Where to rent a 1br on New York, reasonably close to Chelsea, for less than $2000?
June 17, 2010 1:59 AM   Subscribe

Where to rent a 1br on New York, reasonably close (walk or subway) to Chelsea, for less than $2000?

So, I may move from Seattle to New York City in the near future, my employer is in Chelsea (close to the 8th Ave - 14th station), and I'd like to be close to that (either walking distance, or in a short direct subway route). I'd also like to be in an active neighborhood (not a bedroom community), preferably middle to upper middle class, young professional/artist/college student type of demographic (I am a 30yo single male), and reasonably safe. I don't care much about noise (I currently live next to a fire station, and it doesn't bother me), in fact I prefer noise to empty streets.

A quick scan through Craigslist shows insane prices in lower Manhattan, with the most reasonable prices being in the Upper West Side and Upper East Side (I do know half of those ads are actually in Harlem, but I also see a lot of places south of 80th). So, is there a catch here? Aren't these supposed to be expensive neighborhoods (especially the Upper East Side)?

Also, I do know there's also Brooklyn and Queens, but I don't know what are the neighborhoods over there close to what I'm looking for (except Williamsburg, which gets namedropped on every hipster hate thread, and Astoria, that I've only heard about).

For reference, if you know Seattle, I am looking for something on the lines of Capitol Hill, Fremont, Ballard, U-District, Belltown, etc.
posted by The Landscaper of Dorian Gray to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I wouldn't use Craigslist, as it's a a wretched hive of scum and villany. Use more modern real estate search engines like StreetEasy and Trulia. You can do advanced searches on neighborhoods, price ranges, bedrooms, etc.

You'll still see some amount of real estate agent-bait (i.e., advertising for apartments that don't really exist, but are there to get you to call the realtor), but there's a lot less of that compared to Craigslist.

In terms of neighborhoods, you'll want something on the A, C, E or L subway lines. For lower Manhattan, you'll look at Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Noho, Soho, Tribeca and the West Village. You can also throw in Nolita and the Gramercy Park area, which will be relatively walkable or bus-able to your workplace (I don't know where the Union Square area falls in their neighborhood divisions, but I think it's Gramercy Park). I don't know how these places correspond to your Seattle neighborhoods, so I'm just throwing those out mainly based on proximity. I've left out the Financial District because it's basically dead outside work hours. Note that I have been and will again be an Upper West Sider, so I have my biases for the UWS, but it's probably a little less awesome for young, single people.

This StreetEasy search should fit your criteria.
posted by chengjih at 3:32 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, the UWS and UES have reputations for being expensive neighborhoods, but there are quirks. For example, on the UES, if you're on York Avenue, you may have a 15 minute walk to get to the subway, which sucks. And there's only one subway line, which also sucks. I can imagine that rents on the UES on 1st Avenue will be lower than elsewhere for that reason alone.

The UWS has some older housing stock, with correspondingly lower rentals. It's also considered a less "lively" neighborhood, depending on what you mean by lively. Historically, the restaurant scene there has been poor compared to other parts of Manhattan. Again, it depends on what you're looking for, as I think the UWS is great.
posted by chengjih at 3:36 AM on June 17, 2010

Best answer: Living in Yorkville (the area of the UES around York Ave) is going to be very inconvenient if you're working in Chelsea.

At that rate, you might as well just live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, right off of the F train (which has a stop at 14th and 6th). Very lovely neighborhood, hits almost all of your notes. Right by the park. Excellent restaurant and bar scene. The only downside is that you will, of course, have to commute by subway.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:37 AM on June 17, 2010

Astoria, by the way, is absolutely lovely. It's less "hip" than Park Slope, but there are a bunch of good restaurants (especially Greek ones) and a few good bars. It's also relatively cheap. You could have a 3 bedroom flex for $1500 a month.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:49 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't avoid Williamsburg just because of hipster hate threads. There are also regular people who live there, and it would be a really convenient, short, one-seat train ride for you. There's a lot in Williamsburg. It's not just a bunch of skinny jeans walking around without people in them. There are stores, bars, restaurants, parks, buses, bikes, and general makers of noise. Off the Bedford stop would be the most convenient for you, and it's become so gentrified that it is barely even hipsterville there anymore. Hipsters now congregate further down the L line, in Bushwick, so really, don't worry. It's also nice by the Lorimer street stop and the Graham avenue stop. Grand is okay too. Montrose is not that great--Morgan gets a little better again, but I'd consider that Bushwick.

