If you’re not planning on reapplying for housing, then the time to start looking for an apartment is quickly approaching. While apartment hunting is exciting, it can be stressful finding a place that’s both affordable and close to NYU.
For NYU students, the most desired neighborhoods are the East Village and Lower East Side, but multi-bedroom apartments can easily run above $4,000 per month. Rent in these areas isn’t always expensive, as you can find some great deals on multiple-bedroom apartments, but it’s worth looking at neighborhoods a little further from school since they’ll be more affordable.
Apartments in Chinatown are well-priced for students and not too far from campus. The neighborhood is lively and full of culture. It also offers a great variety of grocery vendors and stores. Gallatin senior Isabel Kardon loves her living situation in Chinatown.
“I am 20 minutes south of campus, and I like it there,” Kardon said. “I pay less money now than I did for the dorms.”
Michael Jeneralczuk, CEO and founder of Undorm, a real estate company for students, understands how essential affordable housing is.
“Money is important,” Jeneralczuk said. “No matter what financial background you come from.”
Recently, Undorm’s NYU clients have been going to Midtown for cheaper rent. With some good deals in Murray Hill and Hell’s Kitchen, students have been finding apartments going for $1,300 a month per roommate, according to Jeneralczuk.
Gypsy Housing real estate agent Jack Clausen has a similar philosophy to Jeneralczuk and advises students to save as much money as they can on housing.
“Find the cheapest place to live where you feel safe and spend the rest of your money enjoying New York,” Clausen said. “A 40-minute commute may be a bit of a drag when you are used to 20, but it is a reality to the majority of New Yorkers and worth it so they have the means to enjoy the city and treat themselves.”
Sometimes this means looking above 100th Street in neighborhoods like Washington Heights and Harlem.
“Last month, we had three students that had a budget of about $700 each, and they really wanted to have their own rooms,” Jeneralczuk said. “They ended up getting a really nice place in Lower East Harlem for $2,100.”
Jeneralczuk says these neighborhoods have changed, and now accommodate more students than before. As groups such as college students, young adults and non-family households begin considering these places as options due to growing prices downtown, those neighborhoods’ original populations are being pushed away — a process known as gentrification.
A 2015 study from NYU Furman Center found that, among the city’s 55 neighborhoods, 15 were considered gentrifying, that is, having had a higher growth on income and change in racial composition compared to the 1990s. This process is happening especially in Manhattan, where places like Harlem and Chinatown, now popular among students, are becoming less and less a home for minorities and low-income populations that used to live there.
As a result, students have been finding apartments farther and farther away from campus.
But how far from campus should students go? Peii Xing, a GLS senior, thinks it’s worth it to live closer to school. She used to live in the Financial District — a 15-minute subway ride away — but she is way happier now that she moved to the Lower East Side because of how conveniently close school is.
“I can go back and forth between school and home,” Xing said.
For Cole Hill, a junior in Tisch who shares a studio in the Upper East Side, living outside of the Village is good for separating personal life from school.
“For the most part, commuting is not that big of a deal,” Hill said.
In order to spend less time on commute, Clausen suggests finding a place near L, F and 5 trains, which have the fastest commutes into Union Square. Living near these convenient trains will significantly cut down travel time.
For those who can’t sign a lease or want to just rent a single room in an apartment, try looking on Facebook groups such as Ghostlight Housing and NYU Housing, Sublets and Roommates.
However and wherever you find your apartment, Clausen has one final piece of advice: “Trust your instincts. Try to view at least three apartments before making your decision, but remember that choosing is not the entire equation.”
Email Carol Oliveira at [email protected].