21 August 2007

True Life: I want to live in a Manhattan studio for $1200/month.

Yesterday was my first experience apartment-hunting in Manhattan. The reason I chose this day to apartment-hunt was because I found a ridiculously cheap (by Manhattan standards) midtown studio listed online with pictures...and it appeared to be fantastic. Small bed area, but decent-sized kitchen, private bathroom with a tub and well-kept. I kept thinking there had to be some sort of catch, but I wanted to see for myself, so I made the first available appointment to see it yesterday, which was the day it went on the market.

FIRST of all, the agent I made the appointment with called out sick. SUPER start already. So I met with another lady, who didn't have time to take me to see the apartment but gave me the key and directions. That's fine with me. I know my way around, I could take my time looking at it, and without any pressure. I just felt it was a bit odd, if you're going to charge me a $2,000 broker fee for an apartment, maybe you should do something besides process my application. I'm pretty sure experian.com can pull my credit report for like $20. So you have about $1,980 to account for, ma'am.

Alright, so I take the subway back down to where I started, to Penn Station/34th street, and walk two avenue blocks west and one street block up to 35th and 10th. The apartment building is on 10th Avenue, sandwiched between an empty tire-repair lot and a Madison Square Garden parking garage. The front door to the building looked like it had been hinged on with masking tape. Also, I'm pretty sure they shot the Taxi Driver apartment shootout scene in the front hallway of this very building. DeNiro was here! And they kept it in its original authentic painting and flooring! What a landmark! Sweet Jesus.

But I was still in good spirits as I started making my way up the stairs to the 5th floor, as I thought I could now save about $90/month by not having to join a gym. By about the 4th floor though, I was wondering if the ceiling would hold well enough for me to install some sort of pulley rope system so that I could repel up and down each day. Saving time and energy, obvi.

The apartment was a DEBACLE. The listing online provided pictures, which I will assume were either taken by a pulitzer-prize-winning trick photographer or were not of this apartment.

I returned to the broker's office and politely declined.

THIS was about the time her attitude surfaced. She was acting like I was a waste of her time. I wanted to be like, "Um, you are wasting MY time by posting pictures of an apartment with a kitchen and then showing me a place that not only DOESN'T HAVE a kitchen, but also looks like Satan's earth vacation home." I know the place is cheap, but it doesn't save me much money if I have to eat take out every night because I can't even boil water for ramen noodles and I have to choose between getting the apartment refloored or wear steel-toed workboots 24/7. Also, if there's no air-conditioning unit, you could at least install a shower so that I can take cold ones in the summer. (you read that right. No shower.) Rather than going to see more apartments after she ended up being a total bitch when I, after looking at my first NY apartment EVER, didn't beg her to fill out an application, I just thanked her for her time and left. If you've ever seen me angry, what happens is I stew to myself for about 5 minutes, and then I get real determined. I get more work done in the 10 minutes following an idiot-induced anger spell than I do during any normal work week. So around 11:45 am I am standing in Columbus Circle calling every other agency I could Blackberry a number for.

I did end up finding an agent I liked who agreed to meet me right away. By 12:15 I was on the Upper West Side, walking up another 5 flights, but this one in a much more pleasant building. I fell in love with the neighborhood and the 2 top-floor studios he was showing had access to a private terrace. Everything in the apartment was new and clean. I even considered it for a moment. The problem was, the unit was literally the size of a walk in closet. I would be able to fit my mattress in it and that's it. As a point of reference for my PSU friends, roughly the size of a Heister Hall single without the closet space. As a reference for my "Flight of the Conchords"-watching friends, roughly the size of Jermaine's "studio"/maid closet. Maybe down the road I will get that desperate. But I have some time and, fortunately some generous friends I can crash with when I first move up, so I am not settling now.

This broker was really nice about discussing options with me, not pressuring me into the apartment, suggesting neighborhoods I might want to check out to see if I like them, etc. So I will probably try calling him when I get back up there. I also think it will be a much easier process once I am actually there and can make appointments as places open up. I'm definitely glad I made the trip, even though it proved unsuccessful , as I at least got to experience a few places/brokers and now have some point of reference for future apt-hunting. Moral of the story...I'm much more open to rooming with people now.

Which brings me to a few Craigslist "roommates/shares" listings I came across last night. (Key- Headline: "Most important part")

$250 livin companion: Okay, this one you should just click on it. He's looking for a live-in girlfriend on Craigslist.

$1285 Dope place in East Village looking for Roomates (East Village): "im 24 and make music. Im in the studio all day and i go out at night never around this place is 420 friendly and im open to all people my last roomates for two years were a gay black man and a white female stripper so im into meeting new and all types of people."

By far my favorite:

$480 small rm./pri. full bath apt. share for small female under 5'3" (Midtown West): "The reason for the height limitation is that the stairway of this duplex doesn't have much headroom and you should be petite because of small passageway... I use the kit. 1 day a week and most of the time I am not here. Should help a bit w/lt. housework. seeking a friendly, social, respectful person(can you ride a bicycle?)maybe snacks. I'm looking for a long term situation." (http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/roo/401929151.html)

Good lord. I don't know what will end up being more stressful. Finding a job (done) or finding an apartment (sketchyyyyy).


joe said...

Damn. The live in girlfriend guy took down his post. I hope he found a nice girl.

Sarah said...

Apparently, the three hardest things to do in NY are:

1. Finding a Job
2. Finding an Apartment
3. Finding a Significant Other.

I have a feeling this is very, very true. At least your first one went easily! Good luck with the second.