New York City Apartments: A Translation Guide

Oh, you want to find a somewhat comfortable, moderately affordable place to live? You’re adorable.

Cozy = How attached are you to your full-size bed? Or any bed, really?

Spacious = Remember that weirdly narrow dorm room on your floor in college where the loner kid who came back from studying abroad had to live because it was the only one available? Yeah, like that.

Sun-drenched = Has a window (maybe).

Walk-in closet = Closet.

Brand-new stainless steel appliances = Appliances.

Steps to trains = A mile’s worth of steps, to be exact.

Park-adjacent = There is a tree somewhere on the block. It might be a dead Christmas tree from three months earlier, but it’s there.

Tons of storage = See “walk-in closet.”

420 friendly = There will literally never not be smoke everywhere, in your hair, in your lungs, on your clothes, in your life.

Perfect for roommates = So small that you and your BFF will stop speaking within months.

Perfect for couples = So small that you and your boo will break up within months.

Walk-up building = Walk alllllll the way up. No, keeping going. Almost there. Feel free to stop and catch your breath. Yes, OK, that’s it.

Live/work = Not remotely legal.

Loft = Basically a regular apartment except you can definitely hear your roommates having sex.

Rooftop access = The building does indeed have a surface on top of it. Good luck getting up there, and woe betide you when you try to get back down.

Balcony = Rusty fire escape permanently encrusted with cigarettes that do not belong to you.

Eat-in kitchen = The only way you can “eat in” (ew) here is if you swap out your refrigerator for a card table.

Laundry = There is a coin-operated laundromat seven blocks away. Do not sit on the chairs there. Trust me.

Close to shops, bars, and restaurants! = Close to cell phone providers, bodegas, and nail-salons-slash-unisex-barbers where the curtains are always closed!

Garden = 9 square feet of sad, broken cement.

Shared garden = 3 square feet of sad, broken cement.

Pre-war building = Henry Hudson didn’t need the internet, so why should you?

Post-war building = Converted hospital.

Safe neighborhood = Nice try, you can’t even afford a beer here.

Quiet neighborhood = You will have to relinquish your seat at the bar for somebody’s baby. Unless you have your own baby. If not, GET OUT.

Up-and-coming neighborhood = Do not invite your parents to visit you.

Bedwick/Parkwanus/ProCro = These neighborhoods were invented by real estate agents and do not exist. You might as well get a studio in Hyrule or Hogsmeade.

Right off the [specific, fairly desirable stop] on the [subway line] = at least three stops beyond that one.

Exposed brick = The previous tenant punched a hole in the particle board.

Original molding = Roaring mouse infestation.

Recently renovated = Recently repainted and then inflated to twice the original rent.

Comes partially furnished = Comes partially bed bugged.

$50 application fee = The broker has decided that he or she would like to have $50.

Photos are of a comparable apartment in the building = Your place will resemble a garbage pit. And not even THIS garbage pit.

We have plenty more apartments available in the area! = This listing is 100% fabricated and the 20-year-old agent who refuses to communicate except by text will act confused/amused/angry when you ask about it before trying to sell you on something 30 blocks away, $400 more expensive, and roughly five times as shitty.

No broker’s fee = Enormous broker’s fee.

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