Ah, New York City. The city that never sleeps. From the lights of the theatre district in Times Square to the Statue of Liberty views along the Hudson- what’s not to love about this great city?
World-renowned art museums and Michelin-starred restaurants are commonplace, and new designers, artists, and actors are plenty. With so much going for it, no wonder has a reputation for being one of the greatest cities in the world. Lately, many suburban folks are bombarding NYC, leading to the average person having a tough time finding a place to stay that is suitable for humans to inhabit. Some places in NYC are not only pricey, but they are challenging to live in thanks to construction or noise from the subway- making the ‘bang,’ you get for almost top dollar in NYC quite literal. Here’s a list of real stories from New Yorkers who have braved the NYC housing market. So settle in and get cozy- these are the best NYC apartment stories you’ve ever heard.
In order to make the reading experience of this article more convenient, the article has been split up into multiple pages. At the end of each page, you will see a “next” button which will take you to the next page. Enjoy your reading!
Good luck btw; you are going to itch
No matter how inexpensive a place is, chances are if it is too good to be true, then it is. If a friend comes to you with an offer, do not jump at it just because it is cheap. Ask some key questions so you know what kind of situation you are stepping into.
Health should never be something you set aside to save a buck or two, simply put. Imagine laying up awake all night because of bed bugs, or fleas. Well, that’s what one renter did, for a whole three nights. Not sure I would have made it past the first hour.
Taking laziness to a whole new level
I’ll be the first to tell you – I love being lazy. Every opportunity I get, I take advantage of being lazy. It is one of the advantages of being your boss and working from home, and that applies to many others who have the luxury of working from home.
There are also more appropriate times to be lazy, i.e., vacation, the weekends, etc. This NYC resident tells another story of laziness, their neighbors are too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom so they pour their urine out of the window, and it landed in their backyard.
It’s raining cats and dogs… in my apartment
Flooding is always an unfortunate event, especially when it happens to damage your belongings and in your home. One NYC renter has a story to tell when it comes to that, sharing that when it rained they had to dump buckets of water out of their window to save their things.
No matter how much you pay me, I would not want to be a part of this. No way José. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on me. The renter notes that this is not the first time this has happened.
Seven-hundred dollar crawl space bedroom
Yes, you heard me. For the low price of $700, you could rent a crawl space on the Upper East Side of NYC, with no windows! You can’t even stand up – but that goes to show that the demand for space in NYC is off the charts.
This was a decade ago, meaning these people were overcharged, if you factor in inflation for, this landlord got away with high-way robbery because of the location of the space. There must really be a shortage of living quarters in NYC for someone to find this space and think, “I want to sign!”
The first good landlord?
When you think of the typical relationship between landlord and tenant, it is usually an odd dynamic. One that requires payment to keep the other satisfied. Building a meaningful and fruitful relationship with the person you rent from – does not exactly roll off the tongue when you look at it that way.
I suppose not all landlords are the same, however. This renter and their landlord became such good friends, the landlord attended the tenant’s wedding. That is pretty cool and gives me a little hope that some good landlords still exist! What a great story of an unlikely duo.
This takes the cake
If you had a list of things wrong with your apartment, none of which were good, would you stay there? One NYC resident said their roof was caving in, they had no heat, their room is always cold in the winter, there are mice, and roaches.
They continued, adding other tenants in the building are not clean, there are loud children, and the building is dirty. I can’t find a plus, and if you can’t – it’s probably time to move into a better place. No matter what they can afford, no one should put up with such living conditions, period.
Would have, should have, could have?
The apartment is not that great. And that is an understatement, to put it mildly. This person rented a studio apartment with a New York University undergraduate student and did not seem too happy with his accommodations.
He does seem to have fallen head over heels for the flat’s other occupant, as you can tell from this post. It seems like he enjoyed his brief stay in NYC but does have at least one regret. Let’s see if you can guess what it is? Perhaps a missed connection? There are some odd stories out there, especially ones involving roommates, cohabitation.
