Adventures in Subletting: Moving on Down(stairs), to the West Side

new york city sublet
My sublet’s living area, complete with tree decals 🙂

Deciding to spend the summer in New York City was the remarkably easy part of planning my current location independent home. I wanted to be here. Ayaz wanted to be here. Done.

The tougher part — we thought — would be finding an affordable (for NYC), relatively normal-looking sublet in a not-totally-sucky location that was kinda sorta near public transportation.

If those sound like depressing hopes for a living space, well, I can only assume you’ve never had to apartment hunt in New York City.

You see, anyone who has had the misfortune of apartment hunting in Manhattan while on a budget quickly learns a few fast and hard lessons:

  • What is condemnable in most cities across America could cost you $2,000-plus dollars in New York City — if you’re lucky. (Think: no windows or fire escapes, shower in the kitchen because it doesn’t fit in the bathroom, kitchens lacking things I once thought were a given — like an oven and stove, an apartment bathroom located … outside the apartment).
  • You better get over any visions of square footage that danced through your head because, baby, space is a serious commodity here. “Shoebox-sized,” can be a remarkably a generous descriptor for many apartments.
  • Location is everything, they say. Well, it turns out that what’s affordable in NYC may be located way, way, way out of the way. And you better get used to a multi-subway commute to get, well, anywhere.

But why am I telling you of these horrors? Because I can happily report that despite reality — despite the potential horror that could have ensued — I experienced exactly NONE of the above scenarios while finding our summer sublet.

It was a goddamn miracle.

We lined up our sublet through a friend, sight unseen, but the price was right and the location was stellar — in the West 70s, in the heart of the Upper West Side.

For 2 digital nomads sticking to a budget, landing this apartment was nothing less than a gift straight from the hands of the New York City gods.

Truly, the only catch I could fathom was that the apartment was a basement unit. (I’m in desperate need of constant daylight — the anti-vampire, if you will.)

Subterranean though it might be, the space is surprisingly big, chock full of storage (another NYC miracle), and there is even the ultimate coup: an outdoor patio complete with twinkly lights, a table and chairs, and Tuscan-themed wall mural.

As if all this weren’t enough, the apartment is 2 blocks from Central Park, 2 blocks from Riverside Park a half block from an express train. An EXPRESS TRAIN, you guys!

And as if THAT weren’t enough to make you pee your pants in excitement, turns out there’s a Fairway and Trader Joe’s BOTH within a block-and-a-half from my front door. I mean, really. REALLY.

Sure, people moan about the summer heat in the concrete jungle, the array of fetid odors that arise on trash days during sweltering months.

But let me tell you, in my eyes, the living is easy. My morning walk finds me traipsing through the tangly Bramble in Central Park, past ponds with highrise backdrops. I run to the overstocked Fairway, grabbing produce and fresh-baked breads for picnic dinners in the park. I zip around this great island and it’s boroughs on the 2/3 subway line like a pro.

And I go to sleep at night very, very grateful.


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