Apartment Hunting in NYC Part 2: Taking A Break From The Search

I finally decided to take a break from apartment hunting to update the blog. Surprise! We still don’t have a place to live once our lease is up. This is after weeks of scouring rental listings every day. We have already seen 12 apartments and have found nothing except aggravation. We have actually had more than 12 appointments scheduled but the other places were leased before we could even visit.

So far much of our search has been centered on Western Queens (Astoria, Sunnyside, Long Island City, etc) because of the relatively straightforward commute to Manhattan. Unfortunately, it seems Queens is not a great place for renters with dogs. Many building owners seem to think that dogs invite pests into buildings. I could argue that what actually encourages pests are old, badly maintained, pre-war buildings with interiors that haven’t been updated since the Cuban missile crisis but that is neither here nor there. (I mention the missile crisis because there are many buildings where you can still see the old “Fallout Shelter” signs).

If you have a dog and are apartment hunting in NYC, not every part of Queens is unwelcoming to dogs. In fact, many of the high-rise luxury apartments on the waterfront in Long Island City allow dogs and they are no fee as well. Of course the prices can be daunting. We already live in a similar building and the plan this time is to spend LESS money on rent so we can use that money for other things like more travel.

For the non-luxury buildings that do allow dogs there is always a catch (as usual). For example, some buildings only allows dogs under 15lbs. Adult corgis are clearly not a “handbag dog” and I don’t think RJ has been close to 15lbs since he was a few months old.

My dad suggested we simply sell RJ and my response was HELL NO. I would rather move to the suburbs.

A few people have shown us multiple apartments where dogs are not allowed by building management but building superintendents turn a blind eye. We were told that other tenants sneak their dogs into apartments and we would be fine. We could do this but…what if building management decides to actually enforce the no pets rule and the superintendent is replaced (let’s say for allowing dogs in the building) then what? When I heard this I began to realize that Queens might not be the best place for us.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that i have learned what I can and cannot compromise on.

For example, I would be willing to compromise on space if it meant I could live in a certain neighborhood. The thing is, I can count on one hand the number of neighborhoods in NYC where I would agree to such a compromise and many of these places are way over our budget.

These are the types of decisions we face when apartment hunting in NYC. I still think fondly of when we lived in Chicago and our problem was that there were too many apartments that met our requirements while offering unexpected benefits like concierge service and an amazing view of Lake Michigan and express bus service to work for less than the price of a 1 bedroom in Astoria.

For now we are taking a break from the apartment search. This whole process has been exhausting–and not just because of the many walk-ups we have seen. I am taking a week away from the search to celebrate July 4th, enjoy the weekend, maybe catch up on some TV.

Considering our lease expires at the end of July you would think I would be more worried but I am not. I still believe we will find something that meets our needs. We just won’t be looking in Queens anymore. I did write earlier that I am not sure about Brooklyn but it is probably time to take a look there as well as in upper Manhattan.

apartment hunting in nyc


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