Adulting, but With Your College Crowd


The friends feel no pressure to engineer a social life since the company that owns the building has it built in. “They have a good amount of social events they throw,” Mr. Delaney said. “They threw a party for St. Patrick’s Day, they did one at the end of summer when the pool was closing. A Christmas party. They put movies on. Thursday Night Football on a white screen on the roof. There’s very little reason to leave here.”

When the men first saw an ad for the apartment on Craigslist, with four bedrooms and a rooftop swimming pool for $4,800 a month, they thought it was too good to be true. They also worried about their application being accepted since they were young graduates embarking on their careers. But when they took up residence in July, they quickly realized that the building was full of people just like them. And while Mr. Delaney, Mr. Gambuti and Mr. Binder all commute to work in Manhattan, they prefer life in Jersey City on the other side of the river.

“I was looking at a place like this with a pool in Manhattan,” Mr. Binder said. “It was just under $8,000 for a three-bedroom.”

Even co-workers, who were initially skeptical of his commute back to the Garden State, agree that he has a great setup.

“I told them about the St. Patrick’s Day party and my co-worker said, ‘You’re just going to go back to summer camp over there,’” Mr. Binder said. “He came over this summer and we’d work on the pool deck. He’s from Brooklyn. He was like, ‘Can we work here every day?’ Coming to this building changed his opinion.”

The roommates hope that the new owners who recently bought the building will continue putting up fliers next to the elevators advertising the next community building activity.

When Jamaal Davis, 26, a licensed real estate agent at Citi Habitats, heard that his friend and fellow Morehouse College graduate Terry Anderson, 26, was moving to New York City to work in finance, he immediately knew where to place him.

“Battery Park City would not work for Terry,” said Mr. Davis, who gets a lot of business through the “school pipeline.” He knew his friend and client required a neighborhood that “doesn’t shut down at 6 p.m.”

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In the kitchen of their Jersey City apartment are, from left, Casey Gambuti, Jared Binder and Dan Delaney, who are all graduates of Stevens Institute of Technology.

Credit
Alex Wroblewski for The New York Times

Mr. Davis also crossed the Financial district and TriBeCa off the list — he saw the neighborhoods as lacking in night life and city views. “I didn’t want to open my window and be looking at a brick wall,” Mr. Anderson said.

Mr. Davis found Mr. Anderson his current apartment — a two-bedroom in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, that he shares with a roommate, Javonie Hodge, 26, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an investment analyst with TIG Advisors. The men, who became friends while interning at Goldman Sachs, are splitting the $5,300-a-month rent. Their high-rise has become the Thursday through Sunday meeting spot for friends, new and old, no doubt in part because of the stunning views of the city from their living room windows.

Mr. Davis, a native New Yorker, finds himself acting as a sort of guide for recent Morehouse graduates, many of whom are unsure of which neighborhoods they should consider.

The placement was a perfect fit for Mr. Anderson, who required proximity to work, a garage to park his motorcycle and night life. He described the building as “communal,” and he has befriended neighbors who happen to be affiliated with Spelman, the college across the street from Morehouse.

“The neighbors we’re closest with are this couple — the guy taught at Spelman and the wife, I find out she’s from Spelman,” he said.

“Me and Jamaal, we kick back here,” he said. “Super Bowl, we do a big party. Boxing matches. Javonie’s big into basketball. The kickbacks we throw, a lot of people from our colleges come because that’s the network. Morehouse is so small you make one call, and it’ll be a reunion.”

In the East Village, six friends from Notre Dame share a six-bedroom apartment that has given them a sense of continuity and also provided a support network as they embark on their careers.

The apartment, which features a long hallway with doors opening up to individual bedrooms, is the definition of dorm living, right down to the fact that the men tried to put an inflatable hot tub on their private roof deck. (The landlord politely requested it be removed, and they complied).

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At their home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are, from left, Madeline Heckman, Demi Orphanos, Maggie Glass and Sarah Desiderio, all Penn State graduates.

Credit
Alex Wroblewski for The New York Times

After two of the friends saw the apartment, they acted immediately, sending the others video of the place and waiting for an affirmative from each potential roommate, knowing that apartments of this size are not easy to come by. “Our lease was shipped from New York to Cleveland, to another suburb of Cleveland, to Chicago, to St. Louis and back to New York,” said T.J. O’Brien, 24.

Their parents acted as guarantors. “The thing everyone’s parents think is you’re going to be living in the city with people you know, and you’re not going to get killed by some random guy on Craigslist,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Mr. O’Brien — along with Greg Duffy, 23; John Planek, 23; Kurt Wemhoener, 24; Matt Pinover, 24; and a sixth friend who declined to be identified — split the $10,000-a-month rent, based on the size of the bedroom.

But the living situation has been about more than just partying — when a neighboring building was on fire, the men quickly alerted one another. “With this many roommates, there’s always a helping hand to be first on the scene,” Mr. O’Brien said. “Right away we knew our stuff’s all right, we’re safe, we’re good.”

And when a water valve broke, flooding the bedroom and all the belongings of one roommate, the men each took the comforters off their beds to try to stop the flow of water.

“That night the heat had to be turned off,” Mr. Pinover said. “It was six guys piled into two beds pushed together. We filled the room with space heaters.

“We were ‘Sesame Street’ for Halloween one year, so I slept in my Cookie Monster costume,” he said, clarifying that it was without the mask.

“Even when your apartment floods, it’s still fun because everyone is cracking jokes,” Mr. O’Brien said.

Evan Rugen, a 22-year-old licensed real estate agent at Citi Habitats, known in his office as the “frat whisperer,” not only rented the Notre Dame graduates their apartment, but he has also become part of their social network. His office is just a few blocks from the graduates’ apartment, and he will often stop by after work.

“It’s the Midwest hospitality,” he said, explaining the group’s appeal. “They’re very welcoming. If you ring the buzzer at 11:30 p.m., you can come up and hang out. We got to New York City around the same time and we’re sort of exploring the city together.”

Mr. O’Brien said: “I think one big thing coming from Notre Dame is that the majority of kids we go to school with went to Chicago after graduation. So the Lincoln Park, Wrigley Field neighborhoods are kind of the big Notre Dame communities. That’s not true of New York so we kind of created our own community here.”

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