I knew I would need a furnished apartment in which to stay for the time after I moved out of the house and while the renovation, with its demolition and major electrical work into plaster walls, was going on.  The building where I bought my apartment was also a coop.  To add to the usual renovation delays were the front-end delays  to have the renovation plans approved by the coop board,  and the permit issued by the NYC Building’s Department. I also needed to find a good contractor.  Friends warned me that the whole experience of a renovation in a New York City building is unpredictable at best.  At worst, it takes triple the time you think it will. They urged me to find a comfortable place to wait it out.

I picked a few days in early December to start looking for a temporary place. My search on the computer was initially for a furnished studio and I wrote down 2 addresses, one downtown near Battery Park, the other on East 57th Street, near York Avenue.  Both places were not wildly expensive, given their more remote Manhattan locations. I called  to make appointments to check them out.

The first place, I discovered as I walked toward the building, was in a building adjacent to Ground Zero. I soon learned that many places that rent furnished apartments do so for business travelers, who leave early in the morning, come back at night, and don’t care about seeing daylight. The apartment I saw would have been perfect for such a traveler.  It was indeed quiet but the only window faced a gloomy air shaft.  Since I design and write most of the time at home, I needed to see daylight and, preferably, a patch of sky.

Furnished Studio with the Air Shaft View

“I have a 1-Bedroom,” the building manager said. It’s higher up and you’ll have more light.”  We went up to see it, opened the door and there, beyond the large window was Ground Zero, a brilliantly lit hive of construction activity that the manager said is active 24/7.  A moderately noisy thrum seemed to be the background noise.  “It’s historic what they’re doing,” he said. True enough, but I’d prefer to not have that first hand historical experience.

Sublet with Ground Zero View 24/7

The 57th Street building that I visited next did have a light and airy studio and I would have considered it except for 3 drawbacks. The monthly parking charges in nearby garages were upwards of $500 a month, walking around those nearby blocks seemed perilous, with drivers aggressively maneuvering onto the access ramps for the 59th Street bridge, and a dearth of supermarkets and other residential land use meant crossing all those nasty streets more often to head east if I needed to pick up a quart of milk.

Back to the computer, I thought. This will take more looking.