Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Getting By in New York City

The New York Times is lately running lots of articles about the high cost of living in NYC. A May 10 article by Christine Haughney sums up my situation nicely:

As the apartment-hunting season begins, fueled by college graduates and other new arrivals, real estate brokers say radical solutions among young, well-educated newcomers to the city are becoming more common, because New York’s rental market is the tightest it has been in seven years. High-paid bankers and corporate lawyers snap up the few available apartments, often leading more modestly paid professionals and students to resort to desperate measures to find homes.

I fall into the “modestly paid professional” category. In my observation there are three types of people under 30 who live in “nice” Manhattan apartments:

1. Bankers & Lawyers who easily make more than $200k right out of college or law school

2. People who are subsidized with Daddy’s money

3. Modestly Paid Professionals who squeeze lots of people into apartment. For example: three or four people living in an apartment that was originally designed to be a one-bedroom

For the rest of us who want to live here, we have to fight with each other to live in conditions which would be considered squalor in any other city in this country. Demand is fierce and supply of apartments is severely constrained by too many rent-controlled apartments and lack of new buildings with “affordable” units.

To live in the East Village in a trendy neighborhood, I live in a 5th floor walkup, <500 style=""> We share a bathroom and our bedrooms are big enough for a bed and nothing else... including windows.

But I’m not complaining; I consider myself lucky to have such a great living situation. My roommates are awesome and my rent is less than $1,000 per month. How many people living in Manhattan can say that? Also, it allows me to live below my means and save money – things which are more important to me than living in a doorman building.

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