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A Young Out-of-Town Couple Gets an Unpleasant Surprise While House-Hunting in NYC

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

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City Tower interior rendering
Will Femia

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 Hunters: Jerod Coker and Emily Scheele


Dream: $2,000 to $2,500

Reality: $3,150


Dream: Long Island City or Brooklyn

Reality: Downtown Brooklyn


Dream: Close to Public Transportation, Nearby Shopping Stores

Reality: Close to Public Transportation, One Month Free Rent, Walk-In Closet


Twenty-five year old Jerod Coker and his fiancée, Emily Scheele, 22, a prospective med student, set their sights on the big city after Coker’s job hunt landed him a position as a management consultant at a company based in Midtown. The two had previously lived in Denver and prior to that, attended the University of Oklahoma. Neither one of them were anything more than vaguely familiar with New York.

Being used to renting in towns where the going rate for a room was about $350 a month, they realized that the big city would be much different so they set a budget of about $2,000 and hoped not to exceed $2,500. They utilized resources like StreetEasy and a salesman they found on nakedapartments to aide them in their search. They wanted someplace close to transit and shopping areas to cut back the amount of time they would spend traveling.

Coker and Scheele knew enough about New York to know that Manhattan was too expensive so they naively turned their hunt to Long Island City instead. They quickly learned that L.I.C. was no better than Manhattan, with one-bedrooms costing over $3,000 a month. Moving along, they found a one-bedroom apartment along Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights that was asking $2,400 and was to their liking, until Scheele had an allergic reaction to what she perceived as the old building’s mold and fungus.

It came down between a rental building in Fort Greene or Downtown Brooklyn’s new 48-story building, City Tower. In the end City Tower won since it was closer to more trains and the retail space below would soon welcome neighbors that included Target, Century 21, and Trader Joe’s. Their one-bedroom apartment would run them $3,150 per month— $650 more than their budget max but it’s the price you pay for convenience. The plus side is that they got to move in immediately and landed a month of free rent.