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February 2016

23 Feb 2016

So you’re moving, or have just moved to Manhattan. Congratulations! You’ve officially started what may arguably be the best years of your life. Choosing the right apartment is the first step to having a KILLER NYC experience. While you’ll probably end up choosing the most cost-effective apartment (aka you won’t have to have 7 jobs just to afford rent), it is super important to consider your neighborhood. We’re creating a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide straight from insiders for you to have the BEST Manhattan experience, in any neighborhood.

Our first stop takes us to the East Village. Also known as Alphabet City, this neighborhood’s notorious reputation of counterculture has helped it grow into a beautiful artistic, multicultural place to live. Historically the East Village was known for cheap housing, and in the 70’s living there served as a sort of rite of passage for people of a certain age.

And so now that you’re caught up with the history of your new neighborhood, let’s get to the good stuff.


Ninth Street EspressoNinth Street Espresso

Located at 700 E 9th St, this is the perfect neighborhood spot that never disappoints. But remember to bring some dollars as it is cash only.





Cafe OrlinCafé Orlin

Known for their awesome breakfasts, Café Orlin is a great neighborhood spot for your breakfast. Located at 41 Saint Marks Place, be sure to try the pumpkin pancakes.





Luke's LobsterLuke’s Lobster

Perfect place for a quick lunch, Luke’s Lobster buys traceable, sustainable seafood from fisheries along the gulf of Maine, bringing the best quality seafood to the East Village. Located at 93 E. 7th Street





botanical6 BC Botanical Garden

Looking for a place to get a little fresh(er) air? 6BC Botanical Garden is a great place to take a breather in between classes or on your lunch break at work. Located at 622 6th Street.





Drop Off Service

$3 20 oz pints until 8pm; offering craft beer, cask ales, house cocktails and fine wines since 2005. Located at 211 Avenue A.





The intimate neighborhood restaurant offers an awesome farm-to-table dinner experience that you and your friends can enjoy. Located at 25 Cooper Square.



Alphabet LoungeAlphabet Lounge

The perfect place to meet up with friends and get your dance on, Alphabet Lounge aka ABC Lounge is the most fun you can have on a Saturday night! Playing all your favorite hits from the 80’s, 90’s and today, this bar is located at 104 Ave C.




Looking for an apartment in the East Village? We’ve got you covered. From multi-bedroom shares, to furnished apartments, No Fee Rentals has it all. To check out some of our awesome apartments in the East Village, click here:


Hope to see you around the city! 10432944_550180498447716_6005268813891612612_n



11 Feb 2016
Guide to finding a roommate in New York City

As an only child, sharing personal space and “stuff” became a part of my vocabulary very late in life. It’s not like I didn’t understand the concept, but when you live at home, Mom and Dad don’t typically leave the milk out or dishes in the sink. When I first moved to the city, I experimented with living by myself in an Upper West Side Studio. It was okay, but I was really lonely. I was in a totally new city, and I realized that I missed coming home to someone. Your home environment really sets the tone for your well being, and the last thing this introvert needed was more alone time. I knew I had to find a roommate.

After my past experiences in college, I had learned what I needed in a roommate. Someone who was pretty laid back, messy but not dirty, who was invested in creating a safe and cozy home, and who did not listen to Opera. After my lonely first months in the city, I found my match-made-in-roommate heaven. I really took the time to get to know her, and after our hangouts we were sure that we would get along well in the same apartment. Turns out, we were right! Having a taste of living alone really reminded me how important it is for me to have someone to check in with at the end of the day. Some people really love the studio or one-bedroom life, but for me – at least for right now – I love having someone to share my corn-puffs with (I am a very good sharer now).

So here are my top tips for finding the right roommate in NYC:

Finding a roommate

You can take a bit of a risk and use Craigslist or the Village Voice’s weekly list of “roommates wanted”, but be sure to meet up with the person a few times before deciding to jump into living together. I’ve met people who have had awesome experiences with this, and also the opposite. There are also online roommate matching services, such as Roommate Locator or, if you’re an NYU student, try going through Off Campus Housing (call 212-998-4620 and press “O.”) Definitely avoid using any roommate matching service that asks you to display your phone number or your current address in your profile. NOTE: Free roommate services do not perform background checks on their members, so you will probably want a credit history on your prospective roommate (search “credit history” from your browser. For a more extensive check, including criminal records, check out Knowx). I really recommend using your personal network to find a roommate. Your friends and family know you well, and they might have the perfect person to set you up with. Reach out on Facebook, and let the people you hang with know to be on the lookout.

