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Moving from LA to NYC for work, no COL raise in salary.
February 1, 2012 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Is moving to NY a feasible option?

[Asking for a friend]


I live in Los Angeles on $60k base. It's a comfortable life, rented 1-br apartment for ~$1100 and my only other payments are cell, cable+internet, utilities, groceries, car insurance, credit card payments... a total of about $1100/mth, on the upper limit. I'm looking to leave my job, which brings me to...

...my two job offers:

1. Stay in LA and make 10k more. Gives me the opportunity to save, something I haven't been able to do since I have credit card bills that I've been paying off.

2. Move to NY, for $65k base, non-negotiable. Assuming rent is at max $1500/mth:

a. A few of my friends have told me I'd be sacrificing quality of life if I moved to NY, that $65k isn't enough to live on. There is a good possibility I can move up at work within a year, and possibly make close to $70k then. Is it feasible to live in NY on $65k base? I'm thinking my main expenses are rent, utilities, cell, internet, groceries. I'd sell my car, and hopefully get enough for it to pay off the last of my credit card debt.

b. Is it feasible to find a decent studio/1-br for ~$1300 close to midtown (which is where I'd be working - 3rd and 45th, I believe)? I was thinking Astoria. My absolute cut-off is $1500, and I'd REALLY REALLY like to live alone... ideally for about $1300.

c. What's the best way to find an apartment? I've read other threads on this for websites, and I could stay with a friend for a week or so. I'd really like to avoid brokers because I can't afford it.

d. My credit kinda sucks. I can have someone cosign for me, and because I have no savings I'd be borrowing deposit, etc. but is co-signing going to make me an unattractive renter? I will have an employment letter, tax returns, etc. that I can show.

e. I'm 33 years old, female, single (the 'can I meet good men in NY' is a whole 'nother question altogether, yikes) and the idea of 'starting over' in a new city when I'm pretty comfortable where I am is a bit daunting. However, the job looks like fun, and I've always loved NYC. Would I be starting over, do you think, on such a low salary? They may give me a small lump sum for relo, but I'd be taxed on it. No relo is a dealbreaker for me.

Thank you for your opinions, advice, tips, ideas. Peace.
posted by Everydayville to Work & Money (88 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
A few of my friends have told me I'd be sacrificing quality of life if I moved to NY, that $65k isn't enough to live on.

Your friends are either used to gold-plated toilets or don't actually know any non-rich people in NYC. Most of my friends make considerably less than that and they're doing fine. Maybe if you're planning on going out eating and drinking at fancy places on a nightly basis, you might run into trouble, but once you get your head around where you shouldn't be buying things on a regular basis, $65K is plenty. Most people I know in their late-20s and early-30s don't even make that much.

$1500 for a 1-bedroom near something (anything at all) is not feasible, however. I live in the boonies (Bensonhurst) and a 1-bedroom around here runs about that much. And I'm an hour from midtown, in a working-class family neighborhood (read: no fun.)
posted by griphus at 2:13 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


of course it's doable. the question is, do you want to do it? if you do, you'll make it happen. new york is worth it!
posted by lia at 2:14 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


1500 for a 1-bedroom near something (anything at all) is not feasible, however.

I disagree. I pay $1675 for a one bedroom in Vinegar Hill/Dumbo, which is about as close as you can get to Manhattan without being in Manhattan... so there has to be stuff out there in between VH and Coney Island for $1500.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2012


...okay, it is late in the workday and I've had a brain-fart and confused the number $1500 for $1000. You might actually score yourself something workable in Astoria for $1500, but that'll be on the low end.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on February 1, 2012


I live alone on less than that! My rent is also lower than your upper limit, and I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn, which is Near Midtown, kind of. (G north to Queens, then E west into Manhattan). I also have two cats, which I mention because they are great
posted by Greg Nog at 2:17 PM on February 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


You can definitely make it on $65K in NYC, but it will be a step down from the lifestyle you have in LA.

Apartments are tough; as griphus just said, $1500 for a 1 bedroom near midtown is probably not feasible. You could probably get a studio for $1500 near midtown, but even that would probably be tough. Until ~ a month ago, I lived in a high subsidized 1-bedroom apartment in Morningside Heights (near 120th st on the west side) for $1500. I was only able to afford that because it was owned by Columbia U (who I was working for) and they rented it for below-market rates. A reasonable rate for that would probably be $2500, give or take.

If it were me, I wouldn't move. However, I'm also not someone who loves NYC in the way a lot of other people do. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed my time there and will love going back to visit. I was just ready to leave after only ~ a year there.
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:18 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As somebody who lives in NY why would you move here from Los angeles? Do you have family here? We have all the same things as los angeles except the weather.

IF you move to long island and use the LIRR you can survive on that. I have talked to a lot of people from LA that moved here to Long island and like it. You can get one bedroom managed appartment on long island for $1100. i

I still do not think its worth it since we are similiar but for some reason a lot of people from LA do like NY.
posted by majortom1981 at 2:22 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Definitely doable. I live on the Upper West Side for much, much less.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on February 1, 2012


I think you certainly could do it, but it sounds like it would be more of a "live in NYC for a while for the experience" thing than a solid career thing. The 75k job in LA sounds like a better career move, but life isn't all about career, and only you can decide if YOUR life needs to be about career right now. I wouldn't borrow money to move to NYC unless I HAD to- but I'm not an OMG NYC person.

However, I'm also not someone who loves NYC in the way a lot of other people do.

I think this is the crux of it.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:23 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


She does have family in NY and TO. Also no intentions of staying in NY forever.
posted by Everydayville at 2:25 PM on February 1, 2012


...and doesn't mind the cold. The biting, freezing, cold. (As her friend, my 0.02 was for her to stay in LA, but I couldn't comment on her other questions).
posted by Everydayville at 2:27 PM on February 1, 2012


I lived in NY on 45/50k and it was fine, but I was in my early/mid twenties and not really trying to save or think long-term. If you have big picture goals like retiring comfortably, maybe cash now means more than this opportunity.
posted by prefpara at 2:29 PM on February 1, 2012


It's certainly a possibility. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Inwood/Wash. Heights. You're not going to get a pretty apartment, but certainly you can find a 1-bed or at least a studio in your budget.

