Young Urban Professionals Think Paying High NYC Rents Unfair

The New York Times has a fascinating article about what it’s like to try to find an apartment in that Mecca of Self-Entitlement, New York City.

It appears that young professionals springing out of their Ivory League schools to go live in the most expensive city on Earth are upset that rent is just so gosh darn expensive. Poor souls, they’ve got to degrade themselves down to the level of having roommates.

But with a grimace of distaste, they’re somehow soldiering on in these massive dorms of young urban professionals, what the equally clueless author refers to as “a community of the overeducated and underpaid.” Gosh, that must be terrible: to have been given all the advantages in life and be practically guaranteed of joining the upper class with a few years of hard work, but having to suffer now despite all that.

This is Wil Fenn, who distresses that he can’t seem to afford a house: “Everyone talks about free-market solutions… But the solution now is the rich get richer and for everyone else it’s the equivalent of being a sharecropper in the city.”

The article’s full of smug, entitled cock smokers like this, who don’t realize that they are the rich getting fucking richer. Invariably, they don’t want to move elsewhere, they don’t want to scrimp on their Starbucks budget and they don’t want to have to work more or harder than they already do. They just want their upper class status handed to them already, meanwhile darkly mumbling about how capitalism just doesn’t work for poor underdogs like the white, well-educated elite. Just die, you ponces.

Out of College, but Now Living in Urban Dorms [New York Times]

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  1. Lemurs says:

    Awesome. Seems kind of off-topic, but that was a first-class rant right there. You even called them a name I haven’t heard before and had to look up. Just a top-notch effor.

  2. etinterrapax says:

    Agreed with Lemurs. It does me good to start my day with a hate on. Makes me fierce.

    And I agree with you, anyhow. I just spent yesterday commenting on this Globe editorial about why colleges have to be complicit in making students dependent and whiny. Somehow parents get their offspring to full adult size and never actually raise them, and now expect colleges to keep their precious babies from wandering out onto the frozen Charles River like it’s a good idea. Darwinism, man.

  3. DeeJayQueue says:

    I agree that we should eat the rich.
    I don’t think this kids are that rich though. The one girl mentioned in the article made $25k a year. In NYC bucks that’s like poverty. I make a lot more than that, live outside of philadelphia and don’t have a chance of ever owning a home.
    I think the idea they were getting across was a good one, with the shared apartments, reasonable rent, matched personalities. I don’t think the kids were complaining either. The one guy was a douche, but that’s because the only thing he wants out of life is to be a wealthy land owner. The rest just want a place to live that isn’t a shit hole while they do their relatively professional entry-level jobs.

  4. Falconfire says:

    Yeah some of these kids aint all that rich, and you would be surprised how many people from lower income families get into Ivy League schools these days. I make 44k a year with probably half the education these guys have, I started at 41 last year. It used to tick off my close friend that my girlfriend as a secretary made 10k more than she did as a director for a major performance venue in Philly.

    Just looking around here, the cost of living in the NY metro area has jumped nearly 55% over the last 3 years. even at 44k I couldnt live in shithole in NY with 2000-3000 dollar rent never mind a nice appartment with rents up to the 7-8 thousand range and more, though I just dont get WHY these people with their degrees and brains dont just commute to work from Jersey. 1200 could get you a wonderful 2 bedroom full utilities appartment in my city with a 15-30 minute NJT ride right into grand central.

  5. RandomHookup says:

    “We were evicted from our ‘ole in the ground; we ‘ad to go and live in a lake.”

    “You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t’ shoebox in t’ middle o’ road.”

  6. I’ll never understand why people want to live in urban densely populated cities and are willing to pay a premium for it…Thanks for the rant, I wholeheartedly agree.

  7. Lesley says:

    I love it! This is why I live in Nashville and have a very unglamorous job and house. But I have 1500 sq ft on a third of an acre for a $1200 per month mortgage! Which I can afford because I didn’t take out loans to go to an ivy league school.

