From Midtown to FiDi: I ditched my roach-infested building for a luxury high rise in a livelier nabe

  • The hunt took four months, 65 visits, and dealing with no-show agents to find the right place
  • She now pays $800 more for a corner studio with a balcony and massive windows in a luxury tower
By Kelly Kreth  |
August 11, 2023 - 2:30PM
transitions brick underground

Julianna likes how her new neighborhood has "endless restaurants, bars, dog parks, places to walk/run, piers to enjoy the water, and coffee shops."

After dealing with a serious roach problem in her Midtown apartment, Julianne realized she had to find a different home and neighborhood. Five months and 65 viewings later, she scored her dream place in FiDi. Here’s her story. 

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I have been living solo in New York City for almost seven years now, most recently in Midtown Manhattan, right next to Grand Central, with my pup Blair. 

Because I moved there during Covid, in August 2020, I was able to rent my one-bedroom apartment with a dishwasher in an elevator building with a rooftop and gym for $2,250 a month. This same unit rented for over $5,000 on StreetEasy a few months ago—yikes!

I liked that it was close to Bryant Park and Fifth Avenue shopping but disliked all the tourists and the lack of community and dog parks. Midtown Manhattan is filled with businesses, so there was virtually no social activity unless your office is nearby and your coworkers are going to happy hour. That said, I enjoyed going to Clinton Hall and The Perfect Pint. 

There are no grocery stores in the area, so I used Amazon Fresh for food shopping and Uber Eats for ordering in. I also used ByNext for laundry service. 

I was located near the 4, 5, and 6 lines and mainly used those to get around Manhattan and commute to the office. I’m a senior public relations manager in the fashion industry and recently graduated with a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from NYU (my Instagram is @julianne.elise.beffa).

[Editor's Note: Brick Underground's series “Transitions” features first-person accounts of what it’s like to move from one New York City neighborhood to another. Have a story to share? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

Why she left her Midtown place

My apartment faced a brick wall, meaning there was no natural sunlight. It had a serious roach problem too, and my super was an ass! (Pardon my French.) I never realized how much a living space can affect your daily life, but when I finally did, I had to leave. I began searching for a new apartment in October 2022 and finally moved in February 2023. I looked exclusively for no-fee apartments on StreetEasy. 

I viewed at least 65 apartments over five months. The experience was extremely challenging. I was stood up by a broker and had to wait for someone to let me into an East Village building to see the unit. I stood outside in the freezing cold for an hour waiting for someone to buzz me in. After that, I let myself into the unit and discovered huge cockroaches crawling up and down the walls.

I also saw an apartment on the fourth floor of a walkup building on the Lower East Side and the floors were literally slanted at an angle, not to mention the halls reeked of cat pee and there were Nazi symbols spray-painted on the entrance door.

Another time I was viewing an apartment in the East Village and the NYPD pounded on the door because they were called for a domestic violence case that was happening across the hall. 

Finally, I saw the one—an apartment in the Financial District. The renting process was fast. I saw the unit I am living in now, knew I wanted it, raced home, submitted my application, and was approved 24 hours later. 

The new building is a dog-friendly luxury high rise with a 24-hour doorman, rooftop, and other amenities. My unit is a corner studio on the 32nd floor with six massive windows, a private wrap-around balcony, two big closets, and a separate kitchen. I am spending an extra $800 a month on rent and I downsized from a one bedroom to a studio apartment, but this was the best I could find.

Why moving to Fidi was 'the best decision'

My new neighborhood is near the South Street Seaport and Stone Street, so there are endless restaurants, bars, dog parks, places to walk/run, piers to enjoy the water, coffee shops, etc. I'm obsessed with Watermark and Industry Kitchen as well as Stone Street Tavern.

Food shopping is much more convenient thanks to having two grocery stores on my block.

Getting around is also easy—there are 14 train lines plus the PATH train nearby..

I love that there are a ton of people my age (mid-20's) living in the building/area and it's mostly working professionals who like to have fun. The building is very friendly, and I've been able to host parties without any noise complaints or issues. Everyone who works/lives here is very nice.

My friends are at my apartment all the time and they love the natural sunlight that pours in, the gorgeous city views at night, the private balcony, the space, the building, the area, etc. My parents flew in from St. Louis in May for my NYU graduation and loved the apartment as well. I have made four new friends in my building. One of my best friends is now dating a guy in my building who came to one of my parties. 

Moving to FiDi was the best decision! 



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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