I don't even know what a broker fee is...
January 8, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

My husband got a new job in NYC! I know nothing about the city, and will have only 1 day to look at apartments. Where should we focus our search?

My husband got a new job in NYC. It's with a small company located somewhere just outside the Meatpacking District. Currently we live in the middle of nowhere in the midwest. The company has been kind enough to fly us out to look at apartments, but the way our schedules line up we'll get one day to look around. I visited there a few times as a tourist, and my husband has only been there twice, both times for interviews, so effectively we know nothing about the city besides what we have been reading on the internet. We're having trouble narrowing down which communities to look in. A little bit about us:

1. We prefer staying at home to going out. I'd like to get out and do museum-y things on the weekend, but most of the things we like to do are at home. Usually we have people over rather than meeting them out somewhere.
2. My husband has a car. He loves his car. He knows he probably won't be able to drive it as much, but he would like to keep it and for it to be parked somewhere safe. It's a pretty high-end car (think Mercedes), so it would likely be a target in certain neighborhoods.
3. We're nerdy, and we don't drink, so thing Magic the Gathering and bookstores versus bars and clubs.
4. We have a Jack Russel Terrier who loves to get out and socialize.
5. We can pay ~$2,650/month for rent + utilities, but we'd prefer to keep it under $2,000.
6. We must live alone. This and the dog are the only two things that aren't negotiable.

I know Manhattan probably isn't for us. We've been looking into nearby places like Hoboken, but there are so many communities that it's getting pretty confusing to try to figure out things like commute and culture. My husband is also willing to add a short commute and live outside the city, but I know where to start looking around there even less. Since we only have one day to look in person, it would be great to have some suggestions as to which communities to focus on.
posted by kryppuk to Home & Garden (47 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Astoria (in Queens) is a great place to live, cheaper and with good shopping, and close to a few subway lines that can get you right into midtown. You can often park there, though you'll probably want to research various neighborhood safety options. I have many friends who live in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn - see below for looking at subway options - but that seems cheaper and has parking. Hoboken I think is variable in terms of cost and ease of commuting - check out also Jersey City.

I would look for: near the subway. See if you can determine which subways go to his work, and look in areas that are near or connect to those lines. This can make a big happiness different. The farther away from Manhattan you go on the line, the cheaper rent will get. You can try Hopstop for transit directions - or even Google. City crime stats - all boroughs and precincts - should be available here. I can't help much with gaming in those areas, but there is NerdNYC and Meetups for gaming (and I'm an NYC gamer), so it shouldn't be too hard to make those connections!)

Oh, er - Congrats to the husband!
posted by mccn at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Some areas you could probably get away with trying to do a 1 day appt/house hunt...the NYC metro area? Really wouldn't recommend it.

Is there any way you could get a place at an extended stay hotel/motel for a month or so to give you more time to look?
posted by Captain_Science at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

What you should do is find a rental agency that handles short-term sublets, and pay the broker's fee. You should rent an affordable and convenient (I know, sometimes mutually exclusive) apartment for 6 months.

During those 6 months, you should spend time wandering around the city and deciding where you want to live permanently.

Do not attempt to find a place in NYC in one day. This is such an appalling suggestion that I almost had to go lie down on the floor and whimper before answering this question.
posted by elizardbits at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2013 [62 favorites]

Could you be a little more precise about what "add a short commute" means, in specific numbers of minutes? Your options are going to grow and shrink dramatically depending on what you consider an acceptable commute.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2013

Also, here is a longer-term stay option that my family has used, and liked, as per the other posters above.
posted by mccn at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2013

5. We can pay ~$2,650/month for rent + utilities, but we'd prefer to keep it under $2,000.

You can live practically anywhere you want in Brooklyn or Queens, which will make your life a lot easier than living in Hoboken. I'd default to Park Slope (in Brooklyn), honestly, just because you have the best chance of finding a nice space in the limited amount of time, and you have a pretty healthy budget. Look for apartments in buildings that specifically have private garages if you're concerned, but parking on the street is relatively safe if you're in a safe neighborhood.
posted by griphus at 9:55 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I might keep looking at places like Hoboken (and Edgewater, Fort Lee, etc); I think you could find something well within your budget, keep a decent commute for your husband (particularly if he's willing to travel via ferry, which several of those communities offer easy access to), and have a quiet home lief.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:55 AM on January 8, 2013

Also, do you only have a day to LOOK at apartments? Or a day to GET an apartment? Because short of showing up with six to twelve months rent in hard cash, getting an apartment is a several-month-long process.
posted by griphus at 9:56 AM on January 8, 2013

Probably 1.5 hours total commute would be tops, although for a good place he would do 2.

