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Adjusting To A Laundromat & A New Borough

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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.

Dan Babic lived in a two bedroom in the Financial District, enjoying both his neighborhood and the fact that there was a laundry room in the basement. But when the rent went up from $1,700 to $2,500, he knew it was time to move somewhere more affordable in the outer boroughs. He loved Riverdale (oddly comparing it to the Hamptons), but the commute was too much for him. Park Slope and other areas of brownstone Brooklyn were appealing, but prices there were high in relation to what he was getting. He continued to look, eventually finding a good deal in Park Slope, close to his sister's apartment as well. However, he did have to get used to using a laundromat.

He aimed for a one-bedroom in a building with a laundry room, for $1,600 to $2,000 a month, and quickly found a promising-sounding place in Riverdale, the Bronx, an area he had never visited. The agent took him to a huge one-bedroom in a six-story, 84-unit elevator building on Cambridge Avenue. The unit had plenty of closet space, and the building had a laundry room, all for $1,700 a month.
But the neighborhood was either a bus ride or a long hilly walk away from the subway.
Mr. Babic’s sister, Mary Jean, who lives with her husband and two children in a small Park Slope co-op building, was rooting for a place near her. But he was surprised by the high rents near her Brooklyn neighborhood.

In new buildings, even studios were well above his price range.

He learned, too, that it was unrealistic to expect laundry in the brownstone walk-ups he was seeing, so he planned to “join the millions of other people” in New York who avail themselves of a coin laundry.

He checked out a one-bedroom in a four-unit building on Court Street in Carroll Gardens for $1,900 a month.

Someone else signed the lease before he had a chance to decline it.

One day, Mr. Babic was surfing computer listings while his then-girlfriend was circling ads in the paper. She was the one who spotted a listing for an apartment on Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, just a block from Prospect Park and six blocks from Mary Jean Babic’s building.

The apartment, on the second floor of a 16-unit walk-up building, had lovely hardwood floors and a large bedroom. The closets were high and deep, “with shelves to use up all the space to the ceiling,” Mr. Babic said. Both bathroom and kitchen had windows. The rent was $1,850 a month.

He signed a one-year lease last month.

· A Renter Trims His Sails [NYT]