I love New York. I love living in New York. This October will mark 11 years here for me, three longer than I was stuck in LA and only six shorter than my time growing up in San Francisco. And looking forward, I don't see myself living anywhere else, certainly not anytime soon. But moving ... moving in New York City ... finding an apartment and moving in this town ... they only thing as bad that doesn't actually qualify as tragic (i.e., death of a loved one, etc.) is job hunting. I often don't know which is worse, but as I don't have to job hunt right now but I am looking for an apartment, I'm going to go with the apartment hunting.
And somehow, not only does it never get any better; it progressively gets worse. In my 11 years here, apartments and rents that seemed outrageous not so long ago are now steals. I'm totally priced out of Manhattan (at least, the parts of Manhattan I would live in, and there are plenty), and now, I even seem to be priced out of where I want ... nay, need ... to live in Brooklyn.
It used to be that parts of Brooklyn weren't necessarily so much cheaper than Manhattan, but at least you would get more bang for your buck. That still may be the case, but the bang has gotten much quieter. I currently live in Clinton Hill, a neighborhood between Ft. Green and Bed-Stuy. Five years ago, Clinton Hill was still, shall we say, less than desirable and not on the gentrification ladder. Less than two years ago when I moved in, it was just starting to become a popular neighborhood with new buildings being constructed, but rents were still reasonable. Not anymore, though. My friend's one bedroom in Clinton Hill, even further east than where I live now and arguably in Bed-Stuy, just blocks from where they shot Dave Chappelle's Block Party is costing $1750. Yes, it's a brand new building with a gorgeous kitchen area and all new appliances including dishwasher, but otherwise, it's certainly not a huge apartment.
I've come to the decision/realization that location is, right now, more important to me than space. That is a huge thing for me to decide, though, because I have a ton of shit, and stuff that I don't want to get rid of. But I have decided that I will likely place a lot of it in storage until I can afford a larger place. Of course, that statement would likely blow the mind of anybody who doesn't live in New York since I'm looking at apartments that cost up to $1500 per month.
Today I went to look at a place in North Park Slope on Sixth Avenue near Sterling. This is basically my ideal location without moving back to Manhattan. It's close to subways, close to my gym, close to my bank, close to a Duane Reade, close to a great grocery store, close to Prospect Park, close to the best part of Fifth Ave in Brooklyn, close to the Atlantic Center ... you get the idea. But the apartment? Tiny. They call it a "Jr. one bedroom." And yet, I'm sitting here struggling to decide whether I should suck it up and take it? Why? Primarily because I love where it is. Second, because there's no broker's fee involved. A fee on an apartment like this (with a rent of $1450) would probably be about $2500.
But it's soooo small. My Queen size bed would likely fit, but nothing else would; and because of where the closet and the window is in the bedroom, it would likely be a very awkward layout. The living room would be an OK size if one end of it wasn't the galley kitchen and the refrigerator -- because of the location of the living room closet -- wasn't in the living area proper.
And that's the problem ... when one lives in New York, one considers places like this. And because of how quickly things get snapped up, it's hard to determine whether one has seen enough before to deciding to jump. I probably won't take this place: if there wasn't actually a wall separating the bedroom space, it would probably be better/more manageable size-wise. But the process of looking and finding and getting approved ... it just makes me want to scream.
(On that note: if anyone can help make it easier, e.g., you know of an available place ... I hope you emailed me before even getting tot he end of this post! Thanks!)
If you're curious about some of my other New York apartment adventures (particularly involving my incarcerated landlady from my first NYC abode), you can re-read my "Acts of Catharsis" here: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.