  8. officedrone4 says:

    I too am a recent ivy league grad living in manhattan. It does suck
    when I watch my friends back in Jersey, where I desperately want to be,
    buying homes on salaries much less than mine. I’m here for the next
    year still because this was the best place career wise, but don’t tell
    me I can’t bitch about how expensive it is to live in this city.

    I’m the very opposite of self-entitled. I don’t think I automatically
    deserve a nice apartment just for existing, nor do I think the real
    estate market should magically cater to my needs. I’ve worked terribly
    hard for everything I’ve ever gotten and I don’t expect that to change
    anytime soon. But there is a huge problem with NY in general in that
    recent grads and middle income families can’t afford to live here.

    So please don’t hate on all recent ivy grads living in manhattan who
    bitch about how unaffordable it is. Because it is unaffordable. It does
    suck to live here. But when you work 24/7 its quite difficult to live
    much further. Forgive me if I don’t want to take a train back to my
    apartment at 2 am.

    I continue to reserve my right to bitch. I’ve certainly paid enough for it.

  9. pete says:

    NJT goes into Penn Station, not Grand Central.
    I shudder at the thought of throngs of New Joisyians coming through GCT every morning.
    :P

  10. Here, here, Lemurs. That was the best Consumerist kvetch yet.

  11. The_Truth says:

    It would be interesting if the commentor could sign off on each news
    post, would give us a better feel for the editors personalities here.

    Top notch rant though :-)

  12. bambino says:

    “I’ll never understand why people want to live in urban densely populated cities and are willing to pay a premium for it”

    Let’s see, maybe for the vibrant cultured atmosphere, the hundreds of restaurants, bars, and other entertainment, or maybe it’s just the old fashioned pasttime of getting off your ass & walking somewhere? Or, you could live in NASHVILLE in an unglamorous house on an ugly piece of suburban land, and not know your neighbors. Your choice.

  13. kerry says:

    Or you could live in a smaller city with great restaurants, bars, and culture, like Chicago, Seattle, Philly or Minneapolis. Certainly not as inexpensive as Nashville, but you can save money by not owning a car and actually have a fighting chance at owning a home.

  14. olegna says:

    I earned a 1.83 GPA in a state college and paid off $7,000 student loan debt by screen printing. My first job in Manhattan eigth years later was $70,000 and I lived in a $1,400 a month downtown flat, no roommates. Got bored with the hyper-hyped Sex & The City lifestyle and moved overseas and go to Africa a lot. But, gosh golly, my Manhattan experience was pretty good. You see, when you dive right into the meritocracy and hard-work thing, you don’t have to whine to the Gray Lady about how terrible your Manhattan lifestyle is. Boo-hoo, indeed.

  15. Papercutninja says:

    Consumerist, as a NYC (outerboro) resident, I applaud you. I’m sick of these entitled fucks. They (actually their mommies and daddies) are the ones driving up the rents here. Making $100K a year, dressing like a college kid and drinking Pabst. Go to hell. Thank you Consumerist.

  16. Paul says:

    Didn’t this story come out last week?

  17. SpecialK says:

    Good stuff. Sure you saw the Voice piece linked by your Gawker siblings about the guys NOT paying rent AND sticking it to the man by living in illegal lofts in Brooklyn and Queens.

    Look, it’s fine to bitch about rent. Everyone does it. Even the soon-to-be rich. But only the fucking Times, where they obviously pay their journalists too much money, would run a fucking article allowing these douchebags to sound like they have a legitimate gripe.

  18. konstantConsumer says:

    man, you love some anti-gay epithets, huh ben.

  19. Anonymously says:

    What type of retard would pay $8,000 in rent? If more people realized how stupid it was, demand would go down and so would prices.

    If working in NY is so critical to your career, you’re obvoiusly not working for the money but rather the experience (resume bling), so quit bitching about money. You paid money to go to college, and you’ll pay money to earn your precious NYC resume blurb too.

