Real Estate

An Affordable Duplex That’s Good for Dogs and Drums

On event, New Yorkers pissed off by all the normal channels of discovering an condominium resolve to attraction on to their neighbors.

This fall, fliers displaying a fluffy white Bichon Frise and a drum set appeared across the Upper West Side: “Hello! My name is Sacha! I’m three years old, I bring joy to the humans everywhere I go, and I’m seeking an apartment here on the Upper West Side, for me and my one human friend!”

Sacha’s human pal, Daniel Podolsky, 28, a analysis engineer on the New York Structural Biology Center in West Harlem, stated he posted the fliers after he had exhausted all different choices.

“I tried StreetEasy, Craigslist, all the Facebook groups: Columbia Housing, Gypsy Housing, Gypsy Housing NYC, Ghostlight Housing, N.Y.U. Housing, Upper West Side Housing. All the different brokerage websites, Zillow, the ‘AI-powered’ ones that text you,” stated Mr. Podolsky, who was attempting to flee a darkish and tiny studio condominium on the Upper West Side.

“It was just so small and it had two windows — one looked at a wall and the other one only got good sun for an hour or two a day,” he stated. “And then the pandemic started and I couldn’t really go anywhere.” The condominium was additionally prepandemic priced at $2,200 a month.

With Manhattan rents plummeting, he thought he may enhance his state of affairs when his lease got here up for renewal final July. But his standards weren’t straightforward to satisfy: He hoped to search out an condominium with a minimum of 700 sq. toes and good pure gentle for not more than $1,800 a month. And it needed to be dog- and drum-friendly.

“I was pretty picky,” he admitted.

Mr. Podolsky, an avid drummer, had disassembled his drum set when he moved into the studio. There wasn’t even house for a standard mattress within the condominium — he purchased and put in a secondhand Murphy mattress — not to mention a three-piece drum equipment. But with the pandemic retaining him cooped up, having the ability to drum at residence was a high precedence.

He figured his greatest wager was to hire a ground-floor or top-floor duplex, with the additional ground serving as a buffer between his drums and the remainder of the constructing, “spatially insulated from the neighbors.” Of course, this was hardly foolproof: At his earlier condominium, in Williamsburg, it wasn’t his landlord, who lived downstairs, however the residents of the neighboring constructing who minded his drumming,

When the neighbors complained, the owner would exhort him to drum extra quietly, thumping on the ceiling with a brush. “I’d get that feedback often,” Mr. Podolsky stated.

But even with pandemic hire decreases, he had hassle discovering many Upper West Side duplexes for lower than $2,000 a month.

When it got here time to resume his lease final summer time, Mr. Podolsky negotiated the hire right down to $1,800 a month and bought his landlord so as to add a clause permitting him to interrupt the lease in 30 days if he may discover one other tenant, and 60 days if he couldn’t.

The hire discount made the state of affairs extra tolerable, however by October, the prospect of spending the winter confined in his darkish, cramped studio pushed him to strive one thing new. Hence, the fliers.

Did they really work?

“I got five to 10 nice replies,” Mr. Podolsky stated. “The dog was the bait and the drums were the hook. But I was looking for something pretty specific. And I think it rained a few days after I put them up.”


$3,025 | Upper West Side

Occupation: Mr. Podolsky is a analysis engineer on the New York Structural Biology Center.
The hunt for a house: “I spent most of 2020 looking for an apartment. I was searching after work every night and sometimes on my lunch break. As soon as I was done, this whole memory — I was like ‘straight to trash.’ It was an awful experience.”
Work breaks: “I got a new drum set when I moved in here. I have a programming job where I think about math all day so it’s nice that when I get bored or need a minute I can go play drums.”
His music: “Everything from rock to electronic to jazz to hip-hop. Music you can groove to. Anything with a good rhythm.”


In the tip, he discovered his new condominium in a standard means: responding to a Craigslist advert.

It was an Upper West Side duplex on the high of an older prewar walk-up constructing, with two bedrooms, a 3rd room that lacks a door and is off the top-floor bed room, plus two loos, two terraces and two skylights.

Best of all, it was positioned subsequent to an lively development web site, which meant he wouldn’t be the noisiest factor within the space.

The hire, at $3,025, is far greater than he had been seeking to pay, however can also be considerably lower than the near $4,000 the owner had been charging earlier than the pandemic. The development web site possible performed a task as nicely. Mr. Podolsky rationalized that it will be even lower than his studio condominium hire if he discovered a roommate to share the fee.

He moved in mid-December. His drums — he purchased a bigger, four-piece set — went within the open room that’s not fairly a 3rd bed room, So far, there haven’t been any complaints.

“It’s not been a problem,” he stated. “Even when I’ve jammed with other people, no one has knocked.

The apartment has everything his old one didn’t: plenty of space and light. At this time of year, his bedroom, which is also his office, gets full sun all day. He has been accumulating houseplants to take advantage of it.

“Living in the city, you can feel very disconnected from nature,” Mr. Podolsky stated. “This almost feels like a little house on top of the building. The patio is like having a backyard. I lay in bed and sometimes I can see the moon. When it rains, the skylight is like a drum of its own. It’s particularly loud and I like it.”

He’s nonetheless trying for a roommate. “I haven’t been looking very hard, to be honest,” he stated. “But I do need to find one so I can afford the apartment. I’d like to find a roommate who shares my interests, to an extent: math, programming, music.”

“And definitely tolerant of drums,” he added. “That is a must.”

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