Weekly rooms in NYC (Midtown West) a bad idea?
February 19, 2010 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to New York City in a week or two. I don't have the time or resources to check apartments out right away before moving, so essentially I'd be moving to a new place sight unseen. I'm perfectly okay with that. I found rooms in Midtown West (40s between 8th and 9th) that go for $200 - $300 per week. Does anyone have any experience with these? Would you advise against this until I find a permanent place? My options are limited and a fully furnished room for $250 with an Internet connection sounds enticing in the short term (or long term if I like it). It will be blocks away from where I'll be working. Thanks!
posted by consilience to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: On second thought, I may have to wait a bit as it seems to be a total scam...

posted by consilience at 3:58 PM on February 19, 2010

You cannot get a room in midtown for 200 - 300 a week. Period. (Unless there is some amazing secret that I am unaware of.)

I'd find a hostel that will let you stay for a month in Brooklyn or Queens, and commute.
posted by Damn That Television at 4:18 PM on February 19, 2010

Find a place (Damn That Television's hostel idea is a good one) to stay when you get here, then try to find a short term sublet on Craigslist for a month or so. Then you can start looking for a permanent place, and you should be able to find something in that time frame.
posted by kimdog at 4:23 PM on February 19, 2010

What do you mean by "a room"? Is this a room in someone's apartment? If so, I don't think 2-300 per week is unrealistic at all.

On the other hand, is this some sort of SRO deal? Where you'll have your own "studio"? And the bathroom is down the hall? I've never been in any single room occupancy places personally, but I'm under the impression that they're mainly dirty flophouses where you wouldn't want to be.
posted by Ashley801 at 4:28 PM on February 19, 2010

I would be VERY suspicious of any place in NYC that you find on craigslist that would let you move in sight unseen. I would get a cheap hotel in one of the bureaus and commute until you find something. You will almost certainly get ripped off, especially for the amount you are looking to spend. If I were you I'd get a hotel and then try to get a sublease somewhere and then try to find a real place. The search for a reasonably priced room with people you actually want to live with is a long one.

For what it's worth, I have looked at decent rooms in midtown that were unfurnished for $800-$900, but they are few and far between and are not the kind of situations where the person is so desperate to rent the room that they would rent it to someone they hadn't even met yet.
posted by whoaali at 4:38 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Please be careful. In New York, if its too good to sound true, its because it is. Find a sublet in Astoria or in Brooklyn for a month. You may be able to get away with $800 a month, but plan on paying more.
posted by Unred at 4:49 PM on February 19, 2010

Response by poster: Just got off the phone with a girl renting out a room in Bay Ridge for $620 a month plus utilities. Told her I'd be moving sight unseen because I really need to just get there and start working.

Is this a decent area? She said it's about 40 minutes to 39th and Broadway. Does that seem about right?

Thanks, everyone!
posted by consilience at 4:56 PM on February 19, 2010

I would have said that 40 minutes was nuts, but that's what Triptrop says too. At the very least, here's Triptrop. Seems like it could be helpful.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:06 PM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

BayRidge is fantastic. I lived there for years and we only moved because we needed more space than was available in our price range. HOWEVER - you're going to be limited to the N/R train, both of which are awful. If you're lucky, the place will be near an express bus stop (X27?) which is far faster and more comfortable than the subway - its more expensive of course.... feel free to email me for any other Bayridge info you might need.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:09 PM on February 19, 2010

I'd suggest getting a short term sublet for a month or two, and looking for a long-term place once you're here. I'm actually looking to rent a room (my roommate is psycho and walked into my room naked one night while I was asleep, so I kicked him out), and there is no way in hell that I would agree to live with someone sight-unseen (even before this incident), and without at the very least having an in-person conversation with them. I'd actually forward you the ad, but it's not available until 3/15.

I hear Bay Ridge is great, but the commute stinks....if it's a month to month though - agree to 1-2 months with this girl, and then see where it goes from there.

(For whatever it's worth, I've been in NYC for about 5 years, been around NYC since 1998ish.)

My official advice: sublet/short term rental while you look for a more permanent place once you get to know the layout of the city.
posted by AlisonM at 6:09 PM on February 19, 2010

Some people may love Bay Ridge, but you might as well be on Mars. Or Omaha. It's that different from the rest of the city. On the bright side, you'll get lots of reading done on the train, or listen to hours and hours of Podcasts. And it'll motivate you that much more to find an apartment of your own closer to the action. Unless you learn to love Bay Ridge. Stranger things have happened, for sure.