A Tropical Staten Paradise
I am not sure that I have ever heard anyone describe Staten Island as a tropical paradise, but there is a first time for everything. If you hear the story of this renter’s first apartment, you might think twice about how they describe their current abode located on the Island.
They describe hearing a beautiful ocean breeze, happy kids playing, and the female neighbor with her “tropical bird on her shoulder.” It does make me want to reconsider everything I have thought about the Island and even consider taking up residence there. Quite frankly, it sounds like a lovely place.
What a fun landlord, not!
If the place is solid yet the landlord is not that great, you are in for an eventful contract. That is true almost every time this is the case. So, good luck with the next six months-to-a-year or living. What if your landlord promised to fix your heater but never did? Empty promises are a staple of renting an apartment in cities like NYC.
What about making your backyard inhabitable and beautiful? Well, that never happened either. It turns out that the landlord was not doing anything in the backyard when they were supposed to beautify the area – for the tenant.
The mystery puddle
The origins of this leak are still unknown. The poster of this tale is still in shock over the leak that caused them an inconvenience, nonetheless. Not to mention that it is riddled with mystery over where it came from. I wonder if some sort of critter snuck in and had a tinkle?
If there was no leak in the ceiling or anywhere else for the matter – as the renter claims, could it be a ghostly occurrence? While there is likely a perfectly good explanation for the event – the apartment’s renter still cannot find one to this day. Odd, right?
Fresh cat food
If you live in an apartment with a roommate, half of the experience is the roommate itself. That is either for the best or the worse. The person renting this NYC apartment had a special relationship with their pet fish, so special – they decided to leave them all there when they moved out.
The next person who moved in decided to feed those fish to her cat. This all seems like a very odd case of a win-win if you ask me. Some special relationship, eh? How would you have reacted to knowing someone fed the fish to their cat?
Mental health issues
Finding a roommate who you met on Craigslist always comes with a great deal of risk. It is something I could not do personally. I cannot even live with friends, let alone a stranger. The first of which – they are a stranger. Sometimes this works to your advantage, and others – it does not quite work out as planned.
This person appears to suffer from pretty serious mental health issues that, until that moment, likely went unaddressed. Thank goodness the police came, and hopefully, this person was able to get the help they needed to lead and maintain a happy/healthy lifestyle.
The best apartment ever, NOT
Most people do not have the greatest; ‘first experience.’ For whatever reason, we are just a bit naive when we try to find the perfect first apartment. This means there can be issues with leaks, bad landlords, noise from trains, or bug infestations.
This story takes the cake, however, from feces floods to frozen pipes and bites from bedbugs. The only element missing from this story is crazy neighbors. Nothing like frozen pipes and fresh sewage to say ‘welcome home.’ I would have moved out of this place faster than you can count to ten, putting up with this – unacceptable.
You are getting a great deal, dude
As long as you think that you are getting a great deal, then everything is ok, right? No. There is such a thing as a perfect apartment. That perfect apartment comes at a premium price, however. And if you are on a tight budget, there is no way you will find the perfect rental apartment.
You can do your best, and for $1100 per month, you might assume that you have done that very thing. Not in NYC. For that price, try renting a shoebox? This person had to walk up four flights of stairs and deal with not-so-sane landlords.
A not-so-warm welcome
Continuing with tales from NYC renters, this one experienced a landlord so wasted – they fell down the steps. That has to not only hurt, but it must also be embarrassing, assuming you have shame. I would have been concerned about this person the whole time and left the tour.
This takes unprofessional and having fun on the job to the next level. There was a bit of fear from the renter, who said they were nervous when the landlord showed them the roof. Luckily, as they put it, the landlord did not fall from the roof – and things ended well.
The never-ending sage of boxes
Moving is stressful. The entire process is stress. You have to pack, move your things, and eventually unpack them. What if you could not unpack your things – because of an unknown religious holiday? While I respect holidays, you should always have a contingency plan, always.