We really don't have more than this day. Everything is happening fairly quickly, and we're already investing a lot of money into this move (even though we got a decent relocation package too). We might look into a short term rental, but that's definitely not the preferred option.
posted by kryppuk at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2013

We might look into a short term rental, but that's definitely not the preferred option.

It is far better to be stuck with a 3-6 month lease somewhere you're not thrilled with while having the option to find something far better in the interim than it is to commit to a full year or more virtually sight unseen. Moving here from somewhere "in the middle of nowhere" is a huge, huge change and you cannot begin to imagine all the new and exciting ways that the ~7 million people here can make you miserable in your own home.
posted by elizardbits at 10:00 AM on January 8, 2013 [20 favorites]

I can't actually think of anywhere 1.5 hours outside of the Meatpacking district that is still within the five boroughs and somewhere you'd actually want to live, so you're totally safe on that front.

I suggest the short-term rental. Signing a lease on a shithole -- and there are lots, and lots, and lots of shithole apartments even in the "best" neighborhoods -- because you did not have time to properly search is a lot worse than paying a little extra to move again.
posted by griphus at 10:00 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hurricane Sandy has made the normally insane rental market in New York REALLY insane.

You won't want to drive into the city on a daily basis, what you'll spend on parking and such will be cripplingly expensive.

Were I you, I'd get a sublet for a couple of months (look on Craigslist or airbnb) or an Executive Housing suite, just to get my bearings and to find out what's what. I would HATE to have to see inventory and make a decision in just a day. It's not realistic!

That said, here are some buildings with their own management companies that have units in your price range.

Hoboken is cute, Jersey City is a good commute and has lots and lots of condos to rent. I like the Hudson Heights section of Manhattan. It's pretty far north, but I love the neighborhood's pre-war, cheap apartments.

As mentioned above, Astoria, Queens is very nice (Husbunny lived there when he was in NYC.) Brooklyn has lots of fun places, but again, everything in NY is so neighborhood specific!

You need time. You're not looking for year lease on your 1 day jaunt to the Big Apple, you're looking for temporary housing.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:00 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

One day to look.

The actual move will happen some time in March or April (depending on a few factors). My husband and I are both wrapping up our masters, hence the busy schedule. We're off to NYC right after that.

/done threadsitting
posted by kryppuk at 10:01 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

$2650 is FINE for Manhattan. I live in a ritzy part of the Upper West Side and 1 bedroom apartments in my building go for just a bit more than that. I think you'll find that the convenience of living in Manhattan is a HUGE plus. Commuting from a borough or NJ (I've done both) is just terrible, in comparison.

I would suggest subletting somewhere for 3 months and then finding a permanent place this summer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

One day to look.

Do you know anyone in NYC who can act as a proxy for you? Without, at the very least, being able to run potential apartments by the bedbug infestation and sociopath landlord databases, you can screw yourself bigtime.
posted by griphus at 10:03 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, I forgot to add that one day is not going to be sufficient to look. Definitely find a proxy or something.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:05 AM on January 8, 2013

Also it is prolly a good idea to contact your husband's new coworkers and ask them if they have any recommendations!
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on January 8, 2013

You might check out Roosevelt Island too. Plenty of dog-walking space there.
posted by mareli at 10:05 AM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]

Is there anyone at the company who can help you with this? It's really not reasonable to have one day to find an apartment anywhere, and especially not in NYC.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:06 AM on January 8, 2013

Just to suggest something different: I had a bright airy spacious studio in NoHo for a little under $2,500 (2 years ago) that was pet friendly. On nice days I used to walk to work, which it looks like you'd be able to do as well. I realize that would be a radical change but I'd at least consider it.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:06 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, if you have very, very little time to find a habitable place, limit your search to postwar buildings or, preferably, buildings built in the last 30-40 years. If you don't have the time to find out if the beautiful brownstone you want to move into has walls made of sheetrock and particle board and the plumbing and wiring haven't been so much as looked at since they've been put in, you may as well put your trust in modern building practices.
posted by griphus at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2013

May 1 is historically Moving Day.

