New York City is notoriously expensive to live in. Restrictions on building real estate in certain parts of the city, as well as rent control laws, which favor those who can lock in rents at controlled rates and prevent those people from moving out, have both restricted the supply of and placed greater demand upon certain apartments in the city.

That and New York’s reputation as a place where everyone wants to be has created a very expensive city to live in.

While there’s no doubt that many New York apartments are exceedingly beautiful places that would excite the envy of kings, many are less than impressive. Some are even filthy, dilapidated, rodent-infested, and generally horrible to live in.

And in fact, these lower-tier apartments, because they are cheaper, tend to be the first apartments that many city residents find themselves living in.

Here are a few unbelievable stories from across the internet about some of people’s first NYC apartments. These stories reveal a side of the city that never sleeps which is rarely discussed or understood.

1. Swarmed by Bed Bugs

In the world of NYC apartments, $700-$800 is considered a pittance. And yet, for many people, paying that much per month can still be difficult. But imagine if, on top of that difficulty, you had to wake up surrounded by swarms of biting bed bugs every morning.

One person told the story of moving into a room in an NYC loft that had precisely this problem. Waking up every morning covered in dozens of fresh bites was just too absurd to accept. After just three nights, this person had decided to hightail it.

2. Extreme Flooding

For most people, having your home flooded is a blessedly rare event. Many are lucky never to experience this at all. One unfortunate soul living in New York City had to contend with this problem whenever there was any kind of significant downpour.

He describes having to put on a robe, grab a five-gallon bucket off of the roof and start bailing water out of his own windows. During heavy rains, water would flood into his apartment until it was knee-deep. Mind you, this was reported to happen at all hours of the night.

3. A Crawlspace? Yes, a Crawlspace

Since rent in New York can reach such astronomical levels, people in the city have had to resort to creative and sometimes utterly unbelievable means to find a way to live there. One person told a story — which, shockingly enough, is true — that a friend of his once paid $700 per month to rent a small crawlspace for two months and use it as a bedroom.

Yes, a crawlspace.

Bear in mind, this is said to have happened about 10 years ago, so prices have climbed even higher than this story suggests.

4. A True Horror Story

One NYC resident described living in his first apartment, and his story is sure to make any jaw hit the floor. We can only quote him and just let him speak for himself:

“Roof caving in, no heat, room always cold in winter there, mice, roaches. Other tenants in the building not clean, loud kids, building a mess. Glad I moved out of NYC.”