The Rent is Too Damn High – Padmapper Explores The Man, The Politics, and The Rent

The Rent is Too Damn High!!!

The Rent is Too Damn High!

It’s the “Yes We Can,” of 2010:The Rent is Too Damn High. Breakfast lunch, and dinner, the rent is too damn high. Jimmy McMillan, the fearless, bearded leader of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, has raised high-rent awareness across the country. He just received the ultimate accolade: his very own SNL spoof. But little did non-New Yorkers know he’s been a statewide figure since 1994.

Here on this election day, we learn more about the man behind the most hilarious political slogan to date, what his party’s all about, and how to find out (before you vote) if your rent really is too damn high.

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5 Steps to Finding a Quality Roommate

Good luck, big guy.

Good luck, big guy.

There is, in my opinion, no relationship so tumultuous as the roommate relationship. It is complicated, often fickle. One second you are laughing together over a shared bottle of wine, the next you’re leaving snarky messages taped to the fridge “reminding” each other to do the freaking dishes!

Roommates deal with the same problems as married couples – lifestyle habits, finances, who is using all the hot water in the shower – but with the decided disadvantage that roommates don’t have to love each other for better or for worse. And when it comes to living together, lots of times it is worse.

There are two scenarios when looking for a roommate: attempting to fill a vacant spot in your apartment, or looking to move in with someone. Let’s deal with the former, first.
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The Top 6 College Towns in America

Ahhh, college. No matter what your age, a thriving collegiate community can greatly enhance the quality of life of whatever town it is in.

But not all college atmospheres are created equal. The best college towns will provide the perfect mix of intellectual curiosity and tomfoolery. As long as you’re willing to put up with occasional spectacles of public drunkenness, then the following cities are the best college towns to search for apartments for rent.

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Want to Get the Inside Scoop on a City? Read These Blogs

If you’re looking for apartments for rent a new city, it can be very difficult to get some good inside info on what it’s actually like to live in certain areas.  Promotional websites will spoon feed you fluff on how fantastic their own area is, while you’ll only find hyperbolic and unreliable statements on internet message boards.  How do you sift through all the misinformation?  Here are five great blogs to help you get a feel for what life is actually like in the five most populous cities in America:

1. New York City, NY

New York City is absolutely enormous, and with the millions of different opinions of NYC floating around on the internet, finding reliable information can be like picking a snowflake out of an avalanche.  Thankfully, there’s gothamist.com, a site which offers news, commentary, and insight about everything happening at ground level in all the NYC neighborhoods.  Definitely required reading if you plan to move to the Big Apple.

2. Los Angeles, CA

With all the Hollywood drama surrounding Los Angeles, it can be difficult to find a blog that isn’t solely concerned with what purses the latest young starlets have been wearing.  You can find excellent information about where to eat, live, and play at laist.com, a site dedicated to LA lifestyle and not the stylish lives of certain Hollywood inhabitants.

3. Chicago, IL

One of the most informational and reliable blogs those seeking to live in the City of Big Shoulders can read is chitownliving.com, which has real estate tips, specific neighborhood news and reviews, and other helpful articles.  Make sure you look up the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to on chitownliving; you’ll get all the inside info you need to make a smart decision on your apartment.

4. Dallas, TX

The most comprehensive source for all things involving the city of Dallas is dallasobserver.com, which has local news, nightclub reviews, and happenings in and around Dallas, even the low-down on particular neighborhoods.

5. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is completely untangled by the good people at philebrity.com.  This site gives you irreverent but reliable info on Philadelphia lifestyle and occurrences, and can be a great compass to help you figure out what neighborhoods to find apartments for rent in the City of Brotherly Love.

Using Padmapper and one of these sites, you can make an informed choice on where to live.  Go forth and search for that apartment with confidence.

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The Best Music Cities in America

When trying to find apartments for rent in different cities, one of the biggest draws to a particular town is its music scene. But no matter how long you browse through apartment listings, you won’t find any good information on a city’s music scene within. While any city is never more than a few hours away from its next live concert, there are many factors which can really improve its reputation as being a music haven.

What makes a great music town? If a city was a birthplace of a particular genre of music, if it has amazing music venues on every corner, if it’s the origin for many influential bands….the list goes on. While these factors are great individually, some lucky cities feature the more of them simultaneously.

Without further ado, here are the 3 most outstanding musical cities in America, with notes about where their local movement shave been, what the future holds, and where to live if you want to be a part of these great civic cultures.

