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“THERE ARE NO WINDOWS. the room has great lighting. it’s beautiful.”
May 8, 2013 7:34 AM   Subscribe

The Worst Room is a Tumblr where people can submit their worst NYC rental pictures, via Craigslist.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (253 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've lived in all of these rooms.
posted by Ghost Mode at 7:40 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


1600 for a one bedroom in Chelsea? How do I email the landlord through this tumblr site?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:42 AM on May 8, 2013


My husband’s favorite story, which I may have detailed here before, is that when he was looking for an apartment in the 70s, he was shown an apartment in the West Village with a dirt floor.

I used to live in a walk-in closet in Sunset Park. It was only $450, and it was in a brownstone, though, so I thought it was a good deal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:43 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Potomac Avenue, I think it's for the room share.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2013


The rent is too damn high.
posted by schmod at 7:46 AM on May 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Sometimes I dream about living in NYC because hey, it's NYC. Other times I think maybe winning the lottery would be easier.
posted by Phire at 7:47 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not claustrophobic, but I probably would be in one of those windowless dungeons.
posted by resurrexit at 7:47 AM on May 8, 2013


No windows? Is there no fire code in NYC?
posted by curious nu at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Craigslist apartment rental photographs are terrifying. I recently moved (in Boston, so not as bad as NYC, but still plenty bad enough) and the photo breakdown on craigslist was 35% photographs of vacant apartments with nothing to show you the size or layout, 55% photographs of the current tenant's terrifying clutter, and 10% photographs of completely random crap, like one apartment for which the single posted photograph showed one metal radiator and NOTHING ELSE.

I actually went to look at the radiator photograph apartment, and it ended up being really cute -- but it didn't have a radiator that matched the one in the photograph. The landlord (who was very nice) admitted that the radiator was actually in a different apartment.

I assume the terrible pictures is because it's a landlord's market -- why bother taking good photographs when you'll have 30 people lining up to look at a junior studio a mile from the T with no photographs at all?

Also, I want someone to start a Tumblr of real estate listings with photobombing cats. Looking for photobombing cats was the one bright part of the Craigslist search.
posted by pie ninja at 7:50 AM on May 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


This just takes me back to hunting for housing as a student. *shudder*
posted by arcticseal at 7:51 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


(from what I can tell, having been here a year) There's plenty of parts of NYC that aren't this expensive or kidnappy. You just gotta know where to look and not be afraid of minorities.

On the other hand, who wants that? Step right up, sign here for a torture dungeon in Soho. No light, and 12 hours in manacles, but steps away from the Apple Store, Momofuku, and the other Apple Store! Only $2200. Couples welcome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:51 AM on May 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


Damn. I would totally live in that swank-ass shoe closet in Carroll Gardens for $750.
posted by threeants at 7:53 AM on May 8, 2013


All in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Queens rules.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was looking for a summer sublet in Cambridge or Somerville once, about 15 years ago, and one of the rooms I looked at turned out to be either the pantry or just a crawlspace off the kitchen. It had no door. The current occupant had a twin mattress in it, and not much else; I seem to remember the mattress didn't quite fit, so it was bent up a little bit at the end. I don't remember what they wanted for it, but anything more than negative dollars would have been too much.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:53 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Once you accept that replying to apartment listings is not about getting THAT apartment (either because it's awful actually, or it's already rented, or it doesn't really exist, or who knows), but rather about getting in touch with a person who will drive you around to show you real apartments that you can evaluate for real, looking at listings becomes way less fraught.
posted by dammitjim at 7:54 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


So these rooms, are they all you get? Like, you literally pay $1200 for one room with no windows? Or is there a lurking kitchen attached?

You may sign me "my entire mortgage is less than that even after the huge jump in property taxes this year".
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on May 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Bro, check it out. This could work."
"Stop listening to your fedora, bro."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:54 AM on May 8, 2013


Queens rules.

SHHHHHHHHH
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 AM on May 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Oh god, there's nothing like looking at something like this to make me reaffirm my love of Chicago.

I mean, who knew that floors could get mange?
posted by phunniemee at 7:59 AM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh NYC rental stories, where do you even start.

I think the apartment where the roof caved in a week after a left takes the cake however. That or the "two bedroom" where the second bedroom was obviously the kitchen pantry and not big enough to spread a bedroll down in.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2013


So these rooms, are they all you get? Like, you literally pay $1200 for one room with no windows?

Yep. You have to understand, there's a lot of young people who think that they're going to go to The Big City and live on the set of Rent or Sex in The City (or maybe even Taxi Driver, I don't know) and just have to be in Manhattan. Over the last decade Brooklyn (at least parts of it) have become acceptable substitutes. But to out-of-towners, the Bronx is a scary place full of scary people and Queens is where cheesy people like Doug Heffernan live. Although the reality is, it's cheaper, more diverse, less pretentious, and just as much of an adventure to explore.
posted by jonmc at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thanks for this. Suddenly my Boston apartment search seems not quite so dire with the perspective provided on this Tumblr.
posted by koeselitz at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2013


I can not imagine living like this. The rent for most of those rooms is 2 times what my home mortgage is and I have walls of windows that look out over a lake, surrounded by trees, birds, and frogs.

You people living like this...you REALLY need to move!
posted by HuronBob at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Some of these are not that bad. (I've lived in New York too long.)

My first room in NYC was in an apparently illegal apartment added on to the back of an apartment building in Hamilton Heights. The super was keeping chickens in the boiler room, where they would perch on top of the pipes. The rooster would sometimes wake us up in the morning.
posted by Jahaza at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Hey y'all, I know New York is super amazing and wonderful but I just want to point out that for less than $1700/month mortgage you can own a 2800 square foot home on a 1/3 of an acre in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City, in a very nice historical neignborhood. Just an example. Hey, I know, we're not even a tenth as cool as NY but we're really not bad.

Also this town needs more mefites guys seriously
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Or in the East Village in the 00s, friend living in someone's windowless living room with two very religious Korean baptist sisters in the bedroom who didn't want her using their utlentials so they had all separate cooking supplies.
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, what's the 3am Halal Cart situation like in SLC?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [39 favorites]


Is it odd that my reaction to this is "fuck San Francisco"? You know, what with these not being listings in SF. But we have the same problem.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Animals! Animals! the whole lot of you!
posted by Think_Long at 8:03 AM on May 8, 2013


Personally, I've spent a lot of time looking at roommate ads on Craigslist, and the text is what I find to be the frightening part.

26yo male looking for "party girl" who enjoy "letting her hare down" w roomies......

only a 10 minute walk from [popular business district]!!! You are familiar with the location of the apartment and this alleged walking distance is not even within a few standard deviations of the most generous possible slow gait. Your future roommate is a pathological liar.

Im a normal young proffesional guy, just looking for someone whose pretty quiet, doesnt really ever cook, or eat, or use the bathroom much, careful when walking too I dont really like footnoises......text me thanks!

Five 20something females looking for a great roommate who is a young professional. Or a student. Or an artist, I guess. Basically anyone at all as long as you're white and come from an upper-middle-class background. Thanks and good luck!!
posted by threeants at 8:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Oh, and the friend of mine who was just made a full-time employee so he can finally move out of that illegal basement apartment in Bay Ridge and move on up to a apartment in Carroll Gardens with such luxuries as windows and doors and heat.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Some of these are not that bad. "

That's some pretty powerful koolaide you're drinking....
posted by HuronBob at 8:09 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Step right up, sign here for a torture dungeon in Soho.

There was ...actually a very high-end sex dungeon in SoHo that got busted a while ago.....
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm, what's the 3am Halal Cart situation like in SLC?

Probably not good. Last I checked the 3am cart foodcart situation was limited to sketchy-but-tasty street tacos.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:10 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't even know what to say. In a third world nation, this might be luxury, but to pay such an absurd amount of money...I don't even.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My first college apartment - my share was $191 in 1989. I'm guessing that one person's share would be around $600-$800 these days. Granted, it was in a really skeezy neighborhood and it was a long time ago, but it was a two bedroom with a living room and kitchen and lots of windows.

Please, tell me what is going on here.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2013


Every single one of those photos makes me itch, although the "move in today!" one with attendant yellow ladder has a lot of possibilities for awesomeness, most of which I assume anyone renting it would not be able to afford.
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


street tacos

I'm listening.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:12 AM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Tacos made of street!
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also my first solo NYC apartment was a studio on suffolk and stanton back when you could still get nicklebags of heroin on every corner for a 10 block radius in broad daylight. It was $450 a month and it was approximately 1,000 times more pleasant than any of the places featured on this hilarrible blog.
posted by elizardbits at 8:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


~*MISTY DIMEBAG COLORED MEMORIES
posted by elizardbits at 8:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [35 favorites]


nicklebags of heroin on every corner

I'm listening.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


I think it's telling that none of them made me blink at all.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was going to write a snarky comment about how the insane rental market is one of the things that drove me to DC from NYC, but then I remembered that we also dove off into the deep end about a year or two after I moved here.

Nobody tell my landlord that he could be charging me double what I pay for the place. I even have my own bathroom. [schmod weeps quietly, as he realizes that having his own bathroom in DC is the biggest bragging right that he could think of]

(That being said, my neighborhood is still super awesome and pretty cheap, but the NYT just wrote a trend piece about us, so I'm pretty sure that we've only got a few more weeks before the place abruptly becomes outlandishly expensive and completely insufferable. My fingers are crossed that the housing market will remain irrationally racist for a few more years until I can afford my own place. Man, renting sure does set up some perverse moral incentives...)
posted by schmod at 8:16 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now on every corner near suffolk you can pick up a minor C-list celebrity. Seriously there are like bags of them on the street, like give a penny leave a penny.
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just moved out of a 1 bedroom in Harlem that was essentially a narrow hallway filled with boiler room pipes that kept it 100 degrees where you couldn't open the 1 window in the bedroom because its on the first floor and weirdos are going through the trash outside. We did it because fuck it, if you move to NY you should check out manhattan for a year, what am I, better than every immigrant community in US history?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


some of those actually look like they might be ok with a little paint, and some good decorating sense/strategic furniture placement.

maybe i've lived here too long.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My first college apartment - my share was $191 in 1989. I'm guessing that one person's share would be around $600-$800 these days. Granted, it was in a really skeezy neighborhood and it was a long time ago, but it was a two bedroom with a living room and kitchen and lots of windows.

