I stayed with Natasha for 8 weeks. She met me at the apartment when I first arrived and I found her to be incredibly friendly and helpful, as she was throughout my stay with her. It was good to live with someone who knew the city and was happy to give advice about how to travel and what places to visit. Although the South Bronx doesn't have a great reputation, the apartment is located very close to a subway station, shops and restaurants and I never felt unsafe at any time during my stay. Being so close to the subway meant that it was very easy for me to get into Manhattan from the apartment, taking around 30 mins to arrive at Grand Central station.
Unfortunately, about 4 weeks into my stay, I noticed that my room was infested with bedbugs. As I had had no previous experience with bedbugs, I was unaware of the tell tale signs such as blood spots on the sheets. I only became suspicious after becoming itchy from multiple bites and finally seeing a bedbug crawling on my bed. I informed Natasha and we found a large colony of bedbugs on a curtain above my bed. Reading about bedbugs on my return home, the bedbugs would have been in the room for at least 4-5 months to form that large a colony. To her credit, Natasha dealt with the problem immediately, using chemical treatments in the room, buying bed bug mattress protectors, and laundering all of my clothes in a hot cycle to try to eradicate the problem. I noticed two further bedbugs during the final month of my stay and each time she hot washed the sheets and sprayed the room again. Bedbugs are rarely eradicated after a single treatment and she assures me that she is continuing surveillance and treatment of the room. I hope that no future guests have to go through my experience. Bedbugs are relatively common in New York City and I advise anyone who travels to the city to inspect thoroughly any room that they stay in on their first night and be aware of the tell tale signs. If I had not been so naive then I would have been able to recognize the problem earlier.
Apart from the bedbugs, staying with Natasha was a great experience. She let me use the kitchen and living room as I wished and even allowed me to have guests stay on the living room couch.