A bit of interesting trivia, that may explain a lot of weirdness.

And now you know the provinence of Mountain Greenery's first line, "On the first of May it's a moving day;spring is here, so blow your job-throw your job away..."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

this tool is fantastic for figuring out what neighborhoods are going to be best for your husband in terms of his commute; you can enter any address and it'll show you the commute times for the rest of NYC (though it doesn't include NJ). It shows a 40-minute (or less) commute from Astoria, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Heights. I am not too up on rents these days outside of my immediate area, but I imagine you could get a quite nice apartment there for what you have to spend.

It's been years since I lived in Williamsburg, but it does have twenty-sided store which is good for M:TG and other assorted nerdery.

And I don't want to pile on with the 'not enough time' thing, but even if you find an apartment in one day it is going to take time to submit an application, wait for the landlord to get back to you, sign the lease, etc.

Bring all the financial stuff you can-- bank statements, a letter of employment from your husband's new company, pay stubs, etc. You will need some confirmation of income (typically 40x rent)
posted by matcha action at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are really dead-set on looking for the forever home only in one day -

You want a neighborhood with convenient access to either the A or C subway, or the L subway. Those are the subways that concievably get you closest to the Meatpacking District. Neighborhoods to concentrate on, given those subways, are:

* DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, or Downtown Brooklyn are all near the A and C lines.
* Williamsburg, East Williamsburg and Bushwick are all nearest the L train.

Those are all neighborhoods that are "nice enough" for safety for the car, but still spacious enough that you could reasonably find parking. In Clinton Hill, especially, you can park your car under the Brooklyn-Queens Overpass (the only catch is, you'd have to move it from one side of the parking lot to the other side every night - the street cleaning crews are a little crazy out here).

You would easily find an apartment for that amount of money per month in many of these neighborhoods (I am in Clinton Hill and my two-bedroom apartment is less than that). With the exception of Williamsburg, a lot of these neighborhoods are also a little slower-paced than Manhattan.

Finally, the commute from these neighborhoods would be a lot shorter than 2 hours. I commute from Clinton Hill to Midtown (further north in Manhattan than you are) and it takes only about 45 minutes. You could look even further out if you'd like, but you may be a little discomfited by the neighborhoods.

Although I agree with everyone that finding a few months' sublet first is a much smarter way to do things, as opposed to jumping into New York totally blind. We are all telling you things, yes, but just because we say a thing is true doesn't mean you'll agree with us (you may really love a neighborhood I wouldn't stand, and you may hate a neighborhood I've recommended for a reason you haven't forseen).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

One more vote for finding a short term sublet. Yes, it will mean "moving twice", and maybe you'll have to store some of your stuff in the meantime, but it's really the only way you will find a place that you will enjoy living, and maximize your living budget. If you restrict yourself to one day (as opposed to, say, a week). You can only look at those few things that are available to show at that moment. Which is a miniscule number of apartments on any given day.
posted by kimdog at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2013

Last thing: it is perfectly possible for you to look at six or seven apartments in a day, apply for all of them, and not get accepted at a single one. Keep that in mind when making plans as to how to pull this off.
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2013 [17 favorites]

Agree with everything elizardbits has said.

Finding an apartment in one day is completely unrealistic and impossible. It's not going to happen. Leave that thought behind. Even beyond the question of the cultural transition of figuring out the city. It's just not a feasible thing to plan on doing, period. What happens if you hate every place you see? What happens if you apply to every place you see, but you don't get any of them? Shit, what happens if the broker has an emergency and has to cancel on your one available day?

For neighborhood ideas in general, I think the Park Slope and Cobble Hill suggestions were spot on. They're both nice docile neighborhoods that are beautiful and full of fun stuff to do, and which will be a soft landing from Middle Of Nowhere. They're on a subway line that gets your husband reasonably close to the Meat Packing District in a reasonable amount of time (under 40 minutes each way, depending on how far west his office is). Parking can be tricky in the Slope, but it's not really that bad.

If you hope to keep your car, your best bets are either to make peace with street parking (get your parallel skills up to par, get used to parking a few blocks away from your apartment, familiarize yourself with opposite side parking rules) or to pay to store it in a garage.
posted by Sara C. at 10:34 AM on January 8, 2013 [9 favorites]

Well, it's really an apartment size/style of life issue, as you could get a lot of different options at your price point.