Please, tell me what is going on here.


Well, in 1990, you could buy a 20oz. coke for 55 cents. Now, a 20oz. coke runs about 2 bucks.

So, if you use that as a marker for inflation - in 1990, you would pay 200 a bucks for rent, then you could expect that now it would be ~800.

It doesn't seem out of line. What's changed, though is that wages haven't kept pace. In 1990, you could graduate college and expect to make 30-40,000 per year. Now, you can... well, expect the same thing. maybe.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:19 AM on May 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


also, crappy photography (it's actually kind of hard to get nice shots of a small room if you don't have the right lens) doesn't help.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:19 AM on May 8, 2013


what am I, better than every immigrant community in US history?

Actually, the immigrants are coming to Queens (and the Bronx) first as well these days.
posted by jonmc at 8:19 AM on May 8, 2013


Anyway, I wish this city had stronger laws against peid a terires. An apartment that sits idle for 11 months out of the year but drives up house prices helps nobody.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seriously, that garage with the big windows didn't look that bad. How close to the train are we talking?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:21 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or, failing that we annex Jersey City (and steal Greenwich, Conn. for the tax base)
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was flat hunting in London a couple of years ago I kept coming across the same ad for a studio in Mile End that had a shower stall in the kitchen. For £500 per month.
posted by fight or flight at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


schmod weeps quietly, as he realizes that having his own bathroom in DC is the biggest bragging right that he could think of

And that's why we live in the 'burbs.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


(and steal Greenwich, Conn. for the tax base)

Eh, most of their kids are living in Williamsburg and Park Slope anyway.
posted by jonmc at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2013


Re: the street tacos. They're seriously good. For like 2 bucks you get 3 tacos with your choice of pork, chicken, or beef, all slathered in red spicy saucy stuff and wrapped in two soft, warm corn tortillas. Oh man they're so so so good.

We also have like a billion Greek-family-owned restaurants, where they all kind of do the greasy hamburger thing but also do the whole gyros and lemon rice and baklava and I swear there's one every five blocks. Seriously DRIVE-THRU GYROS GUYS COME ON

If you're into beer despite the heavy Mormon cohort (and corresponding wonky liquor laws) there's a healthy microbrewing scene with tons of local beers everywhere you go.

Downtown is pretty vibrant; we have a city symphony and an opera and ballet companies and several theater/playhouses...actually this is not necessarily well known but Mormons are kind of obsessed with the arts and performance and especially broadway so we have more shows and concerts and plays than one would expect for a city of our size and we usually get most nationally-touring bands plus we do free concerts with national acts right in downtown all summer long. Another weird thing: pastry shops. Utahns have a major sweet tooth. There is not a pastry in existence that you can't find in Utah. We have quite a few good Indian restaurants, but really only one or two good Italian restaurants and maybe one good Chinese restaurant but we also have a couple of amazing Pho places.

Also we have MOUNTAINS WITH SKIING and ZIONS CANYON and and an- what? No, I don't work for the Utah Tourism Board, why do you ask?
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


"... nicklebags of heroin on every corner"

OK, you've got me there, my frogs do not sell heroin, although I suspect some of my neighbors are growing some nice pot in the swamp across the street..and, if they aren't, they should be, or, I should be... hmmmm...
posted by HuronBob at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2013


You just gotta know where to look and not be afraid of minorities getting stabbed.
posted by gertzedek at 8:25 AM on May 8, 2013


Yeah, this brings back dark recollections of living in Toronto in my twenties, but even so, places there were snazzier with much more affordable prices. In the nineties, after looking at a few closets, I lived in a second-storey room in the Annex with a fireplace and a huge bay window overlooking our leafy, quiet street, and it cost me all of $400 a month. By the time I left almost a decade later, the rent was $440.

At the other end of the real estate scale from these hilariously overpriced cubicles, I was in a seaside town in Newfoundland a few months ago where the fishing industry's crash has driven people away. 60% population drop in the last twenty years, and you can now pick up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom place on a couple of acres of land with a view of the North Atlantic that would make your heart ache. This for $24,000 (or the price of renting that Upper East Side room with the low ceiling from now through let-us-say the release of the next X-Men movie next summer).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:25 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are... a couple of things going on here.
Lots of people move to New York City every year. They move here from Ohio or Spain or Los Angeles and they know - KNOW - that they're going to have to pay an insane amount for an apartment. So they fly in, AirbNb for three days and frantically troll Craigslist to find a place they can stay in RIGHT NOW.
Additionally, a lot of these people don't know anything about New York except, of course, it is a crime-ridden hellpit. They know the names of neighborhoods which are apparently cool - "Williamsburg" or the "East Village" or "Park Slope" - but they have no idea where these neighborhoods actually, technically, are. They - and I realized recently that this is an honest to god thing - may have never lived in a place where you routinely see black or Hispanic or Asian people just walking around before, and when they see this they automatically assume that they've inadvertantly walked into the background of Do The Right Thing - not that these people are BIGOTS, necessarily, they just have no idea what a middle-class minority neighborhood LOOKS like.
So they go through an insane three-day gauntlet of looking at the same tiny, windowless rooms, all with the same Home-Depot-Special cabinets and parquet floors, while accompanied by brokers who will be pulling in 2 grand for solely for driving them around for three hours in a old Crown Vic. At the very end, they will decide on an apartment for the highest amount of money they can possibly afford, and talk themselves into believing that they got a deal.
The next year, they will find a new, cheaper, less shitty place, and laugh at their own naiveté, or they will move home. The year after that, they will find a new, cheaper, less shitty place, and laugh at their own naiveté, or they will move home. And so on and so forth - but every time they move out, someone else moves to New York.
posted by 235w103 at 8:26 AM on May 8, 2013 [53 favorites]


Oh god. My three bedroom apartment only costs $35 more than this, which I just realized upon second viewing is not something with a hallway but is in fact only a closet off of a hallway.
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 AM on May 8, 2013


Also, I'm going to slap my SO upside the head with this website the next time he says our place is "small" cause he's used to a freaking five-bedroom in Katonah for god sakes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


That last one on the first page (in Greenpoint, $725) basically just looks like someone's messy bedroom. It doesn't look so bad.

The rest run the gamut from...."does not seem to have an actual window" to "Jesus, how can anyone live in that place."

I live with my girlfriend. If I ever had to live on my own again (which, shouldn't be in the cards), I'd just go get a studio somewhere far from the trendy areas and be done with it....because, fuck this shit, I've had it.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:29 AM on May 8, 2013


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "And that's why we live in the 'burbs."

I drove to Alexandria last week. It was awful.

J/K, but seriously, how are there people who do that every day? You can pry my 10-minute bicycle commute from my cold, dead fingers. It took me 90 minutes to get from Capitol Hill to Landmark. I could have biked there in less time!
posted by schmod at 8:30 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pogo_fuzzybutt - I get what is going on in L.A. -- I don't get what that whole thing is in NY. I just don't understand how a person can pay $1600 for a closet!
posted by Sophie1 at 8:31 AM on May 8, 2013


I just don't understand how a person can pay $1600 for a closet!

If your closet is across the street from Central Park, that's a really good deal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're into beer despite the heavy Mormon cohort (and corresponding wonky liquor laws) there's a healthy microbrewing scene with tons of local beers everywhere you go.

Everything I know about Utah I learned from SLC Punk, so it's entirely possible my info is incorrect or out-of-date. Doesn't the state enforce draconian restrictions on beer ABV? While it's not impossible to have a healthy microbrewing scene for low-alcohol beers, it seems like a limitation like that would have a pretty chilling effect on it.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:32 AM on May 8, 2013


Hmm, what are the stats on blonde, milk-fed young men I can corrupt?
posted by The Whelk at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ha so this makes me think of renting in Southampton (UK) where I currently abide. Flats here are pretty expensive thanks to our proximity to London (I guess, I'm not sure why else we'd be a hotspot), and they vary heavily in quality. Most are pretty small, but some are clearly aimed at students. Students are happy to live in slightly lower standard (the number of bathrooms I have visited of student friends that have been literally coated in mold...), although the worst I ever saw was a flat I visited ona search a few years back.

The main living area was ok, although it did have some mold and a dehumidifier running, but then we got to the kitchen, where the tiling had been torn up, and there was an oven with a "condemned" sticker sitting in the middle of the floor. The (clearly embarrased) estate agent then showed us the bathroom, where the "bath" consisted of a tiny basin that someone could probably stand in.

The estate agent told us that the landlord was planning to rennovate, and I replied that we could obviously only make a decision once we saw what it looked like after that.

She was so embarrassed she took us to a nicer flat we hadn't even known was on the market, which we actually went with and spent the next year and a half living in.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2013


For 12 years I lived on the Lower East Side in a "two bedroom" that was one-fourth of a brownstone floor. The bedrooms were each 10' x 6', and had sleeping lofts built in because that was the only way you could get any other furniture in the bedrooms. I shared one of my bedroom walls with my neighbor's bedroom wall, and the walls were thin - seriously, I could have punched a hole in my wall and made my neighbor's bed for him. (This also lead to the amusing morning when I overheard my neighbor negotiating a transaction with a prostitute - and then heard her shaft him out of doing anything when she "ran to the corner for a soda first" and then never returned. And yes, I heard the conversation clearly enough to know it was a prostitute.)

I moved from there to my current place - also a two-bedroom, but it is a floor-through in a brownstone, and 10' x 6' is the size of my bedroom closet. My entire LES apartment would fit into my current living room. My parents looked visibly relieved when they saw it for the first time (and Dad admitted it's actually bigger than the main floor of their house).

Please do not make me move out of there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


> there was an oven with a "condemned" sticker sitting in the middle of the floor

A somewhat related Chainsawsuit.
posted by gilrain at 8:37 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


If your closet is across the street from Central Park, that's a really good deal.

