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Diary of a DJ: Mike Nouveau Falls in Love in Nolita

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When he's not playing music in the Boom Boom Room, Tribeca Grand, Avenue or whatever exotic city that's currently in the throes of Fashion Week, DJ Mike Nouveau is ... frantically combing Craigslist for a cheap rental! The downtown scenester is hiking up his skirt and hunting for a new apartment before his East Village lease runs out on March 31. We've heard Part I and Part II of the journey, and now it continues...

After the defeats of the past few days, I woke up early and immediately hopped onto Craigslist to see if there was anything new available in my range, a big studio or one-bedroom apartment downtown below $1,600 a month. Before I found anything worthwhile, my phone rang. The conversation went something like this:

"Hi, I had a missed call from this number from two days ago."

"Umm? are you a broker?"


"Got any one-bedrooms for around $1,600?"

"Yeah. Meet me on Mott and Broome in an hour."

I arrived to a dilapidated front door at the address the broker had given me. He arrived a minute later. Ray, whose agency I don't remember but had never heard of, and who didn't have a business card, asked me some questions while he fumbled with the front door lock. Naturally, he forgot the keys. No worries though, he would call his partner who could come meet us in fifteen minutes. In the meantime he wanted to show me another apartment he had on Elizabeth Street. Bait and switch? Maybe, but he said the rent was even cheaper than the Broome Street apartment, so what the hell, might as well look.

We turn on Elizabeth, and I figure the apartment would be right above Broome. However we keep walking, and soon we're out of Chinatown/Little Italy and into central Nolita. As we walked I was imagining how filthy and small this apartment must be if it was less than $1,600 and in the center of Nolita. We walk into a building between Prince and Houston. As we enter the apartment, the broker mentions that it might not actually be considered a one bedroom, but rather a two-room studio. I had to bite my tongue? this was actually the biggest apartment I had seen thus far. It was a little bit run down, but if the Essex and Canal apartment I put a bid on didn't come through, this was the one that I wanted.

Or so I thought until we went across the hallway into a neighboring apartment. This one was $1,800? well above my budget, but it was huge, had a nice open layout, extremely high ceilings, large windows, and was on the 2nd floor. I was shocked that an apartment like this could exist in Nolita for that price. I told Ray that I could pay $1,500 for the small one or $1,600 for the big one. I knew it was a long shot. Any person who had a rental budget of $1,800 would have taken this apartment as soon as it was shown to them.

I left Ray with the realization in my head that no other apartment was going to be as good as the one I had just seen. My low hopes were justified when I went to my next appointment near Eldridge and Canal. This was a building filled with commercial lofts, but according to my friend who rents one of the spaces in the building, the landlord doesn’t care if people live there. The super brought me up to the 4th floor in a rickety elevator. The room was an old, industrial looking 400-500 square foot? square. I didn’t see how anyone could live there. Maybe the other spaces had bathrooms and showers, but this one certainly didn’t. Oh well, on to the next one.

Spoiler alert: This quest may be ending shortly. Join us again tomorrow for the next chapter in Mike Nouveau's Great Rental Saga.
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