My two cents: I lived in Astoria for 3 years and commuted like 35-45 minutes everyday on the 46th R stop to Union Square. I had 2 roommates, and combined we paid $2000 for a spacious 3 bedroom apartment in 2009, with my cat, that was 1 block from the train station. I liked living off of the R as, you can see on the map, that line intersects with many other lines and takes you right into mid-manhattan where there are many cultural sights in easy traveling distance. My live in bf and I went to MOMA and the Met all the time, as he was an artist at the time, and both are just an easy 20-30 minute hop away.

Also, it is unclear exactly where your husband works in Meatpacking, but he could easily get to the L/123 and even ACE through the Times Square tunnel to 42nd. I commuted to Columbia 3x a week as a research assistant, and took that tunnel regularly to switch lines. Astoria also is a burgeoning area with many new restaurants and cafes, and has a very neighborhoody vibe, so if you want to stay close to home but get dinner, it's good for that too. The local food is quite diverse - authentic Greek, Brazilian, Polish, etc. and we fell in love with several new cuisines through living there. I would particularly recommend the 30th Avenue stop off of the N as a cultural center in Astoria. My roommate also kept a car for two years, our apartment did not include a space but she rented one for an extra $150 from a neighbor.

Lastly, if it's late and you ever want to cab it home from midtown, I'd usually pay $15, which is significantly cheaper than my friends did who were out there in Brooklyn. Also, several of my friends who stayed are raising kids. Astoria tends to be kid/family friendly, and there are local networks of fulltime moms. I don't know if that's on the horizon, but might be something to consider.

I have not been back since Hurricane Sandy, and I understand that some of Astoria was hit hard. However, none of my friends who still live there have left, and I understand that there is just rebuilding happening. However, I don't know how that would affect the local rental market.

Anyway, I 2nd (?) 3rd (?) Astoria as being a really good option given your needs.
posted by amileighs at 10:37 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

When are you coming to look? Keep in mind that apartments go quickly, and you will absolutely not find a landlord willing to hold an apartment vacant for you; if you want to move in April, you'll need to look in March.

There is no such thing as ideal when it comes to NYC real estate. There will be tradeoffs no matter what, and you won't know which ones are important to you until you're here. Trying to do this in one day is basically setting yourself up for a ton of stress and frustration. Absolutely agree with the short term rental suggestions, and sticking near the ACE and L trains.

Can you put your stuff in storage and have someone look after your dog for at least a week while you look? I actually live close to where your husband will be working and will need a car sitter for 10 days in March -- MeMail if you want to discuss.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:38 AM on January 8, 2013

if you want to move in April, you'll need to look in March

Oh yes, resign yourself now to starting your lease whenever the apartment is available and not when YOU are available.
posted by elizardbits at 10:40 AM on January 8, 2013

Listening to everyone's advice - I just convinced my parents to go look on our behalf for a few days as well, but it's a 4 hour commute so they can't just pop up there whenever they want.

We're open to letting the apartment sit unoccupied for a few months. That's covered by our relocation package.
posted by kryppuk at 10:46 AM on January 8, 2013

In that case, I would suggest your parents spending 3-4 days here immediately before you arrive, and narrowing your options down. But they should be armed with a checkbook in case they need to put a deposit down immediately, even if it's sight unseen on your part.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:49 AM on January 8, 2013

What roomthreeseventeen said - your parents need to be prepared to move on available apartments IMMEDIATELY, which means cash and documentation.
posted by lalex at 10:51 AM on January 8, 2013

I live in Hoboken and we really enjoy it, but I don't know if it's your ideal spot. For one thing, none of the commute options (PATH train, ferry, bus through Lincoln tunnel) seem like they get all that close to the Meatpacking District.

If you're willing/able to walk to the job from the Christopher St PATH station, then that might be different. The PATH is much much nicer than the subway and since Hoboken is the final stop on this end, it's easier to catch the train as it sits there for a few minutes.

The other issue is that Hoboken attracts a younger bar crowd and it can get loud, especially on weekends.
posted by cali59 at 10:51 AM on January 8, 2013

If you hope to keep your car, your best bets are either to make peace with street parking (get your parallel skills up to par, get used to parking a few blocks away from your apartment, familiarize yourself with opposite side parking rules) or to pay to store it in a garage.