  20. The_Truth says:

    Of course, the real story here is that, despite being “overeducated and underpaid” they are just as dumb as ever. why?
    Because the alternative is to commute in, im pretty sure housing is much cheaper outside of the city, but then they would have to commute in and ‘oh my god’ wouldent that be a travisty! They wouldent be able to walk around the city, ipod in hand, pretending to live the high life!

    Seriously, New York isnt like Friends, its a ‘real’ city, with ‘real’ screw you over for all your money people and businesses, just like the rest of the world, get used to it.

  21. radiofree says:

    One of the best T-Shirts I’ve seen in ages, worn by a black man in the East Village, read: “Don’t think we haven’t noticed that the 96th Street boundary keeps moving farther north.”

  22. ADM says:

    You can get a studio in parts of Manhattan for ~$1050 or less if you look around, a bit less if you go to the other boroughs. If you don’t have debt, you can pretty easily live off of $35K a year if you watch your budget. Most college grads should be able to make that…Starting salary for a public school teacher is around $40K, for instance. I haven’t read the article yet, but from what you’re saying, these guys just need to revise their idea of what acceptable living conditions/neighborhoods are. The places I’m talking about are safe and clean.

  23. Scott says:

    konstantConsumer, I know what you’re saying…

    But it’s just a little post about an actual article, written some dim-witted little cunt-lapper. Trying to explain why he’s wrong is pointless, given his “limitations.”

  24. Ben says:

    Bwahaha!

    Good rant. I’ve never rented in NYC, never want to try. I’m amazed at the price people are willing to pay for “location, location, location.” And I’m looking west at California as I’m writing this.

  25. mschlock says:

    When the topic of affordable housing comes up here in California, someone invariably ends up saying “well, it could be worse…at least we don’t live in New York.”

    I shared a 3-bedroom apartment for four years in the hugely insane Bay Area and thereby SAVED ENOUGH FOR A DOWN PAYMENT on a condo. I don’t have a hope in hell of owning a Real House without pretty much doubling my income, but…at least I don’t live in New York.

  26. gvonk says:

    Wil Fenn, a 29-year-old program officer for a foundation, has been trying since college to save money to buy a home. He lived in Westchester County for six years, in order to pay less rent. Then, last year, he became bored and decided to move into Manhattan. He, too, happened upon one of Ms. Falcon’s ads.

    I’ll paraphrase this guy for ya:

    Oh, tra-la-la, I’m getting bored… I think I’ll move to Manhattan!

    But, good God, it’s expensive here… And I only brought my Ivy League credentials! I’m as good as homeless! Oh, heavens.

  27. brilliant rant. wil fenn is an insipid cunt.

  28. Let’s see, maybe for the vibrant cultured atmosphere, the hundreds of restaurants, bars, and other entertainment, or maybe it’s just the old fashioned pasttime of getting off your ass & walking somewhere? Or, you could live in NASHVILLE in an unglamorous house on an ugly piece of suburban land, and not know your neighbors. Your choice.

    What a pretentious thing to say…You must be one of the suckers paying $2000/month for a studio downtown and are desperately trying to justify it. There are plenty of alternatives to living downtown and I think you’d be hard pressed to find land uglier than that in a city. Just out of curiosity, why Nashville?

    The point is that demand has driven the cost of these apartments in NY to such ludicrous prices, so those people wanting to live there have only themselves to blame for it.

  29. Lesley says:

    Bambino: Or, you could live in NASHVILLE in an unglamorous house on an ugly piece of suburban land, and not know your neighbors.

    Actually, my house is quite cute, but no SoHo loft. It’s also not in what’s considered the suburbs. AND I know all my neighbors. In fact, we quite enjoy hanging out in each other’s YARDS under TREES and enjoying NATURE rather than looking out at nothing but concrete, asphalt and pigeons. And whereas I can walk the 1.5 miles to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, I drive BECAUSE I CAN.

    Now pardon me while I go water my tomatoes.

  30. GenXCub says:

    This is going on currently in Las Vegas. Because of all of the Californians who get a real salary buying up all the houses here in LV, people who earn Nevada wages have been priced out of getting a home. Having been a previous denizen of NYC and SF, it’s still not on those levels for ownership, not even close… but it’s happening in a lot of places.

