8 best NYC apartment hunting resources

Searching for an apartment in NYC is likely one of the most stressful things you will ever experience while living in the city.0316APP-tmagSF

You have likely started your search on Craigslist and found seemingly perfect apartments with “no (realtor) fee” …only to find they were either a bold-faced lie posted by sneaky real estate agents with astronomical fees or a money-stealing ploy posted by a scam artist, attempting to steal your security deposit before you even view the apartment. In a nutshell…it’s a headache.

My best advice is to be realistic about your apartment search. You are not going to find a brand-new, beautiful apartment in a great location that is also within your budget easily (if at all). However, there ARE some helpful resources to use to find the best apartment within your means. I found the resources below through word of mouth and countless hours scouring NYC apartment blogs, so I thought it would be helpful to distill it down to a simple post. Happy hunting!

Streeteasy.com – I have found this site to be the most reliable in terms of general pricing and finding the true location of the apartment. Best of all, they allow you to search by building (and see what other similar units have rented for and when), and also by distance from your job via public transportation. Highly recommend, though know in advance most listings come with a realtor fee. Streeteasy also offers an iPhone app.

Suitey.com (Now relaunched as Triple Mint) – I wrote about the nice extra perks Suitey offers to their clients in a previous post, but their apartment-finding service is also worth noting. I found many apartments listed on here that I could not find elsewhere or on Streeteasy. All of them come with a realtor fee, since Suitey is essentially a realtor service, though it may be worth the extra money to secure an overall lower rent rate than if you were apartment hunting by yourself. The database seems to pull from MLS listings that are usually only available to real estate agents, but Suitey allows individual users to access these. It’s worth it to sign up just for this search feature, even if you don’t use a Suitey realtor. You can simply take the address/location of can apartment that you like from Suitey and look it up on Streeteasy to figure out which realtor the landlord is using directly (which might help cut some fees)…You will quickly realize that you must be shameless and ruthless in the NYC real estate market, so don’t ever feel bad for doing some apartment detective work.

RentHackr.com – This site allows you to “connect with the best apartments before they hit the market and follow buildings to receive instant notifications and insider information.” But most importantly, RentHackr promotes transparency, as real people post their real rents, which allows you to comparison shop true pricing…and know if your real estate agent is ripping you off.

Housing Groups
The Listings Project (f.k.a. Stephanie’s List) – This free weekly email is curated personally by the site’s creator, so the possibility of bogus listings is significantly lowered…especially since you must pay a fee to list your rental listing. The list was originally created to serve the artist/creative community, but anyone is allowed to subscribe. Emails are sent out every Wednesday morning and include listings for:

  • Art studios for rent
  • Art studios for share
  • Art Studios for sublet
  • Office/desk space for rent or sublet
  • Exhibition / Event space for rent or sublet
  • Rooms for rent
  • Rooms for sublet
  • Live/Work space
  • Apartments for rent
  • Apartments for sublet
  • Apartments for sale
  • Houses for rent
  • Houses for sublet
  • Houses for sale
  • Seeking apartments for rent
  • Seeking art studios for rent
  • Housesitting
  • Swap
  • Non-real estate opportunities: exhibition opportunities, open calls, internships, jobs, services, items for sale, rent or barter

Gypsy Housing – Don’t let the weird name or Facebook description scare you. Self-described as: “A group to connect members of the NEW YORK PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY who have a need for housing. THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVE GROUP…IF YOU DO NOT FIT THE QUALIFICATIONS, PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST TO JOIN…YOU WILL NOT BE ADDED.  **PLEASE NOTE: IF IT IS NOT READILY APPARENT UPON A QUICK PROFILE VIEW THAT YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL NOT BE ADDED.**” …However, I clearly am not a prima ballerina member of the NY ballet or an artsy gallery owner, and they added me to the group. So give it a shot. People post sublets, rooms for rent, lease-breaks and available apartments multiple times each day. Also, this is a good way to connect with a huge group of people if you are looking for a roommate.

Phone Apps
MoveMent – Known as the app to finally put landlords, brokers and the public on equal ground, MoveMent requires listings to have live geotagged videos/photos of the actual apartment for rent. Photos must be uploaded from within the physical apartment and listers are required to re-post their listings every 5 days, ensuring you are not wasting your time looking at apartments that are no longer available.

Urban Compass– This app also offers search features on their website. It is very similar to MoveMent, though its app interface is easier to use and more user-friendly. The website works similarly to Suitey. Pricing seems realistic, though note that most apartments come with a fee.

RadPad – Like MoveMent, RadPad requires listings to be geo-tagged and verified. And like Urban Compass, they have a website too.

Event Preview: ClassPass Launch Party TONIGHT!


One of the best-kept secrets in NYC is having a makeover…Classtivity.com, which is essentially a one-stop-shop for any boutique workout classes in the city (at a STEEPLY discounted rate),  is re-branding itself as ClassPass.com and tonight is the official launch party! Keep an eye out for a feature article on ClassPass to come in the next few days, including an exclusive interview with Jenna Tanenbaum, marketing manager for the site.

But in the meantime, RSVP for tonight’s event while you still can!

WHAT: ClassPass Launch Party
WHEN: 7:00 – 10:30 PM
WHERE: The Ainsworth, 122 W 26th St, New York, NY
COST: Free!
WHY: Aside from ClassPass being the next best thing since sliced bread, there will be great giveaways, including beauty products, nutritional samples, and of course, all the ClassPass swag you can handle (tank tops, water bottles, stickers, everything)!

Review: Physique 57

A class at Physique 57 is a cross between a motivating session with a life coach and an exercise class.

Courtesy of Physique 57

Ab exercises with bands. // Courtesy of Physique 57

From the moment you enter the studio, the atmosphere is inviting, bright and filled with positive attitudes. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be there and gives off the sense that this is the best part of their day. You definitely gain a spring in your step just from absorbing the positive vibes.

With skylights and soothing colors aplenty, the studio is a sunny and airy space. The actual exercise rooms are surprisingly small and square-shaped. I found this a bit odd, because you are forced into closer quarters than usual with your fellow classmates. Nevertheless, when the music started pumping and the other ladies in class stood up upon the instructors arrival, I quickly forgot about the room’s appearance.

The workout included hand weights as a warmup, barre work that made my thighs and calves burn, floor work for abs and then an exercise band looped around the ballet barre. The workout was not easy and definitely on par with similar studios, like Bar Method (which I have been practicing for a little over a year), but I would chance to say that the moves were not as effective. I found myself sore the next day, but I didn’t feel the same burn in class as I do at Bar Method (though believe, me there WAS a burn). Perhaps this is a good thing and speaks to the ease of the Physique57 moves, but I didn’t feel as challenged. Many of the exercises were very similar to Bar Method, but performed in a slightly different way or position.

One thing I didn’t love, was the tempo of the class. Though I enjoyed the current music and upbeat demeanor of the instructor, it felt a bit frenzied at times. I just may not be used to it, but hearing the instructor spout inspirational phrases as I huffed and puffed through thigh-toning moves came off as a bit cheesy. Bar Method seems more like a fluid dance through class, building up the tempo of the music with the intensity ebbing and flowing. I like this because it is generally a relaxing and zen-like experience, a time to center yourself. Meanwhile the environment at Physique57 was “go-go-go! Imagine how great you’ll look after this!” instead of doing the exercise for yourself and your own betterment. I guess it seemed more superficial, you could say.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my afternoon at Physique57 and would absolutely consider returning for another try. Though I am biased as a follower of Bar Method, Physique 57 is still a fun workout.

*Disclosure: My class at Physique57 was free-of-charge as a press courtesy.