Looking for an apartment in New York is one of the worst things about living in this city after rats, and before Times Square during tourist season. Here is the run down:
Timing: About a month before your move in date, the search begins. Do not even THINK about getting a head start on this in this city because there’s no way you’ll find anything available during your move in date. I’ve reached out to some brokers 1.5 months in advance. They responded…Too early, talk to me later. FINE! I won’t plan ahead…
Listings: My roommates and I have gone the Craigslist route and this is not uncommon. Basically, search Craigslist with your parameters. Keep the search simple with just the number of bedrooms you are looking for. A picture is worth a thousand words on this quest. Don’t even bother checking out a place if the ad doesn’t have any pictures.
Here’s what you should know if you see an ad like this:
The apartment looks great, let’s sign the lease now, right? Well, these types of ads are generally for luxury buildings so what you see in this ad isn’t necessarily what you’re going to get when you check out the apartment. Meaning, the pictures are standard photos brokers use to represent every unit they intend to show you. Luxury buildings also have quite a different feel to them - e.g. hotelesque, so think about if you want that too.
Most listings are posted by a broker hired by the management of the actual building. That means they’ll charge a fee but more on that later. Here are a few questions I would ask when responding to an ad:
Viewing: Once you’ve coordinated with the broker and you’ve determined that you won’t be far into alphabet city, or in the projects somewhere, you coordinate a viewing with the broker. Often times, a broker wants to meet at his office first so you can sign paperwork stating you won’t go behind their back and directly to the building itself to rent the apartment. This is extremely annoying to me and I try to move on if this is the case, but if an apartment looks extremely promising, you’ll need to suck it up. Once you meet up with the broker at the cross streets, they will walk you over to the actual apartment. Check if the rooms have windows (with natural sunlight, if this is a requirement - for why you would want this, check out my previous blog post here), and closets. If the tenants are there, I would ask the following questions:
Application: So you finally have that funny feeling inside and you found the one. You want to put an application down. This part almost causes more anxiety than the actual search because the trick here is speed. If the apartment is good, its likely that a ton of other folks are going to put an application down so you need to act fast. The faster you put an application down and prove you’re a good applicant through your paperwork, the higher priority you’ll be.
To be jack rabbit-equipped, have the following paperwork on hand:
All management companies require a different combination of the above, but I’d be prepared for the worst.
$$$: As with all things in New York, finding an apartment will burn a huge crater in your pocket. Here are some of the fees you’ll need to prepare for.
Once your application, and paperwork are submitted, you wait to hear if you get the apartment…Alls I gotta say is…GOOOOD luck. Its definitely not for the faint of heart but once you find the one, and you get it, it feels…real nice.
Look out for a future post on the complications of actually moving into your new place…
Stumbled upon a guy in SoHo who turned this empty lot into a makeshift golf range. His golf balls? Milk cartons. What else?
Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, Paquito D’Rivera, tribute to James Moody. Legend on Legend on Legend.
Try to pry me away from Blue Note…
Last Friday, some buddies and I checked out a show at the famous - Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, James Moody and several other of my favorites once graced the stage at the Blue Note, so I was obviously, very excited to be in that air.
The group we saw, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, basically killed it. HBE is comprised of eight brothers from Chicago who combine their roots in Jazz (influenced by their father who basically played every brass instrument under the sun as well as the harp) and their “hip hop sensibility.” The group’s sound combined with their energy, and dancing made for a captivating show to say the least. My favorite part of the show has to be during HBE’s performance of Ballicki Bone. Rocco raps a bit to get the crowd going and Hudah flips his trumpet around and uses his trumpet mic for his ad libs.
I not only 100% recommend the venue, but also implore you to check out Hypnotic Brass Ensemble!
