Your UES listing contains a warning: "This listing is priced well below other similar units in the area. Use common sense when interacting with this (and any) listing - NEVER SEND MONEY ORDERS OR WIRE MONEY." Rental listings include many dangerous scams.
NYC needs at least a million more housing units, but zoning and planning restrictions have artificially restricted the supply of new housing. Developers build wherever they are allowed, but they are heavily taxed with requirements to purchase "air rights" and to pay for below market "affordable" (i.e. political patronage) housing elsewhere. The market is overpriced due to bailout money (artificially inflated demand) and zoning (restricted supply).
Last time I was back in the states I went to see my former employers who are renting a 1 bedroom apartment a couple of blocks west of Penn Plaza in a mixed use building for 3k a month. They are using it as an in the city office, but it's a pretty good looking place if you wanted to live there I thought. My old boss says there are quite a few places renting in the garment district. I like that part of the city, even though it's a little gritty still.
Thanks - I had not tried HotPads before but there do seem to be many listings around $3/sqft/month which is less overpriced than I had expected based on recent history. Craig's List numbers look similar, though HousingMaps.com looks surprisingly sparse.
Housing quality can vary widely within NYC though. "The City" refers usually only to Manhattan; the outer boroughs are separate counties and were separate cities. Access to multiple subway lines can be vital, as commuters living near only one line can be stranded if that line closes for repairs. Noise transmission can be a major issue, like living inside a badly tuned guitar with dozens of strangers who all have different schedules. Also anything with an initial rent above $2k/month is likely to be excluded from rent stabilization, so the initial rent might be a tease followed by a dramatic increase when the initial 1-year lease ends; moving annually is not fun so people who want stability tend to prefer stabilized places.
They'll be 10x inside of a year. You only have HOURs to get in on the rentals goldmine and the exploding rents that will increase every month for the next 1000 years and fund your great grand kids' conquest and rape of entire galaxies.
NYC is becoming way too civilized for me. Times square doesn't have any drugs or hookers any more and actually is pretty clean and nice. People are moving to the south bronx that don't even own guns. Flatbush has theatres and antique stores for christ sakes without a single drug shooting to be seen. White people are going to the Apollo to see Bruce Springsteen. What's the world coming to?