  31. misskaz says:

    City mouse vs. country mouse fights are always *so* productive.

    As a city mouse, I do have emotional attachments to living in a city (Chicago) that make it really hard for me to understand why someone would live in a suburb/small town at first blush. When I walk down Michigan Avenue on a sunny summer day, looking at all the gorgeous architecture and the buildings soaring on either side of me… well, it makes me happy in a way that is hard to explain. But then I think about it for a minute, and I *can* see why someone would want to live in a suburb/small town. I can imagine someone else feeling the same way as their kids and their dog play in the backyard while they grill some burgers for dinner.

    It all comes down to priorities. Would I like to be able to own a single family home with a small yard at a reasonable price? Of course. Am I willing to give up living 3 blocks from my favorite bars, restaurants, and a grocery, and being able to hop on the El to get to work? Nope. But that’s my choice, and to pretend it’s the only possible choice a reasonable human can make is just plain dumb.

    Those of you that are exaggerating the benefits of your lifestyle choice and the drawbacks of others just end up sounding stupid. Cities are not necessarily concrete wastelands devoid of green, and suburbs aren’t necessarily just soulless and boring shopping malls. C’mon, people.

  32. Lesley says:

    Misskaz, you have a point, though I don’t really consider Nashville the country despite our largest export. And I would I trade my house for a place on Lakeshore Drive? Oh, hell, yeah. But not for anywhere in NYC. And not for any city much smaller than Nashville, either (which isn’t very small).

    And Nashville does have a downtown with tall buildings and a vibrant bar scene, but I lived there for a month and couldn’t stand all the noise.

  33. olegna says:

    Tall buildings a city does not make. There are not very many cities (proper) in the world. Most “cities” in the US are more like a cluster of a dozen downtown buildings that shut down after 5 p.m., rung by a ghetto (and maybe a old money district) surrounded by a vast suburban landscape of box stores and tract housing.

    Hint: if you drive everywhere, if you live in a place without railed mass transport (not just buses that stop running after midnight) and spend more than 20 minutes in a car to and from work, if you use drive-thrus for prepared food, you don’t live in a city.

  34. HawkWolf says:

    I don’t think ‘cock smoker’ was the right term to use as an insult in this article, unless the person who wrote it is gay and all about the reclamation thing. More people need to point out things like this.

  35. etinterrapax says:

    Right on, misskaz. I’m not sure this is even about whether it is inherently better to live in the city or the country, but whether some people who get attention in the Times are doinks. I’m not sure it’s news that living in any city is expensive, so treating it like it is, especially in a famously expensive city like New York, is…well, fairly typical wah-wah Times reporting.

  36. Tommi says:

    Too little, too late. Can’t believe it took till “now” for some/thing/one to write about this. All you schmuck college idiots out there thinking you can out do the generation that built America? It ain’t about NYC being too expensive – it’s about something else. How ’bout a bit more failure to make things work…
    worstwriter.wordpress.com
    -tgs-

  37. ikes says:

    let these dopes overpay for their manhattan rent. it keeps the choice outer borough spots affordable.

  38. Ass_Cobra says:

    The only complaint I have with Manhattan rent is that it’s generally stabilized. The rents that you generally see quoted are the marginal rents not the average rents for a building. Landlords have to move rents to what many would consider absurd levels to offset the other long term tenants that are paying a below market rent. Rent stabilization doesn’t help the poor, it helps people that have been in one place for a long time.

    Notwithstanding the forgoing, anyone that uses the analogy of a sharecropper to describe the relative unafordability of home ownership in Manhattan is a daft fucking twat. Manhattan is a renters community. It always has been and always will be. Plus with rent stabilization you get the main benefit of home ownership(stable housing costs on a going forward basis) with none of the actual mess of owning a home.

