The dreaded day every New Yorker has gone through is the day you realize you need to move. Either your rent is going up or you've decided to co-habitate with your partner or best friend -- there is always a glimmer of hope that the perfect, well-priced apartment is just within arms reach. And then reality sets in when a few days into the search, you realize that moving in New York City is the most soul crushing experience that any human being can ever go through. In fact, finding an apartment in New York is very similar to the five stages of grieving.
1. Denial. When you start off the search for a new apartment you're hopeful. You even begin to really take all of the "New York Apartment Urban Legends" to heart. That story you heard about the guy who found a fabulous four bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side is going to happen again and it's going to happen to you! Or, you start to think that you are that girl who is going to find an apartment near Gramercy Park without a broker for less than two grand a month just like your friend Karen's friend Karen did. Even after you've searched a Craigslist high and low for weeks, you still have a spring in your step because you are convinced that you are going to find the perfect apartment. Until of course you realize your current lease is up in two weeks and at the beginning of the month you're going to have to move into your parents duplex in Ho Ho Kaus unless you hustle up and find a place.
2. Anger. With two weeks to go before homelessness or moving back with you parents sets in, and the realization that everyone who ever told you about a fabulous apartment in Manhattan that cost less than two grand a month was full of shit, you become bitter and angry. Not only that, you're pressed for time so you go back to craigslist, which makes you even more upset. You find that, for whatever reason, every apartment listing on Craigslist that says "no broker fee" is actually a lie, because they all charge a fee so you begin to question why that link is even an option. You also discover that words like "spacious" means "the shower is in the kitchen," "great views" means "you see a brick wall instead of an alley when you look out of your window" and "close to Central Park" means Washington Heights. You begin to believe that every person who has ever listed an apartment on Craigslist is full of shit until you find that one special place. Sure, it's not that large and it's still way more expensive than you wanted, but you've got little time to move so your anger subsides -- and you sit down with your broker and you begin the third stage of grieving.
3. Bargaining. You finally find an apartment but you quickly realize that your new landlord-to-be wants first months rent, a security deposit, last months rent, a blood sample, the heart of a baby chicken, a script from the original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls, a box of Corn Flakes and a lock of hair from Kanye West's newborn child before you can actually sign the lease. Oh and don't forget, you also have to pay a broker's fee to a broker who listed the apartment you want to rent under "broker free apartments" on Craigslist. You try to haggle with them, but they won't in give because even though the apartment you're about to rent is located in that sketchy alley between the Port Authority and forty-second street where drug dealers kick it after the sun goes down, everyone in the room insists that "this is a very hot property". You begin to feel more peer pressured then you did that time in high school when all of your friends told you to steal your mother's car and go joyriding, but you didn't want to and did it anyway because you wanted everyone to think you were cool. You don't know who to believe, but you do know that you're about to be homeless, so you give the people what they want and skedaddle. You determine that what you're about to pay in rent is less than your best friend from back home's mortgage and they're actually a home owner.
4. Depression. You kick yourself for ever thinking that you would be able to find an affordable apartment in Manhattan, or lets face it, most parts of Queens and Brooklyn. After all this you're going to have to skip at least two meals a week from now on to afford your new digs. Once you finally move into your new place, you decide to spend a few extra bucks on new furniture. But the only place you can afford to buy a new sofa, chest of drawers and bed is IKEA. So now you have to hop on a ferry to Brooklyn, spend the entire day at the IKEA store, only to realize that not only are they out of half of the things you wanted to buy -- it's also going to take two-three weeks for delivery. Once your realize, you could potentially fly around the world in half the time it will take to get the furniture you purchased one borough away to your apartment, you become even more depressed. But not as depressed as you are once the furniture arrives and you realize the little cartoon character on the instructions has a better time putting together a chest of drawers than you do.
5. Acceptance. So you couldn't find an affordable place without a broker and the bed you put together from IKEA falls apart in the middle of the night while you're sleeping. Who cares? You're in the best city in the world, and even though you nearly broke a hip moving yourself because you're too poor to afford movers (on what happened to be the hottest day of the year no less. And you got two parking tickets because the U-Haul you rented was doubled parked in front of your building because there was nowhere else to go) -- it's just a hip and you can always get a new one. But there's only one New York.