Every rumor you’ve heard about finding an apartment in New York City is true. It was definitely one of the more stressful aspects of moving here in the first place. For someone who really likes plans and knowing exactly what’s going to happen, the experience was extra-stressful.
Some (true) rumors:
Craigslist is your best friend. Even though it seems super sketchy (and likely is in other parts of the country), it is the best way to find apartments (or at least brokers).
It’s expensive. I was keeping tabs of how much each apartment was based on the number of shoes I could buy every month with my rent check. It’s a little disheartening, but I just chalk it up to part of the NYC experience.
Figuring out where you want to live is almost more important than the apartment itself. You know what they say in real estate… Location, location, location! You have to be mindful of how you travel to work. Are you close enough to walk? (And if it is, is it a distance you’d be willing to walk when it’s freezing cold, or raining really hard, or excruciatingly hot?) Is it near a subway station? Four avenues away is actually a pretty long walk… especially if you’re running late in the morning or exhausted after a long day of working.
The apartments are tiny. It nearly killed me to find out how much it would be to rent a three bedroom, three bathroom house in Tampa… how/why was I paying more than that for a little one bedroom??? (I will say here that I think I was super lucky in finding a great Carly sized apartment.)
You have to move fast. In Georgetown, you had to secure your housing for the following year around the same time you were moving into your current house. I’m sure this was the whole student demand thing, but I know in other cities the apartment market moves at a pretty normal pace. You start looking for apartments, you walk through some buildings, there are vacancies, you discuss with your roommates, sign the lease, move in… But in New York, you kind of have to wait until you’re basically ready to move. Apartments are off the market before they’re on the market. (I found mine by chance. I was supposed to be looking at another one but it was already taken by the time I got there at 2pm. The apartment I am currently renting was vacated that morning. It wasn’t even listed anywhere. I walked in and essentially had to say, “I’ll take it.” And then I signed paperwork for about six hours…)
And, finally, it’s worth it. Way worth it.
I took all these pictures at 6:30 in the morning, so it’s pretty dark out! I promise the apartment is normally much brighter! (That’s another thing, some apartments literally have one window and it faces a brick wall. Basically, no light!)
Also, please note that I’ve sort of been adding to the apartment slowly. I’ve realized a few things.
1) I am terrible at interior design- I know what I like, but I have no idea how to get there. Major props for all you interior design people.
2) It’s expensive- I’d rather make sure my rent check doesn’t bounce (ha. ha.) than have coffee table books.
3) It takes time- I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had the energy to hang anything on the walls. It doesn’t help that I have no idea what I’m doing (see #1) and that I stare at my blank walls with a blank stare.
All of my furniture is from Ikea. That’s another rumor that’s true: Ikea furniture is a PAIN to build. (Just hire someone… it’s worth it…. Try Task Rabbit.) We had a great guy come and he built the big stuff while my mom and I put together all the drawers. Pretty proud of ourselves for that!!
My Vogue prints were “borrowed” from the Ladies Lounge.
I wanted a big magnetic board. But I ran into a few issues. The first was that I couldn’t carry anything that big and I was impatient about delivery times. I spent seriously a total of six (maybe even seven) hours inside of Home Depot walking around with a magnet finding materials that were magnetic. I settled on these one foot square pieces of sheet metal. They’re cheap. And they’re magnetic. Woo! Ideally, I will get three more to make it a little bigger. I also got circle pieces of cork, which are actually little mats for flower pots. I don’t have any push pins (yet) so they remain empty (for now).
(I hung them on the wall with Command strips; those things are genius.)
My kitchen table expands to fit six people and it also doubles as my desk. It’s a great work space!
I hung a painting I did back in high school, along with a little watercolor I randomly painted last summer, and a Georgetown pennant. Of course, this is another wall that will need some attention at some point down the road.
I’ll do a better tour of my bedroom once I get more things on the wall. I love my little Georgetown print though and my curtains! They seem so grown up for some reason. (A little dorky? Yes…)
In full disclosure, this is what my table has been looking like in the midst of a late night working session. Insanity.
PS I swear I sing RENT songs basically all day every day.