January 14, 2005

In Gotham

I'm at a wi-fi coffeeshop in Midtown Manhattan. What a great city this is, even in January. This is only my second time out here. My first trip was right after September 11. I could smell the smoking ruin of Ground Zero (like burning tires) all the way up in Central Park. It was a strange and intense time to be here. It's nice to get to know the real New York City.

My wife flew out here to work. I tagged along because I felt like it and because I could.

There's a lot of socializing going on while I'm here. So far I've met Jeff Jarvis and Steve Silver. (Great guys, both of 'em.) Later tonight Shelly and I are having dinner with Megan McArdle. Tomorrow we're painting the town with Judith Weiss, Mary Madigan, and Eric Deamer.

I'll be home Monday. In the meantime, enjoy the fine blogs to your left. And be nice to each other in the comments! Cheers.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 14, 2005 03:55 PM

New York is a great town.

That's why I live here!


Posted by: Dave at January 14, 2005 04:32 PM


Posted by: han at January 14, 2005 04:47 PM

Are you planning on taking pictures?

Posted by: jjim at January 14, 2005 07:02 PM

Welcome to the Big Apple!

After reading of all your world wide travels, it's funny to see you arrive in my home town! Enjoy. And be sure to check out downtown, Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca if you didn't explore these neighborhoods on your last trip. Something tells me that they will be right up your alley.

Posted by: Doug at January 14, 2005 07:49 PM

Take care, don't get mugged for the second time.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 14, 2005 09:10 PM

Well, this is as good an opportunity to ask as any I suppose...

I might be moving to NYC, next year. Possibly. Maybe. Alot of it depends on whether or not I can afford to live there. Since a handful of you obviously know the city pretty well, are there any decently-priced apartments available...and by decent I mean, well, you know. I tried to look into this myself but couldn't find much of anything under $1000 a month (way out of my price-range!).

The apartment I'm currently in is a 450-sq-ft. studio with hardwood floors, AC, and all utilities paid. In the not-so-exciting city of Indianapolis, with a student discount, that runs me $405/month...which is a really good deal. Usually, this kind of place would run more around $500. In New York, I'm sure it'd have to have a hole in the roof to be priced that cheap, but I'm curious...what's realistic there?

Any information/advice/suggestions would be really appreciated!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at January 14, 2005 11:29 PM


Okay, I'll give Indy this: We have one hell of an exciting football team. In my world, Manning is a god and Marvin could double for Jesus. Bill Belichick be damned, we're kicking some Pats ass this Sunday!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at January 15, 2005 12:02 AM


Live in Hoboken. It's right across the river from Manhattan, on the Jersey side. It's a nice little European-looking place, and it's a lot cheaper than NYC. You'll be able to see the NYC skyline from your apartment.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2005 09:36 AM

Grant: Unfortunately, your price range is a little tough - but there are some olptions that might work for you:

(1) As Michael said, try outside of Manhattan - often, the further away you get, the more you'll find. Hoboken, believe it or not, may not work for you but give it a try. But also try Queens, Bronx, other parts of Jersey - it all depends on how you want to live and how far you're willing to commute.

(2) Other options: Criag's List and the Village Voice. This is where you'll find all sorts of weird listings. The most important ones, from your perspective, are the room shares. If you're willing to have a roommate, then everything changes. My cousin and two friends livein Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and each pay about $950 a month, and share a three bedroom. If you have people youo know that you cn live with, great, but if not, try the "live with a stranger" listings noted above. The good things about those, also, is that you get to skip the broker's fees and all of the other crap that comes with signing your own lease, such as having to providea tri-state guarantor.

Hope that helps. If not, feel free to e-mail me, and we can correspond or arrange to talk. (Hey - who says real estate lawyers can't be helpful once in a while).

Posted by: jeremy in NYC at January 15, 2005 09:52 AM

Sorry - that's "Craig's List", obviously. Also, if you go to http://www.curbed.com/ and look at the real estate links on the right side, you'll find (in addition to a lot of cool snarky info on New York real estate) links to those sites, plus some other very helpful sites.

Posted by: jeremy in NYC at January 15, 2005 09:55 AM

Well, at least Michael's missing the freezing rain we're having in the People's Republic of Portland.


Posted by: cardeblu at January 15, 2005 10:25 AM

It's not raining today, but we did get a cold front last night. Brrrrr.
That's why we're not going to search out the Uzbeki restaurant in Rego Park.

