyer, the fire department, as well as multiple calls to 311 and two different non-profit organizations that dealt with hoarders. But finally In August of 2008 the gods answered my prayers. Just when I had given up hope the “Junk Pros” arrived. It took them 5 days, 10 hours per day, and a crew of 6 to clean out the landfill apartment. One of the Junk Pros told me about some of the disgusting things they found in there, like food that expired in the early 90’s, bottles filled with piss and shit, and a sticky trap with a fossilized rat stuck to it. I happened to peek into the apartment and take photos of the clean up everyday: