You’re probably asking yourself, “Dude, what the fuck is a flex three-bedroom?” Well, my good friend, let me tell you (not without a little preliminary story to explain how we got into this situation). A flex three-bed is a mirage that huge sky rise apartments in Manhattan put in front of recent grads to make them think they’re getting an absolute steal on a place.
At the point we finally decided on our building, we had probably seen 10+ apartments and were exhausted. We walk into this massive marble lobby with a doorman and a front desk, AC blasting and what appeared to be groups of young people walking in and out. So, we were off to a good start.
We then head into the management office where we talk casually about what we’re doing in the city, what price range we’re looking for, building rules etc. Then the broker drops this beauty on us, “The unit that we are seeing is currently occupied, would you guys like to see the roof first?” A roof you say? Sure, why not.
Well, we go up to the roof and it’s like a scene from a movie. Early summer, 36 floors up over-looking Manhattan, tables, lounge chairs, a turf space, grills etc. A view of the whole NYC skyline on one side and the east river on the other. To top it off, there’s tons of attractive girls everywhere sunbathing, drinking and laughing. This guy knew exactly what he was doing from the start.
Not kidding, after that he could have shown us the shittiest apartment in the building and we would have signed on the spot. Now, let’s get into the logistics. He takes out the floor plan and shows us a ONE BEDROOM with a massive living and dining room.
I will do my best to give you a visual. You walk in the front door to a living room with a bay window. The dining room, kitchen, closet and half bathroom are to the left. The full bathroom, natural bedroom and closet are to the right.
From here, he explained that we have to cut the 24-foot living room in half with a makeshift wall. However, this wall cannot go all the way up to the ceiling. NYC building code calls for the top to be at least 12 inches from the ceiling. Oh, and the door is that of the sliding variety that does not lock. Next we have to construct the other wall, and their suggestion? Fucking IKEA closet Units. This cuts off the second half of the living room from the dining room to form two separate bedrooms.
In sum, the first bedroom is the only natural and it is huge. The second bedroom is half of the living room made of the large bay window, one natural wall (living room wall/other side of the natural bedroom wall), the makeshift wall and then the wall made of three massive IKEA closet units. The third bedroom is the dining room made up of the IKEA units, then two natural walls and a continuation of the bay window.
Each bedroom fits a king size bed and are bigger than any other places we saw. Only problem is no privacy. The wall between the two flexed rooms are closet units and paper thin. I live in the room with the makeshift wall so I don’t have a top to it (you can get a top as the broker assured the building would look the other way, but I am too lazy). The third bedroom has no door, you either have to install one or use a curtain or something. The rent is $200-$300 cheaper (per person, per month) than all the places we saw and it has a doorman, gym, roof and laundry so it was an overall good value deal. Nonetheless, we are suckers.
The roof started out as a great perk—we would day drink up there every other weekend last summer. But it’s NYC so we only use it for 1/3 of the year.
This came to an end when a group of people in our building recently went a little too hard on a Sunday and started tearing up the roof and throwing stuff off. They put their foot and now you have to show your key and photo ID to prove you live in the building to access the roof, and are only permitted two guests at a time.
Now, from here I will address the fact that we got duped, I know it, I’ve admitted it and have come to grips with it. There is also solace in the fact that we are not the only ones to do this; there are tons of buildings in NYC that do this and our building is just one example. New grads are just their prey.
Next, this only worked because of how great me and my two roommates get along. I’ve known one guy since we were 13 and the other was our friend throughout college. So, the whole privacy, noise and worrying about stepping on each others toes was literally never a problem.
All this being said, I would never do a flex option apartment again. It just takes the hassle of moving in to the next level. So take this as a valuable lesson and opportunity to laugh at my poor decision of a first apartment..