As many of you may have heard by now, we have moved. It’s been about 3 1/2 months now. Time goes so quickly. We lived in our previous place for 5 years and, although we loved it, we were ready for a change – no walking up flights of stairs to take Romeo in and out, and more space. Plus, our landlord was raising our rent about 8%. We figured it was time to at least see what was out there and how good of a deal we had or didn’t have.
It turns out that we had a good deal, even though they were raising our rent by quite a bit. With NYC vacancy rates of less than 1%, finding a reasonably priced apartment that’s not a dump, isn’t an easy task. We were also searching at the end of August which is when a lot of others are looking too. Properties move fast. You’d better be ready to make a decision, have all your paperwork in order or you’ll lose it to someone else. Even though I’ve lived here for 14 years and have done this search before, this process never gets any easier.
We probably looked at 20 places. Many in our former neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen or Midtown West. Quite a few in Harlem. And about 4 on the Upper West Side. We saw some great apartments, some okay apartments, and a few real dumps. Staying in Midtown West would have required going quite a bit above our budget to get more space and what we wanted.
When we were just about to call it quits and sign another lease in our former place, we found an ad for a 1bdr on Riverside and 115th. A broker named Rita was showing it, and Adi and I both agreed that Rita was one of the best brokers we’d ever met. Very honest, great sense of humor. After inquiring about the ad for the place on 115th, Rita informed us that she had another unit opening up on 103rd Street and Riverside. We looked at both. The apartment at 115th was occupied by a Columbia student about to move out. The one at 103rd St was in the midst of being renovated.
Even though it was in a demolished state at the time we first looked at it, we could tell that it had “good bones”, as they say. Plus, Rita showed us the finishings of other apartments in the building that had recently been renovated. Our friend Douglas took a look as well to give a second opinion and after that, we got our paperwork in and got approved within days. Our search was finally over. We had decided that we wouldn’t move unless we really felt like we were getting an upgrade. After all, we were losing a place with amazing light, 2 terraces, and a duplex. Our new place doesn’t have personal outdoor space or even a roof deck, but we have a big apartment (for NY and for us!) and Riverside Park is right outside our door.
I’ve put together a photo gallery of the apartment when we first looked at it and of the neighborhood the day we signed our lease. Then, when you’ve looked at these photos, you can see what it looks like now and how we’ve decorated it.. Still not done!