Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Is Manhattan Better For Me Than Brooklyn?

In my post on Friday, I left off with the phone ringing. My broker was calling me back. It was my attempt at a cliffhanger. Did it work? No? Oh well.

When we left the broker’s office, we were expecting to hear from her at some point in the next day. My father had a plan for this. He wanted us to go start seeing the other apartments, and hopefully find one I could live in.

Then, when the broker called, I was supposed to let it go to voicemail. When she called back to say whether or not I’d gotten the apartment, I would take that information; compare it to the potential new place. And then we’d make a decision on where I was going to live.

All that sounded really complicated to me. I just wanted the nice 1 bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn brownstone. I wanted the place I had put a deposit down for.

But I also wanted to make sure I was getting the right place for me. And I wanted to be sure I would prefer Brooklyn over Manhattan. So we kept the appointment to go look at apartments in Manhattan.

Before we could keep this appointment though, the Brooklyn broker called me. I decided just to answer the phone since it was still the same day. She let me know the landlord had accepted my application. I didn’t know it was even possible for them to assess my financial status that quickly, but I really didn’t care.

No one except me cared for the broker. But everyone got a good vibe from the landlord, so it was nice to know the place was mine if I wanted it. As I was sitting there confused about how to proceed, she let know that the lease signing was going to be Wednesday at 4pm. It was still Monday at this point, so that worked just fine for me.

We would have time to look at the Manhattan apartments and make a firm decision before I’d have to sign the lease. So off we went to Manhattan. Driving from Staten Island to Manhattan is no simple task. Especially when there is constant construction everywhere.

So we took the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, then took the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. I don’t even want to think about how much all of that back and forth cost. The one good thing is the total distance traveled isn’t that much, so we only filled up on gas once that I know of.

The Manhattan broker’s office is in Midtown (think: Times Square), so there was nowhere to park. My dads dropped me and my best friend off and we headed upstairs to find out what apartments we were going to see that day.

When we got upstairs, there was a lot of waiting. I filled out the paperwork so they could get me in the system, then they proceeded to tell me that my broker was running late. This was after leaving me sitting there for ten minutes saying she would be right with me.

When they finally me back, there was this oil slick (but rather good-looking) man who said he was her assistant and would help me because she was running late.

It was just so weird the way everyone described her lateness. It wasn’t like she was out showing apartments to someone else. Their tone, facial expressions, and demeanor had me writing a backstory for this woman who was quite awful.

In my head, she was on her way to work, but then got a “you busy?” text from her drug dealer/f*^k buddy. She immediately hopped off the subway and went to his place downtown. They thought she was on her way to work but she took and 8-ball detour.

I know that’s crazy, but their tone was crazy. They made it seem like she just dipped off before they could come up with a good cover story why she wasn’t there and no one could be bothered to give any of the reasonable excuses: something came up, she’s showing apartments, she got called into and impromptu meeting. Something, you know?

Either way, I’m there and I’m giving the guy my information about what type of apartment I’m looking for. Information that I’d already given to the lady broker I was there to see. I give him my price point, which is painfully low for Manhattan (no more than $1400/month).

He asks if it’s negotiable, and I tell him no. The husband has a firm ceiling on what type of rent we’ll pay. When a woman looking for apartments mentions a husband that’s not there who has a firm ceiling, I would think that would make them stick to the ceiling. He didn’t question it anymore and we moved on.

He calls over this other man and hands him a list he’s just printed off. The list has several apartments available in my price range. They are pretty much all in Washington Heights, which sucked because I at least wanted to see some part of Harlem. But that day, there wasn’t anything in Harlem I could afford.

He lets me know we’re going to hop on the train and go look at the first place. It was all the way by the 191st Street exit. I called my dads to let them know we were getting on the train and gave them the address to meet us there.

We missed the train because these tourists were occupying all the metro card purchasing machines. When we finally get to the platform, the train that’s supposed to come every 10 minutes didn’t come for over 20 minutes. And it was so hot!

Did I mention there was a serious heat wave this whole week? It was pretty much all over the country so you all know how crazy it was with the heat. Imagine a heat index of 100 degrees. Now put that heat underground with trains generating more heat. Now turn off the air conditioning. Yeah, it was like that.

So the train finally comes, and we’re sitting there hot as hell. No AC on this train car. After about two minutes, we move to the next car. No AC there either.

Both my best friend and the broker man are telling me that they’ve both only ever encountered a train with no AC once before in NYC. We got off at the next stop and waited for the next train which came almost immediately. Thankfully, this one was well conditioned, and practically empty since it was so close behind another train.

The ride up to 191st was quite far, but we made it there. Then we had a lot of walking to do. At this point, it basically high noon, and we’re walking back and forth up the street looking for this address that doesn’t properly correspond to the addresses around it.

We found the apartment building entrance and head up to the apartment on the elevator. We walked in and the place was pretty nice. There are a ton of cabinets in the kitchen and the appliances are all brand new. The bedroom is huge and the bathroom is pretty spacious as well.

As I looked around, I realized I was planning for how I would live in this space. It seemed really nice and a place I could really make a home in. I was trying to figure out if I could really pick this place over my already-beloved Brooklyn brownstone.

Then it hit. This apartment was a glorified studio. The reason the bedroom was so large is because there was basically only the bedroom. The living area, actually, the “living area” was basically a foyer. I’d have to go to Ikea to get one of those funky pieced together seating things. But realistically, the only thing that could fit in there is a coat rack and an umbrella rack.

After that, I didn’t have to worry. It was easy to say no to an apartment with no separate spaces. I’m going to be working nights once I’m off training and I’m married to a musician. I need to be in a separate space so I can sleep while he practices during the day.

If they cut the bedroom in half, they could’ve made a reasonable sized living room. But they didn’t. So we moved on.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the rest of the Manhattan apartments. There was the apartment with the clothesline, the one with the crooked cabinets, the one where the lady yelled at us the second we walked in, the one that screamed please-rob-me. Oh, and the one we couldn’t even get into.

My apartment hunt was intense y’all. But we’re almost through it.

6 responses

  1. I’m biting nails here!

    July 31, 2013 at 13:27

    • Lol, really? I can’t believe anyone is actually that interested in these long ass apartment hunting blog posts and I’ve decided you’re pulling my leg.

      August 1, 2013 at 09:12

      • I have this need to finish things, so I’m very serious. Well, serious that I want to know what happened, but I still have all my nails.

        August 2, 2013 at 15:02

        • Lol, you crack me up. Even your comments crack me up!

          August 2, 2013 at 17:10

  2. I have visited both and I believe Manhattan is the better place. Only my personal preference though. x

    August 1, 2013 at 05:55

    • I love them both! Money made the decision for me though.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:07