  39. Ben Popken says:

    Here’s a related (and awesome) article from the New York Observer, about the suburban douchebags invading Murray Hill:

    Copyright 2005 The New York Observer, L.P.
    New York Observer

    July 11, 2005

    SECTION: PAGE ONE; Featurebox, Pg. 1

    HEADLINE: Welcome to Murray Hell!

    BYLINE: Lizzy Ratner

    HIGHLIGHT:
    ‘New York is for your 20’s and early 30’s. I don’t know if I want to raise my kids in this kind of environment.’ — Murray Hill resident

    BODY:
    Thestrip of Third Avenue that runs between 29th and 38th streets in Manhattan is more than 1,500 miles from Club Med Cancun, but on sticky summer nights it could easily be mistaken for that spring-break frat-trap where youth is ascendant and every hour is happy hour. On almost any evening, the bars lining the strip pump and grind to the beat of screechy-boozy flirtation, while “Mambo Number Five” blasts over the
    sound system like a bad bar mitzvah memory.Girlsin Seven jeans nuzzle up
    to banker-boys in baseball caps. The boys ply girls with Raspberry
    Stoli. Everywhere the night gyrates with the sound of suburban kids at
    play in the big city.

    Andyet, despite the riot of youthful hormones, there is something about
    this neighborhood, known as Murray Hill, that eerily resembles a Florida
    retirement resort. Perhaps it’s the dedication to challenge-free living,
    or perhaps it’sthe abundance of ready-made leisure activities. But swap
    happy hour with the early-bird special, and it’s little Boca in the big
    city.

    “It’sthe thing to do. All of our friends live here,” said a giggly
    paralegal named Lauren, 24, by way of explaining how she wound up
    living, and partying, in Murray Hill. Perched on a stool at a
    cheesy-chic sports pub called Bar 515, she was sipping Bud Light and
    gesturing like a girl who is used to making demands.”You have to make me
    out to be very skinny in your article!” she said.

    Withher party-girl personality and not-quite — New York sensibility,
    Lauren is the classic Murray Hill Girl: a being of sheltered origins and
    country-club aspirations, overpriced jeans and, yes, skinny legs. (Her
    male counterpart has many of the same traits, except he wears overpriced
    cargo shorts and pastel-striped button-downs.) Once, not long ago, she
    wouldn’t have been caught dead blowing her parents’ money on an
    apartment in this solidly middle-class, family neighborhood. It just
    wasn’t the thing to do — particularly for girls who’d been told never
    to rent south of 59th Street.

    Butin recent years, Murray Hill has been all but glitz-bombed from
    existence as a horde of coddled post-collegians, armed with marketing
    jobs and U. Penn diplomas, has swarmed into the neighborhood. For these
    kids, who are almost all white, almost all affluent, living on “the
    Hill” has become a rite of passage, like, say, getting a car for their
    16th birthday. Drawn by the leafy streets and 30-story mega-buildings,
    they have turned the area into their own pseudo-urban Promised Land. And
    they keep coming.

    Nevermind that Murray Hill has as much metro-cred as a cul-de-sac in
    Great Neck.Orthat its new residents wouldn’t have survived a night in
    New York 15 years ago.The young Murray Hillites seem perfectly content
    with the mini-Manhattan theme park they’ve created, which allows them to
    feellike they’re living the Big Apple experience while safely ensconced
    in a bubble of familiarity. Indeed, what’s so jarring about Murray Hill
    is that its young people, who’ve been treated to everything from the
    best colleges to trips to Europe, have as much interaction with their
    adopted city as tourists on urban safari.

    “MurrayHill has more young people that just graduated from college than
    any other neighborhood in the city,” said Kevin Kurland, the president
    of the eponymously named Kurland Realty Inc., which he founded out of
    his one-bedroom Murray Hill apartment eight years ago. “This is where
    they land, their first stop … I would say 90 percent of the clients
    I’ve placed are between 21 and 25 years old.”