I would suggest a garage. It seems like a nice car important to your husband, and my roommate doesn't call street parking "bumper cars" for nothing.
posted by andrewesque at 10:58 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eh, in years of parking brand new rented company cars in Brooklyn, I never had a problem with it. But you're right that it's yet another element of culture shock and stress. If they can afford it, a garage would be best.

OP, if you can bring your apartment budget down by $300-400, you can easily have a monthly parking spot near wherever you ultimately live.
posted by Sara C. at 11:07 AM on January 8, 2013

I know nothing about NYC but just have to recommend the padmapper app if you have a smartphone. Shows you apartments near by that fit your criteria with links to the ads. I have moved about 30 times in my life and for my most recent move padmapper was a godsend!
posted by Pademelon at 11:18 AM on January 8, 2013

I agree that Park Slope would be great for you--nice pretty quiet neighborhood, and near Prospect Park for your dog. Or Brooklyn Heights, where your husband can commute on the A/C trains and there are also parks.
I also would tell you not to rule out Manhattan on your budget, though of course it would be more difficult to have a car. I think you can afford to live closer to the Meatpacking District than Astoria/Clinton Hill/etc if you want to.
posted by mlle valentine at 12:15 PM on January 8, 2013

(I should add that a lot of apartments won't let you have dogs; that is another reason why everyone's spot-on about needing more than a day to look at places. Good luck!)
posted by mlle valentine at 12:19 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

An apartment building around the corner from me has listings available and claims to have on-site parking. This is a nice, safe, inexpensive neighborhood (Sunset Park) and an easy commute into Manhattan -- you can check out the site here.

More generally speaking: there are tons of new construction apartment buildings in Park Slope and Greenwood Heights in Brooklyn, some of which have private garages and many of which are friendly to dogs. Most of them are between 4th and 5th avenue, starting at Atlantic Ave and running south all the way to around 36th street -- the further north, the more expensive and the denser the concentration of buildings. However, I have no idea how hard it is to land one of those apartments.

I'm up in that neighborhood often, and would be happy to write down some URLs and phone numbers for specific, promising-looking buildings if it can wait a couple of days. Feel free to memail me.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:27 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding what others have said about the impossibility of finding an apartment in NYC in one day. However, if you do enough advance preparation work, you may be able to make an apartment decision in one day after seeing it in person, or at least get the ball rolling enough that you can finish the process remotely. In fact, as you'll see, the real estate market moves so quickly in NYC that you might only have a day to make decisions anyway, no matter how much time you budget.

For starters, you'll need to figure out what borough and if possible what neighborhood you want to live in. A lot of people moving to NYC don't tend to appreciate how huge it is or how much variation there is between different areas. Brooklyn by itself has 2.5 million people, meaning it's about the same size of Chicago with as many different neighborhoods, and that's just one of the five boroughs! If you throw in Hoboken or other places in New Jersey as options, that's a ridiculously large area to cover.

It's good that you've already ruled out Manhattan. You sound like Brooklyn people to me (at least you sound like me, and I live in Brooklyn) or maybe Astoria, Queens people, but you'll be able to find plenty of opinions about that from other people. As a first pass, you might check out Nate Silver's New York Livability Calculator and the accompanying article about his choice of neighborhoods when moving to New York. It allows you to put in different weights on various factors (affordability, night-life, etc.) and then ranks the neighborhoods based on some data sources. It's a couple of years old and may be a little out-of-date, but generally I think it's a good resource.

Once you know generally where you want to look and how much you want to pay (and the basic features you're looking for--number of bedrooms, needs to be dog-friendly, elevator, doorman, parking, etc.), you can start contacting brokers. Check out craigslist or padmapper but don't expect those apartments to necessarily be available; stuff changes quickly and the information may be out-of-date. Just use it to find brokers with listings in the neighborhood(s) you like. Once you talk to them, they'll ask you all the same questions about what you're looking for and then start recommending places for you, including places that may not be available right away because they're being renovated or whatever, which is OK because you have some time before you move. Generally think about doing this about a month before you're ready to make a decision.

If something sounds appealing and you have a good sense about the broker, try to get as many photos as you can of the building and the unit. Even better, get a floorplan with measurements. Check out the street on Google Streetview and do a "virtual tour" around the block. You'll be able to figure out a lot without having to physically be there: Is there parking nearby? How far is the subway and what lines are there? Where are the nearest grocery, pizza place, and dog park? Is it near a large and busy street? What kind of condition is the building in? Etc., etc.

