BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'd bring it to where you are, making a lake out of the East River and Hudson

I have been to New York State a countless number of times (2-3 times a year for every year of my childhood).  Brad has been to NY at least four times, and this trip was Nikolai's second visit to the state.  However, since both my Mom and my Dad are from Upstate New York I have never actually been to New York city.  And since the city is actually where everyone assumes you are going to when you say "I'm going to New York," I decided that it was about time that I actually saw the city for myself!

Luckily, I do actually have a few relatives in the city (a cousin on each side of my family), so we got to see the city from the perspective of a local.  For this trip we decided to stay with my cousin Chris, who is a full professor at NYU (he seemed like a better option then my cousin who is trying to make it in musical theater).  Chris lives in a "Faculty Housing" apartment building in Manhattan.  And his apartment provided the most important lesson we learned about living in Manhattan... mainly that real-estate is insanely expensive.

His apartment is on the 14th floor of a giant apartment building from the 60's.  He has a pretty basic 1-bedroom place that has remained completely un-renovated since it was built.  That means he has some pretty retro-fantastic kitchen cabinets and flooring. His place also boasts an amazing view (the two buildings under construction are the new World Trade Centres).
However, the lesson in real-estate pricing came from his rent.  His 1-bedroom apartment is only affordable because it is subsidized by the University.  At market value it would be worth well over $4000/month.  So that vision of Seinfeld and his crazy friends in those nice apartments is completely unrealistic.  The high cost of renting means that everything in the grocery store is expensive... and the same goes for restaurant prices, clothing stores, etc.  Apparently many of the chain stores actually lose money on their Soho locations, but they keep them open just to maintain their prestige.

The high cost of space also means that everywhere is absolutely packed with buildings. From my tour of European cities I'd come to expect broad avenues and large expanses from which I could take my touristic photos of Notre Dame or Buckingham Palace. Those expanses may exist in New York... but most of my photos were taken from pretty cramped locations.

However, that does not mean that the city is devoid of parks, in fact we started having to change our navigation routes simply to avoid stopping at a playground. Despite our best efforts, we still managed to visit quite a few playgrounds.
To finish off, here's a picture of Nikolai looking over the Lego recreation of the Rockefeller Center (I never did manage to get a whole picture of the real life version, as there was always too many people blocking my view.)
I love the Brownstone buildings in Chris' neighbourhood.
Anyone know how these cars get parked?

1 comment:

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