New Yorkers by and large elude categorization. But unfortunately, despite whatever predilections and self-determination may have attracted us to this city of Something for Everyone, real estate here is a totalitarian bitch, and there’s really just like, a dozen or so apartments for everyone. Unless you're a Wall St one-percenter, you've definitely found yourself in at least one (if not all) of these living situations while living in NYC. Hey, at least it's not Florida.
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You moved to New York with $1,000, a darling understanding of your aspired-to industry, and the sweetly naive expectation that you’d find an apartment in a weekend. The harsh reality hits early on, but at least you have your best friend from kindergarten/distant cousin/college bae to accommodate you while you check just how much you can lower your monthly student-loan payments.
The Suspiciously Cheap Flatbush Apartment
The Craigslist ad said Prospect Heights, and a year into your NYC tenure, you weren’t yet jaded enough to have turned fact-checking into a daily compulsion. There’s also the sub-$700 rent -- a miracle! You knew you had to act fast. Now here you are, falling asleep to your upstairs neighbor’s DIY mixtape, your roommate’s active love life (because what’s a wall?), and the sound of your suburban-bred trust shattering into a million rat bite-size pieces.
The Bushwick Apartment With the Rooftop
No self-respecting 20-something with an Instagram following of at least 154 hasn’t lived here. Your actual room might have window bars and prison-cell lighting, but the rooftop is the real reason you’re subletting the place anyway. Where else would you set up your gratuitous suntan-and-sangria and #nofilter sunset shots, or host your #brokelyf BYOB BYOF BYOJ birthday party?
Your Significant Other’s Bedroom
Real estate might be expensive in New York City, but you know what isn’t? Love. Love is priceless, and in this case comes with your very own half of a full-size IKEA bed, and a longer-than-intended courtship.
The Overpriced Upper West Side Modified Two-Bedroom
So, you accepted that your and yours’ shared affection for takeout sushi salad wasn’t enough to sustain your relationship beyond cuffing season, or maybe you decided “enough already” with the albino cockroaches crawling out of the toilet. Either way, you were suddenly struck with an indomitable impulse to move out -- at whatever cost, as soon as possible -- and that’s how you got stuck paying 60% of your monthly paycheck for your 7’ x 7’ fifth-floor Upper West Side walk-up. Zabar’s is great, but that lox bagel is pretty much the most you’ll be able to indulge in every week.
The Murray Hill Elevator Building
You’re a 20-something white male from Westchester working a Midtown analyst/consulting/finance job. You’ve got money, so you spend it on your 32nd-floor three-bedroom with your old frat bros, blowing the rest on your sick Saturday night pregames and equally sick ragers at one of 586 Irish pubs down the street. Everyone knows Murray Hill is bruh county at best, but using your one-two punch of fratty privilege and near-intravenous self-administration of well whiskey, you’re able to convince yourself this is a fine neighborhood to live in indeed.
The East Village Spot
It all happened so fast. Your dream tech/advertising company offered you a job with an “insanely high” salary -- you just had to move out within the month. Everyone was always talking about how amazing the East Village was, so you quickly signed a lease at the second spot your best friend in the city checked out. By the time you’re moved in, it’s too late to dispute the fact that the kitchen is the size of a single large plate and 2nd Ave on the weekends may as well be Murray Hill. At least you have everything you could possibly need outside your doorstep!
It has one thing off -- like excess street noise or a cramped bathroom -- but for some reason it doesn’t bother you. It’s affordable, a few manageable blocks from the train station, and spacious enough to accommodate your out-of-towners. Sure, the neighborhood hasn’t reached Crown Heights’ level of gentrification, but you prefer it this way. You won the Craigslist lottery and you’re holding on to your lease forever. Or at least until you move to Portland/San Francisco/Austin.
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Michelle No is a production assistant at Thrillist and living in New York has taught her you can complain about anything. Follow her on Twitter at @Michelle_No and Instagram at @MichelleNope.