I'll be attending the spring 2011 accelerated program and have lived in Brooklyn for the past 5 years, so I thought I'd respond to some of the questions about NYC. First off, I have a good friend who went to the program and graduated in '09- she LOVED it and recommends it highly. She made no mention whatsoever of it being disorganized, and I think that was the rumor around her time, so it's been a few years even since then.
I also have two friends who have worked for NYU. One works in their continuing ed. grant program, and the second used to work for the nursing department. They both said that they were extremely impressed with the staff and the organization of the nursing department as a whole. Only had great things to say about it- even when I tried to grill them for any negatives.
Lastly, for those of you moving to New York from other areas I would agree to suggest craigslist, and try to search for apartments outside of Manhattan (unless you want NYU housing - which I imagine would be pretty awesome to live so close to campus, but for a price) - the easiest to get to NYU would be in Brooklyn probably, but you might be able to find some things in the Bronx or Queens as long as you're on a good train line to get into the W. Village. If you have any questions on NYC areas I would be happy to answer them as well as I can - feel happy to message me. I've moved three times in the past five years and can give positives/negatives about most areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Knowing what is a good neighborhood to live in goes a long way - you think one street will be relatively similar to the next, but in NYC that is not the case.
It can be spendy, but broker's are also a pretty good way to go. They have more of the prime listings. A lot of brokers have 'no fee' apartments too, so it's not even any extra. If you can come out in December for a few days it would be a lot easier to coordinate with a broker and I guarantee it will be money well spent. You can be here for a weekend and see 15 apartments without having to email 15 different people, plus you'd figure out which trains they are on and what's around them. It'd be a whole lot easier than either last minute searching (you can get bullied pretty easily here- or you may end up desperate and will pay way too much for a ********). You don't want to be stuck in an area that has a lot going on if you're a home body, or with nothing going on if you're more out and about. Plus if you're in the middle of nowhere it will take longer to get to school than you think... I moved into my dream apartment in February and although it took three solid months of searching, I can guarantee they're here, you just have to wade through a lot of crap to get to them. If you need a broker recommendation let me know, I worked with a few good ones (and a few crappy ones).
I think the NYU bulletins will also be a great place to start for housing, as people are always looking for roommates on those- people move in/out as they graduate. I don't know anything about them- but that is how my friend (who graduated from the ABSN) found her apartment when she moved here from Seattle.
Hope that helps, I'm really excited to start the program, and to meet everyone. To the West coasters (I'm originally from Alaska) - it seem us 'transplants' gravitate to each other in NY, I'd be happy to help any way I can to make the transition easier. NYC can be a hard place to live- I had some great people on my side when I moved here and don't know what I would've done without them!