There are eight million stories in the big city....


Has this site made you nostalgic yet? Click here to submit your story

Tall buildingWhether we remember our first apartment in NYC fondly or with loathing, one thing is sure: we’ll never forget our first experience of living on our own in New York City (the “City” includes all five boroughs ’cuz not everyone was lucky enough to live in Manhattan first time out the gate).

Person out of money-againAnd whether you lived there 3 months or 30 years, your first apartment usually comes with a few interesting stories. We are collecting them here on this site, both for entertainment value and as a way to capture a very fragile thing: our memories of our “innocent” youth in a dynamic ever-changing city. And whether you lived in your first apartment 60 years ago or six months ago, we hope you’ll share your memories and enjoy those of your fellow intrepid First Apartment dwellers.

 PerryMason2-copy  SullivanStreet DebbieHarryFeatured FeaturedImageJulie&Julie Christopher Gray’s cabbie license GirlsonBalcony My favorite diner, then called The Modern Age

So how should you tell your story?

Person artist

The simplest way to do it is to answer the following:

  • What are 5 things that first come to mind about your FANYC?
  • What was the best thing about your FANYC?
  • What was the worst thing?
  • What was the funniest thing?

If you’re like me, those answers led to a list which then led to a full essay. But if you’re not a “writer” or you don’t remember certain details clearly—don’t worry, nobody will notice, you’re not writing a memoir for Random House. And ditto about “accuracy”—if you’re afraid your old roommates might remember things differently, then send them here to write up their version.

Think of your First Apartment write-up as an informal email to a friend. Can be as long as you like, does not have to have perfect spelling or grammar (I’ll fix that if necessary), and you can attach any scanned/digital photos you like (just make sure to include any explanatory caption text).

3 easy options for submitting your story

  1. Jump over to our easy Form right here on the site which contains the story prompts you see below, and fill out whatever parts you like. OR…
  2. You can create your own separate Word or text document, as long or short as you want, and submit it as an attachment on the Contact page.
  3. And if you’re really loathe to write it all down, think about sending a video or arranging a phone chat (but it would be easier for us if you’d write it down).

I can work with you on finding iconic old photos (it’s fun to look up your old place via Google Maps’ street view) or other editorial tasks, as well. Whatever it takes to get your story up on the site! Just ask.

Person Walking dogThere’s no one way to write up your story, but remember to add as many “5 sense” details as possible, in order to bring that unforgettable first-apartment experience alive (yes, we’re talking about the stench of unpicked-up garbage and the midnight screeching of bus brakes.)


First Apartment Storyteller Stats

  • Storytellers who lived in a walk-up 85%
  • Storytellers who rave about the cheap rent 50%
  • Storytellers who mention various vermin 60%
  • Storytellers who talk about noise 80%

Jump over to the How to Share Your Story form to use an easy-to-fill-out-form (you can skip any questions you want).

Or download the info via this editable Word doc.


Q: What’s in the form?

A: Memory prompts like these below ↓

To save space with First Apartment NYC, we’ll use the acronym FANYC, which is appropriate since our first apartments were sure not FANCY.

What are 5 things that first come to mind about your FANYC?

What was the best thing about your FANYC?

What was the worst thing?

What was the funniest thing?

CoupleInAirWhat are 5 things/people/places/events you remember most about NYC while living in your FANYC?

Digging further…

What year did you move into your FANYC?

Where was your FANYC located?

  • Any nearby landmarks such as the Midtown Tunnel, To Catch a Rising Star, or the Turkish baths?

How old were you?

How did you find your FANYC?

Who was your roomate(s)?

  • RedPhoneHow did you connect?
  • Did you stay connected?

Describe your FANYC

  • What floor did you live on?
  • Was it a walk up or elevator building?
  • Where was the laundry?
  • What was your sleeping situation? Bedroom with a door or … ?

Describe what kind of block or neighborhood it wasPizza

What were your FANYC neighbors like?

What was your landlord like?

How much rent (if any) did you pay?

How did you find money for rent (ie, what was your job or who was supporting you)?

How did you handle food procurement?

  • Did you mostly eat in or eat out?

How long did you stay in your FANYC? Person with stroller

Why did you leave?

How long did you stay in NYC?

What kind of place do you live in now?


Ready to share your stories?

Fill out the “Share Your Story” form or just use the Contact form.


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