    “It’spart of the transition from college to starting your career,” added
    a tousle-haired University of Connecticut grad named Christian, who
    moved into the area roughly six months ago, when he embarked on his own
    transition from frat-boy to financial analyst. For roughly $ 1,700 a
    month, he said, he gets all the perks of college but with the glistening
    patina of big-city living: the two-bedroom apartment that he shares with
    a high-school friend in Laurence Towers (a giant packing-crate of a
    building on 32nd Street and Third Avenue that is crawling with
    post-collegians), the roof-deck, the balcony, the convenient commute and
    the ready-made nightlife. His only regret, he said, is that his
    ex-girlfriend had the same idea: “[She] lives about five blocks away –
    God help me.”

    Notthat the former frat brother should have been terribly surprised. In
    a neighborhood like Murray Hill, where a casual stroll to the multiplex
    can turn into a full-blown college reunion, tangled romantic ties and
    incestuous social bonds all but come with the rental contract; like dog
    poop and noisy neighbors, they are simply one of the small sacrifices a
    young man must make to live cheek to cheek with the same clique he hung
    with in high school or partied with in college.

    “Thereis not a ‘Michigan building’ or a ‘Syracuse building,’ but I would
    say about 50 to 80 percent of the tenants in these buildings are from
    schools like Syracuse, Michigan, Albany, Penn State, University of
    Pennsylvania, Maryland, Binghamton, George Washington, Emory, Wisconsin
    and Boston University,” said Mr.Kurland,who is himself a Syracuse man.
    “We’ve actually placed several people from Harvard, from Yale and from
    Dartmouth.”

    Andcollege is only one of the most obvious bonds these kids share.
    During the five or so years since they first landed in the area, the
    kids of Murray Hill have evolved into their own readily identifiable
    genus with a common set of rituals, kinship patterns and sumptuary
    codes. Particularly sumptuary codes.

    Walkdown Third Avenue on any summer afternoon — or better yet, just
    stand outside the large Tasti D-Lite that seems to function as a kind of
    village square — and you will see one of the greatest parades of
    fashion-victim sameness since white Keds hit the market in Wilmette.
    Everywhere you look there are girls teetering about in the latest Cosmo
    Girl trends, like kept-wives-in-training: there are girls dressed in
    low-riders and girls with Tiffany’s rings (always on the middle finger,
    to show they’re still on the marriage market), girls with expensive
    highlights and girls lugging those boxy doggie-carrier purses that
    celebrities like Ashley Olsen love so much. And, of course, they are all
    wearing cell phones, dangling from their ears like giant clip-on
    earrings.

    “Theyall dress the same,” said Frank Cuttita, the comely young
    co-proprietor of the Clover Deli, which has been a Murray Hill standby
    since 1948. “It’s a dominoeffect: One girl has something, the whole
    building has it.”

    “Yeah,”blurted his cousin and co-owner Chris Cuttita. “It could be those
    funny-looking boots — Ooga or Ugg Boots or something — everyone wears
    them. If it’s low-cut jeans, everyone’s got them. I mean, they’re nice
    people, but their emphasis is on what they’re wearing, on the trends.”

    Thestory is much the same for the boys, too. Though they tend to wear
    less elaborate garb than the girls — the unspoken law of Murray Hill
    dictates that everyone must stick faithfully to gender stereotypes –
    the guys have their own carefully coordinated uniform: a simple business
    suit and chunky silver watch by day, and a classic
    college-T-shirt-and-khaki-shorts getup by night (though it’s worth
    noting that some of them have taken to wearing seersucker shorts more
    recently). Many of them wear baseball caps, others go for the
    cropped-locks-and-hair-gel look, which they accessorize with smug smiles
    and the occasional hand-me-down BMW. They walk down the street
    double-fisting cell phones and iPods.

    Butthe uniformity doesn’t end there, with Yankees caps and Juicy track
    suits; rather it goes deeper, to those bigger, ontological themes of
    Work, Family and Future.

    Takecareers, for instance. When it comes to their professions, the young
    Murray Hellions seem to have an almost gravitational attraction to the
    fields of finance, marketing and advertising (which will, of course,
    eventually enable them to recreate the very comfortable lives they’ve
    enjoyed since childhood).They tend to come from suburban and affluent
    families, which is to say they grew up in any of the tristate bedroom
    communities and their parents make “in excess of $ 250,000,” according
    to Mr. Kurland. And when they themselves are logging regular six-figure
    salaries, many of them will no doubt return to these suburban idylls to
    start their own families.