Posted by: Yehudit at January 15, 2005 12:45 PM

Well, everyone sure is being nice to each other!
(I'm smiling, not sneering!)
I'm also curious. In Melbourne, Australia, I pay AU$900 per month for a one-bedroom semi-detached cottage with a view of a carpark, three massive garbage bins and the backside of a petrol station. But I'm in the middle of the cafe/bar/shopping precinct of north Melbourne, and I can walk to the city centre in 20 minutes.
AU$900 is approximately 30 per cent of my take-home wage, and I pay utilities on top of that.
Is it about the same for people who live within walking distance of a major city in America?

Posted by: Fish at January 16, 2005 03:15 AM

Man I wish I could be there! At least it's sunny in No. California today, but I'm really ready to go to NYC again soon.

Posted by: d-rod at January 16, 2005 12:35 PM

Oh, God - I'm getting truly ancient. I knew Steve Silver's mom long before she was pregnant with him - and now he's a successful writer in NYC??

Hardly seems possible - but I'm glad to hear that a favorite blogger of mine met Steve and he's doing well.

Even if it does make me feel O-L-D!

Posted by: Peg K at January 16, 2005 11:15 PM

Grant, not Hoboken. I lived there, and currently live in Brooklyn. Email me if you want the brutal details.

(Apologies Michael.)


Posted by: Mark Poling at January 17, 2005 12:14 AM


What's wrong with Hoboken? I've never lived there, so I don't know. Fill me in? I may end up in the NYC area someday and might need to know.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 17, 2005 01:52 AM

Speaking of New York City, is the local news there giving the bloody massacre in Jersey City very much coverage?

A young family of Coptic Christians tied up like chickens, mutilated and throats cut. Evidence points to Islamic extremists as the culprits. You see, that's one problem with living in that area. Far too many moonbats and terrorists.

Posted by: Michael J. Malloy at January 17, 2005 04:43 AM

The major problem with Hoboken is you pay Manhattan price for Manhattan space and get only a fraction of the "goodies" that you get by just living in Manhattan. (I'm talking rental properties here; if you're buying the prices are still outrageous, but not-quite-obscene.)

The second problem is the capacity of the PATH system, the main way of getting into Manhattan from Hoboken. If you're thinking of sardines during rush hour, it's only to envy them their luxurious space.

The third problem, which may or may not be a problem for you, is the vagabond nature of the population. Hoboken has been the alternative to Manhattan for some time, so you get a large number of people who end up just passing through, staying there until they find a friend-of-a-friend in The City who knows someone who can get them a deal on a place on the Lower East Side.

The plus factors for Hoboken include: It really does have some nice restaurants, music venues, and shopping. Getting away from the urban sprawl is about an hour easier from Hoboken; you don't have to worry about getting over or under the East River. Getting to Newark Airport is much easier. If you can afford it, you can get a space with terrific views of Manhattan. (A tragedy of Manhattan is that when you live in it, you can't really see it.)

You might also consider Jersey City, which also has PATH service to NYC. Some parts of Jersey City are much better values than Hoboken, but Jersey City goes from really nice to really rotten on a block-by-block basis. You need to be a little more diligent when you're hunting for space there.

Suggestion: look at the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn. It has most of the advantages of Hoboken (sorry, no view of the Manhattan skyline, and getting away from the sprawl is even harder than if you lived in the Village) at about the same price with much better mass transit service. The population also tends to be more diverse, with families and twentysomethings and oldtimers living in easy coexistence. And you would be near Prospect Park, one of the best urban parks in the world.

Hope you found this useful.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 17, 2005 10:29 AM

After doing a lot of searching in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and Riverdale (the Bronx) I decided to live in Hoboken. If you’re buying, the prices are much lower. Rentals aren’t as much of a deal, but they’re not as awful as they are in Manhattan.

All NYC subway cars are sardine cans during rush hour. PATH is as bad as the rest, but no worse. The service after midnight is very infrequent, though.

I did my Christmas shopping in Hoboken this year, and the clerks are much friendlier than they are in Manhattan or the malls. The shops, restaurants and entertainment are the main attraction here. Hoboken has all the benefits of Manhattan without the noise and the crowds.

Jersey City is an option, but the politics in that town are insane. My aunt used to live there, and she was constantly fighting the system and the schools.

Some of Hoboken’s population is transient, but there are old, established Italian/Irish/Spanish neighborhoods that give the town its character. I guess that’s why I decided to move to Hoboken. I grew up in a Jersey/Italian neighborhood, and a town with streets that don’t smell like fresh bread and pizza is not a real town to me.

Posted by: mary at January 17, 2005 12:38 PM

Mary, I will admit that I very much miss Antique Bakery. That being said, I'm happy to be a Brooklyn boy now.

MJT, glad you had such a great visit to NYC. If you want a rundown of restaurants, attractions, etc. around Prospect Park in Brooklyn let me know; got some favorites to plug.

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