For place number four, my friend, Kim, was going to join me. Our plan was to see the place the day after I went to see Murder and Orgy-Central. This place was a studio in Brooklyn that I would have to myself that would allow me to have both Ralphie and Toula. I had actually contacted the landlord early in the week and didn't get back to him for a while and was surprised that once I did that the place was still available. Bad sign #1.
Kim has grown up in New York, but had never been to this particular area of Brooklyn, called East New York. Bad sign #2. She was excited to explore the area. We had even built-in extra time in our day to wander around and check it all out.
My uncle suggested that I look up the area online beforehand to see what I could find out about it. All that I could really find was a wikipedia article (of which I am always vaguely suspicious) which mentioned that East New York used to be pretty run-down but had gotten a lot better in recent years. It also pointed out that, as part of this upswing, they had recently gotten a Target. I love Target as much as the next person, so that seemed like a total bonus.
When I returned from narrowly escaping being stuffed into a mattress at place #3, I received a call from Kim with bad news. She had talked to her brother and mentioned that she would be accompanying me the following day to check out this place only to have him respond by telling her that East New York is one of the most dangerous areas in New York. Bad sign #3 - which pretty much struck this place off of my list.
Sure, I come from DangerCity, USA: St. Louis, which is steadily maintaining its top place on the list of the nation's most dangerous cities. And, sure, there might have been a shooting at the bar across the street from the apartment in which I used to live. But after going to the very nice neighborhood of Astoria and having the experience there that I did earlier that day, I wasn't eager to find out what adventure the most dangerous part of the city had in store for me.