In terms of finding an apartment, NYC is really the Craigslist capital of the world. Make sure you know who you're dealing with, and do a bunch of research on the landlord/building. Padmapper is a pretty good resource if you're not too familiar with all the neighborhoods in the city.
posted by oxfordcomma at 2:30 PM on February 1, 2012


Yeah it is doable.

New York isn't cold anymore either. It has been in the 50s all week. It is actually 59 right now on feb 1st.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:30 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Craigslist? Most of the other AskMeFi threads said CL was a horror.
posted by Everydayville at 2:34 PM on February 1, 2012


I've done it, on 65K and less. I live in Seattle now, and my expenses here are actually far greater than they were in NYC, due to car ownership. If you get rid of the car (which will be a pain to park anyway), you can live pretty comfortably. Transportation is cheap, food can be cheap, and there's so much to do that's inexpensive or free that you'll never be bored.

Some good places to rent for ~ 1.5K are Astoria, Carroll Gardens, Ditmas Park (be careful trying to rent there, though, because you can get into a sketchy area around there pretty easily), Greenpoint, Washington Heights, and Inwood.

Don't expect to have a decked-out apartment, though. You'll most likely live in some pre-war building with no amenities and laundry in the basement if you're lucky.
posted by MsMartian at 2:37 PM on February 1, 2012


craigslist is how I found my current apartment. And several of the things inside my apartment! It is indeed a horror. But it's a horror that works. Like Pinhead, from the Hellraiser movies. It just requires diligence, and willingness to sift through spam posts.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:39 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering the same thing, since I'll be moving to NY this year!

Especially: Whats everyone's experience with Brokers, especially in Manhattan? Avoid the big ones? Avoid all of them? Is there an angies list for Brokers? Watching these replies eagerly since my situation is just about the same as the OP's friend (it's not me).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2012


Ugh, I'm an LA resident who wouldn't. At the risk of sounding stereotypically Californian, NYC is a hassle, man. Life in LA on $70k is easy - good cheap rentals are everywhere, the weather doesn't keep you indoors, there aren't a lot of weird conventions (tipping building staff?!) and there's an openness. I've lived in NYC for extended periods in an employer paid hotel in both Midtown and Queens, and I had fun, but I'd never spend my own money to do it. It's cramped and dirty and hard, $65k will mean being ultra careful even if you can find somewhere ok to live (with no bedbugs, and god forbid you have to move). To me, all the fun stuff in that city is like a rich people's party you can look in the window at.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:48 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha, Potomac.

What's a reasonable rent on average for an apartment that's a convenient commute to midtown?

Thank you for all your comments!
posted by Everydayville at 2:49 PM on February 1, 2012


I've found all of my apartments as well as the coop I recently purchased on CL. The key thing is to start browsing a few weeks before you actually need to, so that you can get a sense of what to expect, and start weeding out the obviously shady listings that are recycled over and over again.

However, if you want to find an apartment via Craigslist you're going to have to be in the city during your search, and preferably not have started your new job yet. Most of the desirable apartments will be rented within 48 hours of first being listed, and the great ones are gone the same day -- it's best to get up in the morning and make a bunch of appointments to look at apartments that same day.

If you're willing to spend an extra fifteen minutes/half hour on the train, being a little ways out in Brooklyn or Queens will make a big difference on rent. You can get a small two-bedroom for $1500 on the N or the D in Sunset Park, which will get you into midtown in about 45 minutes, sometimes less. Same for Astoria on the N or the Q, last I checked. Both are safe, family-oriented neighborhoods with decent restaurants and grocery stores.

The biggest change from LA to NYC for most people is access to the outdoors and the ability to easily get out of the city. If you really like to get outside and be active, make sure that you're looking at neighborhoods that will enable that -- Prospect Park, for instance, is just as large as Central Park and easily accessible from Flatbush and Lefferts Gardens, which are less nice than Sunset Park and Astoria but MUCH MUCH MUCH better for joggers or cyclists or people who just want to be able to walk around a big park on a regular basis.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:53 PM on February 1, 2012


Assuming rent is at max $1500/mth:

a. A few of my friends have told me I'd be sacrificing quality of life if I moved to NY, that $65k isn't enough to live on.


This really depends what "quality of life" is, to you. For $1500, you are going to most likely be living in the outer boroughs in a one-bedroom that will be microscopic compared to what you're used to. Depending on the neighborhood, expect this apartment to be in an old building with all the attendant problems that old buildings have (thin walls, poor insulation, lack of central heat and AC, ancient tiny kitchen, no closets, etc). You can expect a walk-up apartment on a high floor, especially if you stretch that $1500 to be in the nicest neighborhood you can possibly afford. You might be a two block walk to public transit or a twenty minute walk to public transit. That's another tradeoff you make to score a better place or a better neighborhood.

As to whether $65K is "enough to live on" - I make less than that, and I live here and do fine. But I have roommates, live in a slum in a neighborhood on the absolute fringe of coolness, don't have a car or a place in the Hamptons, don't party much, don't have a designer clothing habit, etc etc etc. I can't say whether you would want to live in New York on your salary, because I don't know you. I would guess that the typical SoCal native would probably not consider New York livable on that money, because to be honest with you, a lot of things people in the rest of the US take for granted are considered wild luxuries here in New York.

At the same time, it's a trade-off. Yeah I share a crappy apartment and don't have a car. But, culturally, New York is the center of the universe. It's also walkable, and cosmopolitan, and beautiful, and historic, and full of amazing people and ideas. Los Angeles is some of those things, too, I know. But for me it has mostly been worth it. I can't say if that'll be true for you.

Is it feasible to find a decent studio/1-br for ~$1300 close to midtown

Haha, no.

Astoria? Maybe? In a teensy studio with all the tradeoffs I mentioned above? I knew someone who had the world's teensiest apartment in Astoria 8-9 years ago for $1000. I'm not sure how much rents have gone up since then, but if I had to guess I'd say you'd be hard pressed to find something you'd consider livable in that neighborhood in your price range.

