I agree with most of this, but Mark Bittman got there ahead of you. His three-hour thanksgiving from 1998 is on file with the NYTimes (just search his blog) and it is a masterpiece and it has worked for me for years. Tell your guests to bring the drinks and the dessert and if you need twenty pounds of meat use two turkeys, instead of one big turkey, but otherwise I agree. And you can brine the bird by cleaning out a refrigerator drawer (clean it very carefully!) and now not only do you have an easy to deal with brine container, it even leaves the rest of the fridge free.
speaking from the other side of the divide, I'm on the co-op board of my NYC apartment and we have shareholders who use a broker. They're idiots. I ask them why and they say, Because I can't be bothered to screen craigslist ads and I don't know how to order a credit report. The brokers they use give us tenants but no application, so we know nothing about these people, and so we approve them if they show up for the interview and speak English.
You want an apartment in NYC? Check out the real estate blogs, brownstoner (for Brooklyn) and curbed (for Manhattan). I think both offer real estate listings. Not cheap but solid.