3 Crazy Facts About NYC That You Didn't Know

June 27, 2012

New York City can be a strange place, and here are three facts you probably didn't know even if you've lived here for your entire life:

3. New York Taxis Cost $1,000,000 To Own

That's right. A New York taxi medallion, those gold plates on the hood that signify a city-regulated yellow taxi, costs a measly ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Not included in that price: a funny-smelling car, sporadic bouts of road rage, and a bluetooth earpiece to put your passengers' lives in danger.

You're looking at $21 million dollars of sticky-seated, frenetically driven goodness right here.

Taxi medallions came about in the 1930s due to skyrocketing numbers of taxis in New York City, leading to overcrowding, shoddy service, and more drivers than passengers. With the institution of the medallion system, the city effectively cut the number of taxis from 30,000 to less than 13,000, where it remains to this day.

However, this also led to the high expense of purchasing a taxi medallion and the eventual intrusion of corporations into the medallion business, which started buying up the taxi licenses in order to lease them back out to drivers for profit. Today, most taxis are corporation-owned.

2. The Term "23 Skidoo" Came From Male Voyeurs Looking For Ankle

In the 1920s, women basically wore only dresses. And by dresses, we mean bedsheets cut in a particular to possibly fit a well-endowed woman if you squinted hard enough and kind of stood at an angle. These things were monstrous.

This is scandalous in the 1920s. Men would be fainting on the streets.

This basically meant that the the gentlemen of the 1920s, on top of not being able to access the motherload of "mature" content that is the lifeblood of the internet, would also never see any female skin in public. This apparently was too much to bear, as desperate men started clustering around the Flatiron Building to catch a glimpse of women's ankles:


That's right. Because of the strange wind tunnels that arose near the Flatiron building, it would often lift women's skirts just high enough for men to check out those beautiful, sultry ankles of the women walking by.

Police officers would routinely clean out crowds of young men near the building on 23rd street, who eventually garnered the term "23 skidoo."

1. Everyone Moved Out In NYC On The Same Day

In New York City, there used to be a strange rule by the New York State Legislature, requiring that if no other date was specified, all occupants had to move out by May 1st. This rule, combined with an already common tradition of moving out on May 1st, meant that nearly A QUARTER of the city was evicted from their rental apartments every May 1st, and presumably walked around aimlessly trying to find another place to live. Because of this traffic,

This event was so big, it became a New York tradition to sit around on your balcony if you weren't one of those unlucky evictees, and watch the crowds of people rushing around with couches, chairs, and the rest of their personal belongings looking for a place to stay.

A highly graphic image of the chaos that arose every May 1st.

Roosevelt Island Rentals | Apartment Rentals on Roosevelt Island

June 27, 2012

Roosevelt Island isn't a place you typically think about in New York when choosing to rent no-fee apartments. However,   the rentals on this splendid island have gorgeous views, are stunning, and are top-notch for such an affordable price. If you need a place with some great apartment rentals, this is your place. Here's 4 excellent listings for Roosevelt Island.

The Octagon | Roosevelt Island Rentals at 888 Main Street

The Octagon Roosevelt Island RentalsThe Octagon is a great building. It boasts a fanciful, modernist theme that retains a hint of Victorian architecture, and is beautifully designed inside and out. Basically every amenity possible is provided, from a business center, to a children's playroom, to multiple residence lounges for every renter in the building. For an excellent rental on Roosevelt Island, check this location out.

Average Prices:

  • Studio - $2,097
  • 1 Bedroom - $2,503
  • 2 Bedrooms - $3,462
  • 3 Bedrooms - $5,250

Riverwalk Crossing | Apartment Rentals at 405 Main Street

Riverwalk Crossing Apartment Rentals

Riverwalk Crossing also offers a spectacular experience looking out onto the East River and Manhattan. With a gorgeous rooftop deck that provides 24/7 access to the view, beautifully constructed rooms with soft mood lighting and a thoughtful appeal, and excellent reviews from occupants, this is one of the places to rent in Roosevelt Island.

Average Prices:

  • Studio - $2,510
  • 1 Bedroom - $2,983
  • 2 Bedrooms - $4,373
  • 3 Bedrooms - $5,895

Riverwalk Landing | Roosevelt Island Rentals at 405 Main Street

Riverwalk Landing Roosevelt Island Rentals

Riverwalk Landing provides the same amenities as its sister apartment complex Riverwalk Crossing: a great view, nearby public transportation, and excellent design. We'd recommend it just as highly, and with comparable prices, it's a great steal.

Average Prices:

  • 1 Bedroom - $2,995

Manhattan Park | Listings on Roosevelt Island at 10-40 River Road

Manhattan Park Listings on Roosevelt Island

Manhattan Park is a very affordable apartment listing with an open, spacious lobby, rooms with excellent balconies to enjoy the spacious view, and a swimming pool for those of you who are nautically inclined. With a fitness center, concierge, and gorgeous pink dogwood trees, it's a good choice for a cheap, well-located rental.