All 8 members of HBE, 4 on trumpet, 2 on trombone, 1 baritone, 1 sousaphone
Far left: notice the use of the trumpet mic
After an afternoon of checking out apartments, my roomies and I headed to An Choi in the Lower East Side for some hipster pho. I ordered the Pho Bo and Banh Mi Thit Heo Quay with fried egg (for all of you sans Lydia - that’s Vietnamese for Chinese Crispy Roast Pork Belly) combo. Although sitting before a mini “bowl of pho” felt almost criminal, the combo allowed me to do the dabbling I so love to do. Both the Pho and the Banh Mi were delicious. More important than the food at An Choi though, was our new buddy Monsieur Tien.
Picture this: A 65 year old Vietnamese man. Fedora. Short sleeve button up chef shirt. Apron. One black leather glove on his right hand…Yes just one. This BAMF cooks up our food and then steps out of the kitchen and proceeds to finish what he started at 3PM. A bottle of wine, who he calls his Lady Vine/Lady in Red. Kate, Becca and I watch his every move and are intrigued. He offers us to join him for a glass of wine and not surprisingly, we oblige.
He tells us stories of his time growing up in Vietnam, studying in Paris and falling in love (with the city and a woman), majoring in Math at UC Berkeley, cooking in London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, you name it, he’s experienced there. He throws in the French he knows so well (I think to make us swoon), stories of how he made foie gras spring rolls for a ridiculously famous French actor and a winemaker we had no clue existed. Stories of kitchen nightmares, stories of two children that vanished after the war. A little bit of crazy, but mostly awesome this guy.
While listening to him talk about his life this thought crossed my mind: What stories am I going to share with people that are willing to listen when I’m old and rocking one black leather glove? At one particular moment in the conversation, his voice became faint and I tried pulling together all the exotic places I’ve lived or the stories I would tell that would elicit the type of reaction in others that Monsieur Tien got out of us. I mentally crossed off my stupid dating stories, slipping on black ice story, EVEN the FedEx package story. I still got excited though, thinking about when my experiences will culminate to a point in old age when I might be able to retell my stories to excite, provoke thought, inspire youngins, and ultimately be proud of time on earth that was well spent.
A few more of Monsieur Tien, certified BAMF’s thoughts:
I crave dim sum on a pretty consistent basis. Chinatown is obviously always a good option and when my roommate suggested Red Farm, I obliged but I was positive I wouldn’t be satisfied. I was obviously wrong because here I am writing about it.
Red Farm is a cute, restaurant with warm country decor in the West Village. It sits on top of a laundromat. We had a decently large group so we ordered quite a bit. In order of deliciousness:
Check it out.
Red Farm - 529 Hudson Street.
Try finding your friend’s apartment in Brooklyn…
Living on the East Coast has been great for bringing to life what I read about in my history, and political science classes, and what I tried gleaning from my internships. In college, I was very involved with government work, thought I wanted to be a politician, and envisioned myself in Washington D.C. where the country’s major decisions were made. Along the way, I switched paths and never made it over there, but still, D.C. was like my mecca. Initially I was going to head back to NY straight after my training but glad I decided to stay a bit longer for what was more than an adequate time.
Checking every black Suburban and seeing men in black suits and sunglasses made me chuckle, a kite festival with the Washington Monument and the Capitol Hill building as a backdrop made me literally gasp in awe, and homemade poptarts made me salivate. I LOVED D.C. and I’d definitely go back … next time for a very, very extended stay?
First stop and what I was most excited to see…
The White House
Nupur and I repping CA
Hanging with Honest Abe
Happy dance while looking out at the Washington Monument
Strawberry homemade poptarts at Ted’s Bulletin with Steph
I was walked out from the metro stop to see kites that filled the sky, adorable kids everywhere and of course the beautiful backdrops that were the monuments.
Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall with Josh
My Dutch bud Sjors and I agreed that if the crosswalk gave us 31 seconds to cross the street, we should use the full time. We spent about 13 seconds actually crossing the street and spent the last 18 seconds chatting in the middle of the road until we had a few seconds left to get to the other side. Brilliant.
