My fondness for the real estate site Curbed is no secret, not only because, for me, it’s the easiest, more entertaining way to get an constantly updated overview of the constantly changing NYC rental apartment scene, but also, as a resident of a NYC rental apartment, I love Curbed’s coverage of all sorts of neighborhood news, from previews of public art projects to new construction (or demolition) reports to peeks inside crazy-luxurious homes (aka, hot real estate porn). Basically, the Curbed folks love New York City real estate because they love New York City, not just because it involves a lot of money.
Plus, in addition to being informative, the Curbed folks can be quite funny, too… sometimes at the same time! Take, for instance, one of my favorite regular Curbed features, the reliably awesome Brokerbabble Glossary, in which Weekend Editor Jeremiah Budin takes a WAY-well-worn apartment adjective, or cliche, and shows you exactly what you’ll get.
Yes, of course, these are usually the most egregious misuses that can be found, and Budin cherry picks for comic effect, but still, it’s pretty eye-opening just how exaggerated, desperate (or, more likely, simply lazy… or overworked) NYC rental apartment brokers can be when writing their listings. If you’re currently searching for a NYC rental apartment, it’s definitely worth a look. Or even if you’re not.
For example: “Sprawling” (above) “When are brokers finally going to learn that words have actual meanings? (Rhetorical question, obviously.) Hey, guy who listed this apartment, just because you cleared out the largest room and took a picture really close to the floor, it doesn’t make the apartment ‘sprawling.’ Nobody is looking at this and thinking, ‘Wow, look at all that floor! It is a veritable sea of floor stretching from one corner all the way to another far, far away corner.’
And “Breathtaking” (two above): “There’s nothing that removes air from one’s lungs like an aerial look at a bridge, or a park, or a river, or a group of buildings, or, apparently, pretty much anything in New York City. Take the above picture, for example. Those views of the Upper West Side? Breathtaking. The Upper West Side is a lot more opaque than we remembered.”
And one more, “Endless” (at top): “Trying to use the word “endless” in a real estate listing is not likely to go well, because very few things are actually endless and it’s a pretty safe bet that none of them can fit into an 800-square-foot duplex…. Is that sentence supposed to mean what we think it’s supposed to mean? Is this broker actually saying that the sky, which is visible from the windows of the apartment, is endless? Yeah, congratulations, dude. The sky is endless. Now everybody wants to buy this apartment.”
Actually, if you count outer space (and you’re looking straight up, this one MIGHT actually be true.