Conversely, check out Greenpoint. Just north of Williamsburg, it is quainter, cheaper, more of a real old-fashioned neighborhood, and just a little more inconvenient transit-wise (or, well, a lot, depending on where in Greenpoint you live).
posted by millipede at 4:53 AM on June 17, 2010

Commuting from Astoria to Chelsea will be a pain.

Williamsburg is doable.

Apartments in Chelsea or close to Chelsea rent for more than $2,000 per month.

Also be aware that, at least in Manhattan, most landlords will require you to make 40 to 50 times the monthly rent annually. So, figure that you need to earn $100,000+ per year to rent a $2,000 per month apartment. Smaller landlords tend to be more flexible than larger landlords in this regard.

And, as always, the more money you can throw at the problem (such as offering to pay a year's rent up front, if this is possible for you) the more leverage you have with the landlords.

Finally, make sure all your paperwork is in order. Most landlords will want, at a minimum, a letter of employment from you company, a copy of a current bank statement, your most recent pay stub, and a reference from your previous landlord, as well as a credit check. Some of the more insane landlords will also want to see a copy of your most recent tax return, though, generally speaking, this is a requirement only for people who are buying apartments.
posted by dfriedman at 4:58 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use Triptrop (self link!) to find out how far away certain neighborhoods are from your job in Chelsea, then browse around using Padmapper to find Craigslist apartments in your price range.
posted by soma lkzx at 5:19 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't mind living in NJ, Hoboken would seem to fit your requirements, including price. The PATH will get you to 14th & 6 Ave in about 11 minutes.
posted by miscbuff at 5:40 AM on June 17, 2010

2nding Hoboken/Jersey City. Exactly the demographic you're asking about, and the PATH is super easy/close to your job.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:24 AM on June 17, 2010

Here's some useful stats.

You don't live on New York, you live in New York, in the city, in manhattan, etc, etc.

No reccomendations on neghborhood from me, I'm soon to be living ocean-front in Long Beach out in the burbs.
posted by Brian Puccio at 6:30 AM on June 17, 2010

Another option is Inwood/Upper Washington Heights (specifically an area sometimes referred to as Hudson Heights) in northern Manhattan. It's a pretty diverse neighborhood that's gentrified quite a bit during the last decade, and while there is not much in the way of nightlife, there are some nice restaurants and bars, and it's one of the most lovely areas of Manhattan.

I lived on 181st St for six years, and my boyfriend lived at the 14th & 8th stop where you will work. The A train runs express, and I could make that trip in about 30 minutes. When I gave up my 1BR apartment (in an elevator building) there two years ago, my landlord was charging the new tenant $1250.
posted by kimdog at 6:59 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I pay (slightly) less than $2000 in the East Village, just about 2 blocks from the L train on 14th & 1st Ave. It would be maybe a 15-20 minute walk to where you'll be working. However, I don't have a 1 bedroom, I have a (decently sized) studio. The East Village meets most of your criteria about the type of neighborhood, but it may would be difficult to find a decent one bedroom for under $2000, so if you're willing to consider a studio, that may open up your options.
posted by Caz721 at 7:10 AM on June 17, 2010

I think Murray Hill ( east 30s ish) would be a good choice. It's kind of boring but it's relatively cheap, and easy commute to Chelsea -- just across town.
posted by sweetkid at 7:24 AM on June 17, 2010

Best answer: It sounds to me like you should live in Williamsburg off the Bedford stop or maybe Lorimer. I would recommend that anyone consider Williamsburg, but you especially because you'd have a direct commute on the L that would get you to work in 15 minutes. You'll get a much bigger apartment than you would in Manhattan, and it doesn't sound like you would mind the aspects that other people find negative.
posted by oreofuchi at 8:17 AM on June 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all, great answers so far.

