Green Apartments | How to Make Your Apartment Green

June 13, 2012

And no, we're not talking about the color. Your apartment may be green, but that doesn't mean it's green.  Regardless of whether you pay for your utilities as part of a monthly fee, or if you cover your electricity and water bill yourself, it's always better for you AND the environment to be as environmentally efficient as possible. Think about it this way; for every extra kilowatt per hour you burn, a penguin in Antarctica dies.

Ignoring this blog's recent penchant to upload cute animals in lieu of original content, it's pretty clear: going green is good for not only the environment, but it can also lower your apartment energy bill and sense of guilt. It's a win-win for green apartments around NYC. Here's 4 tips on how to overcome your reluctance and save some penguins by making your apartment more energy efficient.

Problem: You Love Your Hot Showers.

This is a failure we can all attest to. By some force of nature or higher power, human beings have been programmed to enjoy long, hot showers, often accompanied by singing, deep thoughts, or prolonged arguments with yourself over an ex-girlfriend that left six months ago. This one you can't do anything about, right? Wrong.

Solution: Get a Green, Low-Flow Showerhead.

Your apartment shower will be just as comfortable with a low-flow showerhead that's optimized to cover a greater area, and you'll use significantly less water, saving a four-person family $285 a year. For a $15 showerhead, that's a pretty good investment towards green apartments. Also, newer showerheads have those cool little effects like shooting out small bursts of water like a massage and spraying rainbow light on you.

Problem: Incandescent Lights Look Better

Not all of us like the harsh, bright glow of fluorescents. In fact, most home designers agree that incandescent lights add a more intimate, friendly feel to your apartment. However, incandescents are terrible for the atmosphere. Changing one incandescent for a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) will save 400 pounds of greenhouse gases over the life of both. Where are you going to put that 400 pounds?

Solution: Lamp Covers and Dimmer CFLs

Lighting companies have recently found a lot of ways for CFLs to mimic the look of incandescents much more accurately. Adding colored lamp covers has proved to be a successful option, and new CFLs have been designed that produce a dimmer, more orange glow than is standard, coming closer to the soft pulse of incandescent lights. With these new advances, very few people should have any real qualms about switching to CFLs.

Problem: You Have an Unhealthy Obsession with the A/C

We have air conditioners for a reason: because sometimes in New York it gets incredibly obnoxiously hot, and most of us don't have the option of just going to sit in our cars. (You could go sit in the subways, but that's generally equated to being homeless.) However, our air conditioners are one of the biggest contributors to a green-unfriendly apartment. What can you do?

Solution: CFLs (again!) and Conserving Usage Makes Green Apartments Greener

One of the biggest heaters in the average apartment is, unsurprisingly, incandescent lights, which can generate massive amounts of energy for the amount of light they produce. Toss them and your apartment will already be about 20% cooler; turn off your A/C when you leave the house, and save another 30%.  Using a new thermostat to automatically perform this step will save you the hassle of doing it manually; you won't even know feel a difference until you glance at your energy bills. Half of your A/C usage can be cut down following these two simple steps.

Problem: Your Refrigerator is Eating Up Electricity

Especially for green apartments with side-by-side refrigerators, fridges can burn a gigantic proportion of your energy bill. Because they're on 24/7 and expel hot air into the room that puts a toll on your A/C, they can actually be the single largest contributor in some instances. How should you go about fixing them?

Solution: Move it Away from the Oven, Clean the Coils

These two tips will drastically reduce the power your refrigerator demands. Few people realize that the oven and dishwasher, two major heat-producing sources, actually negate a large amount of the energy that the refrigerator spends cooling its occupants. Moving it away can save you 20% on your fridge's energy usage. Cleaning the coils in the back can also improve the efficiency of your refrigerator, especially if it's an old model or hasn't been cleaned in a while. Finally, if none of these seem to work, just unplug the refrigerator and frantically blow on the exposed food for the next seven months.

The Best Neighborhoods in Chicago | North Side

June 12, 2012

Looking to move into Chicago sometime this year, before the apocalypse wipes us all out? Well, you'll probably want to know what neighborhoods are right for your needs and your atmosphere. Chicago has as diverse of a variety of neighborhoods as NYC, but not nearly the same amount of coverage: it's time that the wide assortment of Chicago districts gets their own personalized look. When that tidal wave comes to wipe out America on December 21st, at least you'll be washed away among the remains of an area that you loved. Here's the top neighborhoods in Chicago, starting with the North Side.

 North Side Chicago - Lincoln Park | The Best Neighborhood in Chicago for Young People

Oh, and it's right next to Lincoln Park. Go figure.

