So, as a follow up to my last post, we spoke with my brother in law, who has been renting in the city since he finished his undergrad. He was able to tell us what was reasonable regarding the requirements for applying and negotiating a price, and what we could ask for that would give us better bargaining power.
Today E went and gave the real estate guy what we were willing to give him, and made the offerings that we'd decided upon. Basically, we were presenting what we would be happy with- a one year lease with a slightly lower rent than what they were asking, or listed price plus a two year lease (which then locks them in at that rate). The realtor called the folks and they nixed the two year lease, but said that probably they would agree to our other option.
Given that I love to arrange things ahead of time, I've drawn up a rough (as in from memory and not to scale) floor plan of what we would have if this 31st floor apartment happens, and included pictures from the listing:
Of course, you can't possibly read all my little labels and such (though I did write some in large enough for you to see). But you can see that there's a good bit of empty space. We'd be getting somewhere between 50 sq ft and 100 sq feet more than we have now.