No. No it is certainly not any kind of deal.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:38 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can't help but hear the Stones while looking at these pictures and hearing these stories...

Shattered, shattered
Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street
Look at me, Im in tatters!
Im a shattered
Shattered

Friends are so alarming
My lovers never charming
Lifes just a cocktail party on the street
Big apple
People dressed in plastic bags
Directing traffic
Some kind of fashion
Shattered

Laughter, joy, and loneliness and sex and sex and sex and sex
Look at me, Im in tatters
Im a shattered
Shattered

All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter bout
Shmatta, shmatta, shmatta -- I can't give it away on 7th avenue
This towns been wearing tatters (shattered, shattered)
Work and work for love and sex
Aint you hungry for success, success, success, success
Does it matter? (shattered) does it matter?
Im shattered.
Shattered

Ahhh, look at me, Im a shattered
Im a shattered
Look at me- Im a shattered, yeah

Pride and joy and greed and sex
That's what makes our town the best
Pride and joy and dirty dreams and still surviving on the street
And look at me, Im in tatters, yeah
Ive been battered, what does it matter
Does it matter, uh-huh
Does it matter, uh-huh, Im a shattered

Don't you know the crime rate is going up, up, up, up, up
To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!
You got rats on the west side
Bed bugs uptown
What a mess this towns in tatters Ive been shattered
My brains been battered, splattered all over manhattan

Uh-huh, this towns full of money grabbers
Go ahead, bite the big apple, don't mind the maggots, huh
Shadoobie, my brains been battered
My friends they come around they
Flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter
Pile it up, pile it high on the platter
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. No it is certainly not any kind of deal.

It really really is, because there is a wide swath of humanity who inexplicably believe that no price is too high and no situation is too inconvenient as long as they get to live in NEW! YORK! CITY!
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I drove to Alexandria last week. It was awful... J/K, but seriously, how are there people who do that every day?

Alexandria has Metro stations. If you're asking how people commute to or from DC from non-Metro-accessible suburbs, your guess is as good as mine. I'd have to drink a smoothie made from equal parts Adderall and Valium, to spend that much time on the road alongside the drivers in this area every single weekday.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


some of us never learned how to drive okay!
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


no situation is too inconvenient as long as they get to live in NEW! YORK! CITY!

Uh, also, living across from Central Park is super, super convenient.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2013


Doesn't the state enforce draconian restrictions on beer ABV? While it's not impossible to have a healthy microbrewing scene for low-alcohol beers, it seems like a limitation like that would have a pretty chilling effect on it.

Some laws have changed since then, there are still some very strict rules. It depends on your license. You can only get 3.2 beer at the supermarket/convenience store and have to go to the state liquor stores for anything heavier. Full bars can serve any drinks, and there are a number of high-ABV local brews. Epic Brewing specialize in what they call strong beers.

Here's the current liquor laws summary.

Park City (north of Salt Lake, about an hour drive) even has a Whiskey distillery.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Utah is awful pretty but having lived on islands all my life I get really fucking twitchy being that far inland for more than a week or so.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This blog explains why when I last sublet a room in my apt 2+ years ago (middle room of a 5th floor walk up railroad, but with 14 ft ceilings! and in the east village) I got over 200 responses within a day. I had to take the post down that night, because I had over 40 people I was willing to interview/didn't have typos in their responses.


It also explains why I have been living in the same apt for nearly a decade; found it in college, and I'll be damned if I have to go apartment hunting anytime soon. It's horrifying out there. I just keep paying my rent on time, and fixing things up where I can, and do everything I possibly can to never piss off my landlord.
posted by larthegreat at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2013


Utah is awful, pretty.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Moved to a new condo in Williamsburg. Definitely much different than the Williamsburg presented in these photos.
posted by dfriedman at 8:58 AM on May 8, 2013


It really really is, because there is a wide swath of humanity who inexplicably believe that no price is too high and no situation is too inconvenient as long as they get to live in NEW! YORK! CITY!

I was going to mention this in my previous comment but it was getting too long already, but - for what I do, and for what my fiance would like to do, there is essentially no job market outside of New York, Los Angeles and MAYBE Chicago. There are whole industries in the US which you can't really break into on an entry level unless you live in New York. If what you want to do exists outside of New York, you can move there and be the big fish - but you kind of have to at least put in your decade. People aren't stupid for living here - they just want to work in specific industries.
posted by 235w103 at 8:58 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is really an issue of supply not meeting demand.
posted by dfriedman at 9:01 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, but there's only so much supply you can provide when the demand is to live on an island.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2013


We divert the east river to just past JFK and landfill in the basis to connect up Manhattan and the Newer, smaller New Long Island (Short Island?).
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, but there's only so much supply you can provide when the demand is to live on an island.

Dig down! Vaults for everyone!
posted by curious nu at 9:05 AM on May 8, 2013


Everything in life is better, when you experience it in a Vault.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: “Utah is awful pretty but having lived on islands all my life I get really fucking twitchy being that far inland for more than a week or so.”

As a Colorado-raised landlocked person, I can say that I have always thought of Utah as a paradise on earth, perhaps the most perfect, exceedingly wonderful place on the planet. And I still feel that way. I think the central reason other people don't feel this way or don't understand my perspective is because they don't understand the Utah rule (also known as the Arizona rule) – stay out of the towns and cities and limit human contact. And it turns out it's not too hard to avoid human beings in Utah.

Which is, of course, the whole reason why paradise and New York are two very different places.
posted by koeselitz at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


You can have NYC, I will keep my gorgeous and huge three bedroom next to the park and the lakefront for $1200.
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this brings back dark recollections of living in Toronto in my twenties, but even so, places there were snazzier with much more affordable prices. In the nineties, after looking at a few closets, I lived in a second-storey room in the Annex with a fireplace and a huge bay window overlooking our leafy, quiet street, and it cost me all of $400 a month. By the time I left almost a decade later, the rent was $440.

That would now be at least $800 for the room, more like $1600 for a one-bedroom (with maybe just a small combined kitchen/living room).

I was looking for places in Toronto in 2012, and I saw lots of apartments just like these, including a basement apartment where the ceilings ranged between 5'3" and 5'10" - and was still $950 (and the area was nowhere near as fashionable as the Annex). For under $1000 in downtown Toronto, you're basically looking at places like in this Tumbler.
posted by jb at 9:09 AM on May 8, 2013


People aren't stupid for living here - they just want to work in specific industries.

I don't think any of those industries require you to spend $1,200 to share a windowless basement bedroom in a trendy neighborhood.
posted by elizardbits at 9:11 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


well if you want to be able to walk/have a short commute to work maybe. I work from home but I had to commute I'd probably give a toe to keep it under 20 min. Commuting sucks.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "I don't think any of those industries require you to spend $1,200 to share a windowless basement bedroom in a trendy neighborhood."

Yeah, but the number of non-trendy neighborhoods in NYC is drying up quickly, along with wages.

The length of the average work week is also climbing up quickly. If you're living in a city, and your commute is longer than an hour each way, you're getting the worst of both worlds.

NYC put all of the jobs in one place, all of the housing in another, and made none of it clean or affordable.
posted by schmod at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think any of those industries require you to spend $1,200 to share a windowless basement bedroom in a trendy neighborhood.

well if you want to be able to walk/have a short commute to work maybe. I work from home but I had to commute I'd probably give a toe to keep it under 20 min. Commuting sucks.


Yeah, I'd guess that's the problem. If you work in Manhattan, the trendy neighborhoods generally correspond to the neighborhoods with short commutes. There are a few exceptions to this, but their number is decreasing.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:16 AM on May 8, 2013


Yeah, and this comes back to my original point that 1,600 overlooking the park is, indeed, a good deal for many people, no matter how shitty the apartment is, for all these reasons people are listing.
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2013


I dunno, it's not exactly a great commute if you live in Bushwick and have to go to Manhattan every morning or what have you, but the tradeoffs there are at least not as dire as they are in e.g. San Francisco where having to live across the bay from where you work is just disastrous commute-wise. That's not to say that the real estate market in NYC isn't perverse, but it seems like there are a few semi-reasonable options available to people looking to move there. This issue is very close to my heart right now since I'm gearing up to move to one of these places.
posted by invitapriore at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2013


While in college, I almost rented a loft space in a teeny apartment on east 60th street right near the Queensboro Bridge. When I say loft space, I mean it was a space high enough to sit up in but not stand, so ceilings were maybe.... 4 feet? The "room" was, I dunno, the length of a twin bed and the width of two twin beds. It had a teeny little window. There were several other people living in the apartment- one in the other loft space, one in the bedroom, one or two in a loft built in the living room, I think. Teeny bathroom, teeeeny closet that was already full of stuff. I would have moved in, for sure, but I couldn't get out of my student housing at NYU, so I had to give it up. Oh, how I cried! Oh, how I laugh looking back!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on May 8, 2013


I think the central reason other people don't feel this way or don't understand my perspective is because they don't understand the Utah rule (also known as the Arizona rule) – stay out of the towns and cities and limit human contact. And it turns out it's not too hard to avoid human beings in Utah.

I'm not sure it's that I don't understand the rule; it's that, for me, life would be intolerably sad in all manner of ways after about a week or so of following it. For lots of people, being near huge numbers of the kind of people they like to spend time with or would like to get to know is worth a huge chunk of their income.
posted by oliverburkeman at 9:32 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've never understood that thing I always see on TV where New Yorkers are all like, ewww you live in New Jersey? 'Cause, like, it's right there and from the outside it shows every indication of being better than NY as a place to live--especially true in pre-Giuliani days. So, to me, it's like, huh? Just live there, stupid.

Is that anti-Jersey thing actually a real attitude people actually have? And/or just something NY slumlords dreamed up to keep suckers on the island?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have only visited NYC briefly a couple of times for work, loved it, but no freakin way.

They - and I realized recently that this is an honest to god thing - may have never lived in a place where you routinely see black or Hispanic or Asian people just walking around before, and when they see this they automatically assume that they've inadvertantly walked into the background of Do The Right Thing - not that these people are BIGOTS, necessarily, they just have no idea what a middle-class minority neighborhood LOOKS like.

