Finding A Home In NYC
January 22nd, 2018
Finding a home in New York City can be a struggle. Rachel Koo from The Ritz Plaza may know this better than anyone. In our new Stonehenge Resident Blog Post Series, we ask our residents to write about a topic that's important to them. Rachel shares with us her challenging search for her perfect home and how she ended up with Stonehenge NYC. ----- They say hindsight is 20/20. "Are you sure? It's not too late." Those were the only words Dad uttered almost 3 years ago when he looked around my future first room in Manhattan, though Harry Potter's cupboard would have been a more apt description of the tiny corner space I found myself stuffing a twin mattress into. I should have taken into serious consideration the frantic glances he exchanged with Mom, but my new job's start date was looming and I was getting desperate. "Besides," I said more to myself than to them, "I'm young and single. I live next door to a popular ramen joint in Hell's Kitchen. How bad could it be?" 5 months later, the police raided my building to bust an illegal Airbnb-turned-prostitution ring on the floor below mine. I was lucky to have escaped that apartment with my security deposit check in hand. My parents still don't know exactly why I left except that "it just wasn't a good fit." By a stroke of purely dumb luck, I found a temporary sublet in the Financial District. A college friend needed a last-minute subletter and I just needed a roof over my head. It utterly spoiled me. I lived in a safe luxury high-rise building in a room with a real full-sized bed (and a bed frame!), and helped my housemate take care of her rambunctious twin foster dogs. After 5pm, the only sound I heard was faint barking here and there as other residents leisurely walked their dogs in parks nearby. No more squeezing through the loud and impatient sea of people waiting for ramen, no more weird smells from said restaurant’s leftovers, no more earplugs on Thurs-Mon. But I knew this slice of serenity was mine for only 3 months. So I frantically searched for my next home, more desperate to find my next forever home than our adorable foster dogs. All you need to know is that after FiDi, I went through two more apartments in the UWS and Chelsea. Neither was a bad home, but one of my UWS housemates started smoking (deal-breaker), and I had a lemon of a roommate in Chelsea. Besides, I was getting tired of the frat parties upstairs and of strangers constantly stealing my Amazon packages. Despite the lessons learned and solid negotiation skills I picked up along the way, it’s hard not to identify myself as the common denominator. And if it weren’t for where I am now, I would have been resigned to such reality. But dreams do come true, or as close as they can in the housing world of Manhattan. It’s been almost a year since I found my home with an amazing roommate, friendly neighbors, adorable doormen who give high-fives when I come home from work, and four(!!!) fully-functioning elevators. If it sounds like I’m rubbing it in, you’re right. I am. But between the police bust and annoying frat parties, I think I deserve to just a little bit.