I don't really have anything against Williamsburg (or its hipster reputation), and it sounds interesting. I don't mind gentrification either. The list of the best fitting areas by subway stops is very helpful.

Hoboken sounds interesting. I wasn't aware of it because I was only looking at the subway map. But it seems that there is only one PATH station, so if I want to have a one-seat trip, there's only a small area (that's probably more expensive) to pick from.

I've seen some cheaper stuff in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen as well. Supposing I stay close to the subway line, how's that area?

I live in a 700sqft in Seattle, and have a fair amount of stuff, so a studio sounds a bit small to me.
posted by The Landscaper of Dorian Gray at 10:27 AM on June 17, 2010

The cheaper places in Hell's Kitchen are generally going to be over on 10th avenue or beyond, and thus not incredibly close to the subway on 8th. However, it's a lovely neighborhood with a lot to do. I like it a lot. There's great Ethiopian food. You will get a lot more for your money in Brooklyn, though. A lot more.
posted by millipede at 12:00 PM on June 17, 2010

But it seems that there is only one PATH station, so if I want to have a one-seat trip, there's only a small area (that's probably more expensive) to pick from.

In Manhattan there are a bunch of stops.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:27 PM on June 17, 2010

Of all the options discussed here, Williamsburg is probably your best bet, although Park Slope is a good second choice. They're both perfectly good neighborhoods, with Williamsburg being a shorter commute.

I live in Astoria and I used to work near 38th and 9th Avenue. The commute was about 40 minutes door to door. Make of that what you will.

I've seen too many cramped Chelsea/HK apartments (to say nothing of Greenwich Village apartments) to really vouch for the area in your price range. There may be decent apartments around, but your money will generally go further in Brooklyn. I guess it couldn't hurt to look.

Jersey itself is fine, but be prepared for many New Yorkers not wanting to come to your apartment. Fairly or not, it's easier to drag people out to Brooklyn (or elsewhere in Manhattan, or even Queens) than to get people to pop by Jersey. Not sure if this matters to you, i.e. you like hosting parties or bringing people over.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:01 PM on June 17, 2010

If you want to live in Hoboken because you like hoboken, you should, but the PATH train is not the most awesome way to commute, let me tell you. At least you would be only one train into the city, but the trains run slooowly, and on the weekends and late nights the train runs fairly infrequently.
I wouldn't totally give up on finding a 1BR in Chelsea for ~2000, especially if you can bump that up to maybe ~2200. It won't be a big 1BR and the building might be crap, but I think there is at least a chance you could find something.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:32 PM on June 17, 2010


I moved from Brooklyn to Seattle. Don't live in Chelsea if you like Fremont, Ballard, or Capitol Hill. Live in Brooklyn (I got real sick of living in Williamsburg, but it has its upsides). You are going to be living in a very small apartment in Manhattan for that money. $2000 down the F line to Carroll Gardens, Park Slope -- or down the 2 to Brooklyn Heights or Prospect Heights -- or down the A to Boerum Hill -- will get you a lot closer to those 700 sq ft you've been enjoying in Seattle. And they're all within a ~20 minute subway ride of 8th & 14th. (A few more mins for Prospect Heights or Park Slope.)

But hey, I'm one of those people who is a crank about Manhattan. There are a lot of us.
posted by zvs at 7:24 PM on June 17, 2010

Hell's Kitchen is a fine place to live, but yeah, the apartments are mostly 19th-century garbage. Or super-expensive ones in high rises.
posted by zvs at 7:25 PM on June 17, 2010

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