No matter what apartment search site you use, a broker's promise of a "beautiful 1.5BR close to everything!!" will likely be revealed as an "infested .5BR close to indigents!!" Bypass the hucksters and find a broker you can trust with FlyRig.com.
A full-featured answer to rampant Craigslist chicanery, Rig's a GMap mashup that helps you find a pad while sussing the truthfulness of broker listings, which range from lies to damn lies. Search-wise, Rig filters not only by the usual criteria (price, beds, baths, amenities), but also by borough nabe -- and it lets you search the surrounding area for whatever conveniences you deem vital, like pizza places, or water parks. But the real deal's the ability to leave/read comments on specific listings ("actually near noisy club", "smells like burnt perm") or even the broker: "Tad from Citi Habitats, screw me again and you will be 'gut renovated' and 'filled with sunlight'".
Rig's brand new, Manhattan-only, and is currently limited to broker listings, but they'll soon expand to the outer boroughs and accept listings from owners -- which, dream of dreams, could ultimately leave brokers scrounging outside their "doorman-equipped junior 4" with their fellow indigents.