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Getting Sick of Rationing Magazines for the Subway Ride

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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.

Karen Ostergren had a pretty sweet deal set up in her apartment in Greenwood Heights, paying anywhere between $450 and about $690 a month for her room, depending on how many roommates she had that month. However, the incredibly long commute to her job downtown was beginning to wear on her, and her reading material was done barely halfway through the commute forcing her to "ration" her magazines. She decided it was time to sacrifice space for convenience so she looked for studios in Midtown. Seeing a few things in Murray Hill had whet her appetite, but she found what she was looking for in a 300 square foot studio on East 27th Street.

She decided to look for a studio somewhere south of Midtown in order to keep her commute time down. Her budget would allow $1,600 a month. he first place he showed her was ideal: a studio for $1,600 a month in a co-op building on East 36th Street in Murray Hill.

She was definitely interested. But someone else had already applied, and took the apartment.

There were plenty of others, but none she really liked. She saw several places on the Lower East Side, including a one-bedroom for $1,625 a month on Rivington Street. But the trip to her office would have required too much time and effort.

A place with a sleeping loft sounded intriguing. On West 14th Street, it was only $1,540 a month and nicely renovated.

But “the allure of a sleeping loft dissipated upon seeing one,” Mr. Gottesman said. It was difficult to climb up to and to sit up in.

One Saturday, she planned a day of apartment-hunting. But she overslept and missed the first place scheduled, so Mr. Gottesman showed her a video he took on his camera. She ended up not caring for the places she saw in person that day, but the studio she had slumbered through, on East 27th Street in the thick of Little India on a Kips Bay side street, seemed like a good bet.

The rent was $1,795 a month, with one month free, which worked out to $1,645, just a bit over budget.

Ms. Ostergren rented the studio, paying a broker’s fee of 15 percent of a year’s rent, or more than $3,000. “If you average it out over a couple of years,” she said, “it becomes slightly less painful.”

The living area is a little more than 200 square feet, the entire place a little less than 300.

· A Little Less Subway, Please