Last week, n+1 posted an essay on the world of online dating. Describing the mentality of various venues, Katherine Sharpe wrote, “Reading Craigslist, I feel as though I am dipping my cup straight into the swift-flowing stream of human need.”
The site’s personals, she found, were bracingly specific—honest and unashamed.
The real estate listings are not.
They’re fueled by the same level of ravenous desire—people really, really want you to give them money—but in place of unembarrassed honesty, there’s a tendency toward magical thinking. Wishful euphemism. You know, lies.
In that spirit, we present the recurring “Craigslist Lies People Tell.”
Something, Something, Williamsburg, Something: First up, the Williamsburg drift. While East Williamsburg’s piggybacking on Williamsburg is solidly established, Craigslisters now lunge at East Williamsburg’s own coattails. Apartments are “close to East Williamsburg” or “steps to East Williamsburg.”
The best, though, are a species of this genus wherein ads claim simply to be “East of Williamsburg” (like “Assistant Regional Manager” vs. “Assistant to the Regional Manager”). Locations vary from East Williamsburg-ish to East Bushwick-ish, but it should be noted that many things are east of Williamsburg proper, such as the rest of Brooklyn, Long Island, Marseilles and the Kremlin.
The L Word: In a similar vein, lots of listings claim to be close to the L train—with its quick, direct access to Manhattan, it’s a nice selling point. One such listing for a two-bedroom at Gates Avenue and Central Avenue (“Bed-Stuy/South Williamsburg”) first describes its location as “near the Wyckoff stop on the L train!” A few lines below, it amends this: Actually, it is “located between the J train and L train. L train at Wycoff!”
These things are not false. Indeed, the apartment is located between the J train and the L train; indeed, the L stops at Wyckoff. Unfortunately, HopStop suggests a 14-minute bus ride between the apartment and the illustrious Wyckoff L stop. You might be able to make the walk in 10 minutes, though.
Reader submissions welcomed. Send examples of misconduct, falsehoods, and general tomfoolery to firstname.lastname@example.org.