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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Category Archives: Apartments in NYC

It is a well-accepted practice to save money every month by living above the third floor in a building with no elevator. How much money can you save by renting a walk-up? In our building, a nearly identical apartment one floor below our fifth-floor one bedroom was almost $400 more a month. So it’s worth it. But what are the downsides? Beyond the obvious hassle of walking up and down 4 flights of stairs every day, there are some things I have noticed that no one told me before I moved here.

First, the temperature. We get all of the heat from the apartments below us, no matter the season. That will probably come in handy in the winter. In the rapidly approaching summer, though? I can only imagine how hard our air conditioners will have to work to keep us alive at night. And I cringe at the thought of people who either lack an air conditioner or the finances to run it.

Another downside is that you are often precluded from delivery services that others take for granted. Our laundry service will not deliver to the fifth floor. And they won’t even let you pay them extra like IKEA. I have no problem carrying my own laundry up the stairs. After all, I didn’t have to actually do the laundry. But the option would be nice. Restaurants and grocers are more than willing to deliver to us, which is great. I just tip them extra and give them a commiserating look when they deliver our things, panting and loathing our existence.

Moving up all those flights of stairs is not to be underestimated. You will suffer. Your friends will suffer. My advice: pay someone to suffer for you. It might save your relationships. An old friend helped our neighbor Kurt move in 16 years ago; they haven’t spoken since. That’s a long time to hold a grudge, and I can’t say I blame the guy. Hire movers, and make sure you packed well.

Should you rent a walk-up? If you’re able to walk, absolutely. All in all, we love our place. All of the downsides of uptown are worth it.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to do what I can. Just leave a comment here.


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It is amazing how often I find myself in this position. A need, identified and well contemplated. A solution, within reach. A human being, standing in between us. Being a broker in this city must be tough work. I believe that what they do can add value to the equation; I simply have not experienced it yet. I spent a couple of exhausted evenings after work last week following a young broker around east Manhattan. She seemed to know what she was doing. All it amounted to was seeing apartments that were either completely unaffordable and beyond my price ceiling or nearly impossible to fit inside. That was disappointing, but I did get to establish a barometer to aid my search. Tomorrow, I will meet another broker in the east village. I hope to see a place in east midtown that is a fantastic deal. Well, it appears to be a fantastic deal, but she is unwilling to disclose her fee, or the address of the place. I don’t blame her, because if I found the place without her I could save a lot of money. The completed application on my bed is for an apartment I found on my own in the upper east side. I spoke directly with the building’s management company and they faxed me an application. It’s really a shame. The person who did the most work for me will end up getting nothing out of it. Someone has said that “she didn’t do her job, then.” Even though I believe we could have found a place if she had listened to me, I still don’t believe she did nothing. Because tomorrow, when I meet with the hostile broker who I am terrified will waste my time, I will look back on all the apartments the first broker showed me as a means to making a decision. Part of me wants to say no to this place for her sake, even if it is perfect for us. How messed up is that? In the end, I have a sneaking suspicion that no broker will benefit from the time they invest in me. I would feel bad, I think, if they weren’t necessary to the hunt. Tomorrow’s broker stands as a gatekeeper. There is no way around her. I must let her show me the apartment, and if I choose it, I must pay her as if she is credited all the work of the other. Hopefully New York brokers plan on losing some.

The concept of apartment hunting has always existed in some obscure section of my brain. Looking for a place to live is one things. Trying to convince someone up here to take almost all of the money I make is another. I found a great apartment and got ready to submit my application when I realized I lacked the documentation. My boss became a US citizen today (he’s Italian). I understand the naturalization process here. It’s difficult. We want it that way. He even remarked earlier, “They want to show you their power.” Somehow, the process of securing a dwelling place here is remarkably difficult. Why? As I investigate it, I will post more. For one thing, it is pretty hard to evict someone up here, so I guess ending up with a dud tenant can mean a serious loss of cash flow. Maybe that excuses them.

hello, and my apologies for not updating more frequently. Getting warmed up to my new environment has been exhausting, and we don’t have reliable internet at my apartment. This week was spent searching for job leads and applying for various things. I still have more to do, and I will continue to look for jobs, hoping to find just the right fit.

I had a good interview at Relix Magazine today. It is promising, but it’s too early to say at this point what will come of it. I am hopeful, and I am loving being in the city. I just with Amber could be here.

This weekend I will post lots more. I already have some good blackberry pictures to post and plenty of stories (if I can remember them.)