Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Priced out of Brooklyn?

The view from my bedroom.













































This weekend, a friend's neighbor went to an open house in my Brooklyn neighborhood.  She was one of 200 people there.  13 people put bids on the apartment.  According to this article, Brooklyn is the second most expensive place to live in the United States.  Manhattan is the first.  I love my neighborhood, but unless I am blessed by some sort of fluke apartment luck (I'm starting to think that rent control in a NYC urban legend) we will not be able to stay here forever.  However I'm also starting to think that if 13 people are simultaneously bidding on a million dollar two bedroom apartment, that I don't want to live in that kind of neighborhood, because I'm not that kind of person.

I've been dealing with feeling priced out of New York since I moved here.  Being broke and living in shitty apartments is a New York City rite of passage, and seven years later, I can look back on my first few years in New York romantically.  I understand why we sacrifice so much to live here and I am proud and happy that I never had my parents paying for my rent so that I could live in a "safe" (ie: trendy) neighborhood.  That is what moving to New York is supposed to be like.  But while I'm proud of how far I have come, I'm also starting to feel increasingly disheartened by what my city is turning into.

My 20s are over, will living in New York City be over for me soon too?  It's hard to say at this point, but I feel like I'm genuinely open to the idea at this moment in my life.  And yet, this is the place I've lived for the longest amount of time of my adult life.  We've built a community here.  Could I really start over somewhere else after seven years?  Would it be exciting and rejuvenating, or depressing and lonely?

I'm curious readers, what is your neck of the woods like?  Do you want to live somewhere else? Are you happy where you are? Have you ever felt priced out?  How long have you lived where you live right now? Let me know in the comments!

15 comments:

  1. Yes, I love my tiny little flat which is right in Aberdeen city centre, but this is an oil town and there's a huge divide between rich and poor, which means there's also a big divide between the mansions in the suburbs and the really slummy areas. There's not much choice for people like my boyfriend and me who are on okay-but-not-that-great wages, in careers in which we don't expect much of a pay rise; a lot of our friends still live in student-style "romantic poverty" accommodation. In fact, to be honest, so do we.

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  2. I grew up in Orange County, CA. Now I know that place has a bad reputation for being a place for rich, snobby, plastic surgery Barbie-types, but, truthfully, it was a great place to grow up. There is a lot of things to do there, a lot of cultural diversity (despite what people may want you to think), and it is a relatively safe place to live. For the last 10 years, I have been living in inland CA and it totally sucks. I hate it. I hate that my kids have to grow up here. The weather is horrible, the kids here have limited opportunities, it seems like everyone here hates it and just puts up with the depressing nature of this place. We moved here because it was an affordable place for us to buy a house. Of course, you make your own reality, and we have had an enjoyable 10 years here, but there are the times when I ask myself if we are just kidding ourselves. We don't love it, but we put ourselves in this situation so we make the best of it. If I could afford to move anywhere, I'd move back to Orange County or to San Diego.

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  3. I keep hearing stories like yours lately--have you read the recent posts about the author of SF Girl By Bay (http://www.sfgirlbybay.com/) having her house sold out from under her by her landlady because she put so much good work into it? She did all the amazing decorating and painting work and her land lady is enjoying the profits by dumping her into the awful San Fransisco rental market that she can barely afford anymore. :(

    I live in the midwest and the cost of living is amazing here. I love big cities and dream of getting a taste of what it would be like to live in NYC, Chicago, etc, but for $800 a month, I live in a stunning 1000 square foot loft with 20 ft ceilings, free laundry, and a perfect view of downtown and the Arch. My friend who lives in Manhattan recently visited and almost cried from jealousy. I wake up feeling lucky everyday and I know that one day I'll be able to afford a cute little house here in my price range. I'd be content to stay in St. Louis for now. :)

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    1. Ha! I laughed out loud at your friend almost crying about your apartment because I totally believe it. My husband is from Michigan and I love it there.

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  4. I think I know how you feel. I've been a city apartment dweller for the past seven-ish years (basically, since I graduated college and moved out of my parents' place), but I really want to live in a HOUSE now ... and I don't think that's going to happen. At least not in my current city of Philadelphia. So I'm thinking suburbs. But even then, it's hard to come across what I think of as a cute/cool town with affordable housing. I feel like if I'm buying, I don't want to settle for just okay. I WANT IT ALL! :)

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  5. recently I came to terms with the realization that New York is not for me. It was sad, yeah, but it's so hard to have a decent quality life in the city...it's just so expensive and crowded! I think sometimes we are so infatuated with NYC that we forget there are so many other wonderful places out there.

