A Bed-Stuy Rental via FaceTime


Photo

THE RENTERS Caitlyn Higgins and Antony West with their dogs, Baloo and Chauncey, on the rooftop of their home in Brooklyn.

Credit
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Caitlyn Higgins and Antony West shared a one-bedroom in Lake Eola Heights, a historic district in Orlando, Fla. It included what was most important to them — a fenced yard for their two dogs. The rent, $1,075 a month, was high for Orlando, Ms. Higgins said, “but we lived within walking distance to everything.”

Ms. Higgins, who is from Sarasota, Fla., graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and remained there, working as a laboratory manager for a biomedical research facility. Two years ago, through a friend, she met Mr. West, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, his home state. Both are in their late 20s.

For several years, Ms. Higgins had been hankering to move to New York, where she has plenty of relatives and friends. Last winter, she landed a job as director of medical education at a medical device company in Midtown. The couple prepared to move.

For help finding an apartment, Ms. Higgins contacted a friend’s brother, Can Nomer, a salesman at Citi Habitats. The couple wanted a large one-bedroom. Mr. West, a graphic designer, uses a giant desktop computer. Ms. Higgins, who sews, needed a big table for cutting fabric. Ideally, their place would have a second bathroom and a washer-dryer.

Photo

DRIGGS AVENUE Brooklyn was the target area. A place in Williamsburg was without the requisite outdoor space for the renters’ two dogs.

Credit
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

For the dogs, Baloo and Chauncey, they sought outdoor space and proximity to a dog park. “The dogs are used to going outside,” Ms. Higgins said. “Letting them play was important, as opposed to being on a leash.”

Remaining within their budget — $2,500 a month in or near their preferred neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn — would be difficult, Mr. Nomer told them.

Ms. Higgins flew up for a four-day hunting trip, staying in Williamsburg with a good friend. Mr. West, who at that point worked at a printing shop, remained in Florida with the dogs.

On centrally located Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, close by the Bedford Avenue L train stop, Ms. Higgins visited a railroad-style one-bedroom for $2,600 a month. “It was an older building, so everything was a little bit crookedy and it didn’t seem right,” she said. And it lacked outdoor space.

Photo

HERBERT STREET A one-bedroom in a new building in Greenpoint might have been fine. But again, it had no outdoor space for the dogs.

Credit
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Nearby, for $2,850 a month, a renovated ground-floor apartment came with a private garden. But trash cans sat right by the bedroom window. A neighboring yard was a bit of a mess, with a pile of scaffolding and lumber. “There was this old, rusty swing thing that I think they didn’t know how to get out, so it was left there,” she said.

Ms. Higgins liked a one-bedroom in a brand-new building on Herbert Street in Greenpoint. But it was $2,800 a month, and a long walk to the subway. It, too, lacked outdoor space.

Bushwick had plenty of “lofts that were kind of beat up,” Mr. Nomer said. A spiffy exception was Castle Braid on Troutman Street, a building geared to artists on the site of a former trimmings factory. It was filled with amenities and communal spaces. But the available apartment there, again above budget, was a duplex with an open upper level, offering little privacy.

Meanwhile, Ms. Higgins was interested in scheduling an appointment at a $2,500 one-bedroom in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The fourth-floor apartment, in a 2007 walk-up condominium building, was being rented out by the owner. It was served by the nearby G train — a potential drawback, because it does not go into Manhattan.

Photo

TROUTMAN STREET Castle Braid in Bushwick, built on a factory site, had many amenities. But the duplex in question lacked a door.

Credit
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

But with two full bathrooms, a dishwasher, a combination washer-dryer, a terrace and roof access, the apartment seemed to offer more than any other she had seen. But the first time the departing tenants, busy packing, would be willing to let Ms. Higgins visit would be just after she was scheduled to leave.

“I begged and pleaded,” she said, but to no avail. She did, however, lurk outside the building, hoping a helpful resident would let her in. Her plan was to ask whether she could stick her head inside that individual’s apartment to get an idea of the place.

No neighbor appeared. Hungry, Ms. Higgins went to the nearest pizza place for a slice “and it was delicious, so that was a good sign,” she said. She walked to dog-friendly Herbert Von King Park. Then she flew back to Florida.

Not having an apartment lined up worried her. “I am a planner and have analytical genes,” Ms. Higgins said.

Photo

BED-STUY The only way the prospective renters could view the apartment was via video. They signed on without setting foot in the place.

Credit
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

The next day, via the FaceTime app on his phone, Mr. Nomer gave her a tour. “It is hard to judge, trying to get dimensions, and he brought a measuring tape,” Ms. Higgins said. “I liked what I was seeing.”

On the basis of the video chat, the couple signed on, paying a broker fee of one month’s rent and leaving a double pet deposit — $1,000 for two dogs. They arrived in early spring.

When they entered the place, they were “absolutely relieved, absolutely ecstatic,” Ms. Higgins said.

“As long as Caitlyn and the dogs are happy, I’m happy,” Mr. West said.

She doesn’t mind her commute, which requires a transfer between the G and E trains. The dogs play on the balcony and romp often in the park.

Mr. West, freelancing from home, is hunting for a design job focusing on branding and web development for restaurants. He does all the cooking, having honed his skills when he worked in high-end hotel kitchens during college.

The neighborhood is short on grocery stores, he said, so “I have to go to multiple places to get certain things.” Some are hard to find, like yeast.

He enjoys having a dishwasher, which was missing from their Orlando kitchen. When cooking — he usually makes a loaf of bread for the week — “I tend to use a lot of dishes,” he said, “and it is awesome to not have piles of dishes in the sink. This is the best place I’ve ever lived in.”

Continue reading the main story



Source link

About admin

Check Also

7 Steps to a Clutter-Free Kitchen

GIVE EVERYDAY ITEMS PRIME COUNTER SPACE “Like real estate, the kitchen is all about location, ...

Leave a Reply

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