by Alon Elian
To a lot of New Yorkers, it’s the ultimate luxury. A place that’s entirely your own. No conflicting schedules, no seething outside the bathroom door while your roommate shaves their legs knowing full well you will be later for work than usual. It seems unattainable considering the cost of rent in the city, but where there’s a will, there’s a way, so here are the ten steps to living on your own in New York City.
Step 1: Move to New York
Find an apartment with your friend from the suburbs in your early 20s. This apartment should be in a nebulous industrial area between Williamsburg and Bushwick. The rent will be on the lower side, because the year is 2009.
Be apathetic to the way your relationship with your friend is becoming strained after a few months of living together. You figure things will more than likely work themselves out– you are preoccupied with trying to graduate college late, your addiction to Pawn Stars, and your increasingly problematic eating habits.
Say you “understand” when your roommate says they are leaving because they “can’t watch you destroy yourself anymore.” Begin working on finding a new roommate immediately.
Give the room to the first person you meet, for fear of not being able to fill the room in time for next month’s rent. You will be wary of this person when you meet them, because during their viewing of the room they ask you if you have a “whip,” which they later mention is the word they use for car. Your suspicion of this person snowballs. Their name is Bri-Yan.
Get used to living with Bri-Yan, a person who you learn was born and raised in the Central Park West area of Manhattan. His parents pay his rent, he makes EDM music that he insists he has to hear through speakers and not headphones, he regularly leaves globs of guacamole on the living room floor, and he takes a lot of MDMA.
Bottle up your feelings about Bri-Yan’s girlfriend essentially living with you guys. I mean, at first it was just a day or two a week but now she’s around every night, and she basically just lives at your apartment. They have sex while listening to Bri-Yan’s music on full blast. His music is terrible and so is he, but in an odd way you respect his confidence because having sex to your own music takes a lot of gall. Your anxiety about your living situation becomes unsustainable, and you decide to ask Bri-Yan to leave.
Kick Bri-yan out with great difficulty. The conversation will be tense and awkward and cold and anxiety-inducing. But, by the end of it, you will feel more capable and assertive as a person. You are becoming an adult.
Be more discerning this time in picking a new roommate. You meet a guy named Kyle on Craigslist. He is a friendly dweeb and you sense he may be on the spectrum, you love him. You give him the room readily, and the two of you form a strong friendship over the course of him living with you for two and a half years, despite his taking inordinately long showers. He eventually leaves to move in with his new girlfriend. You are sad, but happy for Kyle. He’s a good guy.
Give the room to a warm and friendly performance artist in her 30s. Become close friends very quickly. She will live with you for three months before having to move out because she doesn’t have any money left. She says she is moving to Arizona. She leaves some of her stuff behind, and doesn’t respond to any text messages. Start to wonder if she was who she said she was.
Find… just… someone else. This will never end. Come to terms with the fact that you won’t be able to live alone in New York because you are not an Arab prince, or someone with a trust fund, or the creator of the Sham-wow, or Kelsey Grammer. It’s not the best, but it’s ok. You finally realize this is New York City after all, and no matter where you’re living or who you find yourself living with, you are alone.