The Webster Apartments: A Review

When I was 11-years-old, I made my first journey to New York City with my mother on a school trip. Though I was born into a rural community, I’ve always been city(ish) at heart. Without a doubt, the trip was magical and I was stunned at the big city: the lights, the sounds, and the never-ending hum of activity. Shortly after, I told my mother I was moving to New York. Like many young pre-teens with dreams, I wasn’t for sure I would actually move to the Big Apple. But, after meeting my Long Island boyfriend (now fiance) and securing a teaching job in the city, my long-held dream of living in New York City, specifically Manhattan, has come to fruition.

One of the most daunting tasks of moving to a new city, any new city, is finding a place to live that is affordable, in a great location, and safe. Unfortunately, apartment searchers often have to compromise one or more factors in order to find a place to lay their head. Thankfully, before moving to NYC, I came across The Webster Apartments, a short-term, women’s only residence in the heart of Manhattan. Thankfully, when I applied for a room, there was an opening in early July. After nearly 12 days of living in Manhattan, specifically at the apartments, I want to give you the grand tour of big city life, offering the pros and cons of my new living arrangement.

The Pros

  1. Location: The Webster Apartments are located on West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. This is a prime location, just a short walk to multiple subway stations and Penn Station, a hub for travel from New York and beyond. Just down the street is the flagship Macy’s store, alongside a Target and Kmart for your grocery needs. Just a few blocks away is the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and a variety of other attractions. It’s nearly impossible to say you’re bored while living at the Webster.
  2. Affordable: Compared to other apartments in Manhattan, the Webster Apartments is a steal. In your bi-weekly rate, you receive two meals a day, weekly housekeeping service, free wi-fi, and 24/7 security at the front desk (among other services). While this sounds like a recipe for terribly expensive for living in NYC, the rent rates are dependent on how much you make before tax. The minimum a resident can make and live at the Webster is $30,000, while the maximum is $80,000. For reference, I pay around $1400 a month in rent. Some women pay more, some pay less. Thankfully, the Webster understands that starting a new job in the big city doesn’t always accompany a big paycheck.
  3. Safety: The Webster does not take the safety of its guests lightly. All visitors are required to sign in and the front desk is staffed by security personnel 24/7/365. Moreover, as part of her applications, a prospective resident must consent to a very detailed background and credit check. One cannot simply apply to live at the apartments with a criminal record an/or a poor history of repaying debts. And while the Webster does not keep tabs on when its occupants come and go, women are to scan in upon entering the building after a day of work or leisure. Also, for better or worse, no men are not allowed above the first floor. If you want to show your dad or boyfriend your room, you both must be accompanied by a Webster staff member. Personally, I think this is a great policy, as it cuts down on tomfoolery. But, if you have a boyfriend or fiance, he can visit with you in one of the many beau parlors (read: small, decorated rooms with a TV) on the first floor. Finally, any male guests you have can eat with you to the dining room for a small fee.

The Cons

  1. Community is hard to find: Contrary to what you might think, living in the Webster is not like a college dorm. Most women here to work, eat, and sleep. This contrasts with a college dorm, where many young women are eager to make friends and connections to sustain them through the college experience. Therefore, at the Webster, there’s not many guests sitting together at lunch and dinner. Most eat and leave, not saying much to anyone else. At night, you won’t hear loud music or boisterous laughter. Most women are turned in by 11pm. As an introvert, this vibe at the Webster doesn’t bother me. I’m fine to come in, go to my room, and sit in solitude. But, if you’re looking to make friends right away, you may have to work at it.
  2. The Food: Honestly, the jury is still out on this one. The food here at the Webster is unique, has variety, and one has plenty of options to choose from. There’s always two meat-based options and one choice for vegetarians. For example, tonight you can choose to build your own taco and burrito, with a wide range of toppings. Veggies are always available as a side dish and there’s a salad bar once you go through the line. However, I would say that the food is lacking in the flavor department. Maybe I’m just used to down-home cooking where cooks use something called salt to season up their dishes. Here, far north of the Ohio River, it doesn’t seem that they’ve received the memo. Overall the food is edible, but don’t expect Michelin-star quality.
  3. Restricted Appliances: My one reservation about moving to the Webster (though not a deal breaker) was that guests are not permitted to have big appliances in their rooms (mini-fridges, coffee brewers, etc.). I understand why this is a rule: the building dates back to the 1920s and too many extra appliances plugged in to outlets could cause a shortage, or even worse, a fire. But, I had grown attached to my Keurig brewer back home. It pained me to know I would have to leave it behind (a total first-world problem), but I did. Guests are permitted to have a small cooler, which they can fill up with ice from the ice machine on the 2nd floor. While it doesn’t quite function like a mini-fridge, it can keep foods cool as needed.

