So, you’ve finally gotten that long-awaited news: you’ve been accepted into New York University (NYU)! Congratulations! With world-class education and an unforgettable college experience right around the corner, the next thing you need to tick off your list is finding great housing.
While on-campus housing has its perks, it might not necessarily be an option for everyone. In fact, some people might even prefer finding off-campus housing because they prefer to rent an apartment with friends or be closer to New York nightlife.
If you’re looking for off-campus housing that will still give you easy access to the NYU campus, you’ve come to the right place! This is the Rentalpaca guide to finding the best apartment within 30 minutes of New York University.
While NYU does offer great housing options for students, you might feel that finding off-campus housing is a better option for you. Here are four reasons why getting an apartment outside of campus is something to consider:
Typically, dorm rooms are just that: ROOMS. Even if you’re living solo in a room, it can feel awfully cramped, never mind if you have to share it with a roommate. Off-campus apartments are not only larger, but depending on the type of apartment, they can offer delineated spaces. If you opt for a 1-bedroom apartment or bigger, you have a private sleeping space, as well as a kitchen, dining area, and a living room. However, even if you just get a studio, you’ll have more space compared to a dorm room.
When you rent an apartment, you will be given access to all the amenities that come with the unit. You can enjoy amenities such as cable, WiFi, a gym, and rooftop spaces. What’s more, many apartment buildings are within walking distance of businesses such as grocery stores, laundromats, and convenience stores.
One of the most difficult things about living in a dorm is having to follow all the rules! Most dorms won’t allow overnight guests, and many have a curfew. What’s more, they will have a Resident Advisor (RA) to make sure that residents follow the rules. If you get your own place, you’ll find that the rules aren’t nearly as strict. While apartment buildings still have rules about noise, keeping pets, and occupancy, you won’t find a curfew or guest restriction.
Getting your own off-campus apartment will give you real-life experience and get your toes wet, so to speak. Think of it as a “trial period” for adulthood as you’ll have more responsibilities that you didn’t have before. You’ll have to learn how to balance your budget, pay off bills, run errands, and do basic cleaning and maintenance in your unit! You’ll also learn how to get along with your neighbors, communicate with the building manager, and understand how your lease works.
New York University is located in Mid/Lower Manhattan, with the main campus on Bleecker Street through 12 street. You can also find various NYU buildings scattered around the borough. Since the campus is located in the heart of Manhattan, you’ll be surrounded by the life and color of New York City. You’ll find the best restaurants, the trendiest nightclubs, and great shopping options all around you!
Whether you’re walking, biking, taking your own car, or taking public transport, you’ll want to find housing within 30 minutes of the campus.
Obviously, the best-case scenario is that you’ll find apartments that are within walking distance to campus. Typically, it takes around two minutes to walk around one NYC street block and around five minutes to walk down an NYC avenue. This means that if you want to live within 30 minutes of the NYU campus and you plan to walk, you’ll need to find housing in Chelsea, the East Village, Greenwich Village, or Gramercy neighborhoods. The map above shows you all locations that you can reach from NYU within 30 minutes by walking. Everything that’s marked blue-ish is reachable within 30 minutes or less. If you’re lucky enough to find an apartment in Greenwich Village, you’ll only need four minutes to get to the main campus if you take West 4th Street. If you’re coming from the East Village, it will be a 16-minute walk via St. Mark’s Place.
If you have a bike, you’ll be able to extend your apartment search radius further out. You can find apartments in the Lower East Side, as well as both the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. You’ll be closer to the campus if you look for an apartment on the Upper East Side since you’ll only need around 12 minutes to bike to the campus if you travel via 2nd Avenue. If you live on the Upper West Side, you can reach campus in 17 minutes if you travel via 5th Avenue. The map above shows you all locations that you can reach from NYU within 30 minutes by taking a bike. Everything that’s marked blue-ish is reachable within 30 minutes or less. The best thing about getting a bike is that NYU offers a discounted bike rental program for all students that is only about the same cost as a monthly Metrocard.
Commuting allows you to have almost the same housing options as you would have if you owned a car. This is because virtually every neighborhood in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens has a subway stop that connects it to NYU. What’s more, NYU subways are fast -- you can expect a train to come by every five minutes!
There are a ton of subway lines that stop within walking distance to the main New York University campus. In the map above all areas that you can reach within 30 minutes by public transit from NYU campus are marked in blue. Interestingly, there are also some areas in Hoboken, New Jersey with a commute below 30 minutes if you are up for a Ferry ride every morning. Suitable areas in Brooklyn with short commute times are Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Heights. There are even some places in Hunters Point, Queens accessible below 30 minutes from the NYU campus. If you’re up for living in Queens you might be able to spot some good deals and save a lot of money compared to renting in the Manhattan hot-spots.
For those who have a private vehicle, the options for finding off-campus housing expands drastically as you will no longer be confined to the borough of Manhattan. You can find an apartment as far out as Queens since you’ll only need around 24 minutes to get to campus if you take the I-495 W. You can also find apartments in Brooklyn, as you can pass by the Manhattan Bridge and get to campus within 20 minutes.
Now you know in which areas to look if you want to keep your commute to NYU below 30 minutes. But how do you find apartments with quick commutes without the need to always open Google Maps? Don’t worry, Alex by Rentalpaca has you covered!
Alex can easily show you the best routes if you type in your Points of Interest (in this case, the NYU campus). You can even specify your preferred transportation method (car, walking, biking, public transport) as Alex’s algorithm will take into account your travel time.
Once you’ve done that, Alex not only shows you the commute times for each potential apartment you look at, you’ll even get a ranking of which apartments are best suited for your commuting situation! Simply put, the easier and faster your commute from a rental unit to the campus, the higher it will rank on Alex’s recommendations.
You’ll have three options to choose from when you’re deciding what kind of off-campus housing to rent
The best option is renting your own apartment. You will sign the lease directly and choose to get roommates or live with your significant other. Renting an apartment also assures long-term housing since you’ll be able to time the duration of your lease with the school year.
When finding your own rental, you can use a broker to help you find suitable apartments for you. However, broker fees can be expensive. You can avoid these fees by using apartment rental websites such as Rentalpaca and looking for no broker fee units.
You can save money on rent by looking for apartments where you can rent a room. The downside is that you won’t be able to choose the people that you will share the apartment with.
You can get housing by subletting an apartment from an existing tenant. However, make sure that the apartment’s lease agreement allows for subletting to avoid any issues.
It would depend on when your acceptance comes out. For the regular acceptance period, the decision comes out in April. Since this is considered peak season, it can be hard to find an apartment. However, for those who apply during Early Decision I and II, those decisions come out from December to February. These months are considered to be the low season for finding apartments, so they can be the best time to go apartment hunting.
Choosing your housing is one of the most important things you need to take care of before you go to NYU. You need to find an affordable apartment where you can relax, destress, and feel safe! If you can find one that’s 30 minutes away from the campus, you won’t need to worry about commuting to class.