Manhattan Drummer Lands "Affordable" Drum-Friendly Apartment -- Only $3,025 Per Month

Vistalite Black

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A story in yesterday's New York Times highlights the year-long struggle of a young drummer to find an apartment that is both dog tolerant and drum-friendly.

Maybe your reaction is the same -- I sure am glad to live in a place that isn't NYC (where Vistalite Black used to work).

If you're looking for the a drum-friendly Manhattan lair, the dude in the story is looking for a roomie.

From NYTimes.com:


An Affordable Duplex That’s Good for Dogs and Drums
It’s not easy to find an affordable rental when you’re a drummer. One Manhattanite tried some unorthodox tactics and found a gem.


On occasion, New Yorkers frustrated by all the traditional channels of finding an apartment decide to appeal directly to their neighbors.

This fall, fliers showing a fluffy white Bichon Frise and a drum set appeared around the Upper West Side: “Hello! My name is Sacha! I’m three years old, I bring joy to the humans everywhere I go, and I’m seeking an apartment here on the Upper West Side, for me and my one human friend!”

Sacha’s human friend, Daniel Podolsky, 28, a research engineer at the New York Structural Biology Center in West Harlem, said he posted the fliers after he had exhausted all other options.

“I tried StreetEasy, Craigslist, all the Facebook groups: Columbia Housing, Gypsy Housing, Gypsy Housing NYC, Ghostlight Housing, N.Y.U. Housing, Upper West Side Housing. All the different brokerage websites, Zillow, the ‘AI-powered’ ones that text you,” said Mr. Podolsky, who was trying to escape a dark and tiny studio apartment on the Upper West Side.


When the neighbors complained, the landlord would exhort him to drum more quietly, thumping on the ceiling with a broom. “I’d get that feedback often,” Mr. Podolsky said.

But even with pandemic rent decreases, he had trouble finding many Upper West Side duplexes for less than $2,000 a month.

When it came time to renew his lease last summer, Mr. Podolsky negotiated the rent down to $1,800 a month and got his landlord to add a clause allowing him to break the lease in 30 days if he could find another tenant, and 60 days if he couldn’t.

The rent reduction made the situation more tolerable, but by October, the prospect of spending the winter confined in his dark, cramped studio pushed him to try something new. Hence, the fliers.

Did they actually work?

“I got five to 10 nice replies,” Mr. Podolsky said. “The dog was the bait and the drums were the hook. But I was looking for something pretty specific. And I think it rained a few days after I put them up.”


$3,025 | UPPER WEST SIDE
Daniel Podolsky, 28
Occupation: Mr. Podolsky is a research engineer at the New York Structural Biology Center.
The hunt for a home: “I spent most of 2020 looking for an apartment. I was searching after work every night and sometimes on my lunch break. As soon as I was done, this whole memory — I was like ‘straight to trash.’ It was an awful experience.”
Work breaks: “I got a new drum set when I moved in here. I have a programming job where I think about math all day so it’s nice that when I get bored or need a minute I can go play drums.”
His music: “Everything from rock to electronic to jazz to hip-hop. Music you can groove to. Anything with a good rhythm.”
In the end, he found his new apartment in a traditional way: responding to a Craigslist ad.
It was an Upper West Side duplex at the top of an older prewar walk-up building, with two bedrooms, a third room that lacks a door and is off the top-floor bedroom, plus two bathrooms, two terraces and two skylights.
Best of all, it was located next to an active construction site, which meant he wouldn’t be the noisiest thing in the area.
The rent, at $3,025, is much higher than he had been looking to pay, but is also significantly less than the close to $4,000 the landlord had been charging before the pandemic. The construction site likely played a role as well. Mr. Podolsky rationalized that it would be even less than his studio apartment rent if he found a roommate to share the cost.
He moved in mid-December. His drums — he bought a larger, four-piece set — went in the open room that is not quite a third bedroom, So far, there haven’t been any complaints.
“It’s not been a problem,” he said. “Even when I’ve jammed with other people, no one has knocked.



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An Affordable Duplex That’s Good for Dogs and Drums - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
 

Deafmoon

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$3k a month is chopped liver. I knew guys with 3 roomies paying $6k. They do it cause it’s NYC. But where’s the equity? And where’s the longevity of paying that kind of rent? And eating out in NYC, and going to clubs, and traveling around the city? It used to cost me $17.00 a day to cross the GW Bridge, $22 a day to park my car, an hour and half commute in and an hour an a half out, unless it rained, then you can tack on anywhere from another 1/2 hour each way to another hour and a half each way. But here’s the deal for most of the outer areas of Manhattan... you will never break into the bank without taking that beating everyday!
 

JimmySticks

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I can see the mystique in living that kind of lifestyle but at the end of the day I'm glad I'm just an average hick living an average hick lifestyle. No regrets.
There are plenty of average people living here. Not so much hicks, but they are pretty average doing pretty average things for a living. We're not all billionaires, millionaires yes, but not billionaires! Lol I grew up and lived here all my life and I've felt pretty lucky to.

