After years of listening to gross misconceptions about the cost of NYC living, I posed the question, “How Much Do You Actually Need to Live In New York City?”
What I found in my analysis, is that expenses for New Yorkers can be comparable to those of living folks in cheaper parts of the country, IF they are willing to implement a little ingenuity and sacrifice some “suburban comforts”.
When I say that, I know people start picturing “The Worst Room” Tumblr where people pay $500 for half of a bunk bed or $900 to live in a closet – a literal closet with hanging clothes above a mattress on the floor. But having lived in the big apply for the past ten years, I can assure you that affordable NYC housing doesn’t have to mean using your bathroom as a kitchen or any other unreasonable trade off.
To demonstrate the reality of affordable New York City housing, I reached out to friends who pay less thank $1k per month for their apartments, (their share, not the entire apartment), so we could shed a little light on the reality and put the myth* of disgusting, cheap, unlivable New York City housing to rest.
I’ve never spent more than $900/month. I lived in Prospect Heights for 2 years in a 2-bedroom with a roommate and spent $900. I lived in a pretty massive 3-bedroom convertible in the East Village (also a 6 floor walk up) with roommates and paid $850/month (again – 2 years), and now my boo and I split the rent in a modest East Village studio. It’s not huge but we are perfectly happy, and we each only pay $425/month to live in the East Village!
Private balcony off bedroom and terrace off main room. Finished roof with view of Manhattan. Dishwasher and laundry in basement. Three clean and very respectful roommates. $850/month, including utilities.
Three blocks from the A train, roommates are very clean and quiet. $620/month.
Room with a private patio available in an awesome 3 bedroom. Rent is $950/month and that includes all utilities. Washer and dryer in the unit!
One furnished bedroom in two bedroom apartment located in Prospect Park South, B/Q to Church Avenue located just steps from subway. 2 roommates (1 part time). $900/month which includes utilities.
Before the “yeah buts…” start rolling in, let me put to rest some other misconceptions…
Location and Safety. New York is a safe place, whether you’re in the Bronx or Harlem. Formerly crime ridden areas are now heavily occupied by families and young professionals. I have babysat everywhere, walking home alone, late at night without issue. That isn’t to say that no crime ever happens and you shouldn’t be wary of questionable people and circumstances, but the days of not being able to live in Harlem or Washington Heights for constant fear of basic safety are over.
Roommates. I understand that living with roommates after college is not typical in most of the country, but it is a way of life in New York, for new college grads and thirty somethings alike. Generally speaking, you have a private room and can live a very independent life. I know some people who go without seeing their roommates for days at a time, simply by nature of the city and everyone living a different life on a different timeline.
The Boroughs. Living outside Manhattan doesn’t have to mean inconvenience. Some neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, specifically in Brooklyn and Queens, are becoming hotter than Manhattan itself. The comprehensive subway system also makes Manhattan easily accessible to these areas (as long as it’s not broken down or under construction 😉 ).
Reasonably priced rooms are out there- just like the cheap meals, drinks, and entertainment– you just need to know where to look!
Related Reading: How I Qualified for My First NYC Apartment
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