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Leaving Arizona, But Sweating in New York

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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.

When they first found out they were moving to New York, Stephen Caesar and Ryan Lathrum were ecstatic to be leaving Arizona and trying something new. They were renting a 3 bed, 3 bath apartment in Arizona for $1,500 a month and though they knew they weren't going to get a deal even close to that in NY, they didn't know what they were in for. Manhattan was unforgiving and everything was too small or too expensive, usually both. Turns out Jersey City was where they were destined to be, falling in love with a two bedroom apartment at 70 Greene Street that had a washer/dryer and allowed their cat.

They started hunting for a cat-friendly rental with two bedrooms (one for visiting family and friends), two bathrooms (one for guests and Chloe’s litter box) and a washer-dryer. On one foray to the city last summer they walked into a storefront real-estate office, where the agent patiently explained that they would be unable to get two bedrooms and two bathrooms for $3,000 a month.

The agent took them to Stuyvesant Town, where two-bedrooms were around $3,900 a month and one-bedrooms around $2,900. The setting seemed institutional, and the apartments scarily small.

Mr. Caesar’s future colleagues steered him to the financial district, within walking distance of the office. So, on another trip, the two checked out buildings there, including the 24-story 10 Hanover Square. A one-bedroom with a home office was in the mid-$3,000s.

But Mr. Caesar’s younger brother, Gifford Caesar, had just started a job in the city. At a colleague’s suggestion, he had moved to Jersey City, renting a one-bedroom in Liberty Towers, a high-rise rental building.

They weren’t keen on the two-bedroom layouts available at Liberty Towers, so Mr. Caesar’s brother pointed them toward 70 Greene Street, also a high-rise rental tower. A few blocks away, it was completed just a year ago.

A two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit was, at $3,315 a month plus a “pet rent” of $50 a month, over their budget. The size was what they expected, just over 1,000 square feet. The building had not only a gym but an outdoor pool. Best of all, the unit came with a stacked washer and dryer.

They decided the place was so nice it was worth the cost.

· Arizona Transplants Survive Sticker Shock [NYT]