15 Things I Would Rather Do Than Apartment Hunt in NYC

Apartment hunting is a living hell. In New York City, it’s a living hell filled with countless devils in the form of unanswered emails, hidden fees, and a high probability of questionable roommates.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: apartment hunting is a lot like online dating. But worse. As someone who won’t (aka can’t afford to) pay a broker’s fee, I’ve used every online site out there: Streeteasy, Roomi, Symbi, Gypsy Housing, and my personal favorite, Craigslist. Non-New Yorkers can call me crazy, but none of these methods are strange in the city.

Hand in hand with the amazing experiences offered by NYC are the incredibly unpleasant ones. But out of all 15 of these less-than-desirable experiences, I’d rather suffer through them than apartment hunt.

Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the Elmos in Times Square are secretly no-fee realtors. So I’ll continue to trawl through Craigslist ads, 50% of which are scams, 25% of which are in unsuitable locations or with unsuitable roommates, and 10% of which are just unresponsive, leaving me to fight with over the last 15% with the rest of 20-somethings apartment hunting this month.

My sanity hangs precariously in the balance. So precariously, I’d be willing to trade my misery for any of these other horrible New York atrocities.

1. Hang out in Times Square

As one of my close friends so delicately puts it, Times Square is the armpit of New York City. No one likes armpits. But if hanging out in the most obnoxious neighborhood in Manhattan saved me the misery that is apartment hunting... I’d do it.


2. Sit next to someone eating tuna salad on the subway

Or a banana, or Chinese takeout, or anything with crumbs. Fine foods on their own, but no one wants to be stuck in a crowded subway car with those smells (or that mess). If you must eat your meals on the go, keep them fragrance-free and discrete.

3. Be stuck underground due to a sick passenger

Again with being stuck in a crowded subway car with the smell and the mess. Horrific, for sure. But less stressful than finding an honest to god no-fee, not even one hiding under all that paperwork, apartment.

4. Kill a cockroach in my apartment

Look, it’s New York. I’ve had cockroaches before. They are not pleasant. But if I’m killing one in my apartment, at least I have an apartment, right?

5. See a mouse in my office building

Again. I’ve had mice in my office before. They owe me a lot of crackers and some cereal from the inside of my desk drawer.

6. Be forced to stand in one of those human jumping lines during SHOWTIME

I’ve seen these happen successfully a dozen times, but every time those dance troops line up the tourists to do a stunt trick jumping over their heads, I worry someone’s about to die. Fear of death trumps fear of being homeless when it comes to fears I am willing to face.

7. Be hugged by all the Elmos in Times Square

We’ve already covered this: Times Square sucks. And I’ve been afraid of life-size anthropomorphic characters ever since I went to Disney World as a toddler. Stay away from me. Unless you’re offering me in-unit washer/dryer.

8. Give up coffee

I could give up coffee...if I could still drink tea...and I got an apartment out of it. Deal with the devil, let’s do it.

9. Stop wearing black

I might be unrecognizable as a New Yorker without frequent all-black ensembles, but I’d be an unrecognizable New Yorker who has an apartment in New York.

10. Live on the 6th floor of a walkup

It’s a place to live! Bring on the stairs!

11. Give up my favorite bodega

I learned the hard way at my fourth apartment that when I don’t have a bodega nearby, I buy McDonald’s way too much instead. But you know what? An overdose of saturated fat and sodium is manageable in exchange for a bedroom with sunlight.

12. Commute on the 6 train every day

Before the Second Avenue Q line was open, this was one of the worst commutes in the city. Worth it, if it means I’m traveling to and from an apartment I like.

13. See a dead rat on the street every time I leave the house

I’ll skip right past that maggot-infested fleabag if it’s outside a stoop I call my own.

14. Give directions to tourists every day

Sure, this would be equal parts annoying and frustrating. But they don’t know how to get around the city because they don’t live here. I know how to to get around because I do live here. In a great apartment. So I’d share the love.


15. Give up Seamless

I know, I’m shocked too. But the past two years, I’ve given up Seamless for Lent, and survived. Not only survived, but lost weight and saved $$, too. Maybe this isn’t a bad idea, after all...if it guarantees me an apartment, that is.

[Feature Image Courtesy Comedy Central] 

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