Room for Improvement

Room for Improvement: What's the 1 thing you would change if you could?

By Kelly Kreth  |
October 21, 2010 - 6:54AM

New Yorkers like to complain; we are experts at it. And when it comes to complaining about our living situations, the biggest challenge is picking just one thing to complain about besides price.

For me, it’s location. I'm constantly lamenting the fact that my place is on York Avenue, the Siberia of Manhattan. I'm sick of taking cabs everywhere or hoofing it the long way from the subway home. I fantasize about digging up the whole building, putting it on a huge flatbed truck and driving it closer to a subway. In a perfect world, I'd relocate it to Soho or Hell's Kitchen, my two favorite neighborhoods.

Here’s what five other New Yorkers had to say about the one thing they would change if they could:

  • My pot-smoking neighbor I shouldn't complain, but seeing that you asked... My apartment is big, has nice floors, ample light and a pleasing view of a courtyard. But…it reeks of pot. I have a next-door neighbor who likes to get high, and while I have nothing against weed or those who smoke it, I do have a problem with my apartment constantly smelling like a High Times convention. I have tried opening the windows, burning candles or incense, and using air freshener, but all I end up with is a stinky apartment and a Pavlovian case of the munchies. -- Holly, Sales, East Village, 1BR walkup building, rental: $1,900/mo
  • Window screens (lack of)  I wish there were screens in my windows so I could get some fresh air without the threat of a mosquito invasion, which seems to happen every time I open a window even a crack. Good thing there's no malaria problem in Manhattan, and that bed bugs don't seem to get in through open windows (yet). --Bob, Finance, Tribeca, 1BR doorman luxury building, rental: $2,995/mo
  • My upstairs neighbors I have lived in my building for 15 years, and while my apartment is quite small, it's cozy and relatively comfortable, except the clomping that goes on in the unit above mine at all hours of the night. Over the years, each neighbor that moves in up there is louder than the last. All seem to have an aversion to carpeting and there is no insulation between floors. There was the girl who seemed to be wearing clogs at 3am, the guy who'd blast (shitty) disco music in the wee hours, and the couple who'd have fights that included throwing heavy objects at each other. At one point, an 89-year old woman moved in who was quiet, charming and in bed by 9pm. Unfortunately she ended up passing away in her bathtub a year after moving in. She is sorely missed. --William, Music Marketing, Chelsea, Studio, elevator building, rental: $1,400/mo
  • My windows The windows seem unusually small for the building, especially considering the views. The thing I’d most like to do is enlarge them.--Erik, Court Clerk, Brooklyn Heights, 1BR luxury building, condo: $335K
  • My small weird bathroom I found my apartment sight unseen via Craigslist before moving to town from Ohio. I had heard horror stories about New York apartment shopping, but I narrowed it down to a few, called the landlords, and had this one set up within a day, all about a week before moving here. And without having to pay a broker's fee. Now that I have been in the apartment a few months I would definitely change my bathroom. You have to close the door to get to the closet, and close the closet to get to the sink. It’s lucky I live alone or someone might get hurt. --Alice, Web Developer, Ft. Greene BK, 1BR walkup building, $1300/mo

 If you would like to tell Kelly the one thing you'd change about your apartment, and possibly appear in a future Room for Improvement, please email her at [email protected].


Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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