Spent a good hour and a half sitting and enjoying the lawn at the Capitol building
Trying to kick our heels in front of the Capitol Building
I get a kick out of and notice the most stupid things. Like my homies at Crif Dog. I can’t believe I never noticed these little gems…
My little homies watching over my bacon wrapped hotdogs
I joined Pinterest in September last year because of an invite from my friend Lydia. I thought the site was good. Nothing so amazing that it would inspire me to write a blog post. Since the end of last year, however, I have been obsessively following the co-founder, Ben Silbermann. I’ve been watching his talks, and reading articles about him. His demeanor intrigues me and it is his personality that makes me want to rave to anyone who will listen, about how awesome Pinterest is (despite only being on Pinterest a few times every few weeks).
Ben Silbermann is basically everything that I wish I could be when I grow up. Quietly confident, humble, thoughtful in what he says, completely unpretentious, charismatic (and somewhat surprisingly so). More than what he plans to say during his talks, I enjoy his answers to questions he answers on the fly. He’s completely composed, thoughtful, witty. Jessi Hempel understands what I’m saying as he subtly reveals Silbermann’s character in this article on CNN. Here’s one of my favorite Silbermann quotes from the article:
Evan Sharp (Pinterest co-founder): So what does it feel like to be a social site on the verge? There should be a word for it.
Ben Silbermann: It’s the intersection of the Venn diagram of fear and joy.
You can’t make this up…
A talk that he gives at a Thinc Iowa conference is probably my favorite, though. It has literally planted the seed of a new idea each time I watched. I may or may not have watched this talk more than 10 times. Here are some of my favorite parts and a few thoughts on them. You won’t regretting clicking the link below…
Thinc Iowa Video Series talk:
Internet as a multiplier:
The promise of technology is this idea that no matter where you are, where you come from, what you’ve done, your impact can be magnified all over the world. And that means that it shouldn’t matter where you live, or who you know, or how close you are to venture capital, you should be able to make a really big impact.
Do your due diligence:
The quality of feedback that people give you on anything is directly proportional to the quality of product you give to them.
Last weekend, some girl friends and I took a trip to Boston. I planned to leave work from at 4:30, so I could head home, pack, and make it in time for my 5:30 bus. Of course things don’t always work out the way you hope so I rushed out of the office at 4:45, made it home by 5:10, packed in 5 minutes, took a cab up to the bus and made it with literally one minute to spare. Four hours and a few sore backs later, we made it our hotel in Boston.
First on the agenda - lobster rolls. I had a lobster roll and a few oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Fell in love with Sankaty Light beer and although the seafood was delectable, the star of the meal was really the honey cayenne butter. Boston basically shuts down at 2PM so after an attempt at karaoke and trying at another venue, we cashed in for the night.
The next day we had a nice brunch and shopped along Newbury Street. I loved the low brick buildings and needing to walk up the stairs to each boutique. Very…quaint.
The main reading room of the Boston public library was my favorite. Something about the green glass lamp shades made me feel smarter…
After some shopping and freshening up, the gals and I had dinner at Post 390. The butter was not as good as the butter from the night before but dinner was fine nevertheless. We headed over to Meadhall where we had the option for one of many delicious beers on tap. We joined a group of HBS students upstairs and I ran into a few friends - Krissy, Ed, and Jeff which was quite the nice surprise. We left for a very cool bar/club called Alibi at the Liberty Hotel. Its in the old “drunk tank” of the former the Charles Street Jail and there we saw the “alibis” of a few celebrities such as that of Mr. David Bowie.
We were tourists on Sunday - Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, Freedom Trail, and I finally got to check the Cheers Bar off my “place to visit in life” list.
A few observations:
Overall, Boston is very quaint, cute, relaxed, good seafood, good looking people, history was brought to life. That said, I’d probably never choose to live there. Sorry Boston! Womp, womp.