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Grad Rents in Midtown East, Without Seeing Apartment

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Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality
The Hunter: a recent grad looking to rent
Price
Dream: $2,000/month
Reality: $2,600/month
Neighborhood
Dream: "Below Central Park"
Reality: Midtown East
Amenities
Dream: Studio/1BR, walk-up
Reality: 1BR, washer-dryer, wood-burning fireplace
Summary
This weekend's Hunter is a recent college grad from Texas looking to rent somewhere "below the top of Central Park," because he heard about people getting stranded on the subway once and now refuses to go to Brooklyn. He's also a long-distance swimmer and is thus totally down to schlep up five flights of stairs in a walk-up building. However, with a budget of $2,000, his options were of course limited (read: non-existent). Eventually, he found a one-bedroom in the East 50s through his broker, which also had a washer-dryer and a wood-burning fireplace, for $2,600/month. He rented the place sight unseen, and though it's much smaller than expected, he seems happy. Mostly. [The Hunt/A Midtown East Rental, Sight Unseen; photo by Chris Goldberg/Curbed Photo Pool]