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How a Couple Found a $1,200/Month 1BR in Crown Heights

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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 Crown Heights renter shares how she and her partner found their 1BR. Have a story to share (anonymity guaranteed!)? Send it to

When my partner and I moved to the city in 2009, we were on a strict budget (still are!), so we were on the hunt for a rent-stabilized building. We did the research and knew what types of buildings we should look at: bigger, older ones. We chose Crown Heights (way before it was cool), and found a spacious one bedroom for $1,200/month just two blocks from the subway. The broker who showed us the apartment had already taken us to six other places that day, and he only brought us to this one because he was supposed to show it to someone else about 15 minutes after we arrived. But that person never got a chance—it was by far the biggest and nicest place we saw, so we signed papers on the spot.

Usually, this is where the horror stories would start, but really, we don't have any. The place is about 650-square-feet (this is a rough estimate that we measured ourselves), there are windows in every room, the kitchen and bathroom had recently been upgraded, and it's plenty big enough to host weekend guests. Three years later, we're still here. And while rents have boomed in Crown Heights, our rent has only gone up to $1,300, which is below the current average for the area. But trying to find that price in our location (we're just west of Nostrand Avenue, close to the subway and not too far from Prospect Park) is nearly impossible now. Everything cheap is much farther east and rents everywhere in the neighborhood are rising.

Of course the place isn't perfect. It's a first floor unit, and our bathroom ceiling leaked, but management and our super always fix things when we ask, and we have very nice neighbors. The worst part of the whole place? Except for the kitchen, there is only one outlet in every room.
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