My roommates and I are just days away from signing a two year lease on our Stuyvesant Town apartment. I am so over looking for apartments.
In January, my best friend Lauren and I sat on my bed in Arizona during winter break “oohing” and “ahhing” over granite countertops, hard wood floors, and kitchen counter space. We fantasized about our lives in our new apartment- being grown-ups (whose parents were still footing the bill for our adventures in real estate.) Four months later, we were screaming at each other on a stereotypical rainy night about a sleazy real estate agent and an apartment on Delancey that had a separate room for the toilet. See: rock bottom, mental breakdown. In the end, we decided against it, made up, and moved on. A few days later, we arrived at Stuyvesant Town. Finding an apartment in New York sucks. Don’t delude yourself. Unless you have no budget, no roommates, and an affinity for sleazeballs, trying to find an apartment in New York City will crush your soul to its very core.
Let’s break it down:
The Agents: I’m sorry if I’m insulting any NYC real estate agents reading this blog (could I be scaring off my main demographic?) but these dudes/women are no good. They’re vile. One dude was an
absolute peach to me, and then a complete asshole to my roommates. The worst was the group Magnum- we were sent to the same place three times, then said loudly that “it served us right…” still don’t know what that one was about (note: DO NOT rent an apartment on 211 Avenue A. It’s a trap. A trap with a stainless steel refrigerator.)
The Apartments: None of them were awful, but some were gravely disappointing, while others were amazing and made me want to rip my heart out because they were in Chinatown but would TOTALLY comfortably fit all of my stuff plus a queen bed and the baby grand piano I’ve been DYING to get (not really, I can only play Yankee Doodle.) For the most part, we would find a place but there would be one or two things wrong with it, so we would have to move on to the next one. As tensions got higher, I bought a giant posterboard and organized a viewing system, convinced that smilie face stickers and Sharpies would be the solution to all of our problems. Whatever. In the end, you’ll likely pay 25 percent more for a postage-stamp sized place in Murray Hill. That’s just how it will be.
The roommates: Preface: I love my roommates. Lauren is my best friend. Alex is great (I mean, you don’t fake-marry someone out of hate). But dear Lord, the more people involved in an apartment search, the more complicated it will inevitably be. Everyone has a preference- a bed size, a kitchen that’s not tiny, the ability to move within said apartment… At the end we all had the same preference: “I want to be able to put a bed and my shit in a room. That’s all.” And, like I said, you will fight, you will want to kill each other, and you will dreamily search on Craigslist for a studio and think, “F these losers, I’m getting my own place.” As a move in date approaches and an apartment still hasn’t been procured, you will have this fantasy more often. But as hard as you try to be a “single 20-something” in New York City, you will never be that perky self starter living in a brightly painted apartment just “trying to find love.” Oh, and the whole “buying fresh flowers every week” thing? There is a bunch of very dead sunflowers in a vase on our windowsill that will prove this plan impossible. I’ll get serious: life is messy, and you are not in a movie (although my subconscious would heartily disagree.)
And then there was StuyTown: Through this whole process, we had tried to avoid Stuyvesant Town. StuyTown is on the edge of the East Village, which basically composes all of Alphabet City. The apartments are luxury, but the exterior of this huge complex looks like a housing project. I can’t exactly put my finger on why we were all so staunchly against Stuy Town, but we were. Yet, around a month later, Lauren and I found ourselves in the leasing office. It was a stark contrast to the typical showing, where we would meet a real estate agent on some street corner, and then trudge up a million flights of stairs, only to be led to a former crack house. At Stuy Town, we were lead into their leasing office, which has the coloring of an Apple Store and the Muzak that I imagine is probably playing on cloud nine. There was air conditioning. Elevators in the building. The leasing peeps weren’t acting like total douchebags. They didn’t follow every sentence with “but, like, ya’ know, you should really get your papers in now because this place is going now.” As a sidenote, I fell for that every time. My roommates will tell you that every time I found a mildly decent place I would try to get everyone to get their papers together and “APPLY, DAMMIT.”
And, of course, it was 200 dollars over our price range. So we went for it. When we officially sign the lease in two days, it’s ours. I can finally breathe. There are several things that kills me about this:
-I bought a tape measurer the DAY that we decided on Stuy Town. The day. I still have not gotten to use it. I’m disappointed. That’s 4.49 from KMart I’ll never see again.
– Stuy Town was there the whole time. We could have walked in that first day of searching, and I could have spent all of the time I spent on Craigslist on the Ikea web site instead.
-I still have brokers e-mailing me. I know I went through an obsessive period where I tried to schedule as many viewings as possible, but C’MON. This is New York real estate. Why do these brokers care so much about a group of 20 year old girls looking for a reasonably priced three bedroom?
Bless the Broken Road, I guess? No. F that, Rascal Flatts. See above and listen to “What Hurts the Most.” Now onto the much better fight: furniture.