New York City, NY

NYC skyline

New York City really has it all. Bands flock to it to carve a bite out of the Big Apple’s prodigious music scene. This whole music thing isn’t new for New York City, either. Starting with Tin Pan Alley at the outset of the 20th century, New York City has been the epicenter to more forms of music than any other American city.

Genres like Blues, Jazz, American Folk, Punk, and Disco have all had New York City as a hotbed at some point in their existence. It is also the undeniable birthplace of Hip Hop, one of the most popular musical forms in the world today.

New York City has produced some of the most famous acts in American music history, and is still thriving today.

Where NYC Music has Been:

In 1979, pioneering group the Sugarhill Gang released the first rap song to achieve mainstream success in “Rapper’s Delight,” thus paving the way for future NYC Hip Hop icons like Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z to make their mark on the genre:

Sugarhill Gang- Rapper’s Delight



New York City is also widely known as a hub for the Indie music scene, thanks in large part to wildly popular bands like the Talking Heads. Their hit song “Once in a Lifetime” is a great example of the kind of originality of many great NYC bands over the years:

The Talking Heads- Once in a Lifetime

Where NYC Music is Headed:

There are countless new bands in New York City making a name for themselves in today’s Indie music scene. One band that has been gaining attention from hipsters across America lately is Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear:

Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks

There are also new NYC bands that demonstrate enormous influence from the city’s Disco and Punk scenes, a prime example being the immensely popular band LCD Soundsystem.

LCD Soundsystem- Dance Yrself Clean

Best Music Neighborhood: Williamsburg. This Brooklyn neighborhood has witnessed the rise of a thriving music scene in recent years. Williamsburg is the birthplace of acts like TV on the Radio, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Scissor Sisters. There are also countless dive bars for up-and-coming bands to perform in, so you never know when you’re seeing the next big thing on a night out in Williamsburg.

Seattle, WA

Seattle Skyline

Seattle is known for three things: inclement weather, mega-companies like Microsoft and Starbucks, and a musical revolution that caused the entire city to wear flannel. Despite being tucked away in a remote corner of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle has made a disproportionately large impact on American music. Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix started turning people on to Seattle music in the 1960s, and it continued to thrive in the following decades.

A cultural explosion took place in the city in the late 80s and early 90s with Seattle bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. This created an enormously successful music industry in Seattle, with acts like The Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, and Death Cab for Cutie rising to prominence in recent years. Thanks to Sub Pop, the widely successful independent music label based in Seattle, the city shows no signs of drying up. Here’s a listen of some prime examples from the Emerald City:

Where Seattle Music has Been:

God of the Guitar Jimi Hendrix demonstrates his superhuman abilities in his 1967 hit “Little Wing.”

Jimi Hendrix- Little Wing

The song that started a music revolution that became synonymous with Seattle: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit

Where Seattle Music is Headed:

The rising popularity of Band of Horses, who blend rock with a touch of country, is indicative of Seattle’s continued success in the music business.

Band of Horses- The First Song

Fleet Foxes, who quickly received international acclaim after they released their debut album in 2008, feature Beach Boys-esque harmonies that border on musical perfection:

Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal

Best Music Neighborhood: Capitol Hill. This hipster’s paradise is home to countless music venues, most notably the famous dive known as Neumo’s. The tiny venue has hosted the likes of Pearl Jam, Radiohead, the Flaming Lips and many more over the years, and still hosts nightly shows to this day. Capitol Hill has had many new apartment complexes built in recent years, so finding cheap apartments for rent should be very easy in this vibrant neighborhood.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Skyline

When it comes to music scenes the San Francisco Bay Area is often overlooked. One glance at the city’s rich musical pedigree, and you’ll be at a loss to figure out why that is. As the birthplace of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, San Francisco became a hotbed for some of the most famous bands of that tumultuous decade.

While hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury to “tune in and drop out,” iconic psychedelic bands like Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Grateful Dead developed what became known as the “San Francisco Sound.” This sub-genre characteristically featured extensive improvisation in live performances and a heavy electric bass, and is still being emulated by musicians today.

In the 80s San Francisco’s music scene hit a little bit of a dry spell, but there has been resurgence lately. The famous “Hyphy” rap movement with artists like E-40 and Mac Dre allows San Francisco to have one of the nation’s most distinctive Hip Hop cultures. And the recent re-emergence of local rock bands has San Francisco looking ahead to many years filled with great new music.

Where San Francisco Music has Been:

In the 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, a cornerstone text of hippie counterculture, Jefferson Airplane released a song that would become the anthem of the decade in “Somebody to Love.”

Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

“Suzie Q,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, offers a perfect example of the aforementioned ”San Francisco Sound.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival- Suzy Q

Where San Francisco Music is Headed:

Despite releasing their first album in 2009, Girls have an old school sound that seems firmly rooted in Northern California culture:

Girls- Lust for Life

Big Echo, the second album from San Francisco’s the Morning Benders, is definitely in the running for many “Top 10 Albums of 2010” lists.

The Morning Benders- Excuses

Best Music Neighborhood: Haight-Ashbury. While the Summer of Love was over 40 years ago, Haight-Ashbury still has a truly unique culture that is teeming with music performances. As long as you’re ok with all things hippie, Haight-Ashbury can be the perfect neighborhood to satisfy your musical cravings.

If you’re a music fan looking for a place to live, these three cities abound with musical performances and opportunities. Get out there and explore what these cities have to give, they won’t let you down.

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5 Houseplants That Will Give Your City Apartment a Hint of Nature

Anyone who has traded in evergreens for skyscrapers and fall foliage for subways knows that the urban jungle doesn’t quite hack it when it comes to real nature. And while city life has it perks – coffee shops on every corner, ethnic food, public transportation – there is a part of everyone’s soul that craves rolling hills and fresh air.

A rooftop garden would be a good substitution to a National Forest, but you and I both know that something like this

Image courtesy of Thomas Milne (via Flickr)

Image courtesy of Thomas Milne (via Flickr)

is not always in the budget.

However, creating an indoor jungle inside an urban jungle is easy – and best of all, green thumbs are not a pre-requisite. There are plenty of leafy greens that live year-round, thrive in low lighting, and are next to impossible to kill. Even better news: there are a handful of potted plants that go a long way in purifying the air from car exhaust and industrial smog (I’m looking at you Los Angeles) so your home can become a haven of good health.

It doesn’t matter if your next apartment for rent is in downtown Cincinnati. Bring nature to you.
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Is an Awesome Apartment Worth Giving Up Your Closet?

So you’ve found it: that perfect pre-war/loft/converted-warehouse/fill-in-the-blank that you’ve coveted since your first viewing of Flashdance. Sure, it might be pricey, and don’t even get me started on the water pressure, but it’s your dream home, right?

Many of us can adapt to creaky floors and five stories with no elevator in the name of apartment paradise, but any girl (and those guys who own more than one suit) will balk when they discover that their casa is closet-less. Sorry folks, but turn-of-the-century smelters did not have as much need as you do for a spacious walk-in.

So what do? Turn down the perfect pad out of duty to your shoe collection? Or get creative and enter a realm of never-before-experienced hipsterdom? I’ll be you can guess which one I vote for.

Closet Alternatives

Open Closets

Open closets are great when you have gorgeous clothes you guests can croon over.

Colorful clothes are pieces of art. Image courtesy apartmenttherapy.com

Colorful clothes are pieces of art. Image courtesy apartmenttherapy.com


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Living the Hip Life on a $1,200 Budget

You have $1,200 in your pocket and a messenger bag on your back. What is that going to get you? Well, it depends on which neighborhood you plan on parking your fixie in. Take a look at these hipster hotspots around the country and figure out which one is right for you.

$1,200 Apartments for Rent in All Sorts of Cool Cities

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

$1,200 can get ya: Studio apartment, maybe a one bedroom, definitely a few blocks from the heart of hipsterdom. 450 – 700 square feet. If you’re lucky you’ll be near a subway stop, but don’t count on it. Let’s face it: you probably are in Bushwick – which isn’t so bad – but you still say “Williamsburg.”

It's factory-chic. Images courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com and craigslist.com

It's factory-chic. Images courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com and craigslist.com


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Who to Notify When You Move (and How)

It has happened in every apartment for rent I have ever moved in to. You skip down the steps to greet the post man on your first day, all excited to see what sort of letters and post cards you’ve been sent. Low and behold your mailbox is full – heaping even!

The problem: none of it’s for you. It’s all the past tenants’ mail, going back for years upon years upon years. Some are kind of fun (free National Geographic!), some are horrendous (Life Insurance-R-Us!), all of it is a waste. The worst part: chances are you’re part of the cycle.

None of it is for you. Mwahahaha.

None of it is for you. Mwahahaha.

In the process of moving, we always forget to notify someone of our departure – traditionally that’s just the way it is. This checklist is designed to help everyone succeed with a No Mail Left Behind move.

A Mover’s Notification Checklist

Thing to Cancel then Renew at Your New Place

There are things you need to cancel when you move out. Chances are a land lord will have a role in some of these processes, but make sure you double check for yourself. The last thing you want is your name on someone else’s bill.

