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After luxe living in the Financial District, a woman seeks frugality on the UES

She went from an amenity-filled building to more modest living uptown

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: Bailey Stanbury


Dream: $1,900 a month

Reality: $2,200 a month


Dream: Upper East Side

Reality: Upper East Side


Dream: Large studio, natural light

Reality: Large studio, natural light


After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, Bailey Stanbury, a 26-year-old educational director from New Jersey, moved to New York where she and her boyfriend at the time lived in a pricey Financial District studio where the couple paid $2,665 a month in a luxury building.

Her split from her boyfriend led her to seek a studio of her own, making it the first time she would be alone in the city. Stanbury knew a few friends living on the Upper East Side so she decided to apartment hunt there with a budget of $1,900 a month in place. With such budget, she knew she wouldn’t get all of the amenities that her previous building offered but she hoped for a spacious studio with natural light, preferably recently renovated, and not located above the third floor of a walk-up.

After being shown several places by different ages, she realized that her budget wasn’t enough to get her what she wanted so she raised it to $2,000.

Over the course of her hunt, Stanbury dealt with agents showing her places well above her budget, being taken to apartments much different than her expressed interests, and even unresponsive agents. With increasing frustration, Stanbury solicited the help of a friend who happened to be the CEO of MyGradPad, a rental agency tailored toward the needs of recent graduates and young professionals.

With an even higher budget of $2,200 now in place, she visited a one-bedroom on East 76th Street asking $2,150 a month and another asking $2,125 but passed on both of them since the first room was too small and the other place was too noisy. With time winding down, Stanbury decided to settle on a rectangular studio apartment asking $2,200 a month. The place was sunny and had plenty of storage closets. Furthermore, it was located in an elevator building with a laundry room. Though she didn’t like the street noise, she decided to work around that issue and purchased herself a white noise machine to help drown it out.