This person’s management company was deeply religious and had to take nine days off before they painted the apartment they moved to. So, for nine days, they slept in a compromising position, undoubtedly uncomfortable. I would have demanded them take money off the coming month’s rent to make up for this mishap which is totally unacceptable.
A happy ending
When you can move to NYC and afford to live in a nice place – good for you. And there might be signs that you live in a fancy building if you have a 24/7 doorman, a waterfall in the lobby, and a Koi-fish pond.
Koi fish are some of the most expensive fish to have in a pond, but that seems to be no problem for the owners of this NYC building who went all out. This is not the same NYC renting experience everyone has, by the way, so you should consider yourself lucky if this is the case.
Not such ‘Happy Meal’
McDonald’s loves to see you smile, but this is not in all cases. This is especially true for one NYC resident who moved directly above a McDonald’s restaurant. It kind of sounds like it should otherwise be a fun experience, but not all experiences are created equal.
For a solid week, they say they could not sleep thanks to an over-sized piece of machinery that caused the tenants of this apartment to lose sleep for over a week straight. It seems that every busy shift was great for McDonald’s, but not so great for the renters above the golden arches.
Long-term couch potato
Wow, this sounds like a solid title for an employee. What if you could get paid to be a couch potato? Would that not be cool? Imagine being deemed that but without the cool backstory? What if you and your significant other broke up but were both too cheap to find new places to live?
But what if this went on for years? That IS what happened in this NYC apartment where a guy slept on his couch for several years because he was too lazy to rent a new place. He may have dissuaded by high NYC rent prices.
The doorman shakedown
A doorman is synonymous with luxury apartments, but some, according to one NYC renter – like to shake you down. This person decided to sublet an apartment in an upscale apartment building, which, in many cases, is strictly forbidden in most contracts.
It can lead to problems with the landlord, so if your contract does not allow it — it is best to avoid the practice altogether. This doorman here knew the person did not live there, leading them to ask for money in return for his silence. What would you do in this situation? I would ask for my money back.
A hole in the wall, not a dive bar
A ‘hole in the wall,’ when it comes to a restaurant or bar, usually has a positive connotation. Places like dive bars have long been seen as popular destinations thanks to excellent prices and exceptional value. This does not, however, sound ideal for an apartment. It does not even translate well when you consider we’re talking about an apartment now.
One NYC apartment renter experiences a hole in the wall quite literally, with an apartment that had lots of holes in the wall. Not only is a place like this not-livable – but it raises some serious questions about NYC standards.
Treehouse loft sounds right out of a ‘dream’
While I must admit, this sounds right out of a dream – it is not. One Reddit user recalled his lover who once lived in a treehouse loft in NYC. It did not sound like a place where someone should live, though.
He said there were holes in the floors, so big you could see the neighbors downstairs. This undoubtedly did not provide a great deal of privacy for anyone living in this situation. There was even no door, just a cloth covering up the front door. Rough living in NYC means improvisation in most cases. This is a whole new level.
An unstable foundation
This next story is one of assuming one thing – but finding out another one. There was no train nearby, nor was there a race track or any other reason the apartment should have shaken, though. It shook a lot, however.
She later found out that it was due to an unsafe foundation. This is something you do not want to hear from the place you are staying in. “Oh yeah, it does not have a stable enough foundation, which could cause it to crumble.” This all sounds fairly scary, but at least the renter got to the bottom of things.
The cleanest flood
The next NYC renter on this list experienced a pretty hilarious event in their apartment. Their toilet overflowed, but the flood was fairly clean as the renter put it. While this is kind of a common event, not all floods are created equally. Some are cleaner than others.
The toilet bowl cleaner helped with the naming of this one, and eventually to us deeming it a clean flood. It turns out that old plumbing was to blame for this occurrence. And the story only gets better from here. There was a colony of ants and a mouse joined the party.
