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Moriam Johnson, 31Current Renter, Self-Employed
Lives with: Her sister Laurie and daughter Chloé.
Moved from: Originally from Nigeria, she grew up in Brooklyn and moved to the block in 2014 to be closer to her daughter’s charter school.
History: She pays $1,500 a month for a two-bedroom, railroad-style garden apartment.
There are certain things that I don’t like. There are a lot of men on the block hanging out. I feel like it brings down the quality of the block when you see a group of guys just sitting in front of a house. The only other thing I don’t like: They’re not courteous when it comes to parking. They take up unnecessary space. They’ll get each other parking. And it’s the older people. They have a whole lot of time to be petty. Maybe in the next three, five years, they might do it for me, but they don’t, and that’s very annoying. And I speak very loud about it and they all hear me.
They do a lot of petty stuff I don’t like. Like they had the block party. This is our first year. We don’t know nothing about the block party. We didn’t get no fliers. They’re having this block party the only day we had to do our laundry and our food shopping. When I came back from shopping, I noticed that the streets was blocked. I just spent $600 at Pathmark. I’m not carrying one bag at a time. So I basically moved over the barricade — the kids weren’t in the street — and I drove up in front of my house.
About two, three o’clock, one of the guys comes over here and he’s like, “Today’s the block party, you have to move the car.” I was like, “Okay, but not right now because I’m sorting out clothes. Give me a few and when we go to the laundromat we’ll be out the way.” “No, you have to do it now! And if you don’t do it now, you’re getting towed.” Those are things I don’t like. We didn’t know about this block party. We have our regular functioning lives.
Now, Staten Island, for $1,500, you’re going to have a two-floor house. You’re going to have a four-car driveway. You’re going to have a huge backyard. But Staten Island is not convenient. You’re not going to win it all.
[Our landlord] works as a computer tech. We’re his first renters. They had a house to themselves. I guess mortgage kicked in, life kicked in. When my landlord bought the house in 2012, he paid six-something. When I asked him how much he would sell it for, he said $850,000. That’s great! You made your money and then some. But after a house got sold for $1.2 million on the block, he’s like, “I want $1.5.” I’m like, your piece-of-shit house — not to say it like that — but you’re not going to make that. Because I live in it, and I don’t see the value in that. Let’s be factual. It’s a little raw, but don’t look for one-five when you have a $300,000 house.
You know what makes it a great block? I don’t feel unsafe on this block. Even though they’re nosy, that might be to our benefit. That means that nothing can get past no one here. They know it all, they see it all. Something about this block says family oriented, and I like that.