When Size Does Matter, or NYC Apartments

My attention was recently grabbed by a series of ads I kept seeing on the subway and all over Manhattan. I am sure New Yorkers find them much more amusing than the rest of the population. Here’s why. They were designed by a realty agency and they refer to common plights of New Yorkers trying to rent a place.

The first ad says: “Is it still a bedroom if the bed doesn’t fit?”

Small size is one of the legendary features of a typical New York apartment. I have heard thousands of stories from folks looking for a place in this town and of offers they were getting. A classic is a single-room place with only a bed inside. Forget about space for night table. The owners were unabashedly demanding $500.

Second ad: „500 square feet in NY is bigger than 500 square feet anywhere else”.

Again: the size. The places offered up for rent are usually tiny nooks with a single window. You’ve already heard how big are the bedrooms: other rooms follow suit. Sometimes the places have the unintentionally comic effect of having been designed for dwarfs. You may laugh when you see them, but you will start crying once you realize most places in your price range look exactly the same, or smaller.

Third ad: „The city where a washer and a dryer mean you’ve made it.”

New York apartments practically have no washing machines of their own. The reason for that is the plumbing system, which cannot possibly handle so many machines. That’s why laundromats are scattered all over the town or are located in the basements. I never thought that owning a washing machine was a treat until my friend has recently shown me one of her own and I caught myself feeling deep respect and admiration for her.

Fourth ad: „Sure, your window faces a brick wall, but behind this wall is New York City”

Exactly. Your neighbor’s brick wall will indeed be the thing you see out the window in most cases. Buildings are crammed tightly here, in order to squeeze as much as possible from the horrifically expensive New York space. Why is everyone bearing with it…? The reason is always the same: the second they walk out of their apartments, they’re on the streets of New York: in the middle of big city jungle that makes each day an adventure – and a struggle for life.