Mouse city, mouse, mouse, city
Looking for and finding the perfect apartment is possible. It usually means paying a proper amount of money for said space and demanding that the landlord focuses on repairs that you and other tenants need. If the landlord takes you and your business as a tenant seriously, they will do that.
What we’ve learned from most of the stories on this list is that it is not great living with a stranger. If you can afford to live alone, we highly encourage doing that to avoid issues like the ones in this picture. Whenever I see a mouse, I jump.
Winner winner chicken dinner
This next apartment in the city sounds like a great deal, honestly, it does. A one-bedroom on First Avenue in Manhattan for a little over $1,000. Another plus, it is on the first floor, which means no lugging heavy groceries up to the top floor.
There is no downside to this apartment other than the train station being a 15-minute walk away, and even that is not so bad when you realize the exercise will be good for you. This is one NYC apartment that could be worth it because of its location although it is still quite small.
Pigeons and mice, a combo made in heaven
I dare you to try cooking in a pigeon and mouse-infested oven. It is next to impossible and sounds gross and unsanitary too. I would have a hard time living in a place like this for more than 24 hours if that.
This is the story of one person who experienced that very occurrence, and there were no electrical outlets in the kitchen, a real cause for concern. Plugging in the refrigerator must have been difficult, as well – not to mention cooking, heating food up, or doing just about anything in this makeshift kitchen. To further complicate things – the entire rental agreement was illegal.
Learning your lesson
Nobody likes losing money unnecessarily. This is especially true when it happens via a con-man. There is often, however, a lesson to be learned from the entire situation. When things like this happen, it forces you to grow as a person and learn who to trust. The whole experience is a learning experience, although it can be the hard way sometimes.
For the person who told this story, it had to take getting ripped off a half a month’s rent to grow a backbone. After such a poor experience, they found a much better deal with some newly-acquired knowledge, thankfully.
Rotten meat and impulse decisions
Back in the ’90s, the rental market was a bit more overwhelmed. You often had to sign a contract on the spot or risk losing the apartment altogether. At least, that’s how one poster put it. This can either be good or bad, but it does add a lot of pressure to a person who might need a place to stay quickly.
The next storyteller did just that but had to deal with the smell of rotten meat and a small apartment where a lot of questionable activity went on. I guess acting on impulse is not always good, right?
The Sleep Issue
I am a firm believer that once adulthood kicks in, the only roommate you should have is your significant other. Navigating the whole roommate situation, once someone has already gotten set in their ways, is a challenge. The reality is, nobody wants to change how they are at home to accommodate others — this is how they are most comfortable.
This NYC renter found that out first-hand when they got a big-boy job and had to start waking up earlier than usual. Their roommates were accustomed to a more laid-back lifestyle and hosted parties during the weekdays. A huge no-no.
Peace out, New York City
This next renter stayed in NYC from 1988 to 1995 and said they overpaid for rent that long ago. The lament goes on – and states that in many cases, the space was not worth what landlords asked for it. This happens far too often in cities like New York City.
As such, they have moved to the UK and have since regretted having lived in NYC for any period noting today, rent is likely outrageous considering what they paid over thirty years ago. If you compare NYC and London, the UK might give the US a run for its money.
Life in a real-life Henry Bukowski novel
Henry Charles Bukowski is an American novelist well known for his stories that depict life in some of the less fortunate parts of NYC. So, naturally, hearing one Reddit user compare his first apartment building to that kind of experience caught our attention. It is usually not a good comparison to draw.
Can you sense the sarcasm in his post? I had not detected a hint of it whatsoever, but I would be glad to know if you can. In all seriousness, chances are you will be able to spot it just as sure as the sun will shine tomorrow.
Shady roommates for the win
Imagine having to share a studio apartment. There is likely nothing more intimate than that act alone. I could never do it, and as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. This must have been a trying situation for this one Redditor who posted a story.
