Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Price 20-Somethings Pay to Live in the City

New York Times
November 12, 2010

Abe Cavin Quezada, a 22-year-old aspiring music producer, lives with two roommates in a three-bedroom apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Mr. Cavin Quezada, who works as an unpaid intern at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, has kind words for his building, a renovated tenement near Marcus Garvey Boulevard, and for his apartment, for which he pays $500 a month and has a 10-by-6-foot bedroom. But as for the neighborhood, he is less enthusiastic.

“Before this I was living in a loft in Bushwick,” said Mr. Cavin Quezada, who grew up outside Washington. “This apartment is nicer, and has more amenities, but the neighborhood is noticeably fishier. In Bushwick, I never really felt threatened. Now, the sounds around are more aggressive. I’ll see 20 guys ride by on motorcycles, or hear gunshots outside my window.

“And one day,” he said, “in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, I saw a guy on a motorcycle with a handgun. It was not a reassuring sight.”

Mr. Cavin Quezada often works until 2 a.m. or later, and the first few nights after moving here, he considered asking one of his roommates to meet him at the subway after work and walk him back to the apartment.

Does his mother, who’s paying his rent, worry about him? “I don’t think I’ve given her enough details for her to worry,” Mr. Cavin Quezada said.

New York City was home to nearly 1.28 million people in their 20s last year, up from 1.21 million in 1980. In many respects, Mr. Cavin Quezada’s situation mirrors the way large numbers in that age group are living, three years after the Great Recession began.


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