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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Cost of Living Here

Dogwood in Park Slope
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The dogwoods and magnolias are blooming now. The streets are pretty and springlike, lined with brownstones and flowering trees.


One of my new coworkers, Cheryl, has a dilemma - find a home for her dog or move out.

For whatever reason Cheryl's landlord is no longer permitting dogs in her building. She has a young Maltese, Sammy, who barks when nervous.

Cheryl's parents live an hour away in New Jersey and they can't have dogs in their apartment either. So poor Sammy shuttles to and from New Jersey, staying wherever it's safe for the moment. The apartment across the hall is being shown to prospective renters, so Sammy's in New Jersey for the next couple weeks.

If Cheryl didn't live in a rent-stabilized apartment, where her rent is guaranteed not to rise beyond a certain percentage each year, she'd consider moving. Cheryl feels guilty about leaving Sammy home all day during work hours, so she's pursuing other options. So far, one of the contractors we work with may give Sammy a home with a yard in the suburbs.

By the way, there's an article in this week's New York Times about prices for rental apartments. The average studio apartment in Greenwich Village is now going for $2,200 a month. If you're planning on living there with someone else, you should know each other really well.

The average prices for a Manhattan one-bedroom is $3,100 a month. And then you have to factor in the security deposit and the broker's fee, if you can't find the apartment on your own.


Related posts: It Takes a Village and The Rat Race.


Nikon said...

I hope that the contractor takes the dog! I have a cat in a one room studio, so I know the guilt feelings.
Are the rents in Red Hook going through the roof?

Olivier said...

le printemps à NYC est très beau. très poétique ta photo.

Spring in NYC is very beautiful. Very poetic your photo.

Olivier said...

je viens de finir de traduire ton texte (pas facile pour moi). 3100$ un deux pièces dans Manhattan, c'est cher (sur Paris, il faut compter environ 1200 euros), c'est sûrement pour cela que la classe moyenne disparait petit a petit de Manhattan. (un studio dans Greenwich, j'aimerais bien mais 2200$ par mois ;o)) ).
Je croyais que NYC était la ville des chiens, je vois qu'il existe encore des interdictions stupides.

I just finished translating your text (not easy for me). $ 3100 a two-room apartment in Manhattan is expensive (about Paris, it takes about 1200 euros), it is surely why the middle class disappears a little small Manhattan. (A studio in Greenwich, but I would like $ 2200 per month; o))).
I thought that was the NYC city dogs, I see that there are still bans stupid.

Carolyn said...

Great pic!

I can't believe the rent prices in New York!! Amazing!!!


Anonymous said...

I guess that is the price one pays for living in New York City. $2200 a month would get you a mansion here in Ohio and you could live like a king with the dog having an acre or more to play in. Food is cheaper as is everything else. I suppose it boils down to how much you are willing to give up to live there.

Tanya Breese said...

Beautiful blooms! I didn't know dogwoods and magnolias grew all the way up there! Our dogwoods have bloomed, magnolias won't till later.
Hope your co-worker can find a new place for her and her dog!

Anonymous said...

When my New York friend came to visit us shortly after we bought this house, she marveled at how for about one-third her monthly rent, we had 4 times the space - and a yard! But... she lived steps from Lincoln Center, whereas we drive 30 minutes for access to Philadelphia's restaurants and culture.

Here's hoping the puppy finds a caring, new home!

Kitty said...

Hi Nikon
Our fingers are crossed.
Red Hook is probably not so high as other Brooklyn neighborhoods, since the streets still need improvement. It's also a little out of the way (the subway is not so close by).

Brooklyn is definitely cheaper than Manhattan, but not by much. Some of my friends have resorted to living in Astoria, Queens. Even Long Island City has become expensive. It all depends on commute (it's only one stop to the city via the 7 train there), safety, restaurants and schools.

Cats are wonderfully adaptable. They're great city pets.

Hi Olivier
I see the translator isn't working. The bans on dogs depend on the landlord, so it's hit or miss.
You're absolutely right, it's very tough for the middle class, single, or if you have kids.

Thanks Carolyn!

Hi Mr Lincoln
I used to think NYers were nuts to be paying this kind of rent. Actually, I still do. Thing is, some people in investment make a lot of money.
The best scenario is to own your apartment, but you need to money to get there. While you're renting, it's hard to save up cash. It can be done, though.

Welcome Tanya!
Good luck for your new blog.
The trees are wonderful, but the pollen count is very high. People are sneezing all over the place!

Anonymous said...

Crazy prices.

I remember when I first bought a place in London (back in 1987 - so a long time ago) - my mortgage was £441 a month and I earnt £550. I walked everywhere and lived off fried crusts. I dread to think how much rentals are in central London but probably not quite as bad as NY.

I love magnolia. Oh and my wisteria is just about to flower. Spring is definitely sprung.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kitty!

I love your picture. It's a real shame that rentals are getting so freaking sky-high in all interesting cities. Pretty soon you'll just have some real well-off folks downtown... and the rest of us will be somewhere more affordable. Is that what we want?

Ming the Merciless said...

Yes, we have similar photo. Either great minds think alike or it's just that Spring is here and there are blooms everywhere...and we were both trying to find more creative ways to photograph the flowers without being too predictable. :-)

Having a pet in NYC is a lot of work and responsibilities. So I hope the doggie finds a good home.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

That's a lovely photo. What a shame your co-worker can no longer keep her dog. That's rough for her that the landlord has changed the rules.

I'm lucky to be in a rent stabilised place too, although I still pay more than I would like in rent, but I have a small two bedroom for $1800, so I'd be unlikely to find anything cheaper.

Jane Hards Photography said...

Still waiting for my cherry tree to blossom. Very pretty spring blossom

As for the rental prices,parts of London are dearer (after i've checked out the exchange rate) than the prices your side. Expensive view of the blossom.

Mom Knows Everything said...

OMG that is more than we make in a month? What is the average monthly salary for a person living in New York?

Kitty said...

Smart of you to have bought in London. Wow, you were really cutting it close. Amazing the bank gave you a mortgage!

Hi Susu
The rental scene is a constant topic of conversation here. I'm not sure what the answer is, except shacking up with a couple other people until you meet a partner you feel you can risk signing a lease with.

Hey Ming
I'll report how Sammy's situation turns out. I have faith in his situation. I'd take him in, except for my cat.

Thanks Fish
That's a great deal for a 2-bedroom. Wow. I think 2-bedrooms in Brooklyn are comparable, depending. You really have to be lucky these days to find a 'deal'.

Because of all the apartments that are being sold, the rental pool is shrinking.

Hi Babooshka
Holy cow about London. I thought it was very striking when I visited. It'd be so cool to live there.
Good luck with the blossoms. I hope you post a photo.

Hi Tammy
It's a lot of money, isn't it? And that's just an average.
I'm not sure what the average salary is. I'm sure it's quite high because some bankers earn a lot of money.