Aren't You Glad You Live in Seattle?

Comments

1
Rents in the other boroughs of NYC aren't quite so bad. Manhattan is really more of a blight on that area. It's like a black hole, sucking in everything around it. Anyone who wants to open a business of any significance wants to do it in Manhattan. It leaves the other boroughs and the surrounding 50 miles a sort of desolate wasteland. A pity.
2
Yeah, but that's an average. That means some pay a lot more and some pay a lot less. But, frankly, I love Seattle at any price. And I loath any place east of the Rockies.
3
No, rent in the outer boroughs sucks too. $700 a month for an hour commute is not reasonable.
4
Sure, but I feel sad for anyone who doesn't get a charge out of the prospect of living in New York. Whether it's roommating heavily to swing rent in Manhattan, finding a place you can afford solo in one of the boroughs, or doing the full Pike-Pine simulator ride in certain bits of Brooklyn, the place offers options. I love my little jumped-up pantry boy of a hometown Seattle, but let's face it, any New Yorker would answer "but the rent's cheaper in Seattle" with "I would fucking hope so".
5
Easier to get to Nathan's if you're in New York
6
But what is the median rent? That would mean more than the "average."
7
@2
There are a few places I prefer, but generally I don't like/like the USA equally. Plop me me down in dumbfuck Ohio, and I will survive much like I do now. Please let them have WiFi, what would I do without my holy connection to society?!
8
You can't compare the two - the math is done totally differently. NY has insanely high rent - but your landlord also can't raise your rent any amount he pleases (with only a 60 day notice if it's more than 10%) like he can in Seattle. And he can't charge you fees for water/sewer/garbage like he can in Seattle unless you have a meter in your apartment that solely measures your usage. NY tenants have way more rights than Seattle tenants (who basically have none). It can literally take a landlord in NY years to get a tenant out while in Seattle the Sheriff will show up and throw you out of your apartment in three days if the landlord wants you out. Rent in Seattle in insanely high compared to what people earn for a living.

I have lived in both Brooklyn (1998-2000) and Seattle (2002 to 2007) and love both cities - but Seattle is no New York. There is just no way to compare the two - the size and scope and diversity of New York City makes Seattle look very small and very white and very provincial in comparison.
9
The last part of my comment did not post - people living in Seattle are paying WAY TOO MUCH IN RENT for the city in which they live.
10
@ 3, $700 a month for an hour commute can be found in any city worth considering, and even ones not worth considering. That sounds way too low for NYC.
11
You have to remember that some people are paying tens of thousands in rent every month for some crazy apts. I'd also be interested in seeing what the average rent is for Upper Manhattan as opposed to Manhattan as a whole. I guarantee it's significantly lower. My Harlem apt cost less than $1350/mnth. Split 2 ways it wasn't terrible. Still not cheap but also not nearly as expensive as the average Manhattan rent.

As for @3's complaint about the outer boroughs: the commute depends on where you work and where in the outer boroughs you live. When in lived in Harlem and worked in the Financial District I had nearly an hour long commute. Getting into midtown took about 40 minutes, longer if I wanted to go to Midtown East. I now live in Queens. Midtown (East or West) takes me 15 minutes and the Financial District about 40. I also pay less for a bigger apartment and live in a neighborhood that I hang out in. It's not cheap - nothing in NYC is - but it doesn't suck.
12
@10, I pay less than $700/month, live in an outer borough and have less than an hour commute. You just have to find the right place.
13
I pay $670 for a hipster community in Brooklyn (my window looks out at a dive bar, an organic corner grocery store, and 1 block away are a bike shop, a green gym, and three coffee shops). I have a 10-15 minute subway ride to the middle of Manhattan. I have no need of a car.

Life is pretty good in NYC; and unless you're stupid and want to live in Manhattan like most people that move here from across the country, it's really pretty damn reasonable.
14
moosefan and lroohik - how many roommates do you have?
15
@13: yeah but you have to live with hipsters.
16
Bethany,

You're confusing affordability with price. You don't get the whole picture until you consider income. Teachers in NYC, for one example, make 3x what they do anywhere else. Costs mean nothing without considering incomes.
17
Tiebreaker against the Yanks today - Go Orioles!
19
@14 (xina), I have 2 roommates. But I have a friend who lives about 10 blocks from me and has his own place for less than $1,000/month. Living on my own would certainly make it pricier but still not terribly insanely pricey.
20
No one ever considers transportation prices when talking about NYC rents. How much do you pay for car, gas and insurance in Seattle? The absolute most you have to pay in New York for transportation is around $100 a month.

