Curbed Comparisons: A Terrific Window Shopping Tool
If you're new to the NYC rental apartment hunt, don't worry: EVERYONE thinks it's overwhelming. The city is huge, for one thing, and there are about a dozen different neighborhoods that would be "perfect" for each one of us, though your dozen could be different from mine, which is likely to be different from that other guy over there, etc.
Plus it's all so expensive, and unless you've been living here for decades, and been to tons of people's homes, and asked every one of them how much they pay in rent (which, come to think of it, is a pretty standard NYC question), it's hard to know if the, say, $2,500 1-bedroom rental apartment you're seeing is better, worse, or about the same as any number of other $2,500 1-bedroom rental apartments out there. All of which is why I love Curbed Comparisons.
Curbed Comparisons, from the good folks at Curbed (obviously), is a regular, sort-of-weekly column that takes a price point and shows you six different NYC rental apartments on the market at that moment in six different NYC neighborhoods.
It's not a tool to find a specific NYC no-fee rental apartment--that's what Urban Edge is for!--but it does offer an excellent overview of the sorts of things you can and should expect, good and bad, depending upon your budget, and/or neighborhood(s) of choice.
And because this is from Curbed, the commentary on each apartment is not only savvy and sharp (for instance: the less floor you can see in a picture, the smaller the room; see above), it's also, at times, quite funny.
For example, here's Curbed writer Jeremiah Budin on a two-room Park Slope rental apartment (at top), in the $1,900-a-month Curbed Comparisons column: "It looks better than it looks, if that makes any sense. That is to say, it could use a little decorating and we're not sure why whoever took the pictures decided to do so at night. But it has exposed brick and two mantles, if mantles are your thing. There are no pictures of the kitchen, though, so that might not be a good sign."
Or this bit, about 1BR Williamsburg rental apartment (above) in the $3,200 column: "It looks very fancy, and offers many of the services provided by the Hotel Williamsburg. The listing does not lack for confidence, boasting, 'The Residences at The Williamsburg is the life you've always dreamed of – only better.' But how did they see into my dreams? you may be wondering. Don't worry about it."
Anyway, this is a great column for NYC rental apartment hunters, and worth looking through the entire archive, if for no other reason than to see how others in the city live, how prices vary across neighborhoods and boroughs... and those great, no-holds-barred comments.