My First Apartment: An East Village Shoebox

With this post we welcome Melissa to the My First Apartment blogger team.

At the end of my junior year in college, I decided I was ready to move out of the dorms and into an apartment.  I was in New York City after all, and ready to try and make it on my own.

A friend from high school had casually mentioned an old summer roommate of hers living in a tiny four-bedroom East Village walkup, and though the building was far from school, the living situation seemed far too “New York” to pass up.   We met up to check out the apartment, deciding immediately that we could be roommates.  Regardless of the fact that we had barely kept up in three years, we were now in it for the real estate.

We walked up two flights of stairs and opened the door to a living room/ kitchen with hardwood floors and no windows.  I had to keep myself from asking, “this is it?”  I’d grown accustomed to uptown living, with separate cooking and living quarters, and windows (albeit overlooking an airshaft) in all shared spaces.  All four of the bedrooms were tiny, but three had a fire escape overlooking a classic East Village scene, and I knew this is where I wanted to be.  Additionally, the tiny apartment housed a small washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher, so for the out-and-about cleaning-reluctant New Yorker that I am, this was ideal.

My friend’s current roommate agreed to be our fourth, and before I knew it I was signing my first lease.  We were fortunate enough that one of our roommate’s parents generously guaranteed the lease, so we were able to bypass the nearly impossible requirements of earning upwards of forty times your monthly rent.

To say I lucked out would put it mildly.  Sure, I’m living in an overpriced, overcrowded, uncirculated apartment, but the first place I looked at was my dream home.

Over the next year, we made the minuscule space our home.  We threw an epic housewarming party in which Spiderman climbed up our fire escape to drink PBRs, we survived Hurricane Sandy, we celebrated all holidays to the fullest, and of course, had plenty of cozy nights in my room watching some pretty bad movies.

Though three of the rooms have a fantastic outdoor space, while moving in with new roommates, I decided to be flexible and take the windowless room.  Yes, these rooms are technically illegal (fire hazard!) since the New York State Tenement House Law in 1901 required all bedrooms to have an outward facing window.  I’m paying a large chunk of my income to live in a room banned a century ago, but I’ve loved every second of it.  Plus, another perk to not having a window is that I have my own bathroom – for the first time in my life- and I can arrange my wide array of beauty products however I like.

I just renewed the lease on my first apartment to extend another year.  I feel much more seasoned and wise, knowing how to change my own ceiling lights and how often to clean the stove, but I already have a sense of nostalgia for the sixty or so square feet in which I live.  This is where I grew up.  This is where I transitioned from being a student to a full-blown adult.  This is my home.

IMG_0030  IMG_0035IMG_4606

Related Posts

Author My First Apartment

Posted by

While being New York’s most fabulous resident consumes most of her time, Melissa Kravitz enjoys excessive amounts of reading, crafting, shopping, cooking five meals a day, and befriending puppies. Melissa considers herself NYC’s ultimate pasta expert; a good part of her apartment is dedicated to her thriving pasta collection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No Comments