    “NewYork is for your 20’s and early 30’s,” said a Westchester native who
    gave his name as “Jon” and said he worked in “marketing.” “I don’t know
    if I want to raise my kids in this kind of environment.”

    LITTLE BOCA

    Whichmay explain why he wound up in Murray Hill.

    Thoughit’s hard to know which came first, the suburban kids or the
    suburban ambience, Murray Hill has the feel of a Westchester bedroom
    community — call it Little Larchmont — or a retirement resort. Clean
    and convenient, with ample opportunity for group activities, the Hill is
    Manhattan living made easy, a place where everyone knows each other and
    there’s not too much grit or poverty to dampen the atmosphere. At 22,
    many of the residents have already perfected the casual gait of people
    who have nowhere to go, nothing much to do.

    “Youcan actually take a step back and breathe here,” said an aerobicized
    little blonde named Kathleen, 21, as she paraded down 34th Street in a
    purple pastel miniskirt on a recent Friday afternoon. “It’s comfortable,
    it’s very neighborhood-y, and everything’s here. I don’t like the
    subway, so the less time spent on them the better. I like being able to
    walk from point A to point B.”

    Ayoung finance type named Allen crunched it down to something more
    succinct:”Iwould say it just has everything a professional out of
    college would want:Ithas the movie theater, the bars, the gyms, the
    location.”

    Aboveall, however, Murray Hill has the buildings — the coveted 30-story
    apartment towers that loom over the landscape like giant vertical gated
    communities.Built between the late 1980’s and early 2000’s, these
    buildings are monuments to immediate gratification, offering everything
    from roof decks to full-service gyms to white-gloved doormen in livery.
    A person could lock herself in one of these towers for a week and never
    miss the outside world.

    Oneof the newest buildings, the Anthem, for instance, has added a
    billiard room to its list of attractions as well as private exercise
    classes with “celebrity trainer” Radu. The Windsor Court, a two-tower
    725-unit behemoth, has a shiny black fence — one might almost call it a
    gate — that snakes around the base of the building, walling off a small
    courtyard where, on sunny days, vain nymphets sunbathe in itsy-bitsy
    bikinis.

    Formany Murray Hill dwellers, these buildings are the real neighborhood
    attraction, the supreme reason they, or their parents, are willing to
    shell out between $ 3,500 and $ 5,000 for a two-bedroom apartment
    (though many kids further divide them into three-bedrooms to help cut
    the cost). By some counts, there are as many as nine super-popular ones
    in the Hill, each with their own faux-British name — the Biltmore, the
    Rivergate, the Murray Hill Manor — and identity. Not long go, a couple
    might work their whole lives to rent an apartment in one of these
    amenity-rich buildings, but in today’s Murray Hill they come with the
    college graduation gift.

    True,a number of the buildings don’t have all the frills and lace of the
    Anthem, and some of their apartments are smaller than a Bloomingdale’s
    dressing room.Buteven these buildings satisfy the basic requirements of
    the area’s high-maintenance tenants: dorm-like comfort, for the kids who
    live in the apartments, and doormen, for the safety-hysterical parents
    who help pay for them. (No one in Murray Hill seems to have noticed that
    New York is pretty safe these days. But never mind: The doormen are also
    convenient recipients for the kids’ bundles of dry cleaning that get
    delivered right to the front desk.)

    “Ididn’t care either way, but I needed some start-up help from my
    parents and they wouldn’t do it without a doorman,” explained a U. Penn
    grad named Eric as he and his roommate finished moving their belongings
    into their new home, cleverly called the Habitat, on a recent Friday
    afternoon.

