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Six month "vacation" in NYC?

Hello, New Yorkers.  I'm from Oregon and recently visited NYC for the first time this May.  We were there for 10 days, and though we went non-stop, it was a painfully inadequate time to really experience the city.

I'd like to spend 6 months in New York and want to see if there's any sanity to my plan:

- Get a dive walk-up apartment close in (Brooklyn, Queens?) near a subway stop.  Preferably furnished, so I could just show up without a lot of stuff.
- Buy an MTA "all you can ride" pass
- Eat out all the time (I was floored by how inexpensively one could eat in NYC.  Good food, too).
- Wander the streets of the various bouroughs.  Maybe bike around a bit.
- Generally soak up the culture.  Visit museums, parks, clubs, etc.
- Take the train to DC, Philly, Boston.  Stay in Hostels.

I'm thinking, "okay, Bill, that's nice, but what's it's going to cost?".  Total pull-from-air budget:

- Rent:  $1200/mo furnished shit-hole studio
- Utilities:  Dunno, $150/mo
- MTA pass:  Dunno, $50/mo
- Bike:  $150
- Food:  $12/day
- Train fares:  $250
- Fun-money:  $15/day

Total budget for 6 months:  $14,000

Am I completely off base or missing any vital piece of information?  I'm hopng 6 months would cure my obsession with all things NYC.

Also, shopping for an NYC apartment seems to be, well, "not easy".  At least compared to Portland, where you just go on-line and compare pictures and prices.  How would I go about finding a cheap, furnished place near a subway stop?

Thanks in advance for any information provided!  Also, please tell me if you think the whole idea is crazy.

Bill Carlson
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

When you get to NY stay in the hostel... hostels are filled with great people who also want to explore the city and will know about things you've never heard of.

Then explore some of the trendy neighborhoods and look for sublet / room for rent flyers. Get local papers like the village voice ( ) and read the classifieds / real estate section. Ask around.

When I went to new orleans last, I stay in a hostel when my friends booked a hotel in advance... The hostel was full that friday & saturday, so I had to either go to the other hostel across town, or find a hotel... Well I ended up in a hotel right on Bourbon Street, a very nice one. My friends had done their research, and ended up a few blocks away in a different hotel, for the same amount of money.

I always play it by ear when I travel, so my advice might not work for you if you like to plan things ahead of time.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I have a friend with a 1-bedroom available:

If you or anyone you know is looking for an
apartment in Manhattan, I have a very nice 1-
bedroom near Columbia U. (105 & Amsterdam) for
$1495. Cheap! Wood floors, dishwasher, laundry in
building, 2nd floor walkup, nice super, nice
building. Good for 1 person or share. Move in on
Sept. 1.

email me if you want more info.

A shame you won't be working at all during your visit: you'll miss out on the whole "rat race" experience.  Maybe you can simulate it by putting on a suit, taking the subway to Wall Street during rush hour, and then spending the day going to Starbucks and eating hot dogs from street vendors.  Hell, maybe you can even try going into some office building and making photocopies.


Charles Lewis
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Great ideas, Mark.  I like the idea of "showing up" without having to rent a place sight unseen.  All I need is a corner with a bed and a bathroom.  Maybe a TV; maybe not.  I'll definitely check out the hostel situation.

Charles, thanks for the info.  I'm not ready to do anything right now, but that gives me a ballpark figure.  If I can get into Manhattan for $1500, I should be able to do close in Brooklyn or Queens for less (although I'm not sure I could pass up actually being in Manhattan).

So, if I was to pick a six month span to be in NYC, what would it be?  April through September?  I take the heat fairly well...

Bill Carlson
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sure. NY isn't so much fun during the winter, so come during the warmer months. April to Sept sounds ideal.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Sounds great. But if you're to maximize your time in NYC, I'm gonna go ahead and say you should spend a lot more on fun money.

There are _tons_ of great things to do for free in NYC (contact me off-line for a great secret one), but those things are what you recommned to someone who's gonna be here for a week without much money. If you're gonna be here for six months, you should definitely get a taste of the other side of NYC, the side where you're spending some do re mi.

I'm glad to hear you've figured out that you can eat _great_ food for almost no money here. But there are also a bunch of restaurants that are worth paying for.

And there are some clubs you should drop a dime to get into.

And there will undoubtedly be some bands, nowhere-near-broadway plays and performances, and phenomenal art shows that you should see--because all of those things are a part of what makes NY so f'in wonderful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

... and if he gets a room sublet for $700 he has that much more spending money each month. He doesn't need to get a killer apartment in the perfect neighborhood, just a decent room in a nice neighborhood.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

OK, Mark, I'll bite: how can you in good conscience recommend that anyone visit New York during _August_??  I've been hiding in my apartment with the AC on all week.

Autumn is the best here, and winter can ocassionally be surreal.

Charles Lewis
Thursday, August 14, 2003

Thanks to everyone who replied.  Joel must host his site or have an awsome UPS, cause it's been a few hours since lights-out in the city.

I like the idea of increased spending money.  I'm willing to sit in the cheap-seats for shows and have a fair number of days just wandering around.  Still would be good for the budget, especially if I need to treat someone to an evening now and again.

I'd love to see all 4 seasons in the city, but I'm going to have to pick a span and stick to it, unfortunately.

Good to know that I'm in the ballpark on a place to stay.  I'd expected to pay more...

Thanks again everyone for the replies!

Bill Carlson
Thursday, August 14, 2003

$12 a day for food sounds way too low.  A typical deli or fast food lunch is $7 and a sit down dinner is around $20.  I think groceries cost me $300/mo.  Maybe you can do $12 if you only eat cheeze pizza slices, and don't drink booze (or even snapple).

Keith Wright
Monday, August 18, 2003

It's been some time since the original post, but just in case: I recommend craigslist -- -- for finding a sublet. I lived in New York for a few months last summer, and took a 3-week sublet (sight unseen) in Brooklyn while I found a longer term place. The longer term place, also found on craigslist, was a furnished studio in Chelsea, which I kept for the remainder of my stay. Both experiences were positive: rents were reasonable; moving to, from, and within the city was a breeze since both places were furnished; and subletting allowed me to avoid using a broker and committing to a long-term lease.

Friday, November 7, 2003

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