Funny story…I’ve lived in my current apartment for almost four years. Before settling here, the biggest issues I dealt with in an apartment were maneuvering a mattress up five flights of stairs by myself, having a bathroom sink in the kitchen, and setting mouse traps with peanut butter then waking up to the sound of their success. Those don’t even compare to the adventure and excitement I experienced in this apartment three years ago.
My family was in town, as they tend to be more often than not, and my sisters were staying in my apartment with me. The three of us had been at dinner with my parents, perhaps had a couple drinks, and had returned to my apartment to rest up for the undoubtedly titillating itinerary awaiting us the next day.
We were laughing and joking as we walked into my apartment and let the door shut behind us, but quickly fell quiet as we heard a knock. I opened the door to find two hefty men staring back at me.
“Hi, can I help you?”
“Are these your keys, ma’am?”
I looked down at the door and noticed my keys, still in the lock, dangling above the doorknob. Fine, I had more than a couple drinks. Whoops.
As I removed the keys, the gentlemen informed my sisters and me that they were from the NYPD Vice Squad and had some questions about my neighbors. Seeing as the suspicious parties were just down the hall, they asked if they could come in to talk to us. Going with the “3 beats 2” mentality, I widened the door to welcome them as my younger sister stepped up and demanded to see some ID. As mentioned in my Gene Pool post, she’s quite the caretaker. The men showed us badges and IDs, to which my skeptical sister replied, “how do I know that’s real? My sister used to have a lot of fake IDs.” Thankfully, these officers weren’t interested in my underage drinking habits and simply wanted to discuss my neighbors.
I assured my sister that I was comfortable letting them into my apartment and she backed away to let the officers in. As the door shut behind them, she strategically positioned herself between them and their only exit. She also reached up to grab a pair of scissors, which I conveniently keep in the old NYPD fire pole hook on the door. She and her concealed weapon stayed between those men and the door until she happily showed them out several minutes later.
Once inside, the officers asked several questions about people I’d seen or heard in the halls, next door, and around the building. They wanted to know if I heard male or female voices, what time, and how often. They, then, explained that they had received several reports of prostitution at my neighbor’s address and had been investigating inside their apartment that evening. They confirmed that it was, indeed, set up for both prostitution and illegal drug distribution. Better yet, when they heard my sisters and me coming up the stairs, they thought we were the prostitutes coming home and were waiting in the apartment with their guns drawn. Awesome. When I drunkenly left the keys in my door, they thought I was doing so for a “John” we were expecting later. I respect that they were just doing their jobs, but there are maybe three people I can think of who are less likely to be drug-dealing prostitutes than the Cesari sisters.
The officers thanked us for our time, wrote down their information, and asked me to please call them if I ever saw or heard anything suspicious that might help their ongoing investigation. My sister showed them out, then immediately called 911. While the lucky 911 operator was treated to story time, we called my parents, who had been comfortably tucked in at their hotel for the duration of this adventure. My surprisingly less-than-concerned father said, “that’s crazy, but you’re fine, right? The prostitutes aren’t there now, are they? Okay, good. We’ll see you guys for breakfast. Night, girls.”
After several redirected phone calls, we were able to confirm that Detective MacLaughlin and Private Officer Ort were, in fact, with the NYPD Vice Squad. I immediately programed their number into my speed dial and we went to bed.
About a month later, I was returning home late one night and noticed a middle-aged man pacing back and forth in front of the entrance to my building. I made a u-turn and snuck around the corner so I could still see him through the windows of a restaurant below my apartment. As I watched him pace, I called Vice and, as instructed, asked for Private Officer Ort. He told me to take a lap and they’d send an officer to check it out. After three laps, I returned to discover the man was gone and a patrol car was parked across the street.
The unit was empty two weeks later and I’ve since been left to wonder…what does a prostitution setup look like? Is there maybe a lamp for some mood lighting? Jars of necessary party favors? I bet mason jars full of party favors would look nice. What’s the bedding situation? Plastic? Cotton? Satin? Do they provide bottled water? Maybe breath mints? Most importantly, how do I know if my apartment is a little prostitute-y?