Studio in Pre-War Building


Location Midwood (Brooklyn)

Rent $752.26 (rent stabilized)

Square feet 450

Occupants Robert Rambadadt (contract attorney, New York City Law Department); Kemerly Rambadadt (graduate student in English, Brooklyn College)

What happened? [Robert] I started getting scared. I was going through the paper and I saw “WBF,” wood-burning fireplace. On more than one occasion, we walk in to look at an apartment with the super, and she’s already running down the stairs and out the door. [Kemerly] I’m very particular. We walked in, I said, “Perfect!” [Robert] We had searched all over. Nobody wanted dogs. [Kemerly] Our dog’s name is Tuvok. We say, “Mr. Tuvok, to the bridge”—from Star Trek. I got the dog in Ada, Ohio, because I got a tax refund, $90. I was working at the law library where he was going to law school, Ohio Northern University. [Robert] We met at SUNY Binghamton. [Kemerly] I grew up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, just a basic house, two bedrooms, five of us. [Robert] She explains how the house was on the side of a hill, like this. [Holds up his hand vertically.] [Kemerly] He’s a comedian, isn’t he? When I was seven, my mother came to the States on holiday and never came back. She sent us clothes, M&M’s. We called them “Mr. and Mrs.” I didn’t see her until I was 11. She came and got us. She lives 30 minutes away now in Canarsie, a beautiful home. She got her master’s, she works with severely damaged kids, teaching. She’s a single mom, no men, they’re deadbeats. At 11, we lived on Hegeman in East New York. [Robert] I’m from Queens. [Kemerly] It was 1985, drugs on the corner. We were in the house a lot. I worked at Burger King on South Conduit, saved the money, got my things for school, my robe. [Robert] It was pink. Everybody knew that robe. [Kemerly] And my Max Factor baby blue face mask. [Robert] She’d walk down the hall of the dorm. [Kemerly] My mom has such expensive taste. It rubbed off on me. [Robert] This is marigold paint on the walls. [Kemerly] The ceiling is buttercup. [Robert] At the last minute she changed her mind. We went with the lighter color because of the bed. There’s so much to tell about the bed. I want it down on paper. She saw this high bed in Ohio in this elderly woman’s house. We looked for a bed for a year. Every time I asked how high a bed was, she didn’t want to hear it. [Kemerly] He had gone to Pottery Barn, my favorite place. He ran into friends and they were teasing him because he was by himself. They took him to Restoration Hardware. [Robert] Ever see those old movies where it’s “Ay-yi-yi”? Like the heavens open up, the angels are singing. I rushed over to the bed. I held up my arm, 18 inches. Even then she wasn’t sold. [Kemerly] But I came to see it and it was perfect.

Why did you move to Midwood? [Kemerly] I love the kosher delis. It’s pretty safe.

There’s that Russian sex thing around here, stores with the high-heel boots, tight pants, the women with that perfect makeup. [Robert] They marry older Jewish men with money, 20-year-old girls driving their SUVs.

And Coney Island Avenue with the Extravaganza Beauty Kingdom—”As relaxed and civilized as it gets.” What’s that Crawford’s place on Quentin Road? They sell cappuccinos, leather sofas, and pink rhinestone powder compacts. [Kemerly] My mom’s bed is from Crawford’s. [Robert] There’s a long story behind the lamps.

Oh. Here’s my bible. I go to the Messianic Jewish Church in Bensonhurst. [Robert] They believe in Jesus but like to refer back to Hebraic roots. [Kemerly] I was going to church once and I was mad and late and I saw this armoire on the street and this woman said, “If my brother doesn’t come in an hour to help me carry it, you can have it.” I went to church and I just prayed to God that this is mine. I claimed this armoire in Jesus’ name. I knew God was going to have it for me and he did.