There’s a huge difference between living in the USA and living in New York City. Where most of the rest of the country wouldn’t put up with massive rents for atrocious living standards, pretty much everyone in the Big Apple does. Why? Because they don’t really have a choice. If you’ve ever wondered just how annoying it is to live in NYC, though, prepare to have your eyes well and truly opened.
20. You need a history degree to figure out listings
Well, maybe not quite a degree, but some general knowledge of the past 100 years does come in useful. That’s because pretty much all New York City apartments are classified as pre- or postwar, referring to World War Two. But then there’s also pre-prewar, and even pre-pre-prewar. And of course, postwar buildings can be very different depending on the decade. Good luck!
19. Applications are insanely complex
While in other cities, renting an apartment is as easy as providing a reference or two and signing on the dotted line, don’t expect the same treatment in NYC. Indeed, you should also be prepared to hand over everything from last year’s tax return to the details of your 401K, mother’s maiden name and shoe size.
18. It costs a small fortune to move in
Buying property in any major city is pretty much a pipe dream for anyone under 30. But the costs of renting can still add up quickly, particularly in the Big Apple. After all, application fees, broker’s fees and huge security deposits are commonplace. And that’s before you even get to the cost of rent…
17. Renting apartments unseen is a thing
You wouldn’t commit to living in a place you’d never seen before, would you? In New York City, you may have no choice. Indeed, apartments are in such demand that by the time you’ve managed to organize a viewing, chances are the place you’re interested in will have already been snapped up.
16. You’ll never live alone
Whether it’s alone or with a significant other, being king or queen of your own castle is one of the best parts about adult life. Unless you’re in NYC, that is, where roommates are basically a permanent fixture, regardless of age. How else will you afford to live?
15. Bedrooms are tiny…
At a minimum, you might expect a normal bedroom anywhere else in the country to have enough room for a bed, wardrobe, and maybe even a desk and bookshelf. In NYC? That’s the absolute maximum. And even then, you’d be incredibly lucky to fit all those in a single room.
14. …and might even be windowless
If you’re thinking of making the move to the Big Apple, we hope you aren’t expecting to have anything as luxurious as sunlight available to you. No, windows often come as extra in NYC apartments. You’ll just have to learn to be a vampire, we guess.
13. Elevators aren’t a given
Really, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the fourth, eighth or even 12th floor. Yes, some buildings in New York City are simply so old that elevators weren’t a thing when they were built. Then again, at least it’ll keep you fit…
12. Wardrobes aren’t guaranteed either
Even if you do find somewhere with a place to hang your clothes, don’t expect it to be huge. Your nicest shirt or best dress might enjoy the luxury of a coat hanger, but everything else will have to slum it on the floor. Or in the suitcase you moved in with, because let’s face it, unpacking is a chore.
11. Your “outdoor space” usually extends to the fire escape
We wouldn’t be surprised if the residents of New York City have literally zero idea what a garden is. After all, chances are they’ve never seen one in the flesh. In the Big Apple, it’s all about hanging out on the fire escape. Apparently.
10. Washing machines are lavish items
Washing your own clothes, inside your own apartment? Absolute madness, surely. Just how rich are you? Unless the answer is “unfathomably,” then you’ve basically zero chance of having something as wondrous as a personal washing machine.
9. Even on-site laundromats are rare
Yes, it gets worse: not every apartment building in NYC has an on-site laundromat. Which means you could realistically be beholden to the nearest independent laundromat and whatever opening hours it deems necessary. So, you can probably forget doing any midnight laundry.
8. Dishwashers are definitely out
If you can’t expect a washing machine, what hope do you have for a dishwasher? Indeed, the only dishwasher any NYC apartment has is the one living there. Or should we say, the ones living there, because as we’ve already established, nobody can afford to live alone in New York.
7. Kitchens are basically just tiny, full stop
Really, it’s no wonder dishwashers and washing machines are just a pipe dream. After all, it’s not as if there’s actually any room for them in the tiny kitchens New Yorkers have to put up with. Indeed, you definitely won’t be hosting any big family gatherings any time soon.
6. Parking space is definitely not included
Street space is so tightly squeezed in NYC that vertical parking lifts, like the one pictured here, have started popping up around the city. It’s an ingenious solution, for sure, but it’s also not commonplace enough to come as standard with an apartment.
5. And it’s prohibitively expensive to find somewhere to park nearby
Parking spots in NYC basically cost more than houses in the rest of the country. So if your apartment doesn’t come with its own parking space – and why would it – then you’re probably better off just selling the motor. At least walking everywhere will keep you healthy.
4. The heating alternates between boiling and freezing
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is – New Yorkers are basically always the wrong temperature. And cranking up the AC to cool down is a gambit in and of itself. After all, positioning it on the window of whatever skyscraper-level floor you’re on always runs the risk of it dropping on to an unsuspecting passerby below.
3. Rooms often have to double up
We’re not talking about people sharing rooms here, but the rooms themselves serving two purposes. Just look at the picture above, for instance, which really stretches the definition of “en-suite.” Indeed, you basically have to decide whether you’re showering in your bedroom or sleeping in the bathroom.
2. Your bedroom might not even be a bedroom at all
In fact, it could just be a closet under the stairs, like some kind of horrific, Harry Potter-esque nightmare. But if a landlord can squeeze an extra few hundred dollars out of their apartment by creating an extra bedroom out of nothing, then you can guarantee that is going to happen.
1. You’re constantly keeping an eye out for somewhere better
Anywhere else in the country, you can expect to stay in your apartment for basically as long as you like. But in NYC, you’ll never really get settled. After all, despite every single setback we’ve described here, you’ll always live in the vain hope that there must be somewhere better. And so, you’ll keep looking. Forever, and ever.