A studio for two men and three dogs


Isaac Mahone and Marcus Arnett, who lived in San Antonio, often traveled to New York. After visiting the city, Mr. Mahone said: “this is where you want to live”.

The men, both 34, met while they were students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Last summer, Mr. Mahone landed a job in Hoboken, New Jersey as a transaction coordinator for a real estate company, and they jumped at the chance to move. Mr. Arnett, who works in the member relations department of a financial services firm, has arranged to work from home.

They put up for sale the house in San Antonio, which had belonged to Mr. Arnett’s grandmother. It was small, but there was a courtyard. The house in the Highland Park neighborhood sold for around $ 107,000.

For their three dogs, all mixed with huskies, the couple needed an ultra-pet building, preferably with an outdoor area. They preferred a location in Midtown or downtown Manhattan so that Mr. Mahone could easily reach his Hoboken office by subway and PATH train.

Their budget for a rental apartment was about $ 2,500 per month. “We knew we were pretty limited,” said Mahone. “We knew New York was expensive. We didn’t want to waste all of our money on rent.

The couple, who tied the knot earlier this year, were in close contact with a Citi Habitats salesperson who fell ill as they were taking off on a trip to find an apartment. The agent therefore referred them to a colleague, Lex Wang, also a salesperson there.

“We were very clear that we had three dogs and we knew it would be difficult,” said Mr. Mahone. The dogs – Glinda, Elphaba, and Fiyero – are named after “Wicked,” one of the couple’s favorite musicals.

They started the hunt in a Hell’s Kitchen walk-up, climbing several flights of stairs to find a small one bedroom that didn’t look like it had been renovated, ever. “It was becoming a quick reality check,” said Mahone. “This is what we got.”

Mr Arnett didn’t care for a spot that was “rough around the edges,” he said. What if the ground was badly dug. “We could make it look good. You can cover things.

They moved on, to see a one bedroom on East 32nd Street. But they couldn’t get in. Another unit in the same building was dark and insignificant. The neighborhood was not inviting. “It was in the middle of a bunch of tall buildings,” Mr. Wang said. “It wasn’t really a neighborhood.

They made their way to a 1961 brick building in Midtown East, near the entrance ramp to the Queensboro Bridge. There they saw an alcove studio on the ground floor with a private fenced patio.

“The building is really dog ​​friendly,” Wang said. “We saw, like, four dogs come out while we were there.”

The couple were surprised at how decent the place was. The rent was $ 2,700 per month. “It was more than our original budget, but within the comfort zone,” Mr. Arnett said.

They had another place to explore, the new City Tower in downtown Brooklyn, near an assortment of subway lines. A route from Brooklyn to Hoboken was doable, but it wasn’t clear if the three dogs would be allowed. The apartments rented quickly, they did not want to wait to find out and in the meantime, they lost the studio with terrace.

Their papers were ready. “Getting an apartment is like applying for a home loan,” Arnett said. “You have to have this whole package together, which is unlike anything you have in Texas.”

So they rented the studio in Midtown East and arrived in early fall, paying an additional deposit for the dog and a brokerage fee of 15% of a year’s rent, or $ 4,860.

“If you increase your budget a bit, the rent won’t be much higher and you will be able to get what you are looking for,” said Mahone.

City life is everything they thought it would be, punctuated by an endless array of food varieties. “We tried not to repeat the restaurants,” Mr. Arnett said. He appreciates the delivery at noon. “I use GrubHub,” he said. “It’s not like I order from McDonald’s every day.”

Working from home, he takes care of the dogs. Fiyero, the older one, likes to lie outside when the weather is cool. “It will be interesting when the snow comes in how they react, because we didn’t have that in Texas,” Mr. Mahone said. They had to train the dogs not to howl at sirens.

During rush hour, the traffic horn on the bridge is constant. Some traffic cops are entertaining, yelling at motorists. “A lot of times it’s’ Come on ‘,’ Hurry up ‘or’ What are you doing? “,” Said Arnett.

The neighborhood has a lot of small dogs but few large ones. In Texas, the most frequent comment was “What a lovely dog.” In New York, people are more impressed with the size of the animals.

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