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Living in NYC: With a ‘pinch-me-is-this-real-life’ view!

The ‘pinch-me-is-this-real-life’ view from my bedroom. (Photo: Caroline Sølver)

Caroline Sølver has to pinch herself every morning when she wakes up and sees the Manhattan skyline right in front of her. She lives in Brooklyn, which like the rest of NYC is notorious for sky-high rent. How in the world did she get so lucky?

Go on exchange |   31. Oct 2018

Caroline Sølver


If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me questions that involved something about living in NYC and how it’s possible with the sky-high rent, I’d probably be able to afford rent here😄

Joking aside, NYC is known for many things including being the most expensive place in the world to live. Although, if I’m not mistaken, Hong Kong just topped New York in housing prices.

So how can I afford to live here? And how did I even find a place to stay?

I have to put my cards on the table and admit to having been very lucky. You see, my boyfriend is a Brooklyn-native, which is beneficial for him when it comes to the housing market in NYC. It also works out great for me as I can room with him instead of some random person on Craigslist who’s renting out a room at an insane price.

With his network of friends, family and acquaintances, my boyfriend was in charge of finding us a place to live, so I could pretty much sit back and relax and trust him to find a nice place. The roles were reversed two years ago when we moved to Copenhagen and I was in charge of finding an apartment for us, which was, although I am a born-and-bred Copenhagen girl, nearly impossible.

The classic Bed-Stuy brownstone houses – this is the street I live on. (Photo: Caroline Sølver)

He found a wonderful apartment for us!

We live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, the same neighborhood that was the backdrop to my boyfriend’s childhood. It’s known for its prominent population of African Americans, its beautiful streets lined with trees and brownstones, those beautiful brown-colored townhouses with stoops that you’ll see in NYC movies — or if you’re a SATC fan, the kind of house Miranda buys and moves into despite the fact that her outraged friends think that Brooklyn is a no-go. If Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte only knew☺️

Bed-Stuy is short for Bedford Stuyvesant and is a neighborhood that is experiencing a lot of change. In short, gentrification, which is what’s happening to almost any NYC neighborhood in 2018. However, I love living here and I feel that it’s justified as my boyfriend grew up here.

The closed off fireplace in the bedroom and livingroom are just some of the stunning details that come with an old brownstone house. (Photo: Caroline Sølver)
Thank god for IKEA, and funny story? I have the exact same IKEA couch in Copenhagen…. Creature of habit, right? (Photo: Caroline Sølver)

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn has a local feel to it and is more chill and quiet than its neighbor, Manhattan. I live close to the A/C subway, and if everything runs smoothly, I can be in Soho, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan, in 20 minutes. Best of it all, it only takes us five minutes to walk to our newly opened café, Skål.

We live inside a five-story brownstone house, built in 1890, and have the entire fourth floor. At a guess, it’s 90 square meters, so it’s the biggest apartment I’ve ever lived in, and huge by NYC standards.

We have a bedroom with a gorgeous view over the Manhattan skyline, which makes me want to pinch myself every time I see it, an enormous bathroom, which is frankly twice the size of my Copenhagen bedroom, a kitchen with a huge fridge (hello America!), a living room with a closed-off fireplace and a tiny room with a queen-size air mattress, which has already been used as a guestroom for my parents and my best friend who have visited.

I mean, I live in NYC and I have a guestroom?! Is this a dream?!

Bedroom. (Photo: Caroline Sølver)

Living in NYC also comes with a few downsides. Rental prices for one thing. Although, this apartment is affordable for NYC, which means I can still lead a decent life and have a few drinks on a Friday night. So the other downside? Roaches. We have them, albeit not many, and I was outraged, disgusted and on the verge of hopping on a plane to Copenhagen the first few times I saw them. My boyfriend? He simply shrugs his shoulders and says “Welcome to NYC,” like it’s no big deal. It’s the same scenario when I see a rat in the streets of NYC. Sadly, I am still terrified of them.

In general, I think that finding a place to live in NYC is waaaaaaaay easier than in Copenhagen. The questions is whether you can afford it. A general guideline is that if you’re simply looking for a room to rent, you’d be paying at least $1,000 a month. Expensive? Yes. Possible? Yes. Luckily there are more upsides to downsides of living in NYC 😉

More brownstones. (Photo: Caroline Sølver)


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