Keep in mind, too, that 45th & 3rd is very close to Grand Central, which is probably the easiest place in the whole city to commute to. You can pretty much live anywhere and get there without too much headache.
posted by Sara C. at 2:59 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


For finding apartments, skip Craigslist and go straight to the MLS. Most people don't realize that the MLS has rentals and not just real-estate for purchase, and is a goldmine.
posted by firstcity_thirdcoast at 3:02 PM on February 1, 2012


As someone who's moved from the east coast to LA (and is pretty much loving LA now, but that's another story), I think the last point is the most important. Quality of life, access to the outdoors, etc. . . It's important, but it's not as important as starting a new life three thousand miles away from Los Angeles. Do you have friends in New York? Any sort of social network? Starting over is really hard. The rest can be overcome, but it's important to remember that it takes a long time to build a life anywhere, especially in big cities like New York and LA.

I'm not trying to be a downer. I just sometimes find that people who haven't had to start from scratch don't understand that it can be really difficult and lonely, even for outgoing, well-adjusted people.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:04 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


She's working for an ad agency, so it's possible that her hours could be flexible. That said, an hour commute isn't a huge deal for most Los Angelenos - we sit in our cars everyday for a lot longer than that. Subways might be different to cars, though, but living some ways out in Brooklyn or Queens may not be a bad idea?

Also, if not $1500, what would be a reasonable rent to expect? $2000?
posted by Everydayville at 3:09 PM on February 1, 2012


Seconding ablazingsaddle's point about networks. In fact, aside from the price-range issue, I'd suggest that if she has any friends - or even potential friends - in New York, she should live near where they live. It's somewhat important to live in a location convenient to work, but it's VITAL to live convenient to friends. This is exponentially more important if you're just moving here and need to really cement social connections.
posted by Sara C. at 3:11 PM on February 1, 2012


Yikes!

One of her friends goes to school out there (UES I think) and lives in the dorms, and her family (an uncle) lives on 7th and 23rd in Chelsea. Neither of those places are at all in her budget.
posted by Everydayville at 3:15 PM on February 1, 2012


Dear friend of Everydayville,

Native New Yorker here, it is definitely doable on $1500/month, especially if you r OK with a studio & have no pets. It will be a lifestyle change, NY is cramped and simply much more crowded that what you are used to - but that is what life is for!

You've already disabused yourself of a nice Manhattan apt, and Queens is a good place to look - am biased as I am from Queens. Astoria/LIC is close to Manhattan but that has become a bit "discovered." I'd also look in Sunnyside, which like most of Queens is no architectural gem, but like almost all of Queens, still has neighborhoods, and is the most diverse place on the planet. I know LA is diverse, but even Angelenos are blown away by Queens. But it is well, Soviet in architectural distincitiveness.
Further afield on the 7 is Flushing. I'd definitely look there as well since you can take it to Grand Central. You can probably find stuff there.

If you can handle a ~45 minute ride on the F train, I lived for almost 20 years in Kew Gardens, parts are nice, it is tree-lined with nice parks etc., etc. feels less urban dense.

In Brooklyn fuggedabout Williamsburg or even Greenpoint by now but Crown heights, periphery of Park Slope is doable, albeit a longish subway ride.

I wouldn't sniff @ New Jersey, esp Bayonne, and parts of Jersey City (Parts are ritzy, parts are dangerous, you need to get the skinny from someone who knows.) I'd also look @ some Jersey towns convenient via NJTransit bus along the Hudson River, they've overbuilt so you can get some nice deals - Fort Lee, Edgewater, etc.

Someone upthread mentioned Long Island and how Angelenos she knew seemed to like it - I did that too and it wasn't bad but waiting for an LIRR train @ Penn Station after a night of partying sucks.

That being said, since you will be working near Grand Central, I wouldn't sniff at some nicer towns in Westchester, e.g. Yonkers, White Plains, Hartsdale. You might need a car but for a while at least you can hoof it to the station and get a car through zipcar when you need it.

In almost all situations, you will likely be in an older building, has positives & negatives, positives are it is often less noisy because they built the walls and ceilings more solid. Negatives are, well it is old, fewer mod cons - it isn't so bad - really you don't need all that crap anyway.

Just make sure you can put a window A/C in it and spend the money to have it and to run it. Despite many Californians conceptions of New York winters being frigid, summer humidity will be far, far, worse to deal with. Trust me on this. The frigidness of NY winters is waaay overrated by people in Calif anyway. While winter is cold, it is nothing in comparison to places like Chicago or Boston. Your biggest winter challenge will actually probably be to keep your apt from being stifling because of how apartments are heated. Old buildings = old heating systems = no individual control in apts = steam heat that either doesn't work, or works to f**king well!

If FOE chooses Queens, you or friend can memail me as sister-in-law works in real estate in Queens, I can ask her what the average rents are for various neighborhoods.

So, friend of everydayville, I hope you do it. You are young, you can always move back. Life is short. Welcome to New York. Just remember a sub is a boat dat goes unduh wawtuh, a hero ain't nothing but a sandwich.
posted by xetere at 3:19 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


i would stay in LA for a little while longer and make 10k more, pay off your credit cards, save a little bit (since you already have CC debt and would have to borrow the deposit for your apartment, unless the person you're borrowing from doesn't want to be paid back quickly - you're just digging yourself deeper, and other moving costs will eat up a lot of money), and then revisit the idea of moving to new york when you're more financially in line. nyc will always be there.

there are other considerations though - are you planning to sell your car? will selling your car give you enough money to pay off other debt/give you some financial breathing room? if so, the answer may change a bit.

but like others, nyc isn't my platonic ideal of a place to live, so. grain of salt and all that.
posted by koroshiya at 3:22 PM on February 1, 2012


read the question again - you are planning on selling your car. i'd probably still wait a little bit, myself, build your credit up a little and etc.
posted by koroshiya at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2012


We really appreciate everyone's input here... but there's a question we have that I asked mid-thread that's not been seen, I think, so ...sorry to yell...


WHAT RENT SHOULD SHE EXPECT TO PAY FOR A NICE STUDIO IN MAYBE ASTORIA OR PARK SLOPE, OR SOMEWHERE 15-20 MINUTES OUTSIDE THE CITY?

:)

DANKE!
posted by Everydayville at 3:39 PM on February 1, 2012


Is it feasible to find a decent studio/1-br for ~$1300 close to midtown

Sure, but that $1,300 will be your portion of the rent on a shared studio that's been divided with a cheap screen from IKEA.

