JF Ptak Science Books Post 2749
I know that there must be someone out there in Webtubiana desperately looking for this in a way in which they didn't know they (a) needed it at all and (b) didn't know that that unknown need was desperate. And so here it is: New York City apartment vacancies in 1933. There is a tale being told here, in NYC, in the fourth year or so of the Depression and the first year of FDR, about what could be afforded and how much that all was. The list is found in eight pages of Tenement House Department, City of New York: Survey of Vacancies in Class-A-Multiple Dwellings, compiled by the Commissioner Charles F. Kerrigan, and dated in the text "May 11, 1933". It is a mimeographed production with a done-at-the-office quality to it, the typewriter having a problem with "9" and "0" and "O" as they tended to be filled in with ink.
I know this sounds as brittle as ice on an ego, but once you get past the dust, there is definitely a story being told, if you looked for it.
At the very least this document will tell you what the rent was like on apartments from 1-7 rooms (elevator and non-elevator buildings), which means that if you consult the ever-useful Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator you can at least establish a common denominator for value interpretation into current dollars. There are 33 (!) price classifications for monthly rental, ranging from $5 (or less) to "over $300". So, using the BLS formula $1 in 1933 is worth about $19.21 in 2018 (or for the sake of convenience let's say 1:20). So the cheapest monthly rent in 1933 for a vacant 1-room apartment in 1933 was $100...except there weren't any available. The next step up was $6-10, and using the upper end at $300/month there were only 13 1-rooms vacant. The most-available of these price ranges was 189 1-rooms in the $31-$35 range, or about $700 vacant. There was nothing vacant over $75/month in a total of 1071 vacancies.
The most commonly-vacant category was in the $26-$40/mo (or $800/month) 3 room apartments, where there were 8,488 apartments available in the 33,563 vacancies.
It turns out that of the 839,245 "total apartments" in NYC there were 194,963 vacancies for a rate of 12.4%. Nowadays the vacancy rate for Manhattan hit a high of 2.6% in 2017 and the average studio apartment rented for about $3k (or $156 in 1933 dollars, which would have put you in the upper tier apartment dwellers back then).
There's more, and if anyone needs it they can let me know and I'll provide what I can. Right now I'm dead-up against my THX-1138 time limit of 30-minutes/post, so this one ends now.