Again, in my very limited experience, I was surprised at how the majority of people I dealt with in NYC seemed to be young white kids that had moved there in the last couple of years, mostly fresh-off-the-farm naive. Not what I was expecting. There’s a lot of mythology going one there.
posted by bongo_x at 9:35 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live.
posted by JDHarper at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is that anti-Jersey thing actually a real attitude people actually have? And/or just something NY slumlords dreamed up to keep suckers on the island?

I'm not totally sure, but I'm curious myself. My office is in Fort Lee, NJ, and I take a 7 minute bus ride from Washington Heights, and I would move to Fort Lee in a hot second. Not sure why it's not a hotter place to live! Too suburban, maybe?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2013


Is that anti-Jersey thing actually a real attitude people actually have? And/or just something NY slumlords dreamed up to keep suckers on the island?

Once, while my family was driving through Jersey on our way to Ithaca, my sister suddenly scrunched up her nose, apologized to the rest of us, and rolled down a window to let out the smell. We tried to explain to her that she was smelling Newark, but our warnings came too late.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:38 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is that anti-Jersey thing actually a real attitude people actually have?

Yes and no? I guess? I love the dirty jerz for all the stereotypical things it represents to me from my childhood: the jersey shore (the real actual place with the hot dogs and the boardwalk, not the pathetic spectacle of reality tv), malls, big hair, bon jovi, bruce springsteen, the meadowlands, the jersey devil, the pine barrens, pork roll, etc. A lot of the stigma comes from, IME, jersey being a fucking inconvenient place to get to at 4am on a saturday night while blind drunk.

And yes, as mentioned above, some parts of the turnpike are stank.
posted by elizardbits at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mostly I think it's ridiculous B&T arrogance which is usually stronger in NYC transplants than it is in people who grew up there.
posted by elizardbits at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a Colorado-raised landlocked person, I can say that I have always thought of Utah as a paradise on earth, perhaps the most perfect, exceedingly wonderful place on the planet.

I love the mountains, but you have to consider how disturbing it is for those of us who grew up on a coast when there's not an end to things in any direction. It still deeply unsettles me and I've been living in the Midwest for seven years now.
posted by invitapriore at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Any New Yorker that's honest with themselves has to admit that New Jersey has better diners, anyway.
posted by invitapriore at 9:42 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


One practical reason not to live in New Jersey, if you work in NYC: transportation. If you're not right near a bus hub/train station, you're going to need a car, which will eat up all the extra cash you'd save not living in NYC.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:45 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just freakin' LOVE that almost all of them are in Brooklyn. Keepin' it real!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:46 AM on May 8, 2013


I don't think any of those industries require you to spend $1,200 to share a windowless basement bedroom in a trendy neighborhood.

Oh, yeah, definitely - but the people moving in to these places don't know that, because by and large they're either moving into their first apartment in the city or they're just Manhattan-crazy.

Yeah, but the number of non-trendy neighborhoods in NYC is drying up quickly, along with wages.

This This This. I moved to my neighborhood five years ago, when it was relatively cheap and it was very clear that at any second it was going to boom - I live by Prospect Park and 6 different train lines. Because of the God Damned New York Magazine obsession with finding the Next Hot Neighborhood, prices have gone up by at least 50-75%, and we can only afford to stay because my landlord (a mentally ill gentleman who threatened to curse me with voodoo at our rent-signing) has certain Beliefs about landlording, and while one of those beliefs is Never Painting the other is Never Raising Rent.
What infuriates me more than anything, though, is that adding housing stock doesn't seem to bring down the prices of ANYTHING, because nobody's building anything except cheapo ill-planned new construction which will rent for $1,600 + or cheapo ill-planned new construction with stainless steel appliances, which will sell for $700,000 +.
posted by 235w103 at 9:46 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


North Bergen's a pretty quick commute to Midtown as long as you're not going at peak Lincoln Tunnel hours, which is most of hours.
posted by invitapriore at 9:46 AM on May 8, 2013


elizardbits hits a lot of the anti-Jersey stereotyping, but I think a lot of it also has to do with transit inconvenience. I commuted to New Jersey from Brooklyn for a year for work, and my commute home took two hours each night. Commuting from New York to New Jersey would be hideously awful.

And the closest thing to a "subway" that connects New York and New Jersey is the PATH train, which only makes about 4 stops in New York and five in New Jersey, and requires a whole separate transit card.

The practical upshot of which is: say I wanted to go to a movie with friends after work and then eat out after, and then we all went our separate ways at 10:30. Living in New York, I get on a subway, and even if I have to wait a little while for it, I still just get on and go, and maybe I"m home by 11:30 at the latest. Whereas if I lived in New Jersey, I'd have to get to a subway, wait for it, get off at the PATH train stop, wait for the PATH, and then take that. I'd probably get home much later. (And that's not even taking into account the problem I'd have if I still had another transit leg after that - if I didn't live right near the PATH train I'd have to either take NJ Transit trains or buses further still, which means yet another wait - and I may not make it home until 1 am, whereas all my friends are all asleep in New York by then the basterds).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hoboken and JC are no longer inexpensive neighborhoods, either, and I'm pretty sure this is spreading like a cootie all down the PATH lines.

I wonder about Staten Island sometimes but this is solely because I think it would be amusing to Sunfish myself to work every day.
posted by elizardbits at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, you New York people are welcome the fuck to it.
posted by Legomancer at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


(my list was pro-jerz stereotyping though)
posted by elizardbits at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2013


If I can self-link to my defunct blog: so it turns out that this one was actually quite a bargain, as it was only $550 and came with a bathroom.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:52 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is hitting home, right now.

Hi! I'm one of these people that thought it would be a good idea to leave my nice, affordable home in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina and move up north to a big city.

I spent some time looking in New York - and was fucking horrified. Seriously. What in the actual fuck are people thinking living in some of the situations I see there? I don't get it.

I have some friends that have made it, there. So they live in $2500 apartment shares in Williamsburg, or $1400 shares in Astoria, or $3000 apartments in Manhattan. And I have some friends that haven't made it yet, and are living in $1000 shares in Bushwick.

Visiting with them made my decision for me - there's really no other end of the equation that would justify, for me personally, the sacrifice I would need to make to live there. My standard of living would be so low, and I would need to work ALL THE TIME to pay the rent, so whatever marginal utility living in the CITY would offer me would be negated by the fact that I would never have the time to enjoy it.

So I moved to Philadelphia instead. I live in a $500 room in 2 BR house. I have a washer and dryer, nice big kitchen, and a small backyard where I am growing food and grilling out. I catch one bus to one train to get to work in Center City, takes about 40 minutes. Or I can ride my bike, but I haven't yet gotten comfortable with riding in my neighborhood - the streets are in terrible shape and cars actively try to kill me.

But it's a nice city, and the rent is affordable. If I really want to experience NYC, I can take the Bolt Bus and stay with one of my successful friends and be a tourist for a weekend.

The only way I could ever live in that place is if I won the lottery. There's just no justifying it for me.

I'm sure this comment plays into a lot of stereotypes, and I'm willing to be convinced that I'm just ignorant or wrong about the place, but so far the evidence and testimonials of honest-to-science New Yorkers has shown that it just isn't worth it, unless one of two conditions are met:

1. You are wealthy as all fuck.
2. Your career absolutely requires you live in NYC.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:53 AM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


So what I'm hearing is that the entire NYC population either has or is acquiring Stockholm Syndrome.
posted by Mooski at 9:55 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hoboken and JC are no longer inexpensive neighborhoods, either, and I'm pretty sure this is spreading like a cootie all down the PATH lines.

I wonder about Staten Island sometimes but this is solely because I think it would be amusing to Sunfish myself to work every day.


When I was apartment-hunting recently, I briefly looked at Jersey City near the PATH just out of curiosity and, shockingly, it's not much cheaper than, say, Greenpoint or Carroll Gardens. I believe there are cheap places out there but they're all far from the PATH.

I also briefly, out of curiosity, looked at Staten Island (which also happens to be where I grew up). The decent bits that are close to the ferry are cheaper than Brooklyn, mostly, but not exactly cheap. Further out is public transit hell, though the express bus is OK for a 9-to-5ish Manhattan commute (but a lot more expensive than the subway).
posted by breakin' the law at 9:55 AM on May 8, 2013


It is a lot easier to deal with life in NYC if you refuse to acknowledge that one year's rent here can buy you a home outright in maybe 75% of the US.
posted by elizardbits at 9:57 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


LA LA LA LA WHAT DID YOU SAY
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:57 AM on May 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


An actual home with a backyard and a garage and bedrooms with closets in them!

sob
posted by elizardbits at 10:01 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


These listings forget to mention that you have to work the gloryhole on alternating Thursdays.
posted by dr_dank at 10:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I wonder about Staten Island sometimes but this is solely because I think it would be amusing to Sunfish myself to work every day.

Staten Island! Land of grumpy suburban mobster republicans!


So what I'm hearing is that the entire NYC population either has or is acquiring Stockholm Syndrome.


I dunno, if I squint I can see central park from my window

/cue obnoxious monocle-popping 1%er cackling
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it is terribly quaint that NYC flats are quoted by monthly rent. When things get really expensive, as in London, you see these same shoeboxes priced by the week.
posted by three blind mice at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you're asking how people commute to or from DC from non-Metro-accessible suburbs, your guess is as good as mine.

I vanpool from Fredericksburg to Tysons 4 or 5 times a week. It sucks. Hoping once this is no longer a new job that I can work from home 3X a week. There is absolutely nothing about my job that requires me to be in the office. The boss telecommutes frequently so I don't think it'll be a problem.
posted by COD at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2013


Look we all live in mortal terror of London's rental system okay. You win, you have the Worst Place.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yay, we don't have the Worst Place anymore!
posted by unknowncommand at 10:13 AM on May 8, 2013


OTOH, if I could rent my house for the $10 a square foot they get in NY, I could rent this place for $40,000 a month, so there is that.
posted by COD at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2013


Yes but every london flat comes standard with a corgi right

i heard that was the law
posted by elizardbits at 10:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


and a tea spigot.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The really shitty ones you get a rabid ferret painted like a Corgi though.
posted by invitapriore at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Man, I think I think I've lived in some of those rooms too.