Be really honest with what you want

Ask yourself these questions: Are you looking for a place to crash, or a place to call home? Different people want different things! Is it important for you to feel a sense of community with your roommate(s), or are you just looking for someone to split the rent with? Even if it’s the latter, you should still get a sense of who the person is, especially if it is a Craigslist match.

When considering a multi-bedroom share, think of your personal habits, your pet peeves, and what kind of environment you like to come home to. Things to think about: cleaning and organization, having guests over or throwing parties, noise-level, alcohol consumption, sleeping/waking preferences. Also, do you need to be alone to recharge? If so, look for a roommate who has a similar inclination, or have that conversation upfront. Another thing to think about is your work schedule, especially if that effects sleeping and waking.

Have the important conversations right away

Sometimes it can be awkward to talk money. But you’re about to split expenses with this person or people, and the sooner you talk about how that is going to go down, the more peace of mind you will have. Are you splitting utilities? Cable? Do you have a deadline for when rent money is due? Sit down and talk about this stuff up front. It will set the tone for your roommate relationship,

Avoid moving in with someone just because you find them attractive

My friend in college hooked up with his roommate first semester freshman year. Let’s just say it made for a really awkward second semester. I can’t condone this behavior, but if you do find your soulmate on Craigslist please email me because I really love weddings.Love Haley

NOTE: My Dad wanted me to include that the rate of roommate separation the United States is higher than the divorce rate. I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s made up, especially because it’s a little depressing. Nice one, Dad.

If you’re in the market for a new roomie, keep my tips in your pocket. I think you’ll be well on your way to finding someone to share your corn puffs with! Until next time,

Hope this helped!

Love, Haley

photo credit: Elp2 via photopin (license)

4 Feb 2016
Keeping your NYC apartment pest-free

Welcome to my first edition of ‘Haley Helps’! I’m so excited you’re here! I don’t even mind if you alternate between watching Making a Murderer and reading this post!

My name is Haley, and my aim is to give you the skinny on renting an apartment in New York City. Tips, tricks and some poetic musings in between.

Here’s the thing, NYC is a complicated lady. She is magical, but also abrasive. She is mesmerizing, but also overwhelming. My goal is for us to embrace her complexities together. If you’re a new renter, or have questions about living here, you are not alone! The best part: I am here to make your mistakes for you! All you have to do is read this blog, and reap the benefits of my blunders.

In late August I moved to an Upper West Side apartment, my insides ripe with a mixture of terror and excitement. I had grown up an hour outside of Manhattan in a rural area with lots of trees. I had gone to college in Boston, which pretends to be a city but is really a very large town. I had to take baby steps before I was ready for that funky apartment in the West Village or Chelsea.

And suddenly, I was there. Alone in my new apartment, sitting on the floor, repeating “do not forget your keys” like my new mantra. I had always left the door unlocked in Boston, but we were not in Kansas anymore and these days Toto looks a lot more like a Rottweiler.

A couple days into acclimating to my new apartment, something strange happened. I don’t remember why or what had occurred to bring it on, but all of a sudden a full body panic came over me. I took a sharp inhale and immediately picked up the phone and called my Dad. “Hi sweetie,” he said. “Cockroaches,” I whispered.

I had forgotten. This was NEW YORK CITY. There were rats in the subway and not the cute ones like Ratatouille and his Parisian family. I had never seen a cockroach before. And to be clear, I hadn’t yet seen one in my studio apartment at this moment. But I knew it was coming. I knew they were lurking in the dark and that they were going to get me. It was only a matter of time.

My Dad affirmed the cold hard truth: they were there and they would come unless I made sure all food items were packaged and sealed. I bowed my head in shame. This would be my downfall.