This roommate stole from others and them, and there was only a thin layer of cloth that separated the two. This sounds really fun. I cannot think of a worse living situation and it might make most think twice about saving money on their studio apartment by inviting someone to live with them.
Magic in the City
Sometimes things just work out. You could, for instance, get into a taxi cab and meet your next roommate. You could even sign a new contract with them, in the cab. While this is not far from possible, I am here to tell you that it happened in real life.
It is kind of like the song by Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind,” where the artist talks about a city where ‘dreams are made of.’ While this sounds like a dream, I am certainly glad this worked out for the duo. Maybe Alicia Keys knows something we don’t?
The suit and tie change-up
I have done it, and most parents have, too. Lied about your age or your kid’s age to get a discount on admission, etc.? See, I told you most everyone was guilty of it. The poster of this story is all-too-familiar with that notion, having chosen to stay in a hotel upon first moving to NYC and for a student rate of $22 per night.
At first, it was a good deal. The only issue was; he was not a student. He was a white-collar worker. He had to do some creative costume changes to keep up with appearances, but it was probably worth it.
A forever party
Would it not be a dream to have a forever party outside your house? It may sound fanciful and fun, but I cannot imagine it being any fun if you had to live through it. Some people are more into the idea of overlooking a fair than others, though.
The poster of this story waited months to move into her apartment – and to go to the fair, for it to end as soon as she moved in. She had fantasized of seeing it go on for months to come but unfortunately, as soon as she moved in, the fair ended.
Smells of a roommate
I am a clean person and dislike things that smell bad. That can be trash, food, or even body odor. I was also taught, stay clean and to never live with someone messy. I have actually lived with smelly roommates before, and it is difficult to do. Should you say something? Should you drop subtle hints? They must know…
There is quite-possible nothing worse than a stinky apartment, apart from a smelly roommate. One resident of Washington Heights had the misfortune of living with two roommates who smelled less than pleasant. This was his introduction to living in New York.
A roommate from Hell’s Kitchen
It is a bit ironic that you have to deal with a roommate from hell while living in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. The neighborhood is not as odd as it sounds – it is a nice place to live, but not if your roommate is objectively not so great.
According to one person, they had a roommate who hoarded a lot of stuff but had a shopping addiction. There is, yet again, a ton of irony in this too. Not to mention, the air conditioner was blasting the entire time. House rules? Throw those out of the window, according to this guy.
It would bother me if I had an apartment that was oddly shaped. I know it sounds picky, but it would just throw me off a lot less if there were a Kentucky Fried Chicken nearby, which in this poster’s case, there was.
I guess it also would not be that unbearable if the neighbors were good ones. The only downside of the apartment is the fact that the neighborhood itself was a bit questionable. That KFC got robbed a few times. The whole story just sounds silly, but some people are easily satisfied, even by the simplest of things.
What a good dad
Here’s another one that will get you going. This is the story of a man and a woman moving into their first apartment. The Queens couple brought the man’s dad along to help with painting, unpacking, etc.
He was a real helping hand, according to the post. He is also the definition of a good father. Even though the father was not too thrilled about the duo living in the city, he still gave the couple his full support and made the transition for them a lot easier. If this sounds like something your dad would do, give him a hug.
NYC has pockets of cheapness
This is another good story of a woman named Madeleine. She lives in Harlem and wrote that she happened to find a rental car for cheaper in NYC than it would be in her native San Fran. Madeline has two roommates in her NYC apartment and even said that there are some ‘cheap’ spots in NYC, you merely have to look.
I guess if you compare two of the most expensive cities in the States, it is good to know that some people can afford NYC. I could not live in either city because of the living expense, just like the majority of folks.
No finder’s fees for the win
Not paying a broker’s fee, also known as a finder’s fee is a rare occurrence. Most places in New York City require you to pay a realtor some kind of fee, even if they do absolutely nothing. That is the way the system works in most cases. And that can amount to hundreds, sometimes thousands of hard-earned dollars.
