By John J King / @JRexPlays
So, you’ve decided to take the leap and move to the Big City! There has never been a better time to move to New York: 2020 brings many changes, including the best traffic and parking in memory! And with the well-heeled hordes making an exodus, the chances of finding the perfect place – for a bargain – are sky-high.
But who knows how long the pandemic will last? So, finding the best location is paramount. When picking the perfect apartment to serve as your city foothold – and office, social center, weekend getaway, place to eat takeout, and the only location you can safely be for the cold winter months – consider the following:
How close is the nearest public transportation you won’t be using due to a mix of fear and unemployment? You’ll want something within walking distance, otherwise your friends won’t even lie about coming over for socially distant visits in some ambiguous future.
Surround yourself with culture, food, and nightlife. Nothing says “desirable neighborhood” like great restaurants with frigid outdoor seating, and living close to cafes you don’t feel safe going to is a great way to maintain that desire. The possibility that these chic eateries may go out of business before you feel safe in public adds a pinch of spice to the yearning.
Does the neighborhood have good schools? Sure, you don’t have kids – yet! – but you’ll want educated children nearby who can read the distress-signs you put in your window.
Finding all of these in the same area will save you money. Because in 2021, when the pandemic lifts – so will the rents! And as you move to a one bedroom with three roommates in the Bronx, you’ll be saving!
Once you narrow your scope to the neighborhood of your pre-COVID dreams, peruse the listings. This time of transition is a renter’s market, but that won’t keep charlatans from running scams. To avoid becoming a gullible greenhorn, follow these tips:
Only consider apartments with legitimate photos and addresses.
Did the real estate agent choreograph their tour video to Dua Lipa? No? Do they even want a new tenant?
Ask friends in the city to tour properties for you. First, this will ensure a listing is legitimate. But it also feels like hanging out, as you listen to their comments on such topics as: tile coloring, unique odors, “your vibe,” and their personal version of a “roach potential” spectrum.
Even after weeding out the conmen pretending to be landlord Pastors in Astoria, you’ll find no shortage of very real, nearly affordable units, so you’ll need to narrow it down to the flat made for you. Some things to mull over:
Does the building have laundry? You don’t want to be one of those Gen X’ers who dies from getting COVID in a laundromat.
Will you have a fire escape? Crucial to safe city living, fire escapes add a unique outdoors space, essential during lockdown.
Does your block have ongoing construction? Lucky you! Cat-calls are the only social contact you’ll have until spring.
Will your lease allow you to have a dog? You don’t have a dog and you’re not getting one in this economy! But renting a dog-friendly apartment is like renting Hope. You can almost scratch Hope’s belly. And Hope won’t die suddenly, like your last dog, Hope.
Lastly, your move to the Big City calls for self-reinvention: a new life, a clean slate. It already feels like you’re drowning, so why not take the plunge into an exciting competitive job market? But you need to stand out, so find creative ways to present yourself.
You work in theatre? No: you specialize in post-event-world non-digital communications, with a deep background in innovative Zoom-space creation.
You often take pictures and videos of your wife to post on Instagram. Or, in pandemi-conomy terms, you specialize in generating digital content for niche brands.
You graduated from an acclaimed university with a degree in English, or: you are willing to take any job in which day to day tasks include “using words.”
New York City has always welcomed newcomers ready to hustle, so take the leap! And we’ll all find out together whether this was a jump into your future, or a hop from one sinking ship to the next.