As far as pay for gigs, it is low generally, but it's really about being discovered. In a typical jazz club in NYC, you never know who is in the crowd, maybe for pleasure, but maybe they're scouting talent to. If they catch you, your career can quickly take you from a starving artist studio apartment to a sweet luxury apartment pretty quickly and then you're living the real life. It's exciting here, normally anyway, and young people gravitate towards the action. Talent from everywhere comes here to make it, or break it. There is an energy and vibe that's hard to find elsewhere. People have always been willing to pay the price for that.
 

Gcort49

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With all the people leaving the city, thanks to DeBozo, commercial and residential properties dropping in value. I left 48 years ago, it was expensive then, and I never looked back
 

JimmySticks

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I'm glad I was able to live and work in NYC when I was young and had a cool job.
Couldn't do it now.
Haha! Yeah, well said. I'm 61 now and I don't know if I can do it anymore either!

But I'm all talk, I'll probably die here. It's home. It's what I know. And besides, the rest of the country has funny accents! :-D
 

Cpb282

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I grew up in NYC [see fn below].

I did my undergrad in the Village, did my masters in the Bronx, worked in Queens, Brooklyn and, for the past 20 years, in Midtown. I’ve lived in the burbs outside of the city for more than 20 years.

I never thought I’d leave. But we’re seriously considering heading to the mountains when I semi-retire. We just need to find a place where we Yankees would be accepted.

fn: I grew up in NYC as far as outsiders go. To insiders I grew up on an island off the southern tip of Manhattan sometimes referred to as Richmond County, among other names. When we said we were going into “the city” we meant Manhattan.
 

hsosdrum

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Read an article not too long ago about jazz players playing in well known NYC clubs making about the same as I get for playing Mustang Sally in a GA roadhouse.
Jazz gigs don't pay anywhere in the USA. My ex father-in-law was an A-list studio player for 40 years here in L.A. and when he and his buddies (all well-known 'name' players) would do jazz gigs they'd be lucky to split $250 between them for a night. People play jazz because they love the music, not because they expect to make a living at it. (To do that you needed to move to Europe in the 1960s.)
 

retrosonic

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There are plenty of average people living here. Not so much hicks, but they are pretty average doing pretty average things for a living. We're not all billionaires, millionaires yes, but not billionaires! Lol I grew up and lived here all my life and I've felt pretty lucky to.

As far as pay for gigs, it is low generally, but it's really about being discovered. In a typical jazz club in NYC, you never know who is in the crowd, maybe for pleasure, but maybe they're scouting talent to. If they catch you, your career can quickly take you from a starving artist studio apartment to a sweet luxury apartment pretty quickly and then you're living the real life. It's exciting here, normally anyway, and young people gravitate towards the action. Talent from everywhere comes here to make it, or break it. There is an energy and vibe that's hard to find elsewhere. People have always been willing to pay the price for that.

+++++47 years playing drums here in NYC. What you posted happens just about....Never.
 

ian.thomas

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My small apartment in Kob Hill (SF) is more than that and I can't fit, nor play drums in it.
 

musiqman

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Jazz gigs don't pay anywhere in the USA. My ex father-in-law was an A-list studio player for 40 years here in L.A. and when he and his buddies (all well-known 'name' players) would do jazz gigs they'd be lucky to split $250 between them for a night. People play jazz because they love the music, not because they expect to make a living at it. (To do that you needed to move to Europe in the 1960s.)
Here in The Netherlands/Amsterdam its just as worse. Heck there is even almost no live music in general here in the City because of rules and “import Amsterdammers” and expats complaining about noise.

Yes. In Amsterdam. Complaining about noise.

You are better of in the outer rim here anyway.

I can see why downtown attracts (young) people, but if you widen your horizon, there so much more quality in life.

We pay less than 1k for the mortgage and have a house big enough for us four, including a modest isoleted drumstudio.
 

KevinD

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Well I give him credit for his perseverance. I’m just curious as to how the neighbors will react over time to his playing, esp. when he jams with other people. The article doesn’t mention anything about him trying to muffle or otherwise mitigate the noise from his playing.
I believe looking for a duplex was a wise move.
I think I lived in 4 different apartments during my time in NYC. Two of them were 1st floor duplexes on the Upper West Side.

With both of them the 1st floor off the street was the main living space and then a spiral staircase to a lower floor bedroom area (really a basement). I guess at the time those were not considered desirable because they seemed to be available more than “conventional” apartments and were slightly cheaper.

Large living space on both levels though, esp for NYC. I had my electronic kit below decks that I could play at all hours and probably could have gotten away with playing a muffled acoustic kit if I was only lightly practicing some exercises during the day when nobody was home. ( I had a share in a lockout in another part of town that was close to my day job, that I would hit after work). The super lived down the hall, but there was nothing else but storage and the trash room on that level…The problem with that was well...you are in a basement and you have to deal with what comes with existing below ground, some moisture, (always the first to know when there is a drain backup somewhere) bugs…big ones-some with wings, and the occasional scurrying of other things out in the hall or in the wall (which I had made sure was tightly sealed off from my living space). Funky but cool.

I don’t think I paid more than $1500/mon (this was up to about 2009) but even then (early 2000s) I was way behind the curve because most musicians I knew had already scattered to Brooklyn or Queens looking for lower rents.

It sounds like the guy in the article has a pretty good job so he won't have to rely on drumming gigs to pay the rent... that would be a big nut to hit with the way things are these days.
 


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