Like @12 says, if you're smart about it, you can get relatively reasonable rent and a short commute. And, of course, you know, there's that side benefit of living in one of the great cities in the history of the world.
21
#5, you can get Nathan's here in the local supermarkets, but can only get Sabrett's in NYC or in bulk by mail order.

As someone who grew up in NYC, I love it........but only as a tourist. A kick ass career that trumps the stresses and street hassles, pays really well and leaves me with some disposable income, and didn't require living with "bro-mates" could get me to move back.

22
@ 12, is that for the entire apartment, or is that your share?
23
Whoops, sorry, you said so @ 11. It's sharing.

I was thinking total rent, which is the basis of this post and how I read @ 3.
24
I enjoyed living in New York City (Manhattan and the Bronx) but it definitely drained me. Visiting New York, you can have the time of your life blowing $100+ per day by going to concerts, shows, museums, amazing restaurants, and friendly bars. (Coffeehouses and bookstores are way better in Seattle, though.) When you live there, of course, you can't afford to do all those things all the time, and you start to realize the real drawbacks of living in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. There are the always-crowded subway commutes (and delays because someone passed out on a train); you show up to work and get home completely stressed. There are always long lines to those amazing cultural attractions, or they are sold out or require reservations days or weeks in advance. There is almost TOO much happening at once, so it is hard to keep track of events, or miss out on many because you can only go to one. What really got to me, especially in Manhattan, were all the reminders that places had to serve thousands of people a day: signs in cafes and restaurants saying you could only stay 20 minutes, or spots with no public restrooms or seating because they don't want customers (or transients) to linger. When I visit NYC now, I can feel my shoulders tensing up as the train from the airport approaches the city. I know that I won't really be able to relax until I leave. When I realized that my favorite places in New York were Central Park, Prospect Park, and Van Cortland Park, places where I was surrounded by trees, I knew it was time to move back to Seattle.
25
@23, If I wanted my own place and to only pay $700/month I could do it. But my commute and neighborhood wouldn't be so great. At that point it would cease to be worth it to me to live in NYC.
26
Seattle is more affordable than NYC. Government statistics say that's true. Although food prices in Seattle are quite high. Always have been - well, they have been since I arrived in the mid-eighties. I thought it was because everything had to be trucked in from other parts of the country. My classic example is a 20 lb. bag of dog food (a brand my dog liked) was way more here than in Texas where I'd just completed a two-year stay. It was almost 75% more. Relatives visiting me from back east would come in from a day of shopping wondering how anyone could afford the food prices here.

So we all know that Seattle isn't a cheap city to live in. And even beyond inflation, prices for utilities and rent have risen dramatically. I wish it was more affordable. Many of my friends tell me that they're going to have to retire somewhere else because the cost of living is just too high. That's very sad because they love this town as much - if not more - than I do. Some of them made this city what it is today.

It's odd, really, that many things are so high here because salaries aren't that great - unless your specialty is in great demand. That stay in Texas I told you about? I took a $4/hr. pay cut moving here doing exactly the same work in the health care field. Usually where salaries are lower, the cost of living is lower, right?
27
Rent/mortgage in Texas is one thing (hello property taxes two or three times higher than Seattle), but the cost of air conditioning and the commute (gas costs--70 mile round trip not uncommon, wear and tear on car, plus the hours every day spent in traffic) must be factored in. Three hundred dollar electricity bill in the hot months? Nothing to write home about.

And the difference between tornados and earthquakes is that you can have several a year, every year in tornado zones, where's memorable earthquakes are twice-in-a-lifetime events.
28
What I've noticed travelling around the country lately is -- the whole world is now "Seattle".

Everyone is building Craftsman style homes...even in suburban developments. Everyone wants bike lanes and espresso hangouts...even if they are in strip malls. Everyone wants light rail, even if its only 5 miles long (Eugene, OR)!

