For those unfamiliar with New York real estate, navigating Craigslist.org’s apartment listings can be a headache-inducing nightmare. Cutting through the jargon and double-talk is essential for renters looking for that ideal combination of value, safety, charm and convenience. The following glossary will help prospective tenants get the most out of their search.
Alcove Studio = The unit really is just one room, but it has an adjoining space, usually perpendicular to the main space, that can be set off to create a dressing nook, sleeping area or office. Some brokers use this term interchangeably with “junior one-bedroom” (see below).
Carriage House = A standalone structure. These usually are two stories tall and rent for more than apartments with comparable space.
Convertible = The landlord will allow tenants to create additional rooms by adding walls (see the Junior One-Bedroom, Flex-1, and Walls Up entries).
Cozy = Small
CPS = Central Park South
CPW = Central Park West
Deco Fireplace = A decorative, nonfunctioning fireplace
Diplomats OK = This generally applies only to apartments in midtown east, near the United Nations building. Some landlords avoid renting to diplomats because of their different legal status, meaning they’d be more difficult to prosecute if the need arose.
Doorman, DM = Doormen provide an extra deterrent to criminals and trespassers. They also sign for your packages, announce any visitors you might have, and occasionally help hail cabs and perform other services. It’s recommended that you tip them generously during the holidays.
Duplex = Unlike in the rest of America, in New York, a duplex is not a house split in half. It’s a bi-level apartment, usually connected by a narrow spiral staircase. The same principle applies to triplexes.
D/W = Dishwasher, a rare but valuable amenity in New York apartments
EIK = “Eat-in kitchen”
Exclusive Listing = Only one brokerage has showing rights for the apartment, which means prospective tenants may have less competition.
Fee Apartment = For their services, most brokers charge a fee totaling 10 percent or more of the annual rent. Often, fee apartments have lower rents than no-fee units, so if you plan to stay in your place for some time, paying more upfront can save you money in the long run. If you move after a year, however, it’s basically a wash. Some brokers are willing to negotiate with prospective tenants on the fee. Always ask if this is a possibility.
Flex-1, Flex-2, etc. = Because of their size or layout, these apartments can in theory be divided to hold more roommates. (See the Convertible, Junior One-Bedroom and Walls Up entries.)
Floor-Thru = The apartment extends from the front of the building to the back.
FP = Fireplace
Galley Kitchen = A long and narrow kitchen abutting one wall of the apartment
Garden Apartment = Because these apartments are below street level, they often cost less to rent. The trade-off: they often receive less light, and noise from the street can be more instructive.
Gut Reno = This is short for “gut renovation,” which means that a some point, the landlord has replaced much or all of the apartment’s innards (i.e. lighting, plumbing, fixtures and flooring)
Junior One-Bedroom = a studio that can in theory be converted into a one-bedroom apartment with the addition of a pressurized wall or other divider. To qualify as a bedroom in New York, the room technically must have a window.
LES = Lower East Side
LIC = Long Island City
Live-In Super = The site superintendent, the person responsible for making sure everything in the home works properly, lives in the building and is readily available to help resolve problems. Another bonus: your super doesn’t want to go without heat or water, either, so you can expect a swift response to building-wide complaints.
Loft = The unit consists of one room and is typically larger than a studio.
New = Few apartments in New York are actually new. This usually means that at least one aspect of the apartment – the fixtures, plumbing, windows or floor – has been updated.
OH = Open house
Open Kitchen = The kitchen is continuous with another room, usually the living room.
Parlor Floor = These apartments are on the second level of a brownstone building (i.e. they’re one flight up from the street).
Prewar = Generally built before World War II, prewar apartments often are bigger than newer units and have details like crown molding and high, beamed ceilings.
Pullman Kitchen = Found in smaller apartments, these kitchens usually make use of one corner, and the appliances are often much small than full-size appliances.
Pvt = Private
Railroad = Like a floor-thru, the apartment extends from front to back. These homes typically are one room wide and often are narrow, with windows at each end.
Rent Stabilized, Rent Stab = By law, landlords can only raise the rents on these units a certain, small percentage each year. Such apartments are hard to come by, because tenants tend to cling to them as long as possible.
Shares OK, Shares Welcome, Great for Shares, etc. = The landlord allows tenants to sign separate leases and send separate checks.
Sleep Loft = To maximize a tiny space, some landlords build platforms, accessible by ladder, where tenants put a bed or mattress. Some are large enough to stand up in, but others allow only limited movement, much like a submarine bunk.
Square Footage = Take any dimensions listed in an ad with a grain of salt. They’re rarely accurate.
SS = Stainless steel
Stoop = The stairs leading to a building’s common entrance.
True = Because so many of their fellow brokers manipulate the facts (see the Junior One-Bedroom and Flex-1, Flex-2 entries), when an actual one-, two- or three-bedroom comes along, agents like to play up this fact by labeling it “true.”
UES = Upper East Side
Updated = See the New entry.
UWS = Upper West Side
Walk-Up = The building has no elevator. Most walk-ups in New York do not exceed six stories. Apartments on the higher floors in walk-ups sometimes cost less to rent (you also can skip the gym membership).
Wall Up, Walls OK = This means either a previous tenant has installed a pressurized wall to create a separate room, or the landlord allows this practice. Walls can cost more than $800 to put in, so it’s a boon to roommates when someone already has forked over the money to do so.
W/D = Washer and dryer. Even rarer than a dishwasher; if you see this in an ad, be sure to ask the broker what part of town the apartment is in. Landlords sometimes install these as incentives to rent in places that are otherwise undesirable.
WBF = Wood-burning fireplace