Sure enough, a week later, it happened. I was with a close friend, sitting on my bed having an intense life chat – it was either about climate change or pizza, I don’t remember. In a moment, everything changed. My friend screamed and jumped off the bed. The room grew cold. Time slowed down. They had come. I knew even before she told me. “COCKROACH!” She yelped. “IN YOUR BED,” she cried.

I was calm. I was quiet. I took a deep breath and I looked over to see him, fat and smooth, with his creepy little tentacles feeling around my quilted duvet.

So what did I do? Well, like the brave empowered woman that I am, I cheered my friend on as she trapped the cockroach in my tee shirt and shoved the whole bundle into the toilet. And then I cheered a little less vehemently as she stuck her hand in the bowl to retrieve the shirt because it would not flush down the toilet.

If I had to rate the experience from 1 to Traumatizing I would give it a 6. A cockroach in your bed is a very scary thing. I don’t want it to happen to you. So here is my guide to avoiding/dealing with all New York Pests.

Pest #1: Cockroaches


– Keep food sealed and packaged.
My Dad was right about this. Whether you live alone or in a multi-bedroom share, be sure not to leave food out (I know, it’s so tempting to leave the oatmeal in the bowl as a sort of post-adolescent “screw you” to your parents. But it’s also really important to wash that bowl right away, not only because of cockroaches, but because it’s really hard to scrape three-day-old oatmeal out of a bowl.) Use Tupperware (glass containers are my tip, they’re better for the environment and plastic has some nasty chemicals that can seep into your food). Secure cereal with a sturdy clip or rubber band, and put food back in the fridge when you finish your meal.

– Don’t leave water out.
Turns out these little buggers can go for over a week without food, but cannot survive without water. So be careful about leaving flowers in a vase full of water, finish that glass of water that you leave on your night stand, seal your bottles and empty your cans.

– Tip from my Dad:
“To prevent cockroaches in a more organic fashion, buy boric acid powder at the drugstore. This cheap stuff is usually used as an eyewash. Sprinkle the powder along the baseboard moldings and cracks and brush it in with a toothbrush, hopefully not the one currently in use. While the bugs don’t eat it then, it adheres to the fine leg hairs and their buddies groom it off in their nests. As these critters can’t pass gas, the boric acid mixes with their stomach acids and they explode, killing themselves and their nest mates with roach shrapnel. Roach genocide cannot be tried as a war crime.” (My Dad clearly thinks he’s writing a novel on cockroaches).

– Have an exterminator come spray once a month.
In No Fee Rentals buildings extermination is FREE! They visit twice monthly. Once your apartment is nice and sprayed, you will not have a problem anymore, especially if you’re following the above tips.

Pest #2: Bed Bugs

I know. I know. So gross. But they are another part of this mostly magical city. Tips:
– What not to do

Do not buy upholstered furniture, rugs, or other kinds of fabric-covered items off of the street unless you are sure they are not infested. I know that second-hand couch is gorgeous and cheap, but it is a risk unless you can confirm with the previous owner that there are no bugs.

– Deep Clean

If you have bed bugs, you have to do a deep clean of everything you own. All clothes have to be washed, and you have to get rid of your mattress. They will continue to breed inside of it and if you are feeling a little pukey right now please take a break and come back to this blog later.

– Tip from my Dad

“A bed bug exterminator must be engaged by No Fee Rentals management at management’s expense per NYC law. As managers tend not to rent infested apartments, having a bed bug issue and notifying management is the equivalent of saying “I brought in a cute couch I found on the street” or “I picked these critters up in someone else’s home or store or theatre” or “my friends delivered them to me for free”.”

Pest #3: Waterbugs

-Follow cockroach instructions

Waterbugs are like giant cockroaches that love to freak you out by crawling up your shower drain or toilet bowl! It is really best to have an exterminator come if you’re dealing with the wrath of waterbugs. Or you could just not shower or go to the bathroom. Up to you!

Pest #4: Generally annoying people


#1 Wait for an upcoming blog on how to deal with annoying people (especially when it comes to apartment shares and bad roommates).

Love HaleyUntil then, I bid you good luck, and a pest-free existence. But now that you’ve got the insider tips, rest assured that you are prepared. Hope I helped!

Love, Haley