New York City is now desperately trying to build up its high tech jobs with the collapse of finance.

So, you could equally now say, aren't you glad you live in Lincoln...Boston...98030....
29
@4- Don't feel sad for me. The fact you don't understand me reflects badly on you, in my mind.

Mega cities hold no appeal for me. The population density of Seattle is more than enough for me.
30
@4
don't listen to dwitemooshitsthings. It's a trick, Feel sad!
31
Seattle is getting so expensive for what you get, I'm thinking San Francisco is a much better deal. Better winters, awesome transit, great bars and restaurants on every corner.
32
#26, as far as the salaries, I think it's the IT money that balances out the low salaries. Most people I know around here who work in that sector do very well salary wise. Health care is pretty good too; but other sectors, it's much more of a struggle.
33
@ 22:

Don't get me wrong...when I came to Seattle from Texas I fell to my knees and kissed the ground. The water quality alone would have been enough to win me over, but this green paradise we call home was like dying and going to heaven after two years of Houston/Galveston.

Of course all the following has changed with time, but when I was in Houston, the oil bubble of the late 70s and early 80s had popped. You saw former secretaies with oil companies with Porsche 928s parked outside pawn shops (which were everywhere) pawning gold chains for gas money. My large one-bedroom apartment on the west side of Houston was $300/mo. in 1985. That included utilities - and the air-conditioner, as you mentioned, ran 24 hours a day during spring, summer and most of autumn. You had to have a car to get anywhere, really, because the bus system was lousy and undependable. Taking the bike to work - which I did - was rolling the dice with your life.

When I came to Seattle in the same year, I lived in West Seattle (I didn't know any better and rented a place sight unseen before leaving Texas) and had many of the same issues (minus the constant heat). But my apartment, which was next door to High Point when it was sort of a dangerous place (I was mugged once at knife point), had no air-conditioning, either too-hot-or-too-cold gas heat and was $585/mo. The utilities were included but you'd get nasty notes from the manager if you were using too much.

I was led to believe that Seattle had one of the best public transportation systems in the country, and didn't find it so when I arrived. I did a lot of waiting for buses that ran every 30 to 40 minutes. When the blizzard of '91 hit, I was stranded in West Seattle for three or four days. No one could tell me when the next bus was coming and the info line was a busy signal for a week (I later solved that issue by moving downtown closer to work). Biking to work was dangerous (that's changing thank goodness) even at night when there was no traffic you'd encounter people who wanted to take you on.

And as I mentioned before, I took a 28% pay cut moving here. When I once asked why salaries were so low here when prices aren't, I was told it was supply and demand. A lot of people want to move here. There are a lot of people for employers to chose from. And employees are willing to take less money if they can go hiking after work. Seriously....that's what I was told.
34
@11: Hey, could you explain to a rube like me why it takes so much longer to get to the financial district? On a map, anyway, the distance between midtown and the financial district doesn't look very far. Is it that the subway takes forever?
35
@28: The "Craftsman" aesthetic is much more than what a certain roof pitch, stacked asymmetrical dormers, deep overhangs, "eyebrow" windows, stone column piers, or what-the-fuck-ever could possibly convey alone.

You could replicate a Greene Brothers vision precisely in one of those cookie-cutter suburban tracts you masturbate about, with eaves two feet apart and lots of "cultured" stone and MDF, and it would look just as shitty as all the other ticky-tacky developments surging back now that the "construction industry" is resurgent (despite millions of vacant, rotting foreclosed homes).

Hint: the original vision, divorced from superficial visual cues, involves having each structure emerge FROM A PARTICULAR SITE (with attention to orientation, elevation, and minimal disruption of natural contours), use of local materials, and the pride of the workman taking precedence over corporate profit.
36
The most naive thing BJC has posted in a while... surprise, the rent is cheaper here than London too ... what a shock, rent in Cleveland is much cheaper than here.
37
Monterrey Park, Auburn:

http://www.connerhomes.com/_img/communit…

Seattle Exceptionalism is no more.
38
@34, Midtown to the Financial District doesn't take long, maybe 10-15 minutes via subway. I was more discussing the difference in time it used to take me to get from my apartment in West Harlem (Upper Manhattan) to Midtown or to the Financial District and how long it takes me to get to those places now from my apartment in Queens. Sorry if I was unclear about that.
Commute times vary by both distance and by subway line. The subway line I live on now (N/Q) is more reliable than the one (B/C, only the C on weekends because the B doesn't run) I took in Harlem. And the N/Q cuts across Midtown from East to West making both sides of the city more accessible to me. So even though I'm roughly the same distance from Midtown and the Financial District as when I was in Harlem, and even though there's now a river to cross, it takes less time to get from one place to another.
39

