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In Which the Upper (Upper) West Side Is Needed For Things Holy

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.

Tamar Fox lived up on 99th Street with two roommates for three years, but when the sub par building maintenance got to be too much, she knew it was time to move on and move out. Her friend offered her a duplex nearby on 104th Street for $2,800, but the deal fell through. This was especially aggravating because Tamar would still be looking in that neighborhood since close proximity to her prayer group on 100th and Columbus was of utmost importance. Though a restriction, the prayer group was responsible for her finding a partner in the hunt as well, her soon-to-be roommate Dena. They saw several places in the area, but it turned out most were cramped and not suitable for them. There was one place which fit the bill on West 109th, and they scooped it up immediately. It had no fee and it even had decent counter space, all for $2,500. Not bad at all.

She wanted to stay within walking distance of Kehilat Hadar, an independent minyan, or prayer group, that meets at Columbus Avenue and 100th Street. She needed a good kitchen and enough space to host a group for Shabbat meals. Her maximum price was $2,800 for a two-bedroom, or less if a broker’s fee was involved. A sixth-floor walk-up on West 109th Street had two bedrooms for just $2,500. The kitchen had no counter space, and the place wasn’t nice enough to justify the climb.

Both women were excited about a place on West 99th Street that included a great kitchen and high ceilings for $2,695 a month. A similar apartment in the building was $2,650 a month. But both were rented before they could make a move.

They found a nice place with a large living room on West 104th Street. But because Ms. Kranzberg was a student with little income, and their combined income wasn’t deemed sufficient, the landlord required that they either provide a guarantor or pay a year’s rent upfront.

Up on West 117th Street, an apartment with bedrooms of equal size was a bargain at $1,950. But for some of her friends from Kehilat Hadar, the place was too far uptown to be within walking distance on the Sabbath, when many observe the proscription against riding on a subway or bus.

Just then, a new place popped into view. It was a small two-bedroom walk-up on the third floor of a building on West 109th Street, for $2,500 a month. There was no fee. The kitchen actually had counter space. A combination washer-dryer and a dishwasher were being installed. The two women knew they wouldn’t find a better deal, so they immediately left a $500 deposit.

· Bedrooms for Two; Dinner for Six Guests [NYT]