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The Hunt: A Private Roof Deck on the Upper West Side

The Hunt: A Private Roof Deck on the Upper West Side

A couple wanted outdoor space, and found it, but at the top of a walk-up building.

With a budget of $3,400, the couple began the hunt three months before their leases were up, to learn what was available. They tried South Harlem, where they could get more space for their money. They liked a 2010 condominium building on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, with a shared roof deck. A large one-bedroom for rent there was $3,200. “The refrigerator had a window so you could see inside,” Mr. Rabinowitz said. It was too early to move, however. “I was enamored with this building so we kept an eye on it,” he said.

A few weeks later, another one-bedroom appeared there. This one had its own roof deck with a gas grill. It was $3,400.

Mr. Rabinowitz arrived early for the open house, but another couple was already there. He was worried.

They later learned the apartment went to someone — the other couple? — who offered a year’s rent upfront.

“I had been refreshing StreetEasy every hour for weeks,” Mr. Rabinowitz said. Most places turned out to be small, dark and pricey. His lease expired. He temporarily returned to his childhood bedroom on the Upper West Side.

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