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  6. I'm in Michigan, and as much as I love it here I've definitely been thinking about moving. The job market here isn't the best, so I've always assumed I'd end up leaving. To be honest, the idea is really exciting to me. I don't have a significant other or children at the moment, so it's a pretty ideal time to try something new. The worst case scenario? I don't like it and decide to move back. True, it's not quite that simple, but I know I don't have to be stuck in a place if I don't want to be.

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  7. I've been living in East London for the past 8 years. I first lived in flat shares after moving to England from Germany, but then my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to afford a house, after selling our first apartment, which we bought fairly cheap (for London!) and which nearly rose 30% in price in the 18 months we were living in it. The area we are in is one of the only affordable areas in town that still has okay transport links to the center. It definitely is getting more expensive, too, due to the demand. There is a good art and craft community and it's quite green, so those are the things I like, but London as a whole is getting far too crowded and fast-paced for me as I grow older. I would love to live by the seaside, which is where I feel most at home.

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  8. Luckily the cost of living is really affordable in St. Louis. I mean, we aren't very well-to-do and have lots of bills so things can still be tight, but two working adults can rent a realllly nice place for a fair price around here. My first apartment was split with 2 guys and was a 3 bedroom and we each only had to pay $250 plus utilities if that gives you an idea. That was on the lower end of the spectrum and not the most well-kept place, but for those willing to pay more there are some really nice old brick buildings/lofts/cozy condos/whatever. Currently we live in the county and own our home (E lived here before we got together) but we'd really like to live either closer to the city or in a different area of the outskirts where we can have a bit more land/animal/gardening space, but that's tricky to find. We're more in the position right now that what we have is what we can afford and trying to move (or even being able to successfully sell our house) is not very likely so we're kinda stuck here for a bit and trying to make the most of it.

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  9. I live in South Orange County... pretty much where all those Bravo women live. While we can afford the condo we're living in without any problems, it's totally ridiculous that in other parts of the country, I could be paying a mortgage on a similarly sized single family home on some land for half of what we're paying in rent! Yikes.

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  10. It seems like a lot of NYers move to FL. Sure the weathers nice, but it's full of a lot of racist folks, grumpy elderly people, and swarms of incests and reptiles. The cost of living is good and I hear the job market is good but I'll be out of here once school is over. So if you're considering florida, keep those things in mind.

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  12. You should totally read The Last Bohemia about 80s Brooklyn. I've decided. Things changed so fast there. Right before my eyes.

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  13. I grew up on the Island, moved to B'more (cheap, but more dangerous than NYC) and then back to NYC right before 9/11. I've lived in the 3 boroughs as I call them (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens). I was the kid's librarian at Greenpoint Library and it was *so* frustrating not being able to find an apartment in the neighborhood in which I worked. I could serve the public, but I couldn't really be part of the community.
    Of course, now I work in Park Slope/Prospect Heights, so my dreams of walking to work are officially dashed.
    I'm in my 30s now, and I'm *over* living in dangerous neighborhoods as I have in the past.
    I have discovered that Queens is the BOMB. I can live in a safe neighborhood with bars (from dive to fancy) and a REAL grocery store (not just a bodega!) and subways (4 lines!). It's Egyptians and Greeks and Italians and all my gay boys and single people and families and old Europeans all together in Astoria.
    People think Queens is lame and that's fine. That'll keep the rents down. I love it here.

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    1. I lived in Astoria for three years! It never really felt like home to me though. All of our friends lived in Brooklyn and getting there on the train is such a pain! I also worked in downtown Manhattan, which was a crappy commute too. Astoria is great if you work in midtown! You're right about the rents though, although our crazy landlady was a big part of why we finally decided to get the hell out of Queens.

      I'm very much over living in dangerous neighborhoods too- which is why we ended up in Queens in the first place, someone got shot in front of our house in Bed Stuy (they are okay now). It rattled me a lot more than I thought something like that would. I felt very safe in Queens, but something about it felt too suburban to me, I hated that feeling of being on the outskirts.

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