It was, therefore, surprising to one former Atlanta resident to find that he would not have to pay a broker fee for his new East Williamsburg apartment. He noted, the key to his success was not getting stuck on living in Manhattan.
Gentrification in Brooklyn
One lady wanted to take things back, way back to her childhood. One Ms. Kristen Pride decided to rent the house that she grew up in as a child in Brooklyn. Her father, however, was not too happy with what she paid for the place.
He went on about the downsides of gentrification and not believing that she’d pay that price for nostalgia. I do agree with him. It is insane but kind of cool if you get the chance to rent your childhood home or live in your childhood neighborhood. I would imagine it would be just a little bit odd sleeping there, though. No?
I’ll take the two-for-one special
Bathroom kitchens are not just a retro fad – they are a thing of the present, said no one ever. Well, perhaps one guy. For one NYC resident, this was the case, a bathroom in their kitchen. It almost sounds like a meme, but it is all too real – sadly.
Have a gander at this picture yourself and try to understand why someone would move into such an apartment. Not sure if this person had much of a choice – although the comments thread is something to be admired. If you have a quick read, chances are, you will not regret it at all.
Facebook to the rescue
Avoiding a finder’s fee is almost non-avoidable in most cases, but thanks to Facebook, one NYC resident did just that. He did not have to worry about paying potentially expensive fees because he dealt with the owner of the apartment itself, not an outside organization hoping to make a buck.
Smart move, young buck. Truly a smart move indeed. This is something I am always sure to do because every little fee adds up in the end. I do not want to pay more than I have to, especially if I am not getting anything extra out of the deal.
Ghosts and more
If books are falling off your shelf and other unexplainable things happening in your apt, you might have ghosts. This is what one NYC apartment renter thought, “I have ghosts,” noting that he was afraid in his Upper East Side apartment whenever alone. “A lot of weird stuff happens when I am alone, and it is difficult to explain how or why.”
There are a lot of reasons things like books falling off the shelf might scare someone, but what really got to me was when he wrote that the television came on and off several times a day. Spooky stuff for sure. I hope he was able to find a new place and move out.
A constant state of construction
Imagine moving into a new place and thinking “This is going to be an amazing experience.” The first few months are that – awesome. The next nine months, however, are riddled with noise pollution from the construction site next door. The one that seems to have popped up out of nowhere according to one social media user.
“I woke up one day and there was a constant stream of construction, day and night, for the next nine months.” I would have lost my mind, no ifs and or buts about it. The most difficult part, there was nobody to complain to.
24-hour dog bark
It is as if someone put a track of a barking dog on loop and let it play 24/7. These are the conditions that one NYC resident lived in for a year before they decided enough! Dealing with a barking dog is bearable in some cases.
But in cases where the dog never ceases, there is nothing bearable about this situation at all. I had a similar situation once. I lasted one week, so kudos to this person for sticking it out for so long with all the noise and lack of sleep they must have dealt with.
24/7 store below
Having a 24/7 store below you must be a bit distracting and conflicting. On one hand, you have all you might ever want at your disposal, and you do not even have to drive far to get what you want and need. On the other hand – because that store is 24/7, it attracts some colorful characters.
These people, according to one Reddit user, stayed out all night reminiscing about the old days until the early hours of the morning. This contributed to a lack of sleep on the part of the individual who had assumed they got a good deal on the apartment.
What if your neighbor played the saxophone so beautifully, and you loved to hear it? What does it matter if they play the same piece of music over and over again? Even if it was beautiful, I am not sure I could put up with it.
This is the story one social media user tells of a now-former neighbor who played the same piece of music over-and-over starting at 03:00 AM, at least for two hours. Could you imagine hearing the song; ‘Careless Whisper’ over and over? The same few measures would get ingrained into your brain for good measure.