I keep needing to know…

I keep needing to know little things about New York. Like -- how much would a classics professor on a one-year research fellowship make at Columbia? $40,000? More? Less? And where would he be able to afford to live, if he has substantial student loans and doesn't want to deal with roommates? Ideally, I'd like to have him living in squalor, per the paragraph below. But I don't know if it's plausible...

You wake up the next morning in the tiny apartment where you now live. There's a single slim window in the bedroom letting in a little light -- not much, since there's another building immediately opposite. Battered wood floors and peeling wallpaper. A kitchen barely large enough to cook ramen in, a bathroom without a bathtub. In what passes for a living room, you have one battered desk pushed up against another slender window, one metal folding chair. Your books are stacked in piles across the floor; there's no room for bookcases, even if you could afford them. You can only manage this place because a friend passed it on to you -- student loans are eating up six hundred a month, and rent here is eight-fifty. You've never lived in a place this small before. You think you can hear rats in the walls, at night. It's making you claustrophobic.

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