Utilities

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Trash
  • Cable

Personal Accounts

  • Lawn service
  • Local club memberships
  • Local newspaper subscription

Things to Transfer

Other things you will want (or need) to keep around: prescriptions, your subscription to The New Yorker, your tax return. Each item will probably have its own process for updating your contact information and mailing address, but hopefully most of it can be done online.

  • Pharmacy prescriptions
  • Magazines subscriptions
  • National newspaper subscriptions
  • Netflix
  • Alumni/ae literature
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax stuff
  • Social Security information
  • Immigration status
  • DMV
  • Voter registration

Useful Resources

Official Change of Address Form: let the USPS know you’re new address over the internet

IRS Change of Address Form
: that way your tax returns know where to go. You can print out this PDF and mail it in. Directions are on page two of the form.

Social Security Change of Address Form:
This one is especially important if you are receiving disability, retirement or survivors benefits.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Change of Address Form: Most non-U.S. citizens need to report their change in address within 10 days of moving. You can do it either online or by mail.

Drivers License Change of Address Form: Each state has different rules and processes. Here they are.

Voter Registration: Again, each state is different. Learn about them here.

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The Top 3 Neighborhoods for Sports Fans

One of the keys to finding great apartments for rent is searching for a neighborhood that’s conducive to your particular interests and lifestyle. For example, if your idea of a good time is going out to a few happening nightclubs and maybe seeing a live concert, then living in a neighborhood that’s home to the city’s largest retirement community might be a bad idea. If sports are near and dear to your heart, then it would be a great move to put yourself in a thriving sports atmosphere near a major ballpark. Here are three neighborhoods that could be a veritable shangri la for sports afficianados.

Wrigleyville- Chicago, IL

Cubbie Heaven

Cubbie Heaven

Home to Wrigley Park and those lovable losers the Chicago Cubs, Wrigleyville is one of the best neighborhoods in America for baseball fans. Wrigleyville features a generally younger demographic, and is filled with some of the nation’s best sports bars like The Cubby Bear and Slugger’s. Getting in and out of Wrigleyville is a piece of cake, as it is serviced by Chicago’s highly efficient El-Train. Sports isn’t the only thing to do in Wrigleyville- the neighborhood’s Irish heritage causes it to be one of the best places in town to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Despite being so close to a landmark as historic as Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville apartments won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Wrigleyville tends to be one of the best places in Chicago to look for reasonably cheap apartments. If you’re a high roller, though, spring for the apartments that overlook the field- the Holy Grail of apartments if you’re a Cubs fan.

Orchard Park- Buffalo, NY

The Pride of Buffalo

The Pride of Buffalo

Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Buffalo, NY knows one thing about its friendly inhabitants: the Buffalo Bills are about as close to the town’s official religion as a sports team could possibly get. While many NFL stadiums nowadays are located in the downtown areas of their respective cities, Ralph Wilson Stadium is actually located in the pleasant suburban neighborhood of Orchard Park. Indeed, a drive through the streets of Orchard Park initially seems like a drive through Anytown, USA, but when all of the sudden an NFL stadium crops up on a random street corner, you know you’re someplace special. The Buffalo Bills fans are known for having one of the best tailgate scenes in the NFL, but the best pre-game party could be thrown from the comfort of many of the cheap homes for rent in Orchard Park. The Bills aren’t the only outlet for fun in Buffalo; the town’s proximity to the beautiful Niagara Falls makes it all the more appealing.

Foxborough, MA

Wicked Neighborhood for Pats Fans

Wicked Neighborhood for Pats Fans

If a team is going to have the gusto to claim they represent a multi-state geographical region, then they had best be successful. In recent years, the New England Patriots have done exactly that. But despite their lofty achievements, their home stadium is located in the quaint Boston suburb of Foxborough. At first glance, it might seem absurd to have an NFL stadium in such a quiet down, but upon closer examination Foxborough really is the perfect place for Gillette stadium. On non-gamedays, Foxborough is indistinguishable from any other small quintessentially New England town. It only makes sense, then, that the Patriots aren’t named after a city but the entire region. Being only a 30 minute drive from Boston allows Foxborough to have all of the amenities of a big city without the hustle and bustle headache. Indeed, Foxborough might just be the quiet sports fan’s pigskin paradise

While many other professional sports stadiums are located in great neighborhoods, these three areas provide the best overall experience. Don’t take our word for it, though. With internet apartment finders like Padmapper, it’s easier than ever to view apartment listings in any great sports neighborhood.

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