For a two-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one or two stops from Manhattan's East Village on the L train, you will pay $1500 these days. For a two-bedroom in Manhattan you may pay twice that.
The only secrets I have to finding apartments are:
() Read the Voice classifieds online Tuesday afternoons http://www.villagevoice.com/classifieds/ for latest apartment listings.
() Network incessantly. Someone you will meet is looking for a roommate.
() Bring cash equal to three months' rent when you are looking at an apartment. Figure first month's rent, plus two months' security deposit. Or one month's security deposit, and one month's realtor's fee. Why cash? Well, folding money is extremely persuasive, and the landlord doesn't have to worry about your check bouncing. Plus, if the landlord takes your cash, they have to rent you the apartment; they can't just call you and tell you they are mailing your check back to you or not billing your credit card. And having the money right there in your pocket makes you automatically the most attractive tenant of the crowd.