If you have searched for apartments in most any market in the U.S., you’ve probably been faced with very few options when it comes to the apartment type. Usually those options include a studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, or 3-bedroom – pretty simple, right?

Then you step foot out of that yellow taxi and into the mean streets of the concrete jungle that is New York City, plop down in front of a reputable broker, and the questioning starts. Convertible? Alcove? Garden? Wing? Junior? You could be thinking – Am I in the right place? Are we talking about apartments here? Are these just fancy ways of saying, “how about a closet with a mattress on its floor and a shower that doubles as your kitchen sink?”

Sure New York is the city where dreams are made, but most people coming to the Big Apple are immediately faced with the nightmare that is finding an apartment here. Well, it doesn’t have to be as scary as a rat-filled subway platform at 2am. We are here to break down these New York apartment types.

Different Studio Spaces

Here in New York we have several ways of saying “one big room” in our description of apartment types. In the rest of the world, this would be a studio. But here a hall closet could be considered a studio so these descriptions can be extremely helpful for understanding what options you will have with the space.

A convertible is a space that is large enough to wall off an area to create a separate living room or bedroom. This doesn’t always just apply to studios. Typically it will be specified that it is a convertible studio, or convertible one-bedroom, etc.

An alcove studio is a New York apartment type that is a studio that has a walled off area, usually just large enough for a bed. An alcove is typically no larger than 100 square feet so it really only serves to contain a bed, dining set, or small sitting area, and doesn’t typically have the amount of space needed to categorize it as a convertible.

For those of you Sex & the City fans looking to live like Samantha Jones in the trendy Meatpacking District, ask for a loft. These are the types of buildings you will see in areas that were historically industrial or commercial, like SoHo and Tribeca. Because they are usually converted factory spaces, you can expect large windows, high ceilings and exposed duct work. If bedrooms have been built out, this is usually specified (for example, one-bedroom loft).

One-Bedroom Options

The options in New York apartment types don’t slow down when you upgrade to one-bedroom options. A junior one-bedroom is typically either similar to or a small increase in size from a studio or alcove studio. It is usually a large studio with separate sleeping area and potentially an eat-in kitchen.

If you see a Junior 4 that means this one-bedroom has four separate rooms to include a kitchen, living room, bedroom and a small bonus room. Similar to this you’ll often see a three-room or one-bedroom railroad apartment. If you’re living with a roommate, be cautious of the railroad apartment as each room is connected to the next without a hallway so your roommate might have to walk through your bedroom to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Two and Three-Bedroom Types

Aside from a traditional two-bedroom, you may also come across a wing two-bedroom which is two separate bedrooms with a shared small common space in the middle such as a kitchen, but likely without any real living space. Older, more traditional buildings that haven’t been remodeled may offer a classic six that has three bedrooms and separate living, dining and kitchen areas.

In addition to space specific New York apartment types, a garden apartment typically means there is access to outdoor space. Also, a duplex or triplex has two or three levels.

With the right broker and a little knowledge on the New York apartment types, finding your little piece of paradise in one of the world’s most amazing cities should be as exciting as the first day you stepped out of that taxi.