Rugs & Travels

Small Spaces Series - Episode 1: Discovering New York

Your first apartment in New York is a topic that’s been covered countless times before, but none of it quite prepares you for the reality of your first apartment in New York. With our daughter, Lena, relocating to Manhattan for grad school, we had to face that reality head on earlier this year. We had the usual requirements: a good neighborhood, close to school, near public transportation and, of course, affordable. We wondered: are some of these objectives mutually exclusive? Let’s take a look at our journey:

Right off the bat, we were fortunate enough to be referred to a great realtor, Susan, who wasn’t just aware of the area where we focused our efforts, but she was a resident! Our first instinct was to rent a one bedroom apartment; however, our first visit quickly taught us two things: It would probably make more sense to buy than rent and, in New York, one bedroom apartments aren’t necessarily any bigger than studios. These facts, while not entirely negative, would eventually lead to some interesting design challenges, which we’ll cover in a subsequent blog coming soon!

Susan did a fantastic job of listening intently to our wish list…and then gently bringing us back into reality. Some neighborhoods we thought would be okay turned out to be a little less safe, others were too pricey, and we quickly learned that we weren’t going to be putting Lena up in any place that rhymed with “SoHo”.

The first one bedroom apartment we looked at was close to school and had a beautiful view! ...of elevated tracks. While the current owner did a nice job with what they had to work with, space was still a bit too tight. Let’s put it this way: simply making your bed would be a challenge. We toured some other apartments with more space, but they were in large, soulless buildings in less than ideal neighborhoods. We even encountered one apartment with the dreaded (cue the horror theme music) murphy bed, and whose kitchen was literally in a closet!

See the tracks on the right. Not the prettiest city view!
See the tracks on the right. Not the prettiest city view!

We were expecting to move Lena in the first week of September, so we assumed that starting our search in April would give us enough time. We quickly realized we had a challenge on our hands.

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