Unless you have the kind of money where you can just make your stuff disappear from one apartment and materialize in another while you spend a week on vacation, moving in New York is a nightmare. Like when I rented a U-Haul and incurred $500 worth of tickets within 24 hours, and had to walk to the impound place on the West Side Highway, alone, in the rain. What a time!
The point is, in spite of near-constant real estate speculation, people in New York actually move less frequently than our counterparts in other parts of the country, according to new data from the census bureau. This is true for a variety of socio-economic reasons — a high volume of people in public housing, which doesn't lend itself to mobility, as well as residents who live with large families (also not so mobile) — but mainly, it's just hard and costs a lot.
Meaning that wherever you are, you're probably stuck. Sorry. It could be worse, you know. But, it could also be better! In the interest of loving the one you're with or whatever, we've come up with a few coping mechanisms, whether you live in a studio you can't afford or with roommates you can no longer stand to look in the face.
Now, I don't know anything about decorating, but I do know that a surefire way to make your apartment more adult-seeming (and, you know, fun) is to create some kind of liquor cabinet or bar area. Literally, just put all your bottles on one table. Done. If your roommates are sticky-fingered and/or drunks, you can do the same thing, but in your closet or something. Think of it as cool and sneaky, instead of sad.
Yeah, it's more responsibility, but being on the lease means leverage, both with your landlord and whoever you live with. Alternately, though, if you hate your place enough that your plan is to bail and illegally sublet, get your name off the lease and get reimbursed for your security deposit before you do anything. If a person is shitty enough that you're sick of living with them, maybe don't trust them with your cash and a binding legal document to which you are technically attached. Could go badly.
So, this is a risky all-in move. If you have roommates or even just a too-small apartment, a cat can definitely become a point of contention that takes your living situation from "kind of bad" into "total fucking nightmare." But! It can also be a great means of pest control, an innocuous point of conversation with your roommates, and a way to save an innocent animal from death.
Again, an all-in kind of move. In general, it's good to be friendly with the people living next to you. Benefits come in unexpected forms, whether it's gossip about the landlord or discounted weed. But also, if you and your roommates really have nothing to say to each other, a feud with some jerk in the building is a great thing to bond over. Hate really brings people together, sometimes.
Not so you can move in with them immediately, because jesus, what a terrible idea. But spending half the week at someone else's place is a pretty good buffer in its own right.
Less comfortable in the short-term, but clearly an easy way to make the extra money you need to move. Just don't let them get into the liquor table.
If the situation with your roommates is totally untenable, no need to add weird fridge food politics into the mix. Just get takeout, or even better, eat at places that are not your apartment. This has the added benefit of getting you out of your terrible apartment.
This may seem obvious or like a clear admission of defeat, but, you know, sleep is really nice. So is not hearing weird things that can never be un-heard.
Even if your place is tiny and your roommate unpleasant, having people over is an unparalleled impetus to actually clean up, and to see your place through new eyes. Plus, any place is better if your friends are there. Awww.
No, this is not just a crazy person thing to do. It's a totally normal way to quietly lay the groundwork for when you move out. Scratch your initials into the bottom of glasses, sharpie them in the corner of books and records, leave elaborate burn patterns to mark the pots and pans that are yours. Be ready.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.