I used to sublet a room in my old Copenhagen flat. I always felt awful about it because the goddamn shower was in the sub room and I had to enter every day just to shower. I also had to charge around $450 for the room. No laundry facilities in the building either. But I never had any problems finding a tenant because Copenhagen is crazy expensive, there was a shortage of sublets for students, and I lived in a really great location. I just had problems with creepers who assumed I was renting out a room in my flat because I needed a boyfriend. You have no idea - no idea - the kind of emails I'd get.
posted by kariebookish at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


and a tea spigot.

But all the other taps have dead owl water coming out of them.
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


and a gentleman's personal gentleman
posted by lazaruslong at 10:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


sometimes when you open the cupboard david tennant personally hands you a tardis-shaped tin of biscuits
posted by elizardbits at 10:19 AM on May 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


and the daily post arrives by raven.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2013


I would just die on the spot I think if that happened.

maybe he could also wake me up every morning with the lion king bit from that one time
posted by lazaruslong at 10:21 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that's where I had you fooled, because it's not a ferret, it's a pig.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


pig in a poke!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh god, there's nothing like looking at something like this to make me reaffirm my love of Chicago.

Oh god, there's nothing like looking at something like this to make me reaffirm my love of Chicago living very far away from the city

i lived in a 650sqft 2 bedroom.. just no.. not ever again
posted by ninjew at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2013


Oh god, there's nothing like looking at something like this to make me reaffirm my love of Chicago living very far away from the city

Chicago is very affordable and I currently pay less (significantly) per square foot than a friend of mine who still lives in the small city of 130,000 people I grew up in. Which is to say: Chicago is wonderfully affordable.

Anyone out there in smalltownland who wants to live somewhere with some population should seriously consider Chicago.
posted by phunniemee at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2013


This is why I think of myself as a Recovering New Yorker. I grew up in the place, with the native NYer's classic belief that we existed at the center of the universe, the only city worth living in (except maybe Paris or Tokyo).

When I think back to the time I spent renting the patient's couch in a psychiatrist's office from 6 PM-8 AM (I could keep a suitcase in the closet), or the time I sublet a room with no furniture and slept on a rug, being used as jungle gym by huge cockroaches all night, just so that I could live in Manhattan, I see the signs of a quite insane addiction.
posted by DrMew at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please, tell me what is going on here.

Manhattan is a very small island, and many people want to live there. Supply and demand, etc.

Used to live there myself. Moved in 2000. By far one of the best decisions of my life.
posted by freakazoid at 10:37 AM on May 8, 2013


The monthly mortgage on my entire house (2400sqft, on 1/3 acre) is less than many of these rooms. I just cannot wrap my brain around paying so much for so little. I mean, where are you supposed to shower? Are there communal bathrooms or something? Where do you cook? In all seriousness, what is the appeal? Cause I just don't understand this.
posted by xedrik at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2013


sometimes when you open the cupboard david tennant personally hands you a tardis-shaped tin of biscuits

* digs out sonic-screwdriver shaped pen * How much is the rent?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really like Chicago but I regretfully had to put it on my "never ever living here" list after a visit a few winters ago where it was -6° F the whole time. Ain't nobody got time for that.
posted by invitapriore at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2013


And the closest thing to a "subway" that connects New York and New Jersey is the PATH train, which only makes about 4 stops in New York

6 stops, actually. WTC (albeit on a separate line), Christopher, 9th, 14th, 23rd, & 33rd

and requires a whole separate transit card.

Funny, my NYC metro card worked just fine in the PATH turnstiles when I went into NYC 2 weekends ago:

As long as your MetroCard has sufficient Pay-Per-Ride value on it to pay the PATH fare, it can be used on PATH.
posted by de void at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2013


Yeah, de void, but if you have unlimited-ride instead then you're kinda screwed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Y'all know we make more money than in other places right? There is that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


chicago is actually a wonderfully affordable place with some of the best culture and food in the country and i miss it sometimes.

and it's great. between april and november.

but what i missed more was big open spaces. forests. quiet. i believe there's a very very big reason that SF has a similar if not much more competitive rental market than NYC (and it isn't Silicon Valley). because of the climate and what you're close to when you leave the city. as much as I've had it with city living I'd put up with this sort of insanity again to live in SF. my brother once rented 1/3rd of an open attic space to live there and it honestly didn't seem as crazy as it rationally should have because it was in the Bay Area.
posted by ninjew at 10:51 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


> If you're asking how people commute to or from DC from non-Metro-accessible suburbs,
> your guess is as good as mine.

Baltimore. And you don't commute, you start a new life in Baltimore.


> I dunno, if I squint I can see central park from my window

I'm sure of it, because if I squint just right I can see the carriage concourse from here (Athens GA.) Heck, if I squint just right I can see Bedrock, Mayberry, Hogsmeade, and Metropolis. (Seeing Smallville from here is no big trick.)
posted by jfuller at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I stick my head out the window, I can see the Hudson River.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2013


I always felt really bad for those people living right near the West Side Highway that probably had beautiful river views before Trump came along.
posted by invitapriore at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


invitapriore: “I love the mountains, but you have to consider how disturbing it is for those of us who grew up on a coast when there's not an end to things in any direction. It still deeply unsettles me and I've been living in the Midwest for seven years now.”

It's funny; I was talking to a dear friend of mine who grew up on the Cape in Massachusetts just last night about this. My mother from Long Island is the same way, incidentally; there's like this preternatural impulse to be close to the ocean somehow that I never understood, to the point where, every single time we went back there to visit, she insisted on at least going and walking on the beach. "But mom, it's freaking January..." "I don't care, honey, I need this."

There is a parallel thing, though, which helps me understand what this is about: the visceral and verging-on-palpable waves of sudden, joyful relief I experience every single time I drive westward out of Kansas and the mountains suddenly crowd onto the horizon and begin to loom. It's like I can breath again, and the disphoric confusion of being lost in a sea of nothingness fades away.
posted by koeselitz at 11:07 AM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


so far the evidence and testimonials of honest-to-science New Yorkers has shown that it just isn't worth it, unless one of two conditions are met:

1. You are wealthy as all fuck.
2. Your career absolutely requires you live in NYC.


I've spoken about this before: I came to NYC two years ago with no money and the promise of a couple months of free rent. I managed to get a job- a good enough job for a 23-year-old, and now I'm about to move to a better one as a 25-year-old- BUT.

Now I'm sorta trapped here. Because sure, I could move to another city... if I had the money to move! I don't even mean a moving van: even if I abandoned all my belongings, I would need at least a couple months' rent and living expenses in order to justify the risk of quitting a decent job in 2013 and moving to an unfamiliar city to look for work. As it is, I am basically unable to save money living here. So I continue to live and work and pay rent in NYC because the other option is, what? Moving back in with my parents? I just gotta wait until my new-job raise kicks in and start building my escape fund.

And by the time I do have enough money to leave, I'll probably have fallen even more in love with NYC than I already have, and I won't move anyway. Darn.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:08 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I look out a window and squint I can see swamp. But I'm at work, in NJ.

I commute here from Manhattan, which is real easy but getting back into the city is a pain, though I am usually home in an hour and a half.

My worst commute home was three and a half hours... which was awful but since it was on a bus that meant I was able to watch an entire opera and also read MetaFilter, etc. and not pay attention to where we were and why we were moving three feet per hour.

I would love to have an easier commute but that does not involve moving somewhere where I'd have to start driving again. I mean, yeah, I love that it is less than fifteen minutes to Lincoln Center, Central Park, Broadway theaters, hundreds of restaurants and not much longer on the subway to most any part of the city with many friends, etc. but not having to drive is so much of the appeal to me, something I only suspected when living in car land.
posted by mountmccabe at 11:09 AM on May 8, 2013


showbiz_liz, that's totally true. If today weren't such a crummy suckfest outside, I'd say that it's impossible to even think about leaving New York in May.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on May 8, 2013


In all seriousness, what is the appeal? Cause I just don't understand this.

First off, keep in mind that these apartments have been specifically selected because they are ridiculous.
Secondly - I live five blocks from the central library, a botanic garden and an enormous, sprawling Olmstead and Vaux park which includes several lakes and forest paths. On the weekends, there's a really great, really cheap farmer's market out front! I walk almost everywhere. I've lost fifteen pounds in the last three months just by drinking slightly less beer, because unless I am actually picking up furniture or two-by-fours or what have you I never have to take a car. I commute either by bike or by public transit, which means that instead of spending an hour behind a car going from a suburb to an office park I have an hour of reading. I work for an international creative agency that could not exist anywhere else. Every weekend, I could go to a different park or museum; every night of the week I could go to a different, amazing restaurant; every hour I could go to another event or concert or show. I know the bartenders at all three of the bars on my block, the baristas at the coffee shop, the people who run the wine store, the couple who own the skateboard store/flower shop. I know that all of this stuff exists in other places, but everything I'm talking about is more or less a part of my daily life, not part of an abstract night on the town I have once a month.
When I first moved to New York, I hated it, and I still hate the "center of the universe" attitude. I know that there are other great places to live. There is nothing wrong with living wherever makes you happy. This place makes me happy.
posted by 235w103 at 11:11 AM on May 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Still curious how a no-windows apartment is legal. Death trap if there is a fire.
posted by curious nu at 11:13 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


curious nu, it's probably not the whole apartment, just the bedroom.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2013


It's technically not legal but people don't really want to report it if it's a good deal to them otherwise.
posted by elizardbits at 11:16 AM on May 8, 2013


Still curious how a no-windows apartment is legal. Death trap if there is a fire.

These photos are all bedrooms in larger apartments, with a kitchen and bathroom at minimum. And at least ONE window.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:16 AM on May 8, 2013


curious nu, it's probably not the whole apartment, just the bedroom.

