Years ago, a troubled co-op board in Harlem rented me an apartment that was uninhabitable.
I wrote a few letters, stopped people in the laundry room, and tried to bargain kindly, until finally I went downtown to a courthouse. The woman who spoke to me was harried and tired. She asked three questions before concluding I had no rights in the matter. She shouted, “Next!”
Out of frustration, not willfulness, I stayed put. I kept talking. My eyes began to tear, then brim, like some damsel crashing a wedding with a gun.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” the woman sighed. “You wanna know what to do? I’ll tell you what to [...]