Lincoln Park is a popular, well-situated neighborhood for up-and-coming college graduates, young professionals, and newlyweds. It offers a large selection of charming condominiums such as the Belden Apartments or the Commonwealth Plaza, all for a very affordable rental price. Furthermore, it's one of the neighborhoods in Chicago that's managed to develop a thriving and friendly street life, with upscale national retailers, bookstores, and extravagant restaurants dotting the area. Both safe and child-friendly, Lincoln Park also boasts one of the best public high schools in the nation. Finally, for the benefit of young adults, there's a poppin' nightlife, as bars and clubs have sprung up around the neighborhood in the past twenty years. If you need an affordable, hospitable place to stay with an excellent club scene and great transportation options, stroll over to Lincoln park and get yourself a home.

North Side Chicago - Old Town | Best Neighborhood in Chicago for Creative People

Probably the newest structure in the entire city. Old Town's iconic sign.

Now, you're asking us: what does that even mean? And our answer to that is: we wanted to call it the "Best Neighborhood in Chicago for the Arts", but it turns out that people will actually Google the term "best Chicago neighborhood for creative people" more often, so we're stuck with that name. Hipsters, I tell you. Old Town, as appropriately named, has a storied history and can be recognized best for its Victorian-era architectural style and endless "National Register of Historic Places" plaques. It's home to the yearly Old Town Art Fair in June, multiple comedy and improvisational troupes, and a host of different plays and performances throughout the year. Similarly, the majority of the shopping experience are concentrated in boutiques and family owned stores such as Sara Jane and Vagabonds, rather than retail chains: these little touches add to the charming and historic feel of Old Town.

North Side Chicago - Gold Coast | Best Neighborhood in Chicago for the Affluent

Could be the set of Baywatch, right here.

You knew it was coming. Gold Coast, as aptly named as the two previous neighborhoods on this list, is an affluent, beautiful branch of Chicago extending along the northern coast. It offers an excellent selection of high-rise apartments such as the Gold Coast Galleria and the Elm Street Plaza, and while not as pricey as Manhattan apartments, they certainly try their best to come close. Gold Coast is well known for its beautiful mansions, prominent additions to the Chicago skyline, and excellent dining options, coupled with upscale boutiques and major name retailers such as Barney's, Diesel, and Prada.

North Side Chicago - Roscoe Village | Best Neighborhood in the North Side for Families

Photo Credit: Roscoe Village Neighbors

Roscoe Village is an excellent place to raise two kids with your loving wife and convenient Chicago white-collar job. A small, intimate neighborhood, it offers a tight sense of community within its borders, among the lowest rates of crime in Chicago, and a variety of small boutiques that help to add to the small-town charm.  It's both quiet and mature, a great atmosphere for new parents, and offers primarily two-flats for apartment rentals. The population of Roscoe Village loves their neighborhood immensely (from an inclusive, 100% participation survey by AddressReport): if you're planning on raising a family, you will too.

Still looking for more Chicago apartments? Check out:

Get all the info on your next Chicago apartment on AddressReport, the real estate information leader for the Second City.



Stonehenge NYC: Landlord's mission of "wellness" and "community"

June 08, 2012

Manhattan-based real estate company Stonehenge Partners is offering something that most management companies don't pause to think about; "wellness" and a sense of "community." Branding their “Wellness at Stonehenge” as a “lifestyle” Stonehenge NYC is creating a community within their 27 buildings by focusing on holistic health and balance. The "Wellness" program includes stress reducing activities, accessible fitness classes, healthy food initiatives, and workshops with leaders in the wellness industry and their programs are free for all residents.

Stonehenge has partnerships with groups like Whole Foods, Organic Avenue and Natural Awakenings magazine. Most recently they hosted a collaboration with Organic Avenue on the rooftop of  The Olivia where raw food enthusiast and fellow New Yorker Carol Alt introduced her book Eat Sexy Raw which explains how to incorporate eating raw foods into your daily life.

They also offer  yoga classes through local studios like Ishta, Reflections, Sangha House and OM Factory.  Stonehenge says on their website "Remember, you're striking those yoga poses with fellow residents … the support of a few thousand neighbors can be sort of helpful when it comes to the ol' motivation factor, and let's be honest, being surrounded by like-minded friends just makes these experiences that much more fun."