Yeah, but most places with sane fire codes specify that every bedroom have a (human-egress-able) window.
posted by junco at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is a parallel thing, though, which helps me understand what this is about: the visceral and verging-on-palpable waves of sudden, joyful relief I experience every single time I drive westward out of Kansas and the mountains suddenly crowd onto the horizon and begin to loom. It's like I can breath again, and the disphoric confusion of being lost in a sea of nothingness fades away.

Oh yeah. That's always the high point of a Colorado road trip when you're coming from the Midwest, and it is just such a glorious moment, especially when you realize that you almost never get the chance to see that much space at one time.

On the other hand, very few things won't inspire tears of mirth at the glory and richness of the universe after you've driven through Kansas on 70.
posted by invitapriore at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always felt really bad for those people living right near the West Side Highway that probably had beautiful river views before Trump came along.

Fun fact, Trump had to build a little pedestrian Broadway/pier for the right to build his obnoxious filing cabinets that RUIN EVERYONE'S VIEW
posted by The Whelk at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2013


I pay $650/mo for a two bedroom house (and I used to live in a 3/2/2 for just a bit more than this) with a fully fenced yard in the middle of my city. Ya'll be crazy up in NYC.

The rent and the bed bugs are enough to keep me far, far away.
posted by Malice at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2013


IIRC every bedroom has to have at least two points of egress; it's usually the bedroom door and a window to the outside, but it could conceivably be the bedroom door and a connecting door to the bedroom next door, or the door to the bathroom that has a human-sized window. IANAL, obvsly.
posted by elizardbits at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2013


Seriously, every runner in New York is grateful to Trump.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2013


The monthly mortgage on my entire house (2400sqft, on 1/3 acre) is less than many of these rooms. I just cannot wrap my brain around paying so much for so little. I mean, where are you supposed to shower? Are there communal bathrooms or something? Where do you cook? In all seriousness, what is the appeal? Cause I just don't understand this.

Not to pick on you, specifically, but a lot of people in this thread are posting the same thing, and, yes, but, how many cars do you own? How much do you spend on gas a month? How much is the maintenance / depreciation on those cars? How much carbon dioxide do they emit? What are the monthly energy costs of your 2400 sq. ft. house? What are the maintenance costs on a 2400 sq. ft. house and .33 acres of land? etc., etc., etc.

(I don't live anywhere near NYC, praise the lord. Totally jealous of the person upthread who lives in a house in Philadelphia near the train for $500, though. I love Philadelphia).
posted by junco at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Naturally the Onion weighs in:

8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live
'We're Getting The Hell Out Of This Sewer,' Entire Populace Reports

posted by wcfields at 11:28 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know people feel good about being all "I have X space in placethatisnotNewYork that is so big and great" etc but you know this is called the Worst Room right? I mean, the answer to "how do people live like this?" is that for the most part they don't. Yea it's expensive in the city, but there are plenty of good reasons to be here and people can make a lot of things work. The more time you spend here the more you can learn about neighborhoods that will get you more "bang for your buck" (hilarious jokes about being scared about minorities aside) and you can make it work.

It's really not that big of a deal. It's just that life at the extremes in NYC can be sort of ridiculous. Life in the middle isn't as much.
posted by sweetkid at 11:33 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


In all seriousness, what is the appeal? Cause I just don't understand this.

A semi-serious answer to this is, of course, that you pay so little because people don't want to live where you live--for a huge variety of reasons, humanity has found NYC so much more desirable than where you live that you can quantify it by saying that they will pay what you pay on your mortgage to rent the top bunk in a windowless room in NYC.

(A more serious answer would look at average or media housing prices instead of crazy extremes.)
posted by jjwiseman at 11:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


junco, I'll chime in to help you prove your point. We pay less than $2k for our nearly 3,000 square foot, four bedroom, 3 1/2 bathroom house on a quarter acre outside Kansas City (that includes RE tax, which is high, considering). We own three cars (one is for the oldest kid), my husband drives 30 miles one way to work, I drive 65 miles one way to work; public transportation is only available right downtown and consists of buses. We spend about $500/month on fuel, depending on gas prices. It costs us $300/month to heat/cool/light our home. With car payments, we're running in the neighborhood of $3.5k. That isn't including maintenance on the cars or the home, or figuring our carbon footprint, etc. It's a question of what you think it's worthwhile to spend your money on. There are people reading this who would happily spend that $3k to $4k on a place the comparable size of a shoebox in New York because the thought of living in the midwest makes them cry. I'd kill myself before I'd live in a 100 sq.ft. windowless room in New York, and I lived in a one-room, 300 sq.ft., one-window basement in Alexandria, VA that flooded and was infested with spider crickets. People pay those prices because the market supports it, and obviously they feel living in New York is worth it. Some of us don't, but it's not a fair comparison for all the reasons already mentioned, and more.

The only other thing I'll add is that it's kind of comparing apples to oranges to talk about renting in New York versus paying a mortgage anywhere; in theory at least, I'm getting something other than a place to sleep in return for my money.
posted by jennaratrix at 11:45 AM on May 8, 2013


> Yeah, this brings back dark recollections of living in Toronto in my twenties, but even so, places there were snazzier with much more affordable prices

My lord I got lucky when I first moved to Toronto. I was told it would take days, if not a full week, to find a decent place, but it was more like half an hour. After the first person I called hung up on me when I told them I was a student, the second ad I answered landed me a nice room near Palmerston and Dundas with three other fun-to-hang-out-with student-types (one of whom was a trustafarian with an endless supply of goodies he was willing to share). The rent, if memory serves, was $395. It was one of the best summers of my life.

My second place, on the other hand, was a room in a boarding house on Dufferin. Pros: large, well-lit, high ceilings, overlooked a park. Cons: thousands of cockroaches that only came out at night (I moved out after three weeks).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2013


These pictures remind me of that scene in Decline of Western Civilization where Ron Reyes shows Penelope Spheeris the closet he lives in.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Manhattan is a very small island, and many people want to live there. Supply and demand, etc.

Not just that; there is a surprising amount of vacancy in various lots/buildings that are, for whatever reason, not being turned into money-spinning apartments by the landowners. It's not a Soylent Green cheek-to-jowl situation so much as an inefficiencies-of-the-marketplace situation.

No place is Best Place all the time, which is why my dream life would be one where I followed the good weather like a nomad.
posted by emjaybee at 11:54 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I live on the 40th Floor of an apartment building in Manhattan. Each room has its own en-suite, each en-suite has a separate half-bath. Each half-bath has a walk-in closet. Behind every walk-in closet is a separate crawl space. Each crawl space exits on to its own private rooftop deck. Each rooftop deck has simultaneous river, ocean, city, and mountain views. I have 14 underground parking spaces and a private helicopter landing pad. For all this I pay $7.15 per month.

I mean, I think that's where I live, once I find my way out of this unlit rented basement with a toilet that doesn't flush. My wife says we actually live here, but I don't believe her.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:58 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I live in an apartment on the 99th floor of my block, sometimes I sit at home looking out the window imagining the world has stopped.
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks, jennaratrix, for the detailed example. My questions were mostly rhetorical; I moved from a small house in inexpensive-suburban-middle-america-small-city to an apartment in very-expensive-downtown-coastal-city and was surprised when our total costs actually went down, mostly due to much lower energy bills and not having to maintain and fuel two cars. My point was that this is more a situation of different tastes rather than "city dwellers are deluded idiots". I would point out that if you can afford $3-4K rent (i.e., in the example you give, dedicating the money you would spend on private transportation and a large home's energy costs to rent instead) you can afford to buy in NYC (well, not in Manhattan or most of Brooklyn, probably). And your "in theory, at least" has proven in recent times to be a pretty big qualifier for a lot of people.

(I really liked Kansas City, by the way, for the afternoon I was there. Ditto Salt Lake City. But there is no amount of money you could give me to make me drive 130 miles every day -- I would rather live in one of those places in the FPP.)
posted by junco at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


No place is Best Place all the time, which is why my dream life would be one where I followed the good weather like a nomad.

Snow bird! I want to become one as soon as I retire. May-October in NYC, November-April somewhere like Florida.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2013


My worst commute home was three and a half hours...

Over here that gets you clean out of the country.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uh, am I the only one who laughed at the blog and dismissed it as The Rooms New Transplants live in?

I have friends who pay $1400 for a gorgeous two-bedroom in a brownstone in Crown Heights, or a pretty good $1000 studio in bed-stuy, or $2000 for a pretty good 3br in Bushwick, or a huge brownstone with 3.5 rooms for $2800 in Harlem, etc. Or Astoria, Forest Hills, Ridgewood, etc etc. These places aren't cheap by US standards, but they are by NYC standards. And it's not crazy closet living either - my friend who pays $700 a month has a roof garden, a (small) living room, etc.

It's hard to find spaces, yeah, but they're out there. You just have to drop the romantic notion of having to live in Manhattan. NYC is more than Manhattan.
posted by suedehead at 12:48 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


suedehead, no didn't laugh, because I've lived in those places in safe neighborhoods. The neighborhoods you mention are more crime ridden or hella far.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:50 PM on May 8, 2013


Sorry, what's crime ridden? And far from what?
posted by sweetkid at 12:53 PM on May 8, 2013


Crown Heights, Bushwick, Bed Stuy and Harlem all have higher crime rates, comparatively. And by far, I mean most people work in midtown or FiDi.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:55 PM on May 8, 2013


That's not "crime-ridden." I have friends who live those places and they're not getting clubbed on their way home every night. Your stats don't make any of those neighborhoods bad places to live. Lots of people live there.
posted by sweetkid at 12:57 PM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm just saying there are reasons why they are cheaper.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2013


Those reasons are mostly bollocks though.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


sweetkid's right: I've lived in Bridgeport, CT and Miami and both were FAR more crime-ridden than New York.
posted by jonmc at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2013


If I want 3 am tacos I have to resort to preparing them in my own spacious kitchen all the way down the hall from our three bedrooms, just a couple yards past the bathroom but before you get to the living room, dining room, office, or porch. And I'd probably have to go out to the garden for hot peppers and tomatoes. But that's the kind of hovel a $900 mortgage payment gets you in [NAME OF CITY REDACTED]. But, yeah, I guess $1500 for a broom closet with a 5 1/2' ceiling is a small price to pay for living near food carts.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:09 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Crown Heights, Bushwick, Bed Stuy and Harlem all have higher crime rates, comparatively.

