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In Which Man's Best Friend is Man's Greatest Burden: A Renter's Tale

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.

It's a typical story. After living in the suburbs to raise a family, the kids move out eventually and the prospect of city life looks nicer and nicer. Well, that's exactly what happened with Mariko Izawa Sheldon and her husband Craig. Looking to rent, they started out with a budget of $3,500 a month. Obviously by the end of their search that number had ballooned, and they were willing to spend up to $4,500 for a place. The main obstacle? Their 50 pound English Shepherd named Kori was too big for a lot of places. After checking off a lot of downtown spots, they found what they were looking for all the way up on East 96th Street.

They checked out apartments for rent in Gateway Plaza and Liberty Court, but Battery Park City was too manicured and pristine for Mrs. Sheldon. “It felt like seeing a J. Crew catalog, young guys whose clothes perfectly fit and they smile so nicely" They also crossed the financial district off their list. The neighborhood, with its concrete canyons and sparse green space, was “too bleak for a dog"

Their price range rose, from $3,500 a month to $4,000 and again to $4,500.

From the beginning, Mrs. Sheldon preferred the Upper East Side, where Mr. Sheldon’s parents had once had a pied-à-terre.

On far East 86th Street near York Avenue, a nice two-bedroom sublet in a co-op building had a skyline view. But the couple were daunted by the co-op application process.

They almost signed a lease at the Clermont, a postwar rental tower on East 82nd Street, also near York. But the day before signing, they learned that the building had a 40-pound weight limit for dogs. Kori weighed around 50 pounds.

The dog’s weight had dropped to 48 pounds from 56, and just met the 50-pound limit at the Monterey, a 20-year-old rental building with a graceful curved facade. On East 96th Street, it at first seemed too far north for Mr. Sheldon. Furthermore, he perceived 96th Street as a congested crosstown artery, while Mrs. Sheldon saw it as the anchor for an interesting and lively neighborhood.

The building was full-service. They both liked it a lot, and it passed the lobby test.
They chose a two-bedroom two-bath apartment on one of the higher floors. The rent is $4,225 a month with a one-month broker fee.

· A Two-Bedroom Trial Balloon [NYT]