It takes just those two words for my heart rate to go up and a sickly sweat to break out on my forehead. Apartment hunting in New York? Horrible. Disgusting. Adventurous? Terrifying. Wonderful. Awful. All of those things.
I spent some time in NY before making my actual move out east, which was helpful to get a sense of the lay of the land: employment, neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, lifestyle. I had some vague ideas about where I wanted to live and what kind of space I hoped to find, but it was pretty idealistic. “Something like my Berkeley apartment, but maybe with an outdoor space for the dog. With a garden. Yeah.” If I couldn’t afford that kind of space in Berkeley, there was no way I’d be able to afford it in New York on the same salary, but hey – a girl can dream. Needless to say, these hopes were soon crushed by the brutal reality of NY Craigslist and the perils of apartment hunting. First of all, the rents are insane. There are neighborhoods that are more affordable, but they’re mostly out of the way or have higher crime & drug rates. There are, of course, those rare rent-controlled finds, but you’re not getting one of those spots unless you know somebody who knows somebody. Or, unless you’re willing to pay a broker a paycheck or two to find it for you. Aside from rents, many of the people renting/sharing/posting are also viably insane. Craigslist is the most convenient, but also most abhorrent, way to find a place out there. Continue reading