The key word there is "comparatively". I have friends who have a two-bedroom in Crown Heights and it's such a swank pad that they post it up on Airbnb, and get raves. (They're like a fifteen-minute walk from the Botanic Garden and the West Indian Day parade is right out their freakin' window. It's awesome.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think "comparatively" is the operative word when talking about the crime rate in NYC neighborhoods. I live in one of the safer neighborhoods in St. Louis, but having spent a decent amount of time hanging out in Bushwick it's pretty obvious to me that it's safer than where I live. It's just not a bad or dangerous place in any absolute sense.
posted by invitapriore at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, jinx!
posted by invitapriore at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2013


But that's the kind of hovel a $900 mortgage payment gets you in [NAME OF CITY REDACTED].

Uh, I clicked on the little globe and can see where you live. Will not reveal, but will say that "yeah, but you're living in America's wang".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just think if you're peering at crime stats without having spent significant time in various neighborhoods you don't have a really good picture of what "safe" is going to mean.

Also, Crown Heights and Bushwick in particular are gentrifying (hate the term but) rapidly so it's a little "behind the times" to say they're not good places to be.

Have you even been to Barboncino? I mean damn that's good pizza. And the nicest people anywhere. I hate you Paleo diet.
posted by sweetkid at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth the timestamp on most of my memories of NYC is about five years out of date, since that was the last time it made sense for me to spend a whole summer there.
posted by invitapriore at 1:19 PM on May 8, 2013


So like the streets could be paved with gold in Crown Heights now for all I know.
posted by invitapriore at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2013


"...you're living in America's wang".

Yeah. It's awful. I would not want to encourage hordes of big-city northerner-type folk to move here. They'd hate it. Blech. Nothing to do after 2:00 am, and the desolate, sugar-sand beaches less than an hour away are highly overrated.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing to do after 2:00 am, and the desolate, sugar-sand beaches less than an hour away are highly overrated.

Uh...okay.

So like the streets could be paved with gold in Crown Heights now for all I know.

I can report that there's a really good Cajun place that opened up in that neighborhood....

(For some reason, friends of mine from three entirely different circles have all gotten the same "omigod YAY NEW ORLEANS" mindset, so we all keep each other posted. I think if New York City ever completely blows up the whole group of us could just en masse move down and all go on on a building in Treme or something. Or we'd then end up making an FPP about the weird rent prices in New Orleans.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2013


Omg I cant stop myself I have to move to fort worth immediately and work in the piggly wiggly thanks for dealing me some Smugs, smugdealer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:04 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rents in New Orleans really are crazy these days. I mean, my New York and Bay Area friends do still weep when they ask what I pay for my place, but it is roughly 125% of what I was paying for similar location/square footage/amenities 10 years ago. But yall are still welcome EC!
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2013


There are two main factors making it so expensive to move here:

1. native non-rich New Yorkers don't want to compete with you for the right to live where they grew up. 50% of Manhattan's rental apartments are rent-regulated, and another 20% are public or subsidized housing. And about 1/3 are owned rather than rented, so as a newly-arrived renter you're competing for just 20% of the apartments.

2. the people you're competing against include rich people from all over the world who want apartments here just in case they come visit. The occasional-occupancy rate in Manhattan is now almost 5% of all apartments, about double what it was ten years ago.
posted by nicwolff at 2:12 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The page is entertaining and awful, but I would like to point out that just because these things are posted on Craigslist doesn't mean they will actually get rented out for that price, nor that this is the market price for that kind of place. They are trolling for suckers.

Also, in order for a room to be called a "bedroom" it has to have a window. So a lot of these look to be illegal as bedrooms. Doesn't mean people won't live in them, but there are indeed laws about this.
posted by wondermouse at 2:13 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rents in New Orleans really are crazy these days. I mean, my New York and Bay Area friends do still weep when they ask what I pay for my place, but it is roughly 125% of what I was paying for similar location/square footage/amenities 10 years ago. But yall are still welcome EC!

Basically you're saying that rent has gone up 25% in ten years. So has everything else. (To read the table: what cost $184 in March of 2003 cost $232 in March of 2013.)
posted by madcaptenor at 2:41 PM on May 8, 2013


invitapriore: “Yeah, I think ‘comparatively’ is the operative word when talking about the crime rate in NYC neighborhoods. I live in one of the safer neighborhoods in St. Louis, but having spent a decent amount of time hanging out in Bushwick it's pretty obvious to me that it's safer than where I live. It's just not a bad or dangerous place in any absolute sense.”

I love New Mexico for a lot of reasons, and living in Albuquerque is nice. It's largely nice because I rent a 600-square-foot house on a half-acre lot for $700, and that includes utilities. However, I'm a realist; crime in Albuquerque is not good. I have razor wire on my back fence, and I need it. I've personally seen no less than three police shootouts since I moved here almost two years ago. And that's not just my vague sense of it; in 2010, the Albuquerque Police Department was involved in more fatal shootings than the NYPD. That's not per capita; that's actual numbers. New York City has almost 8.5 million people; Albuquerque has a little over half a million. The comparative numbers here are not good. Why this disparity? It might have something to do with the fact that, as someone discovered last year, the Albuquerque Police Department has had a system for years whereby police officers get bonuses for being involved in shootings. But it also has to do with the city's thriving drug trade (no, Breaking Bad fans, the drug of choice here is actually heroin) and just general weirdness on the streets.

It really does seem to me that most eastern cities – NYC included – are often comparatively much safer than people imagine, particularly today.
posted by koeselitz at 3:22 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


To Invitapriore and the others who talk about the ocean: I'm glad to realize I'm not alone in my feelings about the ocean. I grew up as a navy brat and was always within a stone's throw of it. . I was always next to the ocean until I was thirty and my spouse got a job offer in ATLANTA. Landlocked areas seem somehow claustrophophic, even if they're entirely empty. I still live in Atlanta. It's nice. But I won't ever stop being sad about the fact that the ocean is so far away that I can only see it on vacations, instead of breathe it in daily.

Now NYC is an island, so it's got that going for it. So what's all this griping about? Just kidding. I'd rather live in Atlanta.

*But I do get a thrill from visiting NYC (excepting only the being mugged part). What a city!
posted by Transl3y at 3:51 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


*But I do get a thrill from visiting NYC (excepting only the being mugged part).

Oh do you get mugged every time you visit NYC?
posted by sweetkid at 3:57 PM on May 8, 2013


Oh do you get mugged every time you visit NYC?

We needed the money.

I'm sorry
posted by jonmc at 4:14 PM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Me, personally, I don't really care for saxophones.
posted by wcfields at 4:16 PM on May 8, 2013


But do you love living in the city?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:29 PM on May 8, 2013


Some of us were born here. Where the fuck are we supposed to go. Love it or not this is our home.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:37 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some are born to New York, some achive New York, and some have New York thrust upon them.
posted by The Whelk at 4:41 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


the people you're competing against include rich people from all over the world who want apartments here just in case they come visit. The occasional-occupancy rate in Manhattan is now almost 5% of all apartments, about double what it was ten years ago.

I realize that the apartments they are owning/renting are far beyond the means of most average owners/renters in NYC and as such are probably not really contributing to the overall lack of available apartments but I still nevertheless irrationally want them to pay an obscene tax rate for their monstrous apartment-hogging actions.
posted by elizardbits at 5:01 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not trying to be a dick and say don't move here. I'm just saying some of us have roots here and can't pick up and leave when the mood strikes us. There are families and communities going back generations, When you talk about high crime areas you can't move to you are talking about places where people live and work and raise children.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:02 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


friendly reminder that my totalitarian dictatorship is going to be fucking super awesome
posted by elizardbits at 5:02 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seriously, YOu can just have my civil rights, I wasn't using them. Just subsidize boxing classes and we cool.
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on May 8, 2013


I'm not trying to be a dick and say don't move here.

Would you hold it against me for having been born there and kind of wanting to come back? I have this atavistic, salmon-like urge to return, although my girlfriend is not too into the idea, bless her heart.
posted by invitapriore at 5:06 PM on May 8, 2013


Would you hold it against me

hold... it

the it in this sentence?

maybe is a dick?
posted by elizardbits at 5:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


A salmon.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:15 PM on May 8, 2013


Hey, everyone is welcome. As I said before I got a couch and room on the floor if you bring a sleeping bag. That is what makes New York great, we let people sleep wherever there is room to curl into a ball and lay down.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:15 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay! I hope you've got enough salmon dicks to go around.
posted by invitapriore at 5:27 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This conversation is making me all contemplative about cities and roots and living. What invitapriore said about having to be near an ocean, yeah I get that too. I spent much of my formative years in and around Santa Barbara, Ojai, Lompoc, Santa Maria (excepting a brief, utterly Steinbeckian stint in Fresno)...basically one of the best sections of California for reals, yo. Crazy expensive of course, but we were Army and lived on Vandenberg Air Force base (and yeah my dad commuted 65 miles to the armory in Santa Barbara) and we drove everywhere all the time. Public transit? Ha!

But it was idyllic, my dears. Have you ever been to Solvang? Seriously. And there are old Spanish missions everywhere, they're like the Starbucks of the Old World. There was a whole NatGeo cover about this part of Cali back in like '91 or something. They called it The Middle Kingdom and there's a quote in the story along the lines of "if you don't live here fate has dealt you an awful hand" or something of that nature. And what koeselitz's mom said about needing to walk on the beach even though it was January and cold as hell. I totally get that. The beaches in SB aren't usually very warm, sometimes they're downright frosty but they are always wonderful and rejuvenating.

Then we moved to Utah. I missed the ocean for a long time. Still do once in a while but Zions generally fills that void. That place is breathtaking and just...so...words fail. Kolob Canyon is an underrated gem in my opinion, too. Epic vistas.