Check out their recent video on how Stonehenge celebrated earthday:

Stonehenge NYC Celebrates Earth Day

The Best Neighborhoods in Staten Island

June 08, 2012

Did you know that the Outerbridge Crossing, a cantilever bridge connecting New Jersey to Staten Island, was actually named after the man Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge? (Imagine living up to that first name.) The Port Authority originally pondered calling it The Outerbridge Bridge, but after long and careful consideration, decided that it would be a nonsensical, and frankly moronic name. Way to not screw it up, Port Authority! Here's the best neighborhoods in NYC for the borough of Staten Island.

Emerson Hill, Staten Island: The Best Neighborhood in NYC for Suburbanites

Not all of the housing options in New York City consist of 1-2 bedroom apartments. In Staten Island, you'll find the homes of people who are trying fruitlessly to blend the NYC experience with a cozy suburban home; fruitlessly, that is, unless you're living in Emerson Hill. An affluent, semi-gated community, Emerson Hill possesses some of the most beautiful and exclusive homes and views in NYC, blending magnificent Tudor mansions, beautiful foliage, and the slopes of Staten Island into a resplendent island paradise. For star power, go see the mock homes  down Longfellow Avenue that served as Casa Corleone in The Godfather; for history, see Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose brother was the namesake for this neighborhood, or Henry David Thoreau, who lived here for several years. You'll truly be living among the greats in this town; just don't forget your monocle and pipe.


Manor Heights, Staten Island: The Most Friendly NYC Neighborhood*

*As determined from multiple walking tours, fifty-question surveys, and a team of qualified psychologists touring all two hundred NYC neighborhoods.

Manor Heights is just a nice place to live. Consisting primarily of single family suburban homes, it's a hilly, green place with excellent schools, nearby shopping centers, and most of all, friendly and happy people. Though it's right next to the city, its residents have managed to maintain a small-town, neighborly feel to the district, where it's encouraged to walk around the neighborhood and greet other people. From most of the houses, you'll find an excellent view of the Greenbelt, as well as quick access to the expressway; it's the best of every world here. Live here if you're interested in meeting a vibrant, open community.

For more amazing neighborhoods throughout NYC, head over to:

The Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan

The Best Neighborhoods in Queens

The Best Neighborhoods in Brooklyn

The Best Neighborhoods in the Bronx

Unhappy that the your neighborhood didn't make the cut for NYC's Best Neighborhoods? Express your displeasure by going on AddressReport and renting the most expensive apartment available in your neighborhood! Who knows, it might change our minds.

The Best Neighborhoods in the Bronx

June 07, 2012

It's safe to say that when most people think of The Bronx, they think of the hardcore punk band created in 2002 that dabbles in mariachi and were known for classics such as They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy). Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that this article will not be about said rockers, but rather about some borough in New York that people are apparently interested in living in. Hang on to your disappointment, because you'll have the opportunity to drop it on us in the comments. Coming up, the best neighborhoods in the Bronx.

Van Cortlandt Village, Bronx: The Best Neighborhood in NYC You've Never Heard Of

Van Cortlandt, a subsection of the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood, is truly a hidden gem in the middle of the Bronx. A safe, tightly knit community, it's recently become quickly populated with an influx of middle-class families from Manhattan looking for a cheaper place to live. Among its primary attributes is its safety; though it's no more than ten minutes from the most dangerous parts of the city, a strong police force and an alert community have helped this neighborhood stay quiet and secure. Come here if you're looking for a cheaper, quieter version of Manhattan.


Riverdale, Bronx: The Best Neighborhood in NYC for the Wealthy

But seriously. As the exclusive, semi-isolated northern corner of NYC, Riverdale is known not for its hip culture or its amazing falafels, but for its famous (and often incredibly rich) residents: John F Kennedy, Lou Gehrig, Mark Twain, Sugar Ray Robinson. And it's not just the celebrities. Its median household income is $1.9 million: to put things in perspective, that's equivalent to 132 years of rent on this particular Harlem apartment, Savoy Park at 620 Lenox Avenue. (Yes, you just saw a shameless plug fly by.) Outside its crippling wealth though, Riverdale is actually quite a pleasant place to live. It boasts the lowest rate of crime in the Bronx, excellent preparatory schools such as Horace Mann and Riverdale Country, and a great view of Manhattan due to its high elevation. The nightlife and restaurants are quite enjoyable as well, and you'll never run short on accidental cameos in TV shows. Now if only I could afford to live there....


Enjoyed this article? Want a dissertation of the symbolism and meaning behind the cryptic lyrics of the Bronx? (Hint: They're about death.) Check out these other similarly themed articles on the Best Neighborhoods in NYC:

The Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan

The Best Neighborhoods in Queens

The Best Neighborhoods in Brooklyn