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I lived in Brooklyn for five years and after a life of loneliness (my friends deemed Brooklyn to be about as far away as Florida), I decided to move over the bridge to Manhattan. I rented a shoebox-sized apartment (300 square feet) downtown and was just happy to be back in civilization where my friends would come and visit me. A fourth-floor walkup, the space was described somewhat generously as a one-bedroom.
I had one window, which looked into an air shaft where a weird man would stare at me, and my apartment smelled like sweet-and-sour chicken. I had to climb over the sink to get to the tub, which was actually more like a crypt. The most disturbing part was that what looked like urine would leak through the ceiling from the apartment above. It felt like I was paying $2,000 a month to live in a tenement.
The turning point came when the landlord said he was raising the rent. I started looking for something cheaper and couldn't find anything, so that's when I decided to take the leap, scrape together my savings, and buy a place. I didn't want cookie-cutter: I was looking for something older with character. I found it in an elevator building just off Union Square. The 500-square-foot apartment had original details like old wooden beams, crystal doorknobs, and exposed metal door frames.
Keep reading to hear about the renovation and to see how the apartment looks now!