I'd say if you can get the list down to a handful of places, maybe 5-6 depending on how spread out they are, you should be able to schedule appointments to go see them with the broker or brokers when you're in town. Really check them out thoroughly while you're there, though, because you may only get one chance: ask to see the laundry room, basement storage, garage, etc., and take plenty of photos, notes, and measurements. It's OK to work with multiple people, but be prepared to juggle your schedule if they or you have to cancel. In my experience, a lot of these appointments are re-scheduled at the last minute because apartments get rented, people get caught up with other appointments, or various other reasons. You'll want to have a smartphone with the padmapper app (or similar) so you can refer to listings, check your email, and look at maps as you go.

Definitely come prepared with all your paperwork, including your checkbook so you can put down a deposit for them to hold the apartment while your application gets processed. The rest you can finish by mail and/or fax if they require a signature. If you do all that and find a place you like, you might be able to get the whole thing settled with only one--extremely exhausting--day in the city.

Good luck!
posted by albrecht at 12:32 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is there a reason you are are so against a temporary setup? We were waaay less pickier about our needs and had a cat, and it still took us several weeks of looking not to end up in a dump/scary place/too far from the trains.

Putting stuff in storage and just moving into a temp place for a few months (especially if you can get one furnished) is going to give you so many more options. Personally, if your parents are not familiar with the city either, I don't see much advantage in making them schlep 4 hours and walk all over town looking for several days. Do they share your tastes and preferences that closely? (Mine would have no idea).

If you end up in a place you hate, you'll be moving again soon anyway, and a move after only one year is no less inconvenient than after only three months.
posted by emjaybee at 12:34 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

$2650 is FINE for Manhattan.

Yeah totally. For that you can live in the Upper West Side and park your car on the street (it won't get messed with as long as you move it 3 times a week) and pay much less. Live near central park around 86th St and he can take the BC to work is my recommendation.

That's what I did last year and even though I pay waaay too much for a tiny apartment I love it because it's so convenient and full of delightful stuff. I'll probably be moving somewhere else soon but hell, how many times do you get to move to Manhattan? Probably not that many. You can always move to Brooklyn once you know what it's like.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:37 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

> We might look into a short term rental, but that's definitely not the preferred option

We did that last time we moved cross-country, and it wasn't that bad -- and that was with a little kid. The moving company packed up our stuff in NYC and held on to it for us, while we flew to Seattle with some big suitcases and stayed in a furnished apartment for a few weeks. Once we found a house to rent, we called the moving company and they brought our stuff there. So don't think of it as moving twice; think of it as one slow move.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:21 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

When I lived in NY, I had a friends who had the most wonderful house in New Jersey, it was a rambling, charming ranch-style house, which even had a view of Manhattan because it was high on some hill. I know it is not cool, but with a job near the Meat Packing District, and habits that are distinctly not urban, I'd go looking on that side of the river. It would be a much shorter commute for your husband than from Brooklyn, and you be able to get out into the nature very rapidly on weekends and holidays.
posted by mumimor at 3:04 PM on January 8, 2013

We're open to letting the apartment sit unoccupied for a few months. That's covered by our relocation package.

I know nothing about NYC, but if the company is willing to pay rent on a vacant apartment, can you negotiate for them to cover part of the excess cost of a temporary apartment and/or the cost of having movers hold your stuff? It sounds from your first follow-up like you're worried about the expense of moving twice, but if the company is ok covering an empty apartment, they may cover this too if you ask.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 4:17 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Williamsburg, Brooklyn is perfect for you:

The car: You can live in a new building with garage parking in it, which will make you much happier with car ownership - no street parking, no commuting to your car. Believe me. (you will have to pay extra for parking, but probably not a ridiculous amount compared to Manhattan)

Dog: Your dog will love McCarren park which has both a small and large dog run, and allows dogs off leash in the park itself early in the morning (if your dog is good off leash). Lots of dog people here. The new buildings mostly seem to be pet-friendly also.

Looking in one day: there are lots and lots of new buildings with apartments available. Look at streeteasy and you can search for buildings in the location you are interested in. Many will have 1 or 2 available 1-bed apartments.

The commute: maybe 20 minutes to meatpacking and one train (L-train) that's really the best it can get aside from living walking distance.

Also there are great restaurants, etc. and a pretty decent farmer's market if that stuff is important. I'd look within near walking distance of McCarren park for the dog.
posted by rainydayfilms at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2013

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