Life at The Webster Apartments has proven to be a fun, convenient, and exciting way to encounter life in New York City. I highly recommend this living arrangement to any young woman looking to relocate to the city for work or internships. The Webster provides a nice place to live and thrive, and acts as sort of a safety net as you make your way into the hum of the Big Apple. For more information on The Webster Apartments and its eligibility requirements, click visit websterapartments.org.

All the best,

Sarah

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Though my review of The Webster Apartments is favorable, this post or blog is not sponsored or affiliated by the Apartments. 

 

GUEST POST: Ordinary by Anne Kidder

Today, I am excited to have Anne Kidder, of Kidderbug Kreations, as a guest contributor. Anne is a crafty, Catholic woman who I’ve “met” through Catholic Social Media Influencers. I hope you enjoy her thoughts on the wonderful, ordinary rhythm of the Catholic life.

Ordinary:  A word that is almost looked down upon or used as an apology.  I am an ordinary mom.  I am an ordinary business woman. I am an ordinary Catholic.  Yet none of us are really, truly ordinary.  We are unique and special, even if we don’t often think so.

My kids didn’t come with instruction manuals.  I usually don’t read them, but I sure would have if I had gotten any with my kids!  How many times did I wonder if I was doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or somehow ensuring they wouldn’t need years of therapy?  All moms wonder these things from time to time (or sometimes they wonder these things multiple times a day).  I was an ordinary mom longing to be an extraordinary mom, the mom who had it all together and could volunteer for every school function and have dinner on the table with a happy family sitting at the table every evening while having a spotless home.

pexels-photo-704988.jpeg I learned quickly that I wasn’t super mom and I couldn’t do it all.  Something had to give. Every mom comes to this conclusion at some point and what is given up depends on the needs of her family.  For me, it was a clean house.  I learned that not everything had to be put away every night.  Clean clothes didn’t have to be folded and put away right away. The kitchen counter could be cluttered.  Most days God gave me the grace to look past the clutter and the mess and focus on happy, healthy children.  Some days it got the best of me and I would have a mom tantrum begging for the clutter to be gone.  I was an ordinary mom who didn’t always have it all together.

Now that my kids are in college, I am still an ordinary mom, but have started own business Kidderbug Kreations.  I would love to say I am an extraordinary business owner that has built a multi-million-dollar corporation, but I am just an ordinary business woman trying to provide unique handcrafted gifts for all occasions.  I have the same struggles all business owners have.  Am I doing the right thing, saying the right thing, how will I get all the things done on my to do list?  I am an ordinary mom with my own business.

I am an ordinary Catholic.  While I would love to say I am an amazing Catholic who has been on missions, brought many people to the Lord, and whose faith is unshakeable, but I can’t say that. I struggle with the same things most Catholics do.  Am I doing the right thing, saying the right thing, how can I strengthen my prayer life?  How can I live my life so that when other’s see me, they see God in my actions?  I am an ordinary Catholic who doesn’t have all the answers.

In this life, we will always have questions.  We will always have doubts.  We won’t have all the answers.  We will always be ordinary.  But being ordinary isn’t a bad thing.  Living our ordinary lives and doing small things with great love, makes us extraordinary in God’s eyes.