How to Rent a Top Floor Apartment in NYC
May 10, 2019 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Might be on the lookout for a new apartment in NYC in the future, and I've learned from past experience that I need to be on the top floor because people stomping above me drive me crazy. Great! But how do I search for one?

Apps like StreetEasy don't have, unfortunately, any sort of filter option or even an indicator as to the location of the apartment in the building. Do you know of any?

I was thinking of going to see any old apartment and then chatting with the broker to see if they could help me personalize a search. Would that work?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as to how to make my search pool wide and intentional. (Prefer a 1 BR no fee, and mostly looking in Brooklyn around Prospect Park, if that helps.)

Thank you in advance!
posted by knownassociate to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Top floor apartments in small buildings are often called "penthouses," even when they're grungy walkups, so that's one place to start. Another option to help you narrow down is by looking up the exact address on Streeteasy - it should have the building listed and how many floors there are.
posted by Mchelly at 7:10 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Top floor" (and also "garden unit," i.e. ground floor) are pretty common description words so if you can search descriptions and search Craiglist that may help.

(Alas, "penthouse" now just means "somewhat larger apartment on one of the higher floors.)

But I think you will need a broker actually to get this done, because the brokers certainly all know which are top-floor units. That may mean a fee.
posted by MattD at 8:05 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Streeteasy will (usually) list the number of stories and units in a building. And the apartment listing will (usually) tell something about where the unit is in the building. The broker or owner (usually) don’t want folks coming to see a unit if they’re not willing to consider a six floor walkup.

Streeteasy does include no fee rentals, though there are fewer with no fee.
posted by bilabial at 10:12 AM on May 10, 2019

So for example if the building has 6 floors and 24 apartments, then 6A and units 21-24 are going to be on the sixth floor. This gets a little interesting sometimes if units have been combined but not impossible.
posted by bilabial at 10:14 AM on May 10, 2019

Yes, back out to the building listing and it will list the number of stories and the number of units. You can usually make an informed deduction from that. That's not as handy as filtering, of course.
posted by praemunire at 11:22 AM on May 10, 2019

I personally would just use a broker because apartment hunting in the city is such a tedious nightmare already without specifications, but as an aside: another possibility for no stompers directly above you is a ground floor/first floor duplex where the bedroom is in the bottom half, leaving the second floor of the duplex as the stomping buffer zone between you and the people upstairs. This is my current living situation and my landlord in the duplex below me thinks I am the ideal most quiet tenant when in fact I am up at 3am shouting at the playstation.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:59 AM on May 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thank you for these ideas! One other question: how would you be able to tell which apartment was which, based on the letter and number? My current apartment goes by letter for floor (5D wouldn’t be the fifth floor; it would be the fourth because of “D”) — is that usually the norm?

posted by knownassociate at 6:59 AM on May 11, 2019

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