When Matthew Tanner decided to return to New York this summer after a two-year absence, he found the hunting process much more difficult than it was when he last looked for a place.
He had lived with his parents in Coral Gables, Florida, and missed the city during much of the pandemic; he was ready to retire. But when he arrived in New York on a brief visit in May to look at some of the apartments, it was almost impossible to just tour one.
"I tried to tour 10 different places and I only heard of one of them," said Mr. Tanner, a 28-year-old math teacher who recently started making and selling vegan cookies. "I was like, 'Okay, this isn't going so well." "He could see an apartment in Crown Heights with hallways that looked like" a school gym bathroom. " Not great either.
The rental market had recovered vigorously from its Covid slump, and the usual dance of planning a series of viewings in a day or two – and most importantly, seeing these apartments – clearly wasn't working.
Then Mr Tanner remembered a Park Slope building that had been built in 2019 when he lived in a nearby studio apartment. He stopped by in person to inquire about open offers, but all of the units were out of his price range – he didn't want to spend more than $ 2,400 on a bedroom.
The walking system seemed to be working, however, so he continued through the neighborhood and found another promising new build on the Park Slope-Gowanus border. After a quick Google search, he turned to building management and was able to personally visit not just one, but three one-room apartments. One of them should be his new home.
$ 3,100 | Gowanus, Brooklyn
Matthew Tanner, 28 years old
Occupation: Freelance math teacher, occasional cookie entrepreneur.
In the local restaurant scene: He enjoyed revisiting some of his favorite restaurants around Gowanus and Park Slope. As a vegan, he loves Middle Eastern food at Bedouin Tent on Atlantic Avenue and Miriam on Park Slope. He also fell in love with the Japan Village in Industry City; he is a big fan of ume onigiri.
His most important moving advisor: “I recommend renting a car during the week of the move,” says Mr Tanner, who moved most of his belongings across the country and back in his own car. With him for this final move, he could make all the last minute trips to Ikea he needed.
Mr. Tanner had a few important criteria for his apartment. At first he knew he wanted a real one-bedroom, if only for the sake of his sanity. In his old studio in Park Slope, "I felt a little crazy because I was in a single room so often," he said. “When it was snowing and nobody wanted to go anywhere, it felt like I was trapped.” Being able to have friends with you and offer them a sofa to sit on instead of a bed would be an important upgrade.
Given his budding biscuit side business, he also needed a lot of space in the kitchen. Before leaving for Coral Gables, he had lived briefly in Los Angeles, where he fell in love with television shows like "Chopped" and "Top Chef". He tried to prepare the dishes he saw on the screen in his home kitchen. In March 2020, he toured a local cooking school and planned to sign the enrollment papers the next day, which turned out to be the day L.A. closed. He was back home in Florida last spring, cooking dinner for his family every night and fine-tuning his vegan cookie recipe. He soon started selling biscuits at a weekly farmers market.
So it was important that his new apartment had enough storage space for his food processor, food processor, and the other equipment and ingredients he uses for his Big Lover Bakery cookie company. (He's still working on his plan for entering the New York Market.) The one-bedroom building in the Gowanus Building he has chosen has "the perfect kitchen layout," he said, and he estimates that with plenty of storage space and counter space To make 12 dozen biscuits at once – its standard product for the farmer's market.
Mr Tanner has moved 10 times in the last ten years so his goal was to find an apartment that he could stay in for more than a year. His new apartment is more expensive than he planned – $ 3,100 a month – but he was able to negotiate three months of free rent, which brings his net monthly rent to a manageable $ 2,325 for the next year. It's a bet he'll make an apartment with all the amenities he wanted – a large kitchen, central air conditioning, and a washer / dryer in the unit. But he's not sure if he can make enough tutoring the next year to stay and pay the $ 3,100 next year.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tanner is enjoying being back in the city he loves. As a live music fan, he already has tickets for 12 shows this fall, including Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast and Skullcrusher. He has brought his piano into the apartment and is looking forward to putting his guitar collection on the walls.
On the weekends, he appreciates his proximity to Prospect Park and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Brooklyn. “I love Prospect Park so much,” he said. “When I lived in Park Slope before and friends visited the city, I was always sure to take a bagel and sit in the park.” Now that the city is reopening and he has a comfortable home, he wants his favorite traditions back take up.