Manhattan to Brooklyn Apartment Hunting and the 7-year Itch

The 7-year itch is right. I was over Manhattan. 

This summer marks 7 years for me in Manhattan and decided last year that it was time for a change. My neighbors were getting increasingly younger (and louder), my beauty products were taking over my living space, and to sum it all up with what I tell people who ask why I'm moving: “When I moved in here, I was 4 years younger”. Understanding laughs ensue.

Once I decided I was going to move out of my Lower East Side walkup studio (aka no bedroom walls), my apartment obsession came out in full-force. I have always been obsessed with looking at real estate, and floor plans too. My search began with a high rise in the east 30’s: stunning 180’ views of the East River and luxury amenities including a grand atrium. But who was I kidding? It was wayyyy over budget - I could barely afford a studio there, and the whole point of moving was to get a “real” apartment - you know, with doors and walls and a bed not against the wall. 

Skyline NYC.jpg

I work on designing nail looks from home a lot (often leaving my nail stuff all over the place until its completed) and I have enough glitter, polish and nail art to start two nail supply stores. After looking at one bedroom apartments for a few weeks, I decided to look for the unicorn of New York real estate: A 2 bedroom apartment in a fantastic neighborhood… in my budget. 

This is just ONE of the units I keep my nail stuff in. Ikea may be cheap but it really is the best size for beauty. This is Pax and the essie polish rack is Ikea Gnedby.

 

Details, Details, Details (and a Buzzer)

I was willing to go up +$200/month for a place with the things I needed since I wouldn’t have to pay for a P.O. box anymore, would have a kitchen with more than 1 square foot of counter space (zero exaggeration) & an oven that worked so I could cook at home, and be near lots of trains. 

For me, my must haves were: 

  • 1.5 or 2 bedroom (one for me, one for beauty)
  • Pet-friendly 
  • Around a lot of stuff (LOL yes that’s exactly what I wrote)
  • Buzzer/intercom/doorbell 

Needs: 

  • Laundry- either shared in the building or in my unit
  • Counter space so I can try to be domestic (or at least look it)
  • Studio space / great light for my YouTube setup 

Bonuses (this is important for you to know later 😃) 

  • Fireplace/mantle 
  • Washer/dryer inside (hey this is NYC - this is very rare!)
  • Lots of outlets (I hate cords because I am super clumsy)
  • Floor to ceiling windows / a view 

I began looking at buildings eight months in advance because I wanted to narrow the neighborhoods down (and I was just TOO excited I couldn’t wait!) I had decided on Brooklyn - as if I could afford a 2-bedroom in Manhattan anyways!

Brownstone in BK

In Brooklyn, there were a ton of new builds going up, and of course, the borough was also notorious for their charming and stunning 19th-century Brownstones - eponymous row townhouses built of sandstone with their iconic stoops. The latter being my favored choice, but of course, rarer in my budget and my needs. But I do love a challenge…

 

The Hunt is On 

In NYC, looking for a new apartment is a full-time job. Its nearly impossible to get the perfect place without some sort of nerve-wracking struggle, annoying realtors, or paying exorbitant fees. Apartments hit the market and can be gone the very same day so once you start looking you already need to have all your ducks in a row and ready to go - meaning first month rent and deposit (and possible broker fee), letters of employment proving that you make at least 40x the rent, bank statements, W2’s, copies of your past rent checks, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh, and you better have amazing credit. Because of how lighting fast things happen, it's pointless to look at apartments until about 2-4 weeks in advance of your move date.

Unless you’re me. 

I started looking for apartments more than 6 weeks before I wanted to move in. (I told you I was excited!). I had only looked at three apartments before I saw her: a 1.5 bedroom townhouse in the heart of the safest neighborhood in Brooklyn. It was on a quiet side street off the main road, fully gut renovated, with a gorgeous kitchen and a washer/dryer INSIDE the apartment. Pet-friendly. a mantle… and oriel windows in the front! And… UNDER BUDGET. In fact, it was less than what I was paying now. 

I made an appointment to see her the next day and it was all I could think about for the next 24 hours…