Today I want to tell you about my apartment research in New York.
It was an unusual hot day of November when I began to look for the apartment which would host me for at least one year.
I had very clear ideas about this apartment: first of all I wanted natural light and street-facing windows (as a writer I often work from home and I love to watch what’s happening outside). Another fundamental requirement had to be a roomy, wide bathroom with surfaces I could use to store my toiletries and makeup. For what concerns the kitchen appliances I could have turned a blind eye: it wouldn’t have been a deal breaker if dishwasher, microwave and toaster weren’t brand new.
So, this day I go apartment hunting. I take the subway towards the estate agency to meet with my broker. She tells me she can show me lots of apartments and I am very excited.
Four apartments in, I start to believe that probably I have some problems with my English, perhaps I didn’t use the right words… Those apartments aren’t the ideal ones at all, they look more like garages with a hardwood floor.
I ask my broker for a break, I offer her a coffee at Starbucks, I take courage and I tell her that I won’t waste her time if the remaining apartments are going to look like the ones we already saw. She smiles, evidently my Italian personality is something I can’t hide; she explains me that New York is a super expensive city, and an apartment like the one I desired can’t be on the market for less than $4000/5000 per month in Manhattan.
Wait, what? In Italy, the basic requirements to call a place to live an “apartment” are an armored door, an even floor, a private washing machine and, I dare to say, an elevator! This is the baseline even for a very cheap apartment. The variables that can increase the price, apart from space and location, are the concierge, the building’s style and whether or not you have a balcony or a rooftop.
Suddenly I understand everything. This is the moment to put myself in a New York state of mind, to give up the idea of a fancy Central Park facing apartment. I have to face the tough reality that my budget doesn’t even get along with the private washing machine, dishwasher and roomy bathroom… At least I can still wish for natural light and street-facing windows.
It wasn’t easy at all to find an apartment in Manhattan, but now I’ve been living here for six months and I think that my bathroom, as small as it may be, is cozy, the creaking noises from the hardwood floor disappear if I turn the music on, and that doing the laundry in the basement isn’t that bad after all… You can meet very interesting people.