Studio, Battery Park City

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Jessica Gutierrez, 32, investment banker
Rent: $2,295
Broker's fee: None
Leasing agency: Gateway Plaza leasing office (212-586-3600, gatewayny.com)
Moved in: March 2011

Reason for moving: "I was in midtown. I worked across the street but then I got a new position downtown right by the World Trade Center and the commute was like 30 to 40 minutes. It didn't seem worth what I was paying, and on top of it, walking a little white Maltese around there is not as easy as you would think. I started doing a lot of research and I found that for what I was paying ($2,200 for a junior one-bedroom, not renovated), I was able to find some really nice layouts and nice upgraded apartments in the Financial District. Again, five minutes from work and with an area where I can walk my dog."

The neighborhood: "I did the entire strip: Battery Park, multiple buildings on Wall Street, but I just fell in love with Battery Park. It was just like out of a movie: The birds were signing, the kids were skipping, it just feels like a neighborhood. Battery Park is sort of a step away, you have to go there, or go there to visit someone; it's not an area people just walk by. But I've had people over and they cannot believe they're in Manhattan. It's pretty, it's quiet."

The apartment: "It's a long rectangle, with only one window facing west; it's not floor-to-ceiling, but it goes pretty low and pretty much covers the entire face of the apartment. The layout is an open floor plan—I barely even feel that the bed is in the room because it's just so long and big. It's completely renovated, and has high-quality appliances, which I like. The floors are redone, the countertops are granite, and it has a dishwasher. When I did my comparative search, I couldn't find any with a dishwasher in midtown, so that was a big, big thing. If I was going to move, it was going to be for a complete kitchen upgrade."

The search: "I am a resourceful sort of person and I used every resource out there. I used Craigslist, but didn't feel that was very successful for me—Craiglist can feel like a black hole. For the most part, I did a lot of walking. I walked into doorman buildings and asked if they were renting. I got a lot of feedback: "No, but I think that building across the street is renting and it's cheaper." I walked through every single building and knocked on every door. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have found this place.

Who and what to ask: "Ask doormen. I would first ask if this is a condo or if there was a leasing office. If it was a condo, I would ask if they had a list of owners renting out their apartments. The ones that did, I would leave my business card, with my info—what I was looking for, and a quick little note for the owner—and I got a lot of callbacks from owners renting their apartments themselves. You also get a feel for the neighborhood. When I walked into Battery Park I felt at home, that's what I was looking for. That's not the same as when a broker shows you, because you're rushing in and rushing out. Yeah, it's hard work, but I got to the know the neighborhood."

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