I’d like to share some of my experience searching for and finding a place to stay in NYC.
Zillow, Street Easy and Nooklyn are the websites where you can search for apartments. They are not a roommate matching sites.
Apartments are usually rented on a year-long lease and there is one or a couple of months rent deposit due before moving in. Sometimes there’s also a broker’s fee, which usually corresponds to one month rent, but can range anywhere between 5 and 15% of a yearly rent. That’s something worth negotiating with your real estate broker. In order to get an apartment lease, you need to present documents such as letter of employment, bank statements and credit history (to get that, you basically need to get an American credit card).
If you are looking to rent a room in a shared apartment, the whole process is much simpler, though sometimes credit history and proof of employment are needed. From my experience, best places to look are Roomi app and Facebook groups such as Gypsy housing. I’ve never had a bad experience and people are pretty honest with descriptions and photos.
Both apartments and rooms usually come unfurnished. Beware that some things, such as washing machine, are considered a luxury amenitiy, however odd that sounded to us Europeans.