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How a Renter Found a $1,050/Month Pad in Hell's Kitchen

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Welcome back to Lifestyles of the Rent-Stabilized, in which residents of the city's rent-stabilized apartments tell us how they lucked into their homes. Today, an anonymous Hell's Kitchen renter explains how he made the jump from the East Village to a 100-year-old building farther West. Have a story to share (anonymity guaranteed!)? Send it to

In the 90's I lived in the East Village. I was young. It was trendy and gay. Perfect. However, after six years of living in a former SRO on 1st street I began to lose my mind. The studio was 350 sq ft. I was entering my 30's and had no room for myself and certainly not for guests. The tipping point came when I yelled at a junkie shooting up on my stoop. He freaked and I ran. I looked back; he stood in the middle of the street, too high to chase me. It was then that I pleaded with my well-connected brother to help.
He asked his landlord who as far as he knew owned 'mostly in Queens.' Fine. I didn't care. My brother later called and said, 'They have a building in Hells Kitchen with a vacant one bedroom.' I walked in and it was love at first sight. A 100 year old building three blocks from Columbus Circle and Central Park. The first-floor apartment had original molding, transoms, air-shaft windows in the kitchen and bathroom...and a back garden?so what if you entered it through a window as there were no doors. The rent was $1,050/month. 13 years later i'm paying $1,537/month and doubt i'll ever leave. · Lifestyles of the Rent-Stabilized archive [Curbed]