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Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia
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Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
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Laura Doukas, Actress
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7. Finding Housing In New York
There are different ways to find housing in New York or in any other U.S. city for that matter. I have been back to New York five times to study and work as an actor and four of those five times, I found a place to live through www.craigslist.com and its free. Its a great resource to find a temporary location. Every day there are approximately 200 postings from people who are subletting their apartments for anywhere from a couple of days to several months to those looking for long-term or temporary housing in New York.
Some are looking for longer-term tenants, but there are many, many, many who are subletting rooms in their houses or apartments in just about any part of the city you can think of. Some even have pictures of the places for you to see right away. There are links or telephone numbers for you to contact the sub letters right away. They usually let you know what kind of person they are looking for; some look for only women, usually because they themselves are women, some are gay, and some dont care as long as you are clean and responsible. Some ask for deposits up front, some do not. Prices range anywhere from a little to a lot, from holes in the wall to penthouse luxury apartments. WHen it comes to finding housing in New York, it really just depends on what you want.
Make Your Housing In New York Wishes Known
You can even put up a post yourself telling people what kind of housing in New York youre looking for and for how long. Put your picture on it or not. Its totally up to you. The only thing that I would recommend is that, once you find a place you like and the price is right, that you take some time to have a nice long chat on the phone. It helps you to get to know the person a bit. Some places are shares, so it would be wise to get to know the person you would be living with. Ask a lot of questions. Sometimes people dont tell you everything. Be sure that you are clear about what it is you want. I have heard stories about people who were disappointed when they arrived to find out that there was no internet service or no cable tv, that there was no subway nearby or that the subway was a twenty minute walk, there was no kitchen or whatever. Be clear about what you want.
And Be Specific!
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be specific about your needs. Here are some things to consider while looking for housing in New York:
· Fully functional kitchen?
· Shared bathroom?
· Shared bedroom?
· Cable television?
· Bedroom on a busy street?
· Air conditioning?
· Wireless internet connection?
· Clean towels and sheets or do you have to bring your own?
· No pets
· Safe neighborhood (check the area of town)?
· Apartment along the (subway line that you will need to ride every day)?
· Gym nearby or in house?
· Doorman building?
· Elevator in the building or walk up?
· Grocery store nearby? (dragging bags for blocks can be a hassle!)
· Are there Roaches?
· Any common use areas of the house?
Things Like This Can Happen
Heres a funny story. While I was looking for housing in New York last summer, I saw an apartment on craigslist.com and contacted the person who put up the post. I put my website addresses on the communication as well, which had my pictures on them. He contacted me and sent me a picture of himself and told me, You would be perfect for my apartment! I thought to myself, Hmmm. I wonder what that means. I had already been in contact with some very nice people and so I decided to take the place that they offered me. I called the other guy back and told him that I had already made a decision. He then made a counter offer telling me that for me he was willing to take the price down and even though I was only going to be there for three months, that he would furnish the room for me as well, since it had to be furnished anyway. I thanked him but declined his offer and told him that I would look him up when I got there, because maybe sometime down the road, I might need a place to stay and it would be good to already know someone.
I called him when I got in town and he told me to call him in a few days and we would hook up. He called me back one day and asked me what I was doing on Thursday evening. I told him I was busy and he said, Thats too bad, because I was going to take you to the movies. Once again I thought, Hmmm., but this time I didnt ask myself what that meant. Until now, I had given him the benefit of the doubt, then he said something else that convinced me that my hunch that he was gay was true. He said he wanted to invite me to a party and he said, And you have to try the cake. You absolutely have to, because you will never forget it. I thought to myself, alright! Thats enough. So I said to him, knowing full well that I would not be at that party, but I was curious to hear his reaction. I said, Ok man, but you have to promise me one thing. If I come all the way up there, you have to promise me that youll have some fine honeys, nice and sweet ladies. He paused for a while and said very weakly. Yeah. No problem. I say this to say that just be careful and make sure you are clear about what you want and what you dont want!
Good And Bad Experiences
The funny thing is that out of the five times I went to New York, only once I found a place through someone I knew and that was the worst experience of the five. Aside from the fact that it was hot as hell in that place, the elevator up to the tenth floor didnt work half the time, there were also roaches that I was assured he didnt have. Oh well, the upside was that I fell in love with the location. It was on the upper west side of Manhattan on 79th street. I love that area. Roaches, by the way are pretty common, so dont be surprised if you find a place that has them.
Be aware though that it can take awhile to find housing in New York so start early. I usually start about a month and a half before my departure date looking for a place to stay, but most of the time I actually nailed the deal just a week or so before I left.
See The Goods Before You Pay!
Oh, another thing. Sometimes finding the right people to rent from can be tricky while looking for housing in New York. Dont ever send the entire amount for your stay before you leave. The fact still remains that you dont know the people. Offer them a few days to a week up front, which would give them a little time to find someone else if you dont show up and tell them youll give them the rest upon your arrival if thats what they want.
If youre taking a serious acting class, there will be homework, exercises and rehearsals to do at home. Make sure that your trying to save money by choosing a cheap place with shared rooms, continuous parties doesnt get in the way of your getting your work done. Have fun, but stay focused and remember why you went to take acting classes and keep that in mind while choosing housing in New York.
Get a place that has a fully functional kitchen you can use! This can help you save a lot of money. Get cereal and other breakfast foods and eat breakfast at home. If youll be out all day, make sandwiches and snacks and take them with you. And cook your evening meals at home. You will save sooooo much money doing that. If you have cash to blow then disregard.
Here's a great resource for finding housing in New York
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