“It’s not like I needed an incredible view, but the view kind of adds value to the apartment,” he said. “It seemed like a rare find. So this was a benchmark.”
He wanted to see a few comparable places, so he went across the street to Warren House, a white-brick postwar condominium building. A one-bedroom was available there for $2,600, but Mr. Opong-Owusu couldn’t get past the dated parquet flooring.
“That type of checkerboard floor — it looked old and was a turnoff,” he said.
For $2,900, there was a nicely renovated one-bedroom in a prewar building on East 46th Street, just steps from Grand Central. But the apartment was on a low floor and was dark and gloomy.
He considered other buildings, including Stonehenge 57, but at 57th Street and First Avenue, it was too far from Grand Central.
The studios he saw for roughly the same price were generally nicer than the one-bedrooms, which tended to be smaller and more run-down. A one-bedroom, he knew, would be helpful when he had overnight guests from out of town, but it would also mean a downgrade. And he didn’t have all that many guests.
“For my day to day, a studio is not bad,” he said.
So he returned to the Murray Hill Marquis, now satisfied that he was making the right choice. He moved into the studio apartment in August, paying $3,005 a month, with one month free.
The building was formerly the Affinia Dumont, “a boutique hotel with unusually large hotel rooms for New York,” said Richard Wernick, managing director of residential leasing for the LeFrak Organization, which bought the property last spring and began the conversion to rentals.
Mr. Opong-Owusu’s apartment faces busy 34th Street, but “I don’t mind the rambunctiousness of this area,” he said. “I like it more than being in a quiet area.”
He is impressed that the building is cleaned throughout, and often. His previous rental, in Virginia, was an apartment house near campus occupied primarily by graduate students. “If something spilled in the hallway, it would be sitting there for months,” he recalled. “Students would trash the place.”
Mr. Opong-Owusu, who played football as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, is also glad to have a gym in the building, which makes his early morning workouts more convenient.
If he walks briskly, it takes him no more than seven minutes to reach Grand Central, “assuming I’m catching all the greens,” he said. “I don’t count the walk as part of my commute.”
And once he sets foot off the train at the end of the day, “I’m in my neighborhood,” he said. “I know the pizza places on the way. As soon as I get to Grand Central, I’m home.”