Mission accomplished

I finally found an apartment in NYC. It's a loft-style apartment on the second floor of an old building, and the windows overlook Park Ave. I don't adore it, but then I realized that no apartment in NYC satisfies anyone's every wish, and in that way, the city equalizes everyone, rich and poor.
The location is extremely convenient. I'll be living in the Flatiron district, named for the famous Flatiron Building. I'm only a few blocks away from James and Angela and Union Square (mmmm, Union Square Cafe), and it will feel like I'm living in New York City. That feels right for my first year here.
No one enjoys apartment hunting in NYC, and now I understand why. It's a feeding frenzy driven by short supply and excess demand, and something about seeing one overhyped dump after another drains the soul. Add in a half dozen sleazy brokers calling you three times a day to hawk the next dump ("pre-war charm" is a euphemism for "old and filthy"; they claim to mean WWII but I'm suspicious). At the end of each day of apartment hunting, I'd check my wallet before taking a shower.
Brokers demand fees for soliciting and screening prospective candidates for the building owners and landlords. The fees demanded in NYC are outrageous, typically 15% of your first year's rent. In weak markets, owners/landlords will often pay the fees on behalf of the renter, but the vacancy rate in NYC is 1.7% right now, about as low as it goes in Manhattan. That means very few apartments are no-fee. Many building owners force you to go through a broker even if you contact them directly.
Thankfully, it's a process I can ignore for another year. I feel as if I've paid my membership dues for one of the most exclusive country clubs in the world.