    Theinflux of such young, fresh-off-the-boat college kids has not always
    been welcomed by older Murray Hill residents, who have been known to
    grumble about louder noise levels and crowded elevators. But the youth
    boom has clearly been good business for management companies, and local
    realtors have been only too eager to embrace the new trend as well.

    “Weactually direct market to these college grads,” said Mr. Kurland. “We
    get in touch with our clients, who put us in touch with their friends
    who are still inschool: brothers and sisters, cousins, friends. There
    also happen to be a lot of fraternity and sorority members who live
    around here,” he added, “and they put us in touch with their
    organizations from school as well.”

    Thestrategy clearly seems to be working. During the eight years that
    Kurland Realty has been in business, Mr. Kurland’s company has
    mushroomed from a one-person operation run out of his apartment to a
    40-person mini-empire with one office in Murray Hill and one in Chelsea.
    By the end of the summer, the company plans to have hired another 15
    agents.

    Summeris the bonanza season for realtors in Murray Hill, the high-water
    mark, as wave after wave of recently sprung college kids washes into the
    neighborhood. The first scouts begin trickling in toward the end of
    April, when the University of Michigan gets out, and by June the rents
    have snaked up with the temperatures, as landlords try to cash in on the
    surge in demand. “It picks up dramatically … We probably do 70 percent
    of our business during these months,” said Mr.Kurland. “This is when you
    start seeing the guys on the street with their hats backwards, with
    their T-shirts, and their backpacks, and their flip-flops.It’scollege,
    you know?”

    Andindeed, on a recent Saturday morning, the Windsor Court rental office
    did have that first-day-of-college feeling as would-be renters and their
    parents jockeyed for a chance to see one of the few available
    apartments. Harried in-house rental agents swooped in and out, keys
    jangling, while mother-daughter pairs talked bed size (queen or full?)
    and walk-in closets. “This layout would be perfect. We need this
    apartment,”one mother announced to the agent who was manning the office.
    The mother and her daughter were dressed in a matching white-and-aqua
    color scheme.

    WindsorCourt is, in many ways, the mothership of the Murray Hill
    building fleet.Sprawled across the full length of 31st Street between
    Third and Lexington avenues, it has a circular driveway, a gold awning
    and a gaudy lobby with persistent air-conditioning. The average age of
    the tenants can’t be older than 25. It has often been compared to the
    Normandie Court, the notorious post-collegiate crash pad on East 95th
    Street, so it is perhaps not surprising to learn that both buildings
    were developed by the Milstein Organization and that they still share a
    management company.

    NormandieCourt was the original dorm-style apartment building (hence its
    nickname, Dormandie Court). It was built in the mid-1980’s during the
    first yuppie boom, and, along with several surrounding buildings, it
    became the nucleus of an Upper East Side frat-kid explosion much like
    the one Murray Hill is experiencing now. In those days, of course, the
    kind of kids who flocked to the Dormandie simply didn’t live beneath
    59th Street, which was considered dirty or dangerous or God-knows-what.
    It wasn’t “cool” and parents wouldn’t allow it anyway. So the East 90’s,
    with their towering mega-buildings, became their natural frolicking
    grounds.

    Inrecent years, however, all that has begun to change as small colonies
    of dorm-scrapers have sprouted up throughout neighborhoods that have
    been either rezoned or re-trendified by the forces of gentrification.
    Murray Hill was perhaps the first area to go, but Hell’s Kitchen (now
    called “Midtown West”bythe realtors) has not been far behind, and
    Chelsea, with its glistening new high-rises popping up along Sixth
    Avenue, looks set to go any day. These buildings have even begun
    shooting up along the Bowery, and before long Manhattan might become one
    giant floating dormitory.

    “Whereelse would these post-grads go?” asked Mr. Kurland. “They’re going
    to be coming forever.”

    Ofcourse, “forever” isn’t a very interesting concept to many
    22-year-olds, and as a throng of Murray Hellions crammed into the bars
    along Third Avenue on a recent Thursday evening, their focus seemed very
    much on the here and now.Theyhad beers to drink and passes to make and
    fun to have. And the next day, they would do the very same things all
    over again.