And I envy Ad hominem. I don't have roots anywhere. My people are spread out all over the West: Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington. I've never lived in the same house for more then seven years, and never even the same town for more then ten years. I have no roots. Some of this is a consequence of growing up in an Army family. There's no ancestral pull, other than a vague notion that my pre-emigration ancestors were principally Scottish and Welsh and Irish. But I have no real connection to that. Or to any other place. All the houses I grew up in are gone. Even when I chance to pass through cities or neighborhoods I once called home I feel like a ghost, an intruder.

We've been married for six years now. Two kids, and the home we're renting is starting to feel snug. We've been saving our money, time to buy a house. Time to put down roots. Unlike my own father I never joined the military. I have a regular job and pretty good prospects in an industry that increasingly favors telecommunicating. In fact I think if I pushed it I could move to any major city in the US (my company's policy is technically that you can live anywhere in the country as long are you are no more than about 90 minutes form a corporate office). So where do I go? My parents and my wife's parents do live in Utah (though my parents just moved to an entirely new city and county, again), and I'm a pretty big fan all around so maybe we should just pick a neighborhood and set up shop.

That idea freaks me out a little. I could give my kids something I didn't really have: roots. I'm not really sure how to do that. Sometimes I'm not sure I want to do that. But then I'm reminded of that ghost-like feeling. I have no home to return to. Do I want my children to experience that same void or should I try to fill it? I honestly don't know.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:21 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "We divert the east river to just past JFK and landfill in the basis to connect up Manhattan and the Newer, smaller New Long Island (Short Island?)."

There have actually been serious proposals to do this.
posted by schmod at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2013


I know! I wrote a whole short story about it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 PM on May 8, 2013


My take on New York's charm and shittiness: The place has never burned to the ground.

Bear with me here. New York's been through some pretty dark times, but it never faced significant depopulation, or some sort of event that required the reconstruction of a substantial portion of its infrastructure.

As an engineer, the idea of maintaining NYC's infrastructure is an actual nightmare. I mean, seriously. Thousands of unlabeled phone lines bundled together. Ancient and undocumented steam pipes. No real documentation on the power grid. A subway system that was inexplicably powered by rotary converters until 1999.
posted by schmod at 9:00 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And 105 miles of steam pipes buried below the streets south of 96th St. Where else can you see something like this :/
posted by mlis at 9:09 PM on May 8, 2013


I just came here to say that I hate ugly brown carpet... that moves.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:25 AM on May 9, 2013


I currently pay $250 a week for a two bedroom apartment with private courtyard, 15 minutes walk from the Pacific Ocean (and my cat is allowed). My first solo apartment was also 2 bedroom, with a view of the Pacific Ocean, for $80 a week (1987). Different part of the state, though. All I got to say is WTF?! I'm all for minimalism, and less space to clean, but WTF? Is it really worth it?
posted by b33j at 4:18 AM on May 9, 2013


yes because bagels
posted by elizardbits at 6:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously.
posted by The Whelk at 6:54 AM on May 9, 2013


[...in the hipper precincts of New York City...parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.]

So yeah. Some of these $1500 broom closets are in neighborhoods where you have that much more of a chance of stepping in a puddle of human piss, and they are going ahead and raising their children to leave those puddles for you.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:03 AM on May 9, 2013


Considering the amount of dog pee and drunken adult human pee that are already an inextricable part of our environment here in NYC, I am not sure I can get super outraged about the addition of baby pee, especially if it means fewer diapers in landfills.
posted by elizardbits at 7:32 AM on May 9, 2013


roomthreeseventeen: "My husband’s favorite story, which I may have detailed here before, is that when he was looking for an apartment in the 70s, he was shown an apartment in the West Village with a dirt floor. "

What's the rent?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. Some of these don't look that bad to me.
posted by inertia at 10:20 AM on May 9, 2013


mlis: "And 105 miles of steam pipes buried below the streets south of 96th St. Where else can you see something like this :/"

Don't knock the steam system too hard.

Notice how no buildings in Manhattan have smokestacks? You can thank Con Ed's centralized steam system for that.

Manhattan's a pretty dirty place. Can you imagine what it would have been like if all those buildings were burning coal back in the day? Even today, the system apparently still has a reputation for being pretty efficient, and frees buildings from having to maintain their own heating systems.
posted by schmod at 1:03 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I live in a Nice Neighborhood in Boston and condos here are bought within a week, often for MORE than the listing price. Because we would personally prefer death to the 'burbs (and Mr. Sonika has an irrational fear of JP), we want to stick around this area and have resigned ourselves to renting forever. Our rent is easily triple a mortgage payment on a HUGE house anywhere outside of a city.

And suddenly, it seems like such a bargain! Thanks, NYC!

(Seriously though the housing market within Boston proper - just sign over any limbs you're not using and if you're willing to spare a kidney, you might even get heat!)
posted by sonika at 1:03 PM on May 9, 2013


Recycling something I said recently elsewhere: cities are horrible unless you are at least two of a) young, b) drunk and c) rich.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:53 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


And suddenly, it seems like such a bargain! Thanks, NYC!

yeah, I lived in Boston and NYC does not make it look like a "bargain."
posted by sweetkid at 4:00 PM on May 9, 2013


When I was looking for a room in Silicon Valley one of the places I looked at was a room without a door. They wanted $600 for it.

I nope'd out of there.
posted by caphector at 4:06 PM on May 9, 2013


Huh, looked up actual 2BR apts in Manhattan and found that they're exactly comparable to what I pay. I was expecting them to be at least half again as much, based on the rates for these dungeons. So, are all these $1200 closets because there's a shortage of 1BR/studio apts or what?

(Back to feeling like I'm just opening a vein every time we pay rent. Go ahead, I'll just bleed money. It's fine.)
posted by sonika at 4:10 PM on May 9, 2013


There must be a language that has a word for that wistful moment in between when you get paid at the beginning of the month and when your landlord cashes your rent check where you feel like you actually have money.
posted by invitapriore at 4:12 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, looked up actual 2BR apts in Manhattan and found that they're exactly comparable to what I pay. I was expecting them to be at least half again as much, based on the rates for these dungeons. So, are all these $1200 closets because there's a shortage of 1BR/studio apts or what?

Every single person I know in NYC pays less money for nicer apartments than the places in that blog. These blog posts are notable because they're SHITTY rooms.

(Also, I'm pretty sure that every post in that blog is not a studio/1br, but a bedroom within a larger apartment.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:01 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought London was bad enough. When we were looking for a flat, I saw one (which was charged at £25 per month more than the lovely one and a half bedroom place we have now) which appeared to be a converted hallway, and was 'furnished' with filing cabinets, giving the overall impression of a dentist's waiting room. It also boasted a 'desperate kitchen'.

Most rooms here in shared places average between £450-600, and that is 1/2hr - 1hr travel to the centre. The new trend is for landlords to convert the living room into a 'bedroom', so that all the rooms are now called 'bedsits' and they can charge £100 extra for the vestiges of personal space. You can be asked to leave with a month's notice, you don't get to paint or put up shelves, and it's next to impossible to have pets (some rental places will not accept smokers - as in, people who smoke at all, not just smoking indoors - or small children). And it's about £25k for a down-payment to get a mortgage in this city, if you're lucky to find somewhere cheap that will accept as low as a 20% deposit.
posted by mippy at 7:44 AM on May 10, 2013


Every single person I know in NYC pays less money for nicer apartments than the places in that blog. These blog posts are notable because they're SHITTY rooms.

Seriously half the comments in this thread are basically meaningless because people are just disregarding this in order to post stuff like 'glad I live in BARGAIN Silicon Valley/Boston/London/etc!! LOL NYC is for chumps amirite'
posted by sweetkid at 7:57 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


lol at London being a bargain thoughbut

Though with NYC prices, I'd also have to add on the $400 or so that my medication would cost me if I lived in the US. That is probably worse than all those Gumtree ads offering cheap rooms to 'girls' in exchange for 'light household duties'.
posted by mippy at 8:14 AM on May 10, 2013


Dunno what your medication is but that's not necessarily true. Also London was expensive when I lived there ten years ago, just for everyday things, and in Sydney recently some things were twice as much as they are in New York.
posted by sweetkid at 8:39 AM on May 10, 2013


That's my point - London is not a bargainous city by any means, but take that and double it when it comes to renting or buying a place to live. I don't know what area here is analogus to Manhattan, but when I was looking for a studio in zone 2/3 earlier this year because where I was living was driving me literally mental, it was astonishing how little you can get for £700. If I'm paying that much in rent, I expect a 'kitchen; that is something other than a microwave on top of a fridge, as I sure as hell couldn't afford to eat out.

I've heard Australia is crazy expensive - cosmetics cost about three times what they do here. Ireland is the same.
posted by mippy at 8:46 AM on May 10, 2013


people are just disregarding this in order to post stuff like 'glad I live in BARGAIN Silicon Valley/Boston/London/etc!! LOL NYC is for chumps amirite'

So, posting about our own experiences on the broader topic of housing is Doing it Rong? We're just supposed to stick to "Wow is that room crappy!" Got it.

Also, never meant to imply NYC'ers were chumps.
posted by sonika at 9:05 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean to pick on you specifically, but yeah, you made a comment about how cheap Boston is compared to NYC based mostly on this blog.
posted by sweetkid at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2013


you made a comment about how cheap Boston is compared to NYC based mostly on this blog.

Yeah, because I inferred "If this crappy room is $[x] then a whole apartment must be, like 5x$[x] in order for there to be anyone willing to pay that, which judging by the clothes and such, people totally are." Turns out, not true. But, that was my initial impression and my frame of reference is my own city - which did indeed suddenly feel cheap.

How is that a problem in talking about the post? Are you now the arbiter of the correct path a discussion can take and have decided that the only response allowed is to talk about the rooms themselves and not the larger context of housing costs? People relate things to their own experiences. It's a thing that happens.
posted by sonika at 11:06 AM on May 10, 2013


"Almost a studio." Oy vey.
posted by zarq at 3:58 PM on May 11, 2013


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