It’s the quintessential New York City dream. A single girl (or guy) from a small town moves to the big city in search of love, a successful career, and the perfect apartment. Well, after more than five years in NYC, I can tell you that “perfect” is nowhere on the list of prerequisites when it comes to NYC apartment hunting. In fact, all I’ve ever wanted is a clean, quiet place to live, sleep and work. Unfortunately, without going into too much detail, “quiet” can no longer be used to describe my living situation. So once my lease is up next spring, I’m planning on tackling yet another milestone – living alone in NYC.
I envy those people who have had the same roommates for years, sharing an apartment while everyone works on furthering their individual careers. For whatever reason, that’s never been the case for me. People go through career changes, get married, move, or have babies (as I type this, there’s a baby screaming in my living room). That’s the biggest downside of living with roommates in NYC – you’re constantly at the mercy of other people’s life decisions.
If you’re new to NYC or thinking of moving here, don’t let me discourage you from finding a roomie or two to help split the rent. It really can be a fantastic experience, and there’s no shortage of highly driven singletons who are too busy trying to accomplish lofty goals to be infringing on your personal space. (Actually, if you’re someone who fits that profile, feel free to contact me. We career girls need to stick together.)
The main reason why I’m planning to live alone in NYC is so that I can finally have some sense of stability. When you’re a “slashie” or “starving artist” such as myself, your entire life is constantly up in the air. It’d be nice to go through a lease renewal without the stress and anxiety that comes with wondering if I have to move.
Even when I moved into my current apartment, I had to scramble to make things happen within two weeks, as I wasn’t given proper notice from my last landlord. So if I’m lucky enough to find an apartment alone, even if it’s the size of a pencil box, at least I’ll be able to relax and know that I can stay there until I decide it’s time to move again (or the building gets sold).
Until recent events, I never even wanted to move, because I’m lucky enough to say that I live in my dream apartment. It’s a renovated elevator building with laundry in the basement, and I’m on the 15th floor with a balcony. Oh, and I’m across the street from Fairway and Two Little Red Hens bakery – what more could I want? If I had it my way, I’d randomly receive a huge royalty check from my music sales, pay the entire year upfront, convert the second bedroom into an office, and live alone. That would be NYC-style heaven.
Since that’s not how life works, I’m going to be in search of a studio apartment somewhere on the Upper East Side (I love my neighborhood), or at least on the East Side of Manhattan. I’ve been here long enough to know that I’ll probably have to compromise something, whether it’s having laundry in the building, my neighborhood, a huge chunk of square footage, or the convenience of an elevator. But on the bright side, at least I’ll be able to live according to my terms, no longer be burdened by other people’s life decisions, and I’ll still be living in NYC. At the end of the day, that spells “success” in my book.
If living alone in NYC isn’t for you, here’s how to be a good roommate. But sometimes, you have to ask if living with roommates is worth the hassle. And, here are some New York City apartment hunting hacks to help during your search.