Seriously, you could also try Riverdale or Washington Heights. Or Astoria. Or Woodside.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:49 PM on February 19, 2010

I lived in Bay Ridge for two years, and it was fantastic super wonderful. Twenty five minutes to downtown, 40 to midtown, an hour to the UWS. Beautiful and quiet with decent nightlife.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:58 PM on February 19, 2010

I know someone who is moving out of a room on N 4th March 1st and needs someone to sublet the room to. Lease is up at the end of may. Rent is 1150. Triptrop says it's 20 minutes away from where you're trying to get to. It's early there right now and the current roommates would have the ultimate up or down vote but if you're interested I could try to contact her tomorrow.
posted by JackarypQQ at 11:36 PM on February 19, 2010

Seconding Washington Heights for your needs. I sublet a room sight-unseen for $700 a month for a huge room with plenty of light. No contract, so if it had gone sour, I could have walked out. Washington Heights is right on the A and C so you can easily get to 42nd-Port Authority (6 or 7 stops on the A), walk through a tunnel and you're 3 streets from your work.

Which is to say, sublet first, figure out the city and where your circles are, then get a place nearby. This may be impractical, but you could CouchSurf the first week to give yourself an immediate base and a friend to guide you.
posted by Galen at 4:39 AM on February 20, 2010

I'm a touch confused; are you commuting to 39th and Broadway? Bay Ridge is nice, but it's a long commute to Manhattan, especially midtown.
If you are commuting to midtown, you'd be way better off in Queens than in Brooklyn. I've been away from the city for too long to know current prices, but Astoria (though the N/R line kinda sucks), Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside are all decent neighborhoods with short subway rides to midtown; affordability-wise, the latter two are probably a better bet. Jackson Heights, parts of Elmhurst, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens (though you might find Kew Gardens a tad dull, depending on your lifestyle) are a smidge further out, but still doable, especially if you live near an express stop.
Jersey City would also be better than Brooklyn, in terms of commute length. A 33rd street PATH train would put you within 6 or so blocks of 39th and Broadway. I'm partial to the neighborhoods around Van Vorst Park and Hamilton Park, myself.
I'm not all that familiar with Morningside Heights, Washington Heights, or the rest of upper Manhattan, but they're also closer to midtown than most of Brooklyn. FWIW, a brief visit with some friends who live near the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights left me with the impression that it was a much nicer neighborhood than I had heard. I'd say it was comparable to neighborhoods I liked in Queens and Brooklyn. As an added bonus, if you live in Manhattan, you can smugly imply that the other boroughs aren't even part of New York City all the time. Good times.
FWIW, I agree with the idea that you should find a hostel or short-term sublet for a month or two before moving to NYC sight-unseen. When I moved to the city, I moved to a place sight-unseen and I really wished (and still wish, really) I hadn't. You can't imagine the sights you'll end up wanting to unsee before you move to New York, just trust me.
posted by willpie at 9:34 AM on February 20, 2010

On preview, the site that unknowncommand linked is pretty amazing. And it suggests upper Manhattan is your best bet for an affordable midtown commute.
posted by willpie at 9:39 AM on February 20, 2010

find a short-term sublet on craigslist to buy yourself a few months to find a place. that way you can worry less about your commute or the neighborhood since you're not committing.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:52 PM on February 20, 2010

I'm actually in the same exact spot. I'll be moving to new york the first week in march. I'm planning on just doing a sublet in brooklyn [probably bushwick-ish because I want to save money] and then figure things out long term.
posted by mattsweaters at 10:48 PM on February 20, 2010

I've had friends who lived in Bay Ridge and a few other places along the N/R lines.

They all refer to them as the "Never and the Rarely lines." FYI.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:57 AM on February 21, 2010

When I moved to the city, I moved to a place sight-unseen and I really wished (and still wish, really) I hadn't. You can't imagine the sights you'll end up wanting to unsee before you move to New York, just trust me.

Ah, willpie, thanks for the chuckle. I have such memories myself and am still trying to burn them out of my occipital lobes.
posted by onepot at 8:17 PM on February 21, 2010

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