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April 13, 2007

Rent Increase


While researching studies written about the cost of living in NYC between 1900 and 1930, I came across this book by the WPA. It uses 1940 statistics, which was a little outside of my search range, however the maps that the book provides are really interesting. It breaks each borough down by block and then evaluates several data sets, including the averages of monthly rent, persons per room and year of building erection. The maps don't reveal any great surprises but they do show you the variations in neighborhoods. For instance, the average monthly rent of half of the building complex I am studying was between $25 and $29. The average of the other half of the same set of buildings was $30 to $39. There are a lot of variables that go into why this is the case, such as rent stabilization and old vs. new tenants, but it is nevertheless interesting.

I spent a good amount of time flipping through these maps and thinking about the monthly rents of various places throughout the city. Then I snapped back to 2007 and realized that $25-$40 a month is like half a day's rent (if that) in our current world. Seventy years makes a big difference.

NB: I am considering buying a new camera for our trip to Turkey- a point and shoot that takes up less space. Though I already have a specific one in mind, I'd love advice/opinions on ones that people think work well. My requirements include some manual control (aperture priority, white balance, maybe focus control), video clips, and a good ISO range that does not compensate the image quality in low light.

Posted by callalillie at April 13, 2007 7:15 AM | City Life , Geek , Graduate School , History


don't forget the average salary in the 40's was something like $1300/year. still that's a pretty good deal. but they didn't have the fabulous drunkin dount's/popeye's chicken we all take for granted nowadays.

Posted by: ChrisG at April 13, 2007 10:34 AM

Oh, totally. I'm not sure what the class makeup was in 1940, but the area that I was studying was a pretty even split between factory/industrial and lower-middle class professionals in the early 1930's...they didn't make a whole lot of $ (but certainly more than other laborers, etc). The sweetness came with the all-inclusive heat, electricity and hot water-- still a good deal today!

Posted by: corie at April 13, 2007 10:41 AM

I have a Canon 20D, but wanted to buy a point-and-shoot camera for the same reasons you mention. I bought a Sony Cyber-Shot which isn't too bad. Good ISO range, 7.2 mps, long battery life, etc. Plus, its on sale this week at several locations (i.e. Staples, Circuit City, etc.) for $199 which includes a free memory card.

Posted by: Shannon at April 13, 2007 12:49 PM

That reminds me of when I found my great-grandmother's pay stub from the 1920's and pay for her was about $40 (but I don't recall how long it took her to earn that.) I wish I had held on to that and I don't know what relative may have it in their possession.

Will you be keeping your old camera?

Posted by: Jenifer at April 13, 2007 4:28 PM

I bought a Canon Powershot A540 in January, and bought it with me to Iceland and France. It worked out really well and has tons of features like apeture and shutter priority, and white balance evaluation, plus it runs on both batteries and a charge.

Posted by: Nani at April 13, 2007 4:45 PM

As good as Canons are, I'd say their menu interface is less than staightforward. It's a mystery to me why they haven't become more user-friendly.

Kodak makes some great digital cameras with a much more clear user-interface. I'd definitely look into their offerings. I have a very basic point and shoot (V570, I believe), but the camera I was using before had more manual controls.

You might also want to look at Lumix cameras... I don't have any personal experience with them, but they employ Leica lenses. The rest of the camera, however, is Panasonic which I'm not sure how I feel about.

Posted by: margot at April 14, 2007 5:50 PM

Why don't share which model of camera you're considering?

Posted by: Elena at April 15, 2007 10:31 PM

I have a Cybershot. It's really small (the A520 I believe it is). I got it for all those reasons you mention above plus it's teeny and not too $$. However, as far as I have figured so far, low-light photos are not so good. It just doesn't stop down far enough. And yeah, the controls are not that intuitive, but to have that many options, they have be buried in menus somewhere.

Posted by: craige at April 23, 2007 9:49 PM

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