Bowery Hotel, View from Room 809

They say that making a joke of or laughing at a stressful situation can be very therapeutic. That is the point of this post. I hope you enjoy this comedic breakdown of the realities of apartment hunting in Manhattan. 

When looking for an apartment in Lower Manhattan always remember the following:

You’re paying for the lifestyle, not the space that you’re living in. The coolest people in the world live in Soho & The West Village, and the rent you pay to live in these areas is like the membership fee for being cool. It’s the prestige and accomplishment that comes with that location. You could basically put it on your resume as one of your greatest accomplishments. It’s impressive. Ironically, it has less to do with the outrageous amounts of cash you must fork over and more to do with the perseverance that it takes to get exactly what you want. THAT is the true resume builder.  

Our very simple and realistic parameters:

– Nothing above 14th Street.
– Nothing on or below Canal Street, unless it’s on a non-desolate street in TriBeCa.              
  I take that back, nothing below Broome Street.
– Nothing that is actually in Washington Square.
– Nothing on the eastern side of the Bowery.  
– Nothing on Broadway.
– In a perfect world, anything between Houston & Broome St. on the following streets:
   Wooster, Greene, Mercer, Spring, Prince, Mott, Elizabeth, Lafayette, Mulberry.
– Chinatown and Little Italy, you’re out!


The Rules 

Rule #1 Never look up what you could afford in another city for the amount that you plan on spending on rent in Manhattan. Just don’t do it. 

Rule #2 Whatever the top of your budget is for rent, add about $2,000 to that amount and then you’ll find the place that you thought you deserved for the original amount that you wanted to pay.

Rule #3 Prepare yourself: almost every apartment in lower Manhattan will require first and last months rent, plus security deposit. Oh, and a broker fee equal to 10% of the first year’s rent. (upwards of 40K just to move in!)

Rule #4 Whenever you feel like you’re spending a mil and should at least be able to get a washer/dryer in your unit… Think again! I guess they think if you can blow this much cash on an apartment than you can pay someone to fluff and fold… or you can buy a new pair of Thom Browne boxers everyday….or you can just go commando, cuz you’re that cool.

Rule #5 If something seems like it’s a good deal, you should be very skeptical. There’s no such thing as a good deal. Renting in Lower Manhattan is like gambling in Vegas, the house always wins. If you feel like something is a good deal: 

1) There will most likely be construction on every side of the building, about 4 feet from the window of the apartment, they start at 8am every morning, sound good? 
 2) If there happens to be no construction than there will probably be no light, the windows if any will be on the interior of the building. Time to get a sun lamp! 

  3) If the light is not a problem than it will probably be a Canal Street walk-up, you’re view         being the flashing red ‘check cashing’ lights, and when you exit the apartment building    you’ll have to swim through piles of knock off Louie’s, Rolex’s and cheetah print crop tops with matching mini skirts (I’m literally describing what I saw). BUT just one block north and you’re in Soho…right?…

Rule #6 Don’t give up! Again, this takes perseverance. Why do you think Lower Manhattanites wear so much camo and black, you have to be tough to make it here folks. Finding a place to rest your head is the first test, if you pass that, then you’re half way to be coming a true New Yorker. 

Rule #7 Hire Ben Scheck as your broker, because he’s awesome at his job and a pleasure to be around, not to mention he’s dealing with he must have the patience of a saint. We love you, Ben!!

Rule #8 If you’re not refreshing Street Easy at least 100 times a day, you’re not trying hard enough. Refresh more!

Tales From Our Apartment Hunting Journey…

Just when you think you’ve found the perfect place (two bed, two bath, light filled, gorgeously renovated corner unit, over sized wrought iron windows, Italian marble fireplace, chef’s kitchen) and above a Soul Cycle to boot!! Ok, ok , so with all of these positives you’re willing to forgo a washer/dryer in the unit. Fine. In the excitement of the moment you put in an application, only to realize when you return later to measure the place for your furniture that there are actually no closets…

Then you’ll find an older spacious corner unit (Lafayette St.) in the heart of Soho, and it will have bizarre built in platform beds made out of plywood that the owner will refuse to remove…

Or the place that’s a half block from the highline with a private patio that’s larger than the apartment itself, which by the way is the most modern design I’ve ever seen, with black and white striped walls. The bedrooms are on the basement level, but they do have skylight windows, so that all the surround apartments can look down and see everything  you’re doing…

What about the lovely Greene Street apartment, currently being used as a pied-a-terre by a couple from LA? Of course, the place gets little to no light and the kitchen is 5×5 feet… better used as a coat closet…

Then FINALLY you think after all of this searching, we’ve found it!! 99 Spring Street: the holy grail of Soho lofts. Complete with a large and open loft floor-plan, exposed brick, several skylights, 2 fireplaces AND the kicker: the top floor of the building is your very own private roof deck!!! The size of the entire apartment. Ahhh!! And just as you’re ready to touch your pen to your check book and stroke a check for the first and last months rent, security despot and broker fee. You ask if a 24 month lease would be possible because you love the place so much, at which time you’re told that the building is being torn down in 12 months to build a Niketown. A part of you dies…

In your weakened state you decide to look at a fairly priced apartment in the heart of Little Italy: vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, keyed elevator into the unit, view of the freedom tower, waterfall showers, and a positively delightful 1800 square feet. But don’t forget!! Every time you walk out of the apartment a man wearing a faux goat hair coat will be standing there heckling people into trying his ravioli, lasagna, linguine and clams, or maybe a little margarita pizza pie, at his fine Italian dining establishment…deal breaker…

Hopefully not to be continued…

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”           – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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