Average Prices:

  • 1 Bedroom - $2,338
  • 2 Bedrooms - $3,048
  • 3 Bedrooms - $4,245

How To Make Your Apartment Cozy | A Step-By-Step Guide

June 26, 2012

Looking to get a professional designer to make your apartment more intimate? Skip it. Here's 4 insider tips on how to make your apartment as cozy as you need it to be.

1. Soft Lighting Smooths Your Apartment Out

First, add some mood lighting. To give your room a softer, more cozy appearance, use incandescent lights to dim the room while taking on a warmer, more approachable glow. If incandescent lights are too hot or not energy-efficient enough, use incandescent-colored lights to achieve the same effect. Two tips: larger lightbulbs will allow the light to curve more gradually around corners, blurring shadow edges, and moving a lightbulb closer to an object will also achieve the same effect. Finally, aiming the light at a wall or a shade rather than a person will also diffuse the light and allow it to expand naturally. That's why professional decorators use table lamps so often: they really set the mood. This is the most important step when looking for how to make your apartment cozy.

2. Coordinate Colors

Next, you'll want to make sure your color palette is consistent, or at least not clashing. Unifying the theme of a room can help incredibly to make it appear more natural and intimate, as opposed to a clutter of shapes, colors, and style choices. Preferably, use a warm palette for the best color matching; warm colors generally are easier to blend and offer massive benefits in terms of what is colloquially deemed "optimal coziness". If your apartment windows are facing the sun, such as the views from the gorgeous Roosevelt Island, then you'll want to coordinate colors even more: sunlight is the best exposer of poor palette design.

3. Bend it Like Beckham

And by bending it, we mean adding some curves. The bane of any professional home designer when creating an intimate, appealing room is hard edges, and it'll be the same for your apartment. If you can, find a rug with circular or flowing patterns. Put up artwork by Van Gogh or Pino Daeni. Center your furniture around a single point, so that they collectively radiate and create a subtle ellipse. Avoid hard edges at any cost: they remove the familiarity of the room and set it apart from the user.

4. Pillows, Pillows Everywhere

That's right. Toss them on everything. It's been scientifically proven by our in-house pillow testers that every pillow increases the appeal of a room by 62%. Have you ever wondered why every hotel room ever leaves you with four normal pillows, two decorative pillows, and those super long cylindrical pillows near the end of your bed? It's because they know you'll love them, even though they serve no utility whatsoever.  Furthermore, visitors to your apartment will immediately sink back into all the pillows, relax, and feel right at home. An easy way to score a hot date? You bet it is.

Are you still looking for decorating tips, or alternatively, still stuck in the apartment search? Head over to AddressReport and sink into the critical mass of pillows we've set up on our site.

Student Housing Boston | Five Steps You Need to Take Before Renting

June 25, 2012

So you're one of the maybe ten million college students living in Boston this year, and you're looking to change it up a bit. You wanna break away from the mold. Be your own man. You want to be an independent college student finding your own Boston student housing.

Maybe not that independent. Regardless, here's 5 VERY important steps to take before you decide to rush out there and rent the first apartment you see. Don't mess this up. With these tips, you could save thousands on student housing in Boston.

1. Check Your School Off Campus Listings

Oftentimes, finding good student housing off campus is quite a bit easier than having to do it all yourself. Most schools will offer a private listing site for Boston students, affiliated faculty, and workers to room together or rent apartments from each other, often at a very discounted price. On top of that, they're generally easier to rent, in safer areas, and almost always nearby campus, a must for the always late college student.

For your convenience, here's the off-campus housing links for some of the major universities in Boston. We included Cambridge too, in the hopes that some MIT students would possibly move off campus and engage in meaningful social interaction for once.

2. Read A Personal Letter from the Mayor of Boston

The mayor, Thomas Menino, has a personal message for you! Beyond the usual drivel about congratulating you for choosing Boston, the most diverse and beautiful of all college towns, there's some actual useful info about whom to contact in case of housing issues, cable and internet connections, and transportation. Check it out for the specifics of renting an apartment in Boston.

3. Check for Student Subsidies and Subsidized Loans

This varies widely by school, so I'm not inclined to make any sweeping statements here. However, occasionally some universities will offer subsidies for students attempting to find off-campus housing, which can cover anywhere from a dollar to half the renting price. More often, universities (and the government) will offer Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, which is a fancy way of saying loans with low interest rates. Using these to help cover the costs of student housing in Boston can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, which, if you remember your macroeconomics, can lead to increased consumption, GDP, and the overall benefit of the entire nation. Do it for Americuh.

The first Google result for "Americuh." Can't say I'm surprised.

