City Stories

Start forwarding the mail

I jetted off to New York last week on an apartment hunting mission, and much as I would’ve enjoyed blogging the play-by-play, it’s probably for the best that you weren’t along for the emotional roller coaster of those five days. It went something like this…

I prepped for the trip in every way imaginable, reading How To Rent guides, scouring Craigslist and a half dozen other sites to see what I’d be able to afford, contacting brokers I thought might be able to help in my search, and annoying friends who live/have lived there with my incessant questions and concerns. I don’t do well with not knowing how things will turn out, after all.

On Saturday, I got into town early enough to zip over to a meeting with one broker who, though she sounded promising, ended up pawning me off to associates who made no bones about the fact that they don’t “deal with a lot of clients on your budget” and definitely “don’t go into listings in Brooklyn.” OK, then.

Disappointed but not deterred, I spent my Saturday night back on Craigslist – if I couldn’t find a broker willing to dig up the gem of an apartment I knew was out there waiting for me, I’d find it myself. By the end of the night, I had three viewings set up for Sunday.

I knew when I walked into the apartment in Manhattan that it would be mine. I knew it. Super small, I didn’t let the size distract me from the updated kitchen, the adorable bathroom (full bath!) and the charm of the sunlight spilling onto the hardwood floors. But realizing I hadn’t seen much yet, I kept my appointment to see another studio in Brooklyn, Fort Greene area. Similar in size, cost and amenities, I had a dilemma on my hands. I spent time that afternoon sitting in the park weighing my options. How would I know which one to pick?

That night, I met up with friends who were gracious enough to let me talk the whole thing out. And what they said that night confirmed my decision – I’ll end up in the boroughs like everyone else, they said. All things considered, might as well dive head first into my Manhattan experience, if only for a year, and live it up. Everyone’s had their Manhattan experience. Might as well get mine.

I applied for the apartment on Monday morning, though I kept the Brooklyn one on hand in case it didn’t work out. While I waited to hear back, I had to run pick up new shoes – the flats I’d brought were not cutting it in the rain and my feet were drenched. I saw a wooden L sitting on the counter on my way to the cashier and snapped it up. It’d be decorating my new apartment, whichever one it I happened to land.

With news I’d been approved for the Manhattan studio, I signed the lease that afternoon and the keys were mine as soon as the paperwork was complete. Just like that, I’m officially a resident at Addison Hall on 57th Street – three blocks from Columbus Circle and Central Park, six blocks from Lincoln Center Plaza and just a few subway stops from my new office.


I’m choosing not to think about the exorbitant rent at the moment and the inevitable shoestring budget I’ll be living on as a result. Instead, I’m focusing on sorting out which Trader Joe’s I’ll shop at, discovering my favorite bench in Central Park for lazy summer evenings reading and people watching, and determining which bodega to adopt as my morning coffee stop. Thanks to a new apartment I’m utterly in love with, I think I’ll slip into a New York state of mind fairly easily indeed.