You will not be able to find a decent and affordable apartment in a "near things" neighborhood in manhattan proper unless you Know Someone or are able to seriously negotiate with an owner subletting their condo. (And by negotiate, I mean pay one year's rent up front in cash.) I'm looking at West Village rentals right now and stuff in the $3,500 range is barely decent.
posted by elizardbits at 3:42 PM on February 1, 2012


It depends on what you're looking for. Like someon said upthread, if you want anything outside of a room, kitchen and toilet, prepare to pay more. That said, $1500-2000 can net you a sweet pad in Astoria or arond the park in Brooklyn if you're willing to do the legwork or put aside money for a broker.
posted by griphus at 3:45 PM on February 1, 2012


Minor question: if you are currently making $5000 a month, and are only spending $2200 a month, why would you have to borrow money to make a deposit on an apartment?

I must have misunderstood your current finances. It seems like you should have a hefty surplus every month that you could use toward savings to finance a move.
posted by lewedswiver at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2012


Thanks, griphus. A friend of hers who lives on the UWS pays $1700 for a teeny studio, but in a building that has an elevator, doorman, etc. I think that's what she's looking for. Amenities are important, apparently.
posted by Everydayville at 3:48 PM on February 1, 2012


lewedswiver: she has credit card debt to pay off, and until recently, car payments. But those are her estimates, so I can't speak for them. And if her paycheck is anything like mine, not much is left once taxes and benefits are taken out of her bi-weekly paycheck.
posted by Everydayville at 3:52 PM on February 1, 2012


Yeah keep in mind by "sweet" I mean "uninfested by anything particularly dangerous and not literally falling apart."
posted by griphus at 3:53 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


A friend of hers who lives on the UWS pays $1700 for a teeny studio

Rent stabilization is a beautiful thing.
posted by elizardbits at 3:55 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


1700 UWS, with a doorman? Ummm, no...

Unless it's way past Riverside, like in Harlem or something. It seems like you want to know what an apartment kind of like a nice set-up in Culver City, Santa Monica or West Hollywood would run in New York, in Manhattan, with less than a 25 minute commute. Except instead of a parking garage, the amenities would be a doorman, right?

One bedroom or livable studio? 2500-3200, basically. In the financial district, maybe 2350-ish, with amenities.
posted by devymetal at 3:57 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


She wouldn't need to live, like, down the street from friends. Just in the same general neck of the woods/on the same train line. For example at this point most of my friends live in Park Slope, Gowanus, Kensington/Ditmas Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Clinton Hill, and Prospect Heights. Which is a range of neighborhoods at various socioeconomic levels. The bottom line is that it's relatively easy for any of us to hang out at the same bars, socialize at each others' homes, etc.

Consider, for example, that it can take up to two hours to get to Harlem from my place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. If I had just moved to New York and my only connection lived in Harlem, it would be really difficult for us to ever hang out.

If she has friends on the Upper East Side, that's another point for Queens.
posted by Sara C. at 4:02 PM on February 1, 2012


Amenities are important, apparently.

Then she should stay in LA. Amenities are nonexistent in the vast majority of apartments at her price point, anywhere in the NYC metro area. Seriously, I don't think she could get an apartment in a doorman building in Newark at her price point.
posted by Sara C. at 4:06 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Watching this thread feels like watching a car wreck happen in slow motion. I want to yell "NOOoooooo!". Stay in LA, seriously. Unless you have spent a decent chunk of time in NYC, you have no idea how good we have it here.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:11 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Although I know many people will refuse to believe this, living in NJ and working in Manhattan is a pretty good deal. I lived in Murray Hill and BayRidge for a very long time and hated moving out of the city - BUT - the money saved makes up for it significantly. You might be familiar with the East Rutherford, NJ area because of the stadium - well, guess what goes along with that stadium? REALLY convenient bus and train service right to Midtown. My mortgage is less than I'd be paying in rent in Manhattan and the bus is a 20 minute ride to the city - my wife and I do it daily. Seriously... do consider it. Its far more convenient than living in the far ends of Brooklyn or Queens.
Oh, and you could actually have access to stuff like a real supermarket, etc.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:21 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I'd move cross country and start my life over again for the opportunity of living in East Rutherford, NJ.

Granted, I'd consider it for myself at this point in life if something changed (had a kid, wanted to buy, it made sense for work/career reasons). But really the only selling point on what Everydayville's friend wants to do is the romance of Living In New York. And East Rutherford is not New York.
posted by Sara C. at 4:29 PM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


crabintheocean: These are my sentiments, exactly.

However, getting responses from actual New Yorkers who experience that life on a daily basis carries a ton more weight than anything an Angeleno could say, and I think that's what she appreciates and is looking for.
posted by Everydayville at 4:30 PM on February 1, 2012


A friend of hers who lives on the UWS pays $1700 for a teeny studio, but in a building that has an elevator, doorman, etc. I think that's what she's looking for. Amenities are important, apparently.

if that is the case, NY isn't really going to be her cup of tea. It isn't everyone's, lots to like about the NY if you are young, but unless you are a trustafarian, amenities ain't it.

Who knows maybe the Dodgers will be contenders again.
posted by xetere at 4:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, by amenities I think she means a doorman and an elevator, heat and A/C. She's going by what her friend has, I think, which seems comfortable.
posted by Everydayville at 4:33 PM on February 1, 2012


A/C

Unless you mean window unit, not likely. Only new construction has central air here and even most of those don't because no owner wants to foot the bill. I've heard of gunt renovations with central air, but I think they are really uncommon.

I've only seen central air once, anyone here have central air?
posted by Ad hominem at 4:38 PM on February 1, 2012


But really the only selling point on what Everydayville's friend wants to do is the romance of Living In New York. And East Rutherford is not New York.
posted by Sara C.


Well, you've got me there... ER is nice and all, but it is indeed not even close to the NYC experience. But at my age, its fine since I've spent so long living in Manhattan... the burbs are ok now, I guess.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:39 PM on February 1, 2012


gunt renovations

Doh, gut renovations.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:39 PM on February 1, 2012


by amenities I think she means a doorman and an elevator, heat and A/C.

