Not surprisingly, this Times story about younguns being forced to live in tents and in office buildings is getting lots of attention; on a day with no shortage of real-world news, it's the third-most emailed article on the Times's site.
Those poor little dears: there's 29-year-old Nina Rubin, who "struggled to find halfway decent housing in New York" before moving in to the Long Island City offices of Outward Bound, where she slept on a bunk bed, surrounded by cohorts bedding down in cubicles or on tents on the roof. And Kate Harvey, who joined eight of her friends and shacked up in an office building. (The space was owned by a company that her dad happened to run.)
There are two things wrong with this story. 1. The Times didn't bother to do any actual reporting into what it would actually cost someone to rent an apartment within, say, a half-hour of Union Square, and 2. Their cherry-picked "sources" are either stupid or aren't looking for affordable housing so much as they're looking for free housing...cuz there's still plenty out there that's available for the picking.
Like (and who among you didn't see this coming) a bunch of these offerings in PLG. It's hard to tell exactly what the situation is with these two Lincoln Road apartments, both of which are listed with The Real Estate Group: the pictures on the Times are identical, but one is listed as a 2000-sq ft 2 br for $3200 and the other is a 950-sq ft 2 br for $1950. Whatever the case, these look like pretty good deals: it's a big open space, there's a roofdeck, and a washer-dryer; the bigger of the two apartments is advertised as having new hardwood floors and 14-ft ceilings.
Citi Habitats also has a couple of two bedrooms listed at $2400 and $2100; there's this 3-br on Rutland that's listed at $1,600, and perhaps most enticingly, a $1050, 1-br rent stabilized apartment on Fenimore and Rogers.
I'm sure none of these apartments are as nice as they look, but they'd have to be a helluva lot worse not to be attractive at some of these prices...especially for someone camped out in their dad's office. Eight years ago I felt blessed to find a run-down, 1-BR on Atlantic Ave between 3rd and 4th Ave for $1100. Atlantic Ave was not fun seven years ago. And my apartment was not a couple of blocks from the park.
In its effort to prove that those among us who aren't I-bankers or trust-fund babies are being squeezed out of the city, the Times writes how "the rents for one-bedroom apartments in Manhattan average $2,567 a month, and two-bedrooms average $3,854 a month. ... Because landlords typically require renters to earn 40 times their monthly rent in annual income, renters of those average apartments would need to earn at least $102,680, individually or combined, to qualify for a one-bedroom and $154,160 to afford a two-bedroom." I've never lived anyplace where a landlord insisted I make 40-times my monthly rent; I usually set aside 35-percent of my salary. If you go by my figures, someone making $35,000 could afford a one-bedroom in PLG; three friends all making $27,000 could live in one of the $2000/mo two-bedrooms.
But the real question here isn't why the Times story doesn't present the whole story; that happens all too often. The real question is...why are these apartments sitting vacant? Complaints about services, or Flatbush, don't cut it with me; for $1,000 a month in NYC, you're going to need to make sacrifices no matter where you're living. And there's nowhere else where you'd be be so close to an express train and so close to the park. So what gives?