Usualy there is more room to negotiate the rent when the rental market is weak. Current market for rentals in New York and especially in Manhattan is very strong with less than 1% vacancy, and is becoming more pro-land lord now. If your apartment has free market rent and is not rent stabilized, the owner can increase the rent every year to what he believes is the market rent. I am not sure if your neighbors negotiated their rents this year or couple years ago. If it was just recently - ask them what arguments they used with the management to reduce their rent increase that worked and may be you can use the same. However now apartments rent really fast and many times there is more than one person applying for the same apartment.