Kevin — January 26, 2008, 8:43 pm

I Would Not Wish This On My Worst Enemy

Apartment hunting in New York? Wow. Here’s how it works:

You set up shop in a cafe with wireless access (which you PAY for, because nobody offers free Wi-Fi, which is blatantly outrageous). Then you continially hit “REFRESH” on Craigslist to find the absolute latest posts (under the “agent listed” apartments, because you have long since given up the dream of getting a “non agent” pad – because “no agent” means “absolute cess pit that is way overpriced”). Anyhow, the absolute second you see a listing that is in an area you want (and if it’s more than four or five hours old, forget it, it’s already gone) you frantically call the agent’s mobile number. If they don’t pick up, you usually get a message telling you their voice mailbox is full, and you scream in frustration and dial again.

If they DO pick up, you find out when they’re showing the pad and you high-tail it there ASAP. if you get there and lo and behold it’s not a total shithole, and it’s not on the 9th floor of a walk-up, and it’s in your price range and you like the ‘hood, you say “I’ll take it!” and you race back to your agents office to fill out the paperwork (and MAN, is there a TRUCKLOAD of paperwork).

When you get there, you see some doofus girl shaking hands with the agent who sits at the desk NEXT to your guy (the guy you’re literally paying FOUR F%&!!*! THOUSAND DOLLARS to because he happens to have a copy of the KEY to open the place you looked at, and has the incredible ability to post stuff on CraigsList). And you learn that said doofus has JUST TEN MINUTES EARLIER put a deposit on the place you liked.


So that’s my story; I found a place late last night on Craigslist, emailed the broker and asked him
when I could see it. Met him there at 12:30 – at this location. Here’s a photo of the outside.


4th floor, walkup (big wide stairs, which is very unusual; some of them feel like you’re walking inside an ovesized sarcophagus). MY GOD, when I saw it, for the first time in 10 apartments I heard angels sing. I swear I walked in and said “This is it. This is home”. I LOVED IT.

The bedroom windows give you full view of the urbanity – Astor Place is busy, and you just look out the window and see the very New York that you had in your head when you moved here; the very same New York you dreamed you’d be living in. That same busy, furious, frantically energetic New York is right there, pulsing right outside your windows. The bedroom is MASSIVE, big enough for a queen sized bed AND a decent sized desk. Oh, and there’s a fireplace, too. The living room is connected to the bedroom, behind two french doors (and the living room has ANOTHER fireplace). It’s a little smaller than the bedroom, but more than big enough for impromptu martini parties. The kitchen has one of those little bar-extension things that you can sit at with stools (which, might I mention, I have packed in my cube, which is now somewhere outside of Nebraska):


The bathroom is clean, neat, and the toilet isn’t impossibly wedged between the bathtub and a wall.

In short, it was PERFECT. It was the coolest apartment i’ve seen yet. I loved in INSTANTLY. And some jackass twit has beat me to it by twenty #%&!!*! minutes.

Hopefully her application is rejected and I’ll get it – we’ll find out monday morning. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath, either.

So I grumpily wandered back to Union Square (which has free wi-fi access in the park) and sat down on a park bench. I trolled CraigsList on my iPhone and noticed a one and a half hour old CraigsList listing about a pad in Greenwich Village – located here. In this tiny little alley called “Patchin Place”, which apparently has some history to it. It’s a tiny alley behind a gate, and while it’s a whole 50 feet from the busy corner of 6th Ave and 10th St, it feels secluded (which in New York is something a little out of the ordinary) so it’s home to a whole whack of psychotherapists offices because people like to open up when they feel like they’re in a safe environment, I guess. And on top of the therapists offices are little apartments.

So back to the story about the unit there – I called the agent and he had just finished showing it to one couple who didn’t take it. I met him there ten minutes later and while it was only about 40% of the size of the one I just saw, it was kinda neat, and I was frustrated, and it was the end of the day and next Friday is the end of the month so I have to find a place before that hits, so I said “write it up”. It’s a great location (or so I’m told – I know that part of Greenwich Village is hot, but I had excluded it from my searches because it’s too expensive – this one snuck in at the absolute top end of my search parameters). It’s a fair bit smaller, but it’s still a 1br (which is what I’ve been looking for, so my friends can come stay there and I can close my door and drown out the sounds of them drunkenly snoring… not that I’m naming any names MARK BUNTING).

Anyhow, the pad at Patchin Place ALSO has another person who applied ahead of me – but my agent told me “she’s got crappy credit, she’ll probably get rejected”. So I put down three hundred bucks on it as as deposit and we’ll see what happens.

So, Monday morning, I’m either jumping with joy because the girl who took my dream pad got declined for some reason and I get the place. I’ll lose my three hundred deposit on the Patchin Place pad, but it’ll be well worth it.

OR, I lose the dream pad and land the Patchin Place pad. Which is OK, it’s just not as killer as the first one, and it’s a hundred bucks more a month, but (supposedly) in the absolute hippest part of town. Too bad I’ll be too broke from the rent to go our and enjoy it!

OR – I lose BOTH pads, and next week is an absolute mad scramble to find a place before the end of the month, because then I’d be looking at places that are becoming available MARCH 01, or places that are currently empty – and if an apartment is empty in New York for more than a week, something is very, VERY wrong with it.

Bright lights, big city, big headaches. Wish me luck for Monday!


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  1. Comment by corsiworld @ January 28, 2008, 12:10 am

    B-R-U-T-A-L… dude, what’s the deal with that city. Sounds like a nightmare with trying to find anything decent. Good luck with both those places!

  2. Comment by dag68 @ January 28, 2008, 1:57 am

    Hey, I have no idea what your budget is, but you might want to look into stuyvesant town. Nice quiet roomy apartments in a big complex. most apartments have a parklike view. The rental office is on First Ave around 20th. The website is I’ve lived here for 7 or 8 years and it’s wonderful.

  3. Comment by lizzielizzie @ January 28, 2008, 9:53 am

    Egad. Best of luck with the apartments! I’ve heard horror stories before of hunting for apartments in NYC…people resorting to looking in the obituaries to see where apartments have involuntarily opened up and the like. The Village is really, really awesome… I visited NYC a few months back and we wound up spending our entire trip messing around there and having a great time, with lots of great food. But, you can always get there even if you don’t live there. 🙂

  4. Comment by martlume @ January 28, 2008, 10:40 am

    Hey Kev, it was 4 years ago and I was looking for a different kind of place in NYC, but I remember paying $50 to the website and finding a place in 3 days. Thought you might wanna try that if Craigslist doesn’t work!

  5. Comment by mbrownsher @ January 28, 2008, 9:53 pm

    Stumbled onto your blog from another website I frequent. I gotta say this post was great as I am moving to New York for work in about 2 months or so. This post is eye-opening and quite depressing. I knew it would be difficult, but reading your entry at least gives me a good idea of what to expect. Thanks for the tips and here’s hoping you get the place you want.

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