This is going to be the biggest problem for her. There ARE plenty of buildings in NYC that provide all of those things, particularly newer buildings in gentrifying areas, but they're EXPENSIVE. She'd be lucky to get a studio for that kind of money if she wants an elevator, let alone a doorman and climate control.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:40 PM on February 1, 2012


I've lived in Astoria for several years, first alone in a studio and now in a 2-bedroom with my BF. Astoria has its desirable and not so desirable spots too, mostly based on proximity to the train. You can get a studio for $1500. For a one-bedroom place, that might not be enough, or you'll be pretty far from the train. There aren't many (any???) doorman building in Astoria and none for that price range, for sure. But heat and A/C might be possible.

The best spots (according to a recent, unscientific poll from a local blog) are along the N/Q line: Ditmars, 30th Ave, and Broadway.

My suggestion for minimum hassle (but a little more money): hire a decent broker who is local to the neighborhood. Feel free to message me, I might have some suggestions.
posted by pourtant at 4:43 PM on February 1, 2012


She will have heat. In the form of a clanging radiator that can't be turned off. You gotta realize that buildings here are old. I have one outlet per room, old ass radiators, the water gets shut down at least once a week to fix pipes. As for amenities I have doorman and porter service that deliver mail and take garbage/recycling, a laundry room, a bike room and that is about it. More than double what she wants to pay and I am very very lucky.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:45 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


For $1500 a doorman is out of the question.

Central heat and AC are probably not going to happen unless she lucks into a brand new building.

Elevator could go either way depending on neighborhood - that's something that really depends on architecture and housing stock. In the cute/hip parts of Brooklyn, no elevator for sure. In Queens or Inwood, probably.

Any livable apartment in NYC will have heat, usually via built in radiator. This would generally not be connected to any kind of thermostat, nor would it include any way of cooling the apartment aside from the option to open a window.

Other things which are "amenities" in NYC but baseline/necessity everywhere else, and which your friend cannot expect for less than $1500:
Dishwasher
Access to laundry facilities, either in-unit or in-building
Outdoor space (balcony, roof deck, patio)
Closets
Parking or storage space of any kind
posted by Sara C. at 4:45 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Previously:

How to block bad smells on the subway
How far will $50k get you in NYC?
Living in an illegal sublet, how can we find another place?
Pesticide resistant roaches
Apartment hunting in Brooklyn for $1700pcm (not going well)
Couch stuck in tiny NYC hallway
Broke and need to tip building staff
Tragic subletting error
New apartment has 96 open code violations, including bedbugs
Yet more bedbugs, this time with a lease
Rent increase, no running water
Craigslist apartment hunting PITA
The world's tiniest 2-bed with three people and a dog
posted by crabintheocean at 5:05 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, by amenities I think she means a doorman and an elevator, heat and A/C.

A (possibly jaded) New Yorker's take on these three:

Doorman - get packages delivered to your office. And, seriously, how often are you getting packages, anyway? Most people don't get packages that often, and that's the main advantage to having a doorman, far as I can tell.

Elevator - walk-ups are, by definition, not tall. There are no 12th-floor walk-ups. There are 4th and 5th floor walk-ups, but I've lived in these, and honestly, you get used to it after about a week (unless you have some kind of health problem, I'd guess).

Heat and A/C - A/C, just get a window unit. It's really not a big deal. The heat thing is the biggest issue, because radiator steam heat is frequently too hot, but you can open the window, and, if need be, simply turn off the radiator.

I could see wanting closets, in-building laundry, or some kind of outdoor space, but, really, you can live without doormen and elevators, no problem. If your friend really wants to move to NYC, she'll be just fine without a doorman or an elevator.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, by amenities I think she means a doorman and an elevator, heat and A/C. She's going by what her friend has, I think, which seems comfortable.

Heat is legally required. It comes out of, like Ad Hominem said, an unadjustable and vocal radiator. How much heat, how long and how soon is based on the cheapness of the landlord and the amount of old people in the building (old people are very, very vocal when they don't get their heat.) When my mom bought the apartment I inherited, she paid off the super to install a spigot on the radiators so we can adjust them. It wasn't cheap and you're not going to be able to do it in a rental.

She will be purchasing an AC and sticking it in her window. I have never been in an apartment with central air, but then again I also don't hang with rich people.

She's not getting a doorman unless she's willing to spend a lot more money. A doorman is hella luxurious.
posted by griphus at 5:12 PM on February 1, 2012


She will be purchasing an AC and sticking it in her window. I have never been in an apartment with central air, but then again I also don't hang with rich people.
She's not getting a doorman unless she's willing to spend a lot more money. A doorman is hella luxurious.
posted by griphus


I had central air and a doorman when I lived on 1st Ave. This was a long time ago though... but I was certainly not rich. It can happen - but probably won't for the average person moving to the city. I can't even imagine what that apartment is going for today. We moved out when they jacked the rent up to $800/month....
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:18 PM on February 1, 2012


When my mom bought the apartment I inherited, she paid off the super to install a spigot on the radiators so we can adjust them. It wasn't cheap and you're not going to be able to do it in a rental.

You know, my apartment, which is quite cheap and by no means luxurious, has this spigot on the radiators. I suppose not every radiator has this...it never really occurred to me.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:20 PM on February 1, 2012


I guess if your friend is reading this, OP, tell her to bear in mind that everyone can find an example to counter anything anyone else says, as is evident by the above and the person she knows paying $1700 on the UWS for a doorman building. However, even with all the affordable apartments with spigots and doormen and central air, things tend to average out to having to pay out the nose for anything past a living/cooking/hygiene space.
posted by griphus at 5:25 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I disagree. I pay $1675 for a one bedroom in Vinegar Hill/Dumbo, which is about as close as you can get to Manhattan without being in Manhattan...

I also live in Vinegar Hill/Dumbo for close to this...but that was after months of checking Craigslist everydayyeseveryday for something in Dumbo that wasn't crazy expensive. It's not impossible, it's just hard to get right into something nice off the bat if you don't know the area and how real estate works here, just the crazy culture of it.
posted by sweetkid at 5:25 PM on February 1, 2012


u jelly? Lap of luxury! I can turn down the heat once I figure out which way to turn it.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:43 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am late to the party, but I may have information that is relevant to your friend's interests; ie, I have lived in both LA and NYC, twice each. I am currently in NYC.

65-70k is totally doable in NYC as long as you don't blow your paycheck eating out every night or buying a bunch of expensive crap. I have many friends here who make much less than that and are doing just fine. You're definitely not going to get a doorman or a ton of space, but the NYC experience (if you enjoy it) is worth it, in my opinion. Plus, there's tons of free things to do here if you pay attention to all the various and sundry event listings.

