I spent the weekend apartment hunting with John, since our lease is up in less than three weeks. We scoped out six or seven places before I came up with this handy guide for anyone who wants to live in Brooklyn:
Pick two: space, good neighborhood, easy commute, cheap.
You can have any two of these, but if you expect a third or fourth amenity, you're just setting yourself up for pitiful sadness. For instance, you can find an apartment with plenty of space, in a good neighborhood, if you don't mind paying rent in gold bricks or traveling an hour and a half to get to work.
You can have a 30-minute commute for relatively little rent, as long as it doesn't bother you to live in a shoebox and/or in a neighborhood that makes you consider wrapping the dogs in Teflon before each walk.
It's all about your priorities and how much you're willing to compromise.
Right now, we're leaning toward an apartment that has plenty of space (two bedrooms!) and reasonable rent (relatively speaking, of course... i mean, "reasonable" in Brooklyn is $1,500 a month, which is astronomical back home in Arkansas.)
The place we want isn't in the greatest neighborhood, but this particular block seems calmer and quieter than our current digs. Think tree-lined brownstones instead of street-party chaos. The move would probably stretch my commute from 40 minutes to an hour, but it won't be horrendous.
If we get approved for the place, I'll let you know and post some pictures. Wish us luck!!