4. Know Your Legal Apartment Fees

Don't get cheated into paying too much for your student housing. There are a limited amount of things your landlord can charge you when you first rent your apartment, and if they attempt to get more out of you, they're trying to make a quick buck. In no particular order, the legal fees when you move in can be:

  • A security deposit
  • A lock fee
  • A re-inspection fee
  • The first month's rent
  • The last month's rent
The landlord cannot charge you a broker's fee (unless he is a realtor), or a pet or holding fee. Don't believe his lies.

5. Consider Getting Renter's Insurance

Before you get your own place, check whether your landlord's or your parent's insurance plans cover your new apartment and your stuff inside it. Depending on who the apartment is registered to, it's not guaranteed your belongings will be covered! If your new apartment isn't insured, you may want to search for renter's insurance, which can be very affordable for students. Or, you can wing it, and feel shit out of luck after your crazy new roommate ditches with your Xbox and Macbook Pro.

That's it. You're ready to go out into the real world and rent some apartments. Good luck!

Alphabet City Apartments | Rentals in Alphabet City

June 21, 2012

Alphabet City History

Alphabet City was, for the longest time, the face of New York City's gangster and crime epidemic. Located on the Avenues A - D in East Village, the only roads to bear alphabetical names, it derives its name from the avenues and its unique character from its location as the setting for Alphabet City (1984), a mediocre film that nevertheless characterized the rough-and-tough lifestyle of the neighborhood for four decades. In the late 80s, swaths of the city also began to be dominated by hippies and Bohemians, adding a new but equally shady flavor to the mix.

These days, it's been caught up in the rapid gentrification of East Village, and with it, gained a whole different stereotype. Alphabet City is now a relatively safe neighborhood in Manhattan, with renovated apartments, a bustling nightlife, and an average annual income well above the national average. Most notably, Tompkins Square Park, the site of the infamous Tompkins Square Riots in 1998 (and 1874, strangely enough), has become one of the most desired locations in NYC, with its recently renovated gardens and park buildings. Though it's faced resistance to gentrification by bohemians and displaced residents, Alphabet City overall has progressed upward in safety, cleanliness, and overall quality of life.

With this in mind, Alphabet City today is an excellent place to consider renting an apartment. If you're looking for affordable, safe rentals nearby a major NYC park, here's your chance. Coming up, 5 great apartments in Alphabet City.

Tompkins Square Plaza | Alphabet City Apartments at 190 East 7th Street

The eponymously named Tompkins Square Plaza borders Tompkins Square Park, making it one of the most desirable locations in Manhattan. It's a great apartment space, as well: the landlords are top notch, the rooms are spacious and offer excellent views of the park, and for its price the buildings a steal. 

Average Prices:

  • 1 Bedroom - $2,750
  • 2 Bedrooms - $3,550
  • 3 Bedrooms - $5,065

The Villager | Alphabet City Rentals at 194 East 2nd Street

The Villager offers two bedroom apartments at an affordable price and a great location for Alphabet City rentals. With a rooftop deck, a fitness center, and a pro-Insurent Guarantor policy, we highly recommend this apartment for new families looking for their first NYC apartment. 

Average Prices:

  • 2 Bedrooms - $3,700

The Skyeast | Apartments in Alphabet City at 636 East 11th Street

The Skyeast is a modernistic, suave building with a lot of style and an even better location. The architects combined a wood finish with aluminum and stainless steel cabinets, creating a sleek, modern look that appeals to everyone. It offers a balcony for every apartment, with a great view onto 11th Street, and boasts a full time doorman and laundry services. Finally, the rooms in this apartment buildig have tons of natural light feeding into the rooms, with oversized windows that allow you to filter in light from even the dimmest of days. 

Average Prices:

  • 1 Bedroom - $2,600
  • 2 Bedrooms - $3,900

CD280 | Alphabet City Apartments at 280 East 2nd Street

Though it's struggled to overcome its confusing name, we can truly say CD280 is a one-of-a-kind apartment. With a private resident's garden and a running track, CD280 is one of the only Alphabet City apartments to offer personal greenery, and one of few in Manhattan that retain this amenity. The apartment rooms have high ceilings and a grandiose look about them that rings elegance and beauty, and the lobby features a neo-Cubist sculpture on mosaic tiles. .

Average Prices:

  • Studio - $2,095
  • 1 Bedroom - $2,495

319 East 8th Street | Alphabet City Apartment Rentals

319 East's primary draw is in its excellent value: for only $2,500, it's a bargain in its neighborhood. It offers a resident garden for the greenery-minded consumer, a roofdeck, and clean, well-designed rooms. If you're looking to get great value for your money, pick up an Alphabet City apartment here.

Average Prices:

  • 1 Bedroom - $2,513
Looking at Alphabet City apartments? Head down to AddressReport and get the full scoop about any building in the neighborhood.