If her office is going to be on 45th and 3rd, Astoria or even the UES would be doable for $1500/mo, but not in a 1BR. When I say UES, I mean really, really far east; my BFF and another good friend both live in decent-sized studios, one on 74th between 1st and York for $1475/mo, and one on 85th between York and East End for $1295/month. It's a few-block schlep to the train, but from the 86th street stop it's only a few stops on the 4 to Grand Central, which would be right by her office. Astoria would be a good option too. (MeMail me if you would like my friend's landlady's contact info - she manages a few buildings around 86th & York with similar rents.)
posted by bedhead at 5:46 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like people are catastrophizing/generalizing a little bit about NYC rents. A lot of places are preposterously expensive, sure, but I know people who live by themselves in Astoria and on the Upper East Side for under $1500/month. I pay much less than that in Brooklyn but have a roommate. I and most everyone I know (including the guy on the UES) make notably less than 65k/year. I am a native New Yorker so may not know of these mythical other-place amenities, but from my perspective we have enough money to have nice apartments, eat dinner out sometimes, go to concerts, etc.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:50 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a few-block schlep to the train

Keep in mind that said "few-blocks" is actually a half-mile walk. A mile and change to walk from 74th to 86th for the express.

This isn't bad at all, really. But I work with a lot of L.A. transplants, and their eyes typically bug out when it's suggested that they walk more than a quarter-mile or so.

This is one of those location tradeoffs I mentioned above - yeah, one can get an apartment for $1500 in Neighborhood X, if one is willing to walk a mile to the subway, schlep groceries up five flights of stairs, live in an apartment where the bathroom and the kitchen are pretty much the same room, and the like. Whether your friend is willing to do this in order to live in New York is the real question.
posted by Sara C. at 6:00 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Basically what we're all trying to say is drastically lower your expectations or prepare for disappointment.

A lot of places are preposterously expensive, sure, but I know people who live by themselves in Astoria and on the Upper East Side for under $1500/month.

Yeah, that was my point above about rent stabilization. I don't imagine those people just signed their leases this past month, correct? I signed a long term lease in 2005 and my rent for a 1BR in the center of the west village is still under 2k, and will stay under 2k for a good while longer. And when I move out, my landlord will throw a bunch of money at my apartment, fix it up, and rent it for $3,500 like the rest of the apartments in my crappily maintained 120-year-old building.

posted by elizardbits at 6:13 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind that said "few-blocks" is actually a half-mile walk. A mile and change to walk from 74th to 86th for the express.

This isn't bad at all, really. But I work with a lot of L.A. transplants, and their eyes typically bug out when it's suggested that they walk more than a quarter-mile or so.
posted by Sara C.


I'll point something else out that I'm pretty sure will be an unpopular suggestion - the Bus. The M79 gets me to work every day reliably and comfortably and puts you with in easy reach of the subway at several points.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:27 PM on February 1, 2012


Yes, it is half a mile. Said BFF who lives on 85th is a lifelong Angeleno who moved here a year and a half ago and adapted easily (in fact, she was happy because it meant less time on a treadmill at the gym). She likes walking, though, so YMMV. If it's raining or snowy or she's tired, she takes the bus as well, or if she's feeling flush, hops in a taxi.

I have friends all over the city who have rent under 2k; you just have to be willing to put in the legwork. If she can narrow down a few neighborhoods and stay with friends for a few weeks, or better yet, fly out ahead of time to apartment-hunt, she'll find something. It just won't have a doorman or fancy amenities, but most of that stuff isn't necessary anyway.
posted by bedhead at 7:06 PM on February 1, 2012


Sure it would be feasible, but speaking as someone who moved to NYC from Toronto a few months ago, I think you would be sacrificing quality of life, at least initially. It depends on what you value. In Toronto I lived in a great apartment in a really central location in downtown where I could just walk anywhere I wanted to go. Now in NYC I am paying 1.5x as much in rent for a less nice apartment in an area of Brooklyn where the streets get almost completely empty past 7PM. I need to sit on a train if I want to eat out or go anywhere fun.

When considering rent costs, keep in mind a lot of people on Metafilter (or elsewhere) will quote rents that are significantly below market if you compare to actual offerings on StreetEasy or Craigslist. The thing is they might be living in rent controlled places that they found through connections or after some time living here. But as an out-of-towner your chances are low at finding a good deal like this right off the bat. Also as I'm sure you aware, you need to lower your expectations in terms of housing. When people say you could afford a 1-bedroom in Manhattan, they aren't referring to a typical 1-bedroom in any other city, they're referring to the absolute bare minimum that could possibly be called a 1-bedroom, in the furthest reaches of the island, if not Marble Hill.

If you were moving from a small town to NYC, I would say yes it is definitely worth it. But moving from one urban centre to live on the outskirts of another, when you already have a good quality of life? I'd say it's marginal unless you have a huge preference for NYC over other cities.
posted by pravit at 7:06 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


elizardbits: One of the people I know with < $1500 rent moved in last year; not sure about the other. I do think apartments are expensive generally, but there are frequent exceptions.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:08 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm going to throw this out there as more anecdata that rents are all over the map really. My ex has a studio in Flatiron for 1k flat. It is full of roaches and only has a dorm fridge but people put up with worse. Elevator too, but it is projects style, metal interior and window with the chicken wire in it so you can look out or in and make sure nobody is lurking there.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:17 PM on February 1, 2012


1700 for a studio is not rent stabilized. It's very close to market in my building, prime UWS with doorman.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:31 PM on February 1, 2012


Just to clarify a lot of what I've said here:

Look. I moved to New York 12 years ago, when I was nineteen and desperate to try my hand at life at what seemed, at the time, to be the center of the universe. I lived in Inwood, which meant a half hour on the train just to get to the relative "civilization" of the Upper West Side (akin to what pravit describes). It was clear on the opposite side of the city from everything I found interesting about New York life. And yet I fell in love with it. I stumbled through. And a couple years later I figured out where I wanted to be, and it's been brilliant ever since. It could be that your friend wants to come here that badly and is willing to put up with all the shit one has to put up with. She could fall in love with it, too.

