In most other places in America, asking someone how much they pay in rent would be considered a cringe-worthy social faux-pas, to say the least.
In New York, though, it's about as common as asking someone how their day went. With millions of strangers living quite literally atop one another, we tend to both commiserate and celebrate over some otherwise-intimate details regarding one another's lives.
For outsiders and newcomers, however, it can be awfully difficult to pin down all the numbers. That's why I'll be kicking off the new series "What's it Cost?" and delving into apartment living by the numbers. We'll start with studios and eventually move into 1 BRs, 2BRs, etc., giving readers the low down on everything from monthly rent, building and apartment descriptions and real-life money-saving tips.*
*NOTE: Each of the examples below have been provided by current New Yorkers. Do you live in a studio and want to add your information to the list? If so, please contact me and I'd be happy to add in your details anonymously!
The Upper East Side Studio
Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Upper East 70s/Medical Field
Monthly Rent: $1774 (year 1), $2000 (by year 3, due to price increase)
Utilities: $60-$100 per month for electricity/internet, $15 a month for unlimited laundry in the building
Apartment Description: First floor walk-up in a building of all studios, fully & newly renovated on a tree-lined street. Wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, etc. The kitchen is separated from the rest of the apartment and has all new appliances. Bathroom is a really decent size for New York with glass doors and plenty of space for shelving. My studio faces the back courtyard of patios which is great as there's never much traffic noise - though residents street-side have to deal with the nearby hospitals, etc.
Roommate Situation: No roommates
How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My only real tip on on how to save money in NYC is to make more of it. On top of my actual job, I also babysit weekly and freelance in fashion so I always make sure there's enough to spend when I want to go out and still save.
The East Village Studio
Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 24/East Village 12th St./Jewelry Design
Monthly Rent: $1500
Apartment Description: A large studio renovated and converted to 1 bedroom before we moved in, in a walk up brownstone. 1st floor, street side. Door that separates bedroom to small living space and 2 closets. 15 ft ceilings- good for storage and makes it seem bigger.
Roommate Situation: I live with my boyfriend who works in insurance
How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: Well we got lucky, being friends with the owner of our building and we spilt the rent of course which is the BIGGEST help imaginable. We grocery shop at Trader Joes and cook more nights then going out to eat. Splitting everything makes it way more managable.
The Murray Hill Studio
Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Murray hill 39th St./fashion
Monthly Rent $2350
Utilities: $150- $250
Apartment Description: A studio in a luxury high-rise building. It's a nice building with a 24/7 doorman, concierge and elevator, plus other great amenities like a full gym, huge pool and hot tub. The actual apartment is an L-shaped studio which makes the "bedroom" area feel separate from the living space - also, the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the apartment.
Roommate Situation: 1 Roommate ( boyfriend)
How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My utilities are cable & internet & Electric. My bill tends to be very high during the summertime because I have the air blasting at all times (which is probably not necessary come to think of it, especially when I am not home). Electricity can be up to $250 a month. Our cable is also very high and Time Warner is probably the worst cable provider I have ever experienced. Unfortunately this is the only company my apartment allows! So, go with Verizon if you can & keep your air off when you're not home!
The Upper West Side Studio
Age/Location/Occupation or Industry: 25/Upper West 70s/Finance
Monthly Rent: $1550
Apartment Description: A studio in an old brownstone from the 1800s. It’s a walk-up on the second floor with no doorbell/intercom. While it’s only a miniscule 175 square feet, which probably sounds insane, the extra-high ceilings and bay window makes the place feel much more spacious. The bay window alone is 24 square feet which makes it feel like its own little nook. I have a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom - all older appliances, but they work. Getting creative with how you set your space up is so key.
Roommate Situation: No roommates!
How I Do It/Money Saving Tips: My only utilities are cable & internet. Most NYC buildings cover water, sewage and heating. Luckily, mine covers electricity as well, as long as I don’t have an A.C. unit - which I don’t. Luckily, we’ve had a mild summer. Additionally, I always keep beer, wine and some sort of cocktail ingredients on hand. Having a friend or two over for weeknight drinks is a LOT more reasonable than going out for drinks 3-4 times a week.
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