My First New York City Apartment
Guess what I did yesterday?
I moved into my first New York City apartment. It’s a shoe box. That’s right. After 9 months of living with my aunt after moving here from Atlanta, I am finally out on my own (again). The process of finding an NYC apartment is the worst! It was a horrible, horrible experience. Thank God it is over.
I started the process by thinking about all the things I wanted. In Atlanta I had a nice size pet-friendly apartment for a little over $800/month. The neighborhood was gated and clean, and there was plenty of parking. I would go home after work and take my dog to the park, and we’d run around for hours. Previously, I would never have to mention that my Atlanta apartment had central air, because that type of thing is a given.
…but then I moved to New York (-_-)
Before moving here I was aware that NYC is expensive and finding a place is hard, but I just thought, “anything is possible! I can live the same way I live in Atlanta and just make a few minor changes.” Oh how I laugh at myself now for thinking those things.
Anything is possible, yes, but “a few minor changes” ain’t gonna make it happen honey!
So when I started out on the task of finding a place in the city I had a list of demands:
1. Pet-friendly (for an 80 lb. dog.)
2. a one bedroom
3. in Manhattan (on the Upper West Side)
4. $1200/month (if you live in NYC this is probably where you begin laughing hysterically).
5. No Fee (a.k.a) no broker
6. Short commute time
7. A place to park my car
8. Elevator if it’s higher than the 3rd floor
I am literally shaking my head as I rewrite this list. The audacity! New York will humble the hell out of you!
In any case, after endlessly searching Craigslist, and almost being scammed, I decided to go with a broker. But I couldn’t understand where their fee was coming from. They would walk me to an apartment and let me look around for 5-minutes. Then they’d tell me their fee and give me a run down of everything I needed: years of tax forms, bank statements, employer verification that I make 40x the rent (who made this rule?), past housing references, pay stubs, savings account statements, etc.
I couldn’t imagine giving $X,000 of my hard-earned money to someone who just let me look around a room for 5-minutes. And they get 15% of my yearly rent all because they have access to a database that I don’t?
So after going and back and forth for months between shitty places on Craigslist and brokers who would show me apartments that didn’t meet my standards I became depressed.
I was (and honestly, I still am) ready to move back to Atlanta. One day a coworker said that my list was too long, and that I need to pick two things that I absolutely HAD to have and let the other things go.
The first thing I said was, “I have to have my dog!” The second item on my list took more thinking, and after a few days I said, “I must have a short commute.” If I planned on having my dog, I wanted to be able to reach him quickly after work for walks and runs. If I wanted to party at night, I didn’t want to travel and hour home to walk him, then travel an hour back to party in the city. It turns out, in my case, “short commute time” also equated to “live in Manhattan,” which is great since that was higher on my list anyway!
So again I went to Craigslist to try to find my pet-friendly apartment in Manhattan. I had increased my desired rental budget to $1400 by this time. But the places that I would find were in Inwood and at the most northern part of the island. They weren’t my cup of tea, so I opened myself up to other neighborhoods. By this time, I knew I would have to be married and bringing in two incomes to live where I REALLY want to stay, on the Upper West Side, so I increased my searchable living neighborhoods to include SoHa (not to be confused with SoHo), Morningside Heights, and any place below (and including) Washington Heights. I was also open to Dumbo, Brooklyn (which I absolutely LOVE)!
I was exhausted. I had probably viewed over 40 apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan and even a few in Queens. So a few weeks ago I broke down and got another broker. I told myself, if he can’t find my place then it wasn’t meant to be and I should move back to Atlanta.
Within a week he found my apartment. (-_-). My rental budget increased to $1600/month (not including utilities), but it’s pet friendly and in Manhattan. It’s a studio the size of my living room back in Atlanta.
Anyway, yesterday I carried 9 months of accumulated STUFF down my aunt’s 4th floor walk-up (by myself because she was at work), and then drove my rented car to target where I bought mountains of bleach and Lysol. I then carried everything (by myself) upstairs to my new apartment.
After I cleaned and showered, I relaxed on the bed and looked around the room. “Well. I’m here,” I thought after having spent the day moving and cleaning. “In my tiny studio apartment in Manhattan with no central air.”
Now how do I get back to Atlanta?