Fayetteville in Dwell mag..going green.

http://www.dwell.com/slideshows/small-fo…

Seattle Exceptionalism has been eclipsed.
40
"The city is experiencing a renaissance, with private development revitalizing once ignored areas -- most notably Over-the-Rhine, the historic district just north of downtown that has become a gathering spot for the young and trendy."

Everywhere is Seattle..even Cincinnati !!

http://www.cleveland.com/travel/index.ss…
41
@36

yet look at the multitude of reaction to a simple post. We don't need the usual Stranger writer's insight and clever color commentary to kickstart a discussion, just a link or two. If they want to be heard, let them be a part of the comment thread along with us common folk.
43
Manhattan would be a lot cheaper to live in if NYC wasn't a closed union shop for developers.
44
The best thing about Seattle is the reputation for rain. Those people who can't bear gray skies are easily self-deported, making more room for the rest of us. I always tell people that they would hate Seattle because it rains all the time, so they might as well go live somewhere else (the whole time hoping they tell all their friends the same thing, and so on). Yes, it's evil but I feel it necessary to do my part to keep the Emerald City wonderful. But it rains - ALL THE TIME!!! don't forget to say that part. ;;-)
45
I pay zero in rent and get to have a new view from my house every day. Even get to pick the cities I spend my "weekends" in (I gotta get up to Seattle one of these months).

The downside is I'm in Dodge City, Kansas right now, which does lend itself to amusing rehashed lines from '50s era westerns, but that's about the end of the charm.
46
@43- And somehow opening that up would make the island bigger? Manhattan is expensive because there isn't much of it to go around.
47
@44, there's a difference between rain and gray skies. The latter is the problem.

If my family weren't here, I'd take a small garage in Queens any day over my house with a zillion rotting maple trees in the back yard.
48
I thought this would be about the dude hoarding alligators in Brooklyn:

http://gawker.com/5941782/nypd-seizes-al…
49
All these people talking about rent costs make the whole comment thread look like spammers at first glance.

I see "$700/month" and my spam detector begins giving an immediate false positive.
50
GET NICE APARTMENTS CHEAP IN WILLIAMSBURG, 600/MONTH, ALERT YOUR PARENTS
51
#50, those rents were like 15 years ago unless you're talking about sharing with 2 other people. Like other artsy fartsy boho neighborhoods, once the secret about it is out, the gentry move in and the rents hit the stratosphere.
52
Rents like these, even if average and not median, are a reflection of why some people think they're Middle Class when they're Millionaires.
53
I live in Brooklyn, Pay $1007 a month, live alone, 35-40 min to midtown. In Seattle I paid 370 for a room in a house in wallingford, I needed a car and hated it. I remember while I loved the rent I was paying in a share in Seattle, I wasn't able to afford a place on my own. In NYC, staying in the same ratios, after a year I figured out a place I could live in on my own. And I have lived in my current place for 3 years, my starting rent was 950.00.
54
@35: are you married? :)
55
44. I wish the people living in Seattle who keep whining about the weather all the time (as if they have no idea where they live) would either shut up about it or move away, so those of us who actually like it could enjoy the overcast and drizzle in peace.
56
I just moved to Seattle from the Bay Area so my husband could attend to grad school @ UW. I love the area, but I'm shocked at how incredibly low the salaries are in Seattle. Cost of living is about 10% less that what I was paying in the bay area but the job offers thus far have salaries at 35-45% less. I wonder why this is. I have heard over and over how much better the quality of life is in Seattle, but not quite seeing it yet. If I have to earn way less and pay about the same to live and deal with LA-like traffic, it doesn't feel better. I hope I'm wrong.