But the way your question is phrased gives me (and apparently a lot of other people) pause. I didn't move to New York because I wanted a doorman. I didn't move to New York expecting a certain quality of life, debating this pay raise vs. that exciting life adventure. I moved to New York because I'd been obsessed with the art, music, culture, and ideas that have stemmed from this city for the last century. I'm not sure I would have stayed otherwise. A dark apartment in the middle of nowhere across the street from a park full of feral dogs in a neighborhood where nobody spoke English is not what kept me in New York. You know?
posted by Sara C. at 8:13 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


A dark apartment in the middle of nowhere across the street from a park full of feral dogs in a neighborhood where nobody spoke English is not what kept me in New York. You know?

I agree with your overall point, but if you are making $65,000 per year, you are not going to be living in a dark apartment in the middle of nowhere across the street from a park full of feral dogs. I make considerably less than that and live in a perfectly cromulent apartment in a pretty desirable location. True, I have a roommate, and I did get a very good deal...but still.

The OP's friend can live a perfectly nice, comfortable, middle class life in NYC on her salary. She can find a studio or 1-bed in Astoria, or Sunnyside, or Jackson Heights, maybe even Greenpoint if she lucks out - yeah, it won't have a doorman, it probably won't have an elevator, but it'll also probably be a fine place to live.

Debates about COL in New York, I've noticed, tend to involve lots of people insisting that you've basically got to be a millionaire to live an OK life and others insisting that you've got to be some kind of starving artist. Maybe it has to do with the intersection between the real differences in lifestyle between NYC and the erst of the country, and the glamorized versions of the city that pervade popular culture. I don't know. But, you know what (and I'm addressing this to the OP now)? There are, literally, millions of middle-class people in NYC. Our lives are different from middle-class people in most of the country - we walk up three flights of stairs to our apartments, we take our laundry out, we usually don't drive. But we're not subsisting on ramen noodles, or spending all our spare time killing cockroaches. We can still save a bit of money, and enjoy a night out from time to time, and take modest vacations, like most middle-class people. It's really not impossible, at all. It's fine, good, even, just like middle-class life in most of America is fine and good - it's just a little different, is all.

OP, your friend will have to adjust to a new lifestyle if she moves to New York. She will make enough money to have a comfortable-but-not-extravagant life, but that life will involve a different set of trade-offs than her life in LA would. She will not be broke, and will not be financially incapable of taking advantage of what the city has to offer. She won't have a doorman. I think she can probably get by without the doorman.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised only one person mentioned this above: if your friend's office is near Grand Central, the commute from Flushing on the 7, which runs express at rush hour, will be pretty painless, and you can get more for your rent money there. (On the other hand, taking the 7 when it's running local is no fun...very slow.)

I agree with everyone above that your friend should forget about the doorman/elevator. Not only are those amenities almost certainly out of her price point, but the neighborhoods that have buildings with a doorman and/or elevator will largely be out of her price point, too. (Most neighborhoods in NYC contain smaller walk-up buildings sans doorman.)

I also want to re-emphasize that a NYC studio or one bedroom is not at all comparable to a studio or one bedroom in other places. And it's not just a matter of square footage or the presence/absence of a dishwasher. There might be just one (very small) closet, or none at all. The kitchen is very unlikely to have stainless steel appliances (or hell, even a stove that is less than 20 years old). The refrigerator might be one of those tiny dorm fridges. There's a decent chance of having a roach or rodent problem. Like others, I'm not trying to be a downer, but I do think a 33-year-old who's been used to an LA apartment will have a rougher time adjusting to an NYC apartment than, say, a 22-year-old who moves to NYC straight out of college.
posted by whitelily at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2012


blaneyphoto: "I had central air and a doorman when I lived on 1st Ave. This was a long time ago though... but I was certainly not rich. It can happen - but probably won't for the average person moving to the city. I can't even imagine what that apartment is going for today. We moved out when they jacked the rent up to $800/month...."

I think blaneyphoto should maybe clarify that "a long time ago" in this case probably means 1962 or something.

Otherwise, I agree with a lot of what people have said above... if she wants to live in NYC because she REALLY loves NYC, then she should go for it! But if she is hesitant about no doorman, no elevator, no A/C, no laundry, etc... then maybe she should wait til she can make a bit more before she moves here?
posted by Grither at 6:17 AM on February 2, 2012


If she moves here- it's absolutely going to be a change in lifestyle.

You get used to the lack of amenities very quickly.
No in-building laundry? who cares! you can take to the place down the block for 7$ and they fold it for you! Fifteen min walk to the subway each way? Awesome- quiet time and you naturally slim down (seriously, I lost 25 lbs without trying my first five months here.)

You get used to the trades offs pretty quick, but it's the other culture shock that might be more concerning. Things like making friends is a totally different animal. People are really really direct here. You have to be DIRECT right back, be ready to ask for exactly what you want and be ready to hear some very undiplomatic "no's." A lot of people I know very well now and are even some of my best friends now, would never have hung out with me in the first place if I hadn't been clear about how I wasn't going to move back home in six months.

It's like this- every day I have contact with about 300 people- my actual work mates and friends and then there are the OTHER ones- from bumping into them, buying stuff from them, to sitting practically on top of them (at a bar, on the subway, on a park bench). If I spent any more time than absolutely necessary talking to them I would never ever get to work on time or frankly sleep. So when someone asks me for directions, I might seem short or rude to someone who isn't used to it, but it's because they will be one of six people who will stop me on the street to ask for something on a busy day in midtown. Sometimes I really don't have the bandwidth.

On a bright note- being in advertising is actually a really good thing. Ad agencies are very aware of how NYC can be lonely. I worked at a firm in midtown that had weekly get-togethers for everything. They had clubs dedicated to what neighborhood you lived in, hobbies, parenting-status, whatever. My friends that moved on to other firms say the same things go on there too.

65K is fine. You get used to it. Be ready for a sea change. Get ready to be as open-minded and as thick-skinned as possible. Some people adore it, some people absolutely hate the fuck out of it- but what a bummer it would be if she doesn't come and then regrets missing her chance for the rest of her life.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:46 AM on February 2, 2012


Everydayville's friend here.

Thank you, thank you to all of you who responded. I am beyond grateful for your input, as this is a difficult decision for me to make. It's overwhelming almost, to think about the logistics of the move, and while I do LOVE the city, I think most of you will understand the emotions associated with such a change.

