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My First New York Apartment

My first apartment in New York City was exactly the kind of place that you read about as the “first NYC apartment”. I shared a ‘two bedroom’ loft with a roommate. The first bedroom (mine) was a glorified closet. A room that I often thought I would use as a closet if I were ever able to afford this apartment alone. The second ‘bedroom’ was actually a room that we had sectioned off from the main area with several Ikea bookcases to create some semblance of privacy.

At first it was great. We didn’t care that we could hear EVERYTHING that the other person was doing, because we were living in an amazing loft in New York. In time, it became annoying that there was little privacy and was especially difficult as we entered into relationships. In the end, we chose to go separate ways, both moving into more ‘grown up apartments’.

But, I can honestly say that I learned some very valuable lessons from this first city experience. For example, I learned how to make the most out of a limited space (think bedroom that doubles as walk-in closet—thank you Ikea!), the importance of being nice to your super (so that he will come fix the leak in you ceiling on a Saturday morning!) and, that for better or worse, you will get to know your neighbors, whether you want to or not (the drummer upstairs with no regard to time of day or night, or the person across the hall that remains a friend, long after they move out of the building.)

Here’s hoping that my second New York City apartment will have as many memories and stories!

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It is time at last; I am moving on; I am officially a grown up. I am BUYING MY OWN APARTMENT! And my god, do I feel lucky. New York City is a crazy town with a crazy real estate market—as if I need to tell you that—and these days, my beloved Brooklyn is almost as expensive as Manhattan. For someone like me, who’s been scraping by on freelance and part-time jobs in the nonprofit sector, homeownership has seemed highly unlikely; I really thought it would never happen.

But I lucked out. A local organization that financially assists first-time homebuyers helped me find a very affordable apartment. I can finally have all the things I want: not a studio but a one-bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen I don’t have to share, an end to my worries about rent hikes, an investment in my future that doesn’t involve a student loan. As you can imagine, this is one move to which I really look forward. It makes the tedious chore of packing entirely worth it!

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This move is very emotional for me. 2009 was a horrible year, filled with unemployment, unhappy employment, and financial stress. My lease was coming to an end in February of 2010, and I had no idea where I was going to go, since I didn’t have a job. The stress was at times overwhelming, and I worried about where my cat and I would be staying when my lease expired. I also knew that I didn’t want to stay in my apartment anymore, as it was isolating and very far from any of my friends, or any neighborhood where I could go out and enjoy myself. It became a place I hated coming home to every night, but I was powerless to do anything about the situation due to my financial realities.

Two weeks before my lease was up I found an amazing job at a company I really love. The job enabled me to get my own apartment in Greenpoint, a great neighborhood close to good friends. This move is about eliminating many negative aspects that were beginning to dominate my life, and getting a fresh start. Getting my job and apartment are symbols of how my life has changed, and how optimistic I am about the future.

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Patrick and I met at his used bookstore in Manhattan 3 years ago and agreed we had some things in common. Once we started hanging out we were inseparable. When we got our first place two years ago- we were looking for a large sunny apartment in a quiet neighborhood and were pleased to find exactly that on our first round of apartment hunting in Washington Heights. We celebrated our new place together with friends and family and had many good memories there.

It was only a matter of time before we realized that the majority of our friends and family lived in Brooklyn and living in Washington Heights made it exceedingly difficult to casually meet up with them. We started looking for a place in Brooklyn and had two main requirements: a place where I could grow plants and vegetables and a place with enough space for Patrick’s beautiful used books collection.

Our apartment hunting had a rocky start and nothing seemed to match the ideal we had for our new lives in Brooklyn. Finally we found an unusual and extremely charming 1-bedroom house attached to an apartment complex that reminded Patrick of a little beach house. Being from Florida myself, this place just struck a chord in my heart as well and we fell in love with our new home.

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