Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another NYC real-estate post

Question: If first-year NYU doctoral student housing is $X a month, this is, one imagines, the amount the school believes we should be spending on our rent. It seemed high but doable; most first-years take NYU up on the one-year subsidized-housing offer. Yet in New York, both in and out of Manhattan, no one will rent an $X-a-month apartment to someone making what an NYU doctoral student makes. Which isn't even that little, considering, and, again, is well enough to pay the $X it seems is necessary to rent anywhere. In New York, in order to be permitted to rent a place, you need to prove that you make a zillion trillion times the monthly rent, not that you can pay and have paid this amount in rent on your current salary. NYU offers to act as a guarantor, but realtors, one after the next, explain that no landlord wants to deal with NYU. One realtor last year told Jo and me what we could realistically expect to rent in Manhattan, and it was a reasonable enough amount to pay... in Hyde Park, Chicago. The amount he calculated for us would have meant, in New York, either public housing or sharing one small room, perhaps with another couple, in an apartment with several roommates. Ick.

So, my question is, what does the school suggest for those who wish to have an under-four-hour commute to campus, as in, to actually show up to teach/take classes? Mixers with the business school? I ask not to insult the university, but because I feel there's something I'm missing, some obvious answer to this paradox. I guess one might be that the advice we were given during the open house--'be open to the outer boroughs'--made sense a few years back, but now that you need a guarantor or a banker's salary to rent a shoebox in the South Bronx, not so much. My guess is that things have changed quickly, real-estate-wise, and those in charge of figuring out where grad students might live do not realize that it's basically a fluke that any of us are able to get to Washington Square in a reasonable amount of time.


David Schraub said...

Speaking of Hyde Park, I'm moving there next year (law school at UC) from a small liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. Hopefully I'll be living in the New Graduate Residence Hall for the first year, but after that I'm presumably on my own. Anything I should know going in that I might be blissfully clueless of after four years of small-town living?

Petey said...

"The amount he calculated for us would have meant ... sharing one small room, perhaps with another couple, in an apartment with several roommates. Ick."

Well, if you're going to be so picky, no wonder you're finding the apartment search so difficult.

You want a dishwasher. You don't want to share a small room with another couple. You probably feel the need to have a bathroom in your apartment, rather than using the nearest Starbucks.

If you're going to have so many conditions, of course this will be tricky.