I don't mind walking. I don't mind sitting on a subway for 30 mins. But the one thing that's most important to me is that my living space is a sanctuary - clean, comfortable, safe. Space is not an issue. And the doorman thing, yeah I can live without... but I'd rather not be shoveling snow off my own doorstep, etc. (I know, I know, spoiled Californian, etc, haha). Also, if I were to make the move, I'd probably sublet a room for a month or so until I found a decent place in which to live by myself, or a suitable roommate.

That said, if anyone knows of a reliable, clean person who's looking to sublet a room for about 2 months beginning March 15, I'd love to know. :)

Thank you to all of you that have offered contact info for brokers, landladies, etc. I will keep that in mind. Peace.
posted by Everydayville at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2012


And the doorman thing, yeah I can live without... but I'd rather not be shoveling snow off my own doorstep, etc.

You don't necessarily need a doorman for that- it's the landlords responsibility unless it's specifically assigned to you as part of the lease. It's in their interest to do it because A, you could probably sue them if you fell, and B, they'll be the ones getting ticketed if they don't clear their walkways.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's doable.

Also, you can find a one-bedroom in Manhattan for 1500. I have one (and no, I'm not in Inwood or Washington Heights or Harlem). It's hard, but it's possible. And it's absolutely possible for you to find a studio or a one bedroom in an outer borough, but close to Manhattan, for 1300.

And 65k is absolutely enough to live on. I always get so annoyed when people say "x amount? NO ONE can live in New York on x amount!" You know what? People make the minimum wage here and live here. People are unemployed and live here. There is no magic number. That being said, 65k is extremely doable and is considerably more than a lot of people who live here make.

Also, you won't be driving, so that's an expense that will go away.
posted by millipede at 9:33 AM on February 2, 2012


65k is fine. And yes to what Milipede said: no driving expenses. That's no car lease/payment or insurance costs, and no gas money. Not to mention no parking fees. A monthly subway pass is around $100--way cheaper.

I was able to start saving once my rent was $1200 and my pay went up to $65k, but I didn't have debt then.

The bad credit/$ sitch makes it hard. I beat out 4 other people for my apartment lease--they saw it and applied first but I had better credit. I would consider a sublet or share temporarily. That said, many places are totally cool with a co-signer. You just need to hustle on Craigslist and find an apt that works for you. I would never look anywhere but craigslist. Everyone posts there! Expect to spend the larger amount of a week or two looking for apts. And don't freak out if you don't find something right away. The best time to look is 4-2 weeks out from when you need it.

If you want to live alone, it will most likely be a studio for your budget. Queens and Brooklyn are great. Astoria, Jackson Heights, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park are great. Use Hopstop.com to find out how long your commute would be.

Like everyone else said, you do not need a doorman. The super usually handles shoveling the sidewalk and other chores.
posted by manicure12 at 9:47 AM on February 2, 2012


I used to live in this building in Queens - it is a doorman building with an elevator, laundry in the basement, in a very pretty (though very residential) neighborhood with about a 30-40 minute commute to midtown Manhattan, and one bedroom apartments go for $1425 a month (and no broker fees). It was the nicest building I ever lived in in the city; I just moved out because my roommate was crazy. I can't speak to any of their other properties, but it definitely fits the criteria of clean, comfortable, and safe.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 10:21 AM on February 2, 2012


I don't mind walking. I don't mind sitting on a subway for 30 mins. But the one thing that's most important to me is that my living space is a sanctuary - clean, comfortable, safe.

You know, everyone I know in NYC has a story about a hell apartment, hell neighbors, a hell landlord, hell bug infestation or just general RENTAL HELL.

I love NYC, but the quality of housing here is despicably poor unless you're loaded.

That said, my partner and I and a baby survive (barely) on about 20k more than you'll be making, so I think it'll be fine. Of course I don't know how much debt you're in.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:58 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's doable and it's wonderful! (I did it on significantly less).

I think subletting for a while is a great idea, maybe even somewhere you can be month to month so you can really be at your leisure for finding your apartment (and figuring out what neighborhoods you like and want to look in). But have your ducks in a row with money for the deposit, first month's rent, and broker's fee, plus your co-signer and/or pay stubs. Broker's fees suck but if you find a deal it might well still be worth it if you plan on staying long enough. You should also decide what's really important to you - is noise from the upstairs neighbor a deal breaker? etc.

Not having to shovel snow or do your own maintenance and heat included are some of the amenities that more or less come built in in New York rental life.

I've never lived in LA but on behalf of me and my cohort of friends who would be thrilled to glimpse the other side of 50k, but who are definitely not starving artists, I will say that New York can be well and thoroughly enjoyed on your budget.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:02 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, everyone I know in NYC has a story about a hell apartment, hell neighbors, a hell landlord, hell bug infestation or just general RENTAL HELL. I love NYC, but the quality of housing here is despicably poor unless you're loaded.

This is true to a certain extent. You're willing to put up with it if you love NYC enough to deal. Some people don't want to, and that's OK. Worth thinking about before you move here.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:29 PM on February 2, 2012


You know, everyone I know in NYC has a story about a hell apartment, hell neighbors, a hell landlord, hell bug infestation or just general RENTAL HELL

This reminds me of a dream I had when I first moved to NYC. A realtor wanted to show me an apartment for only $150 a month, but the catch was that it was in Hell. There was a little trap door on 38th street by 7th and she opened it up and we walked down into Hell. The apartment was nice but there were bugs and demons and flames everywhere and horrible dictators out mowing the lawn because you know, it was Hell.

I remember thinking "Hm, but it's so cheap and right by midtown....maybe I can deal" Rental Hell invades your subconscious mind when you first move here, is what I'm saying. After a few years as you learn the housing market and how to get what you want it gets better.
posted by sweetkid at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


If you're looking for quiet, safe and inexpensive, I cannot recommend Sunset Park highly enough. Particularly the bits nearest to the 9th Ave stop on the D.

As for shoveling, your super or your landlord will take care of that, just make sure you have a good pair of boots and you'll be fine.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:18 PM on February 2, 2012


I think blaneyphoto should maybe clarify that "a long time ago" in this case probably means 1962 or something.
posted by Grither


I wasn't even born then, so no. "A long time ago" is 20 years ago to me... and that's when I lived there.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:06 PM on February 2, 2012


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