After being in New York for about 48 hours, I’m not certain that I’m any closer to actually finding an apartment for next year. However, I have definitely accomplished a few important things:
- Ruled out several parts of town not to live in. These sub-neighborhoods, predictably, are in places like Washington Heights and Harlem, though there are certainly parts of these neighborhoods that are quite nice and live-able.
- Realized the importance of being in proximity to a subway stop. It’s one thing to time the subway ride–station to station. However, commuting includes time from my door to the station, waiting on the train, and then the actual ride. Thus, a 20-minute subway ride could lead to a 40 minute commute if it takes 10 minutes to walk to the station, and another 10 to wait on a train. The hospital, fortunately, is at a subway stop.
- Obtained a better sense of timing. Early April is simply too early to lease an apartment for June. Mid-to-late May might be ideal; however since I’m on wards then, I will plan to return in early June.
- Gathered useful information from the hospital’s and university’s housing offices.
- Perhaps most innovatively, determined a new standard for remotely evaluating a particular neighborhood. This is a tool that exceeds even Google maps and Google Earth in utility, because photographs of rooftops don’t necessarily portray the metal grates that come down and the shady folks that come out at night. I call it: The Starbucks Method. It’s a corollary to the idea of gentrification. Take the particular address you have in mind. Go Starbucks.com, and enter in the zip code in the store locator. A map with a collection of store location flags will appear. The more flags you see, the better the neighborhood. Although not yet proven, I imagine this method could be refined by adding in a Barnes & Noble or Borders’ composite.