The Real Deal - NYC
June 25, 2023
In television, characters and storylines are what make a show iconic. But having the right sets — particularly living spaces — is also key. Who can think of “Seinfeld” without remembering Kramer busting into Jerry’s modest walk-up or “Friends” without the lavish, if not unrealistic, apartment with a purple door and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Indeed, there’s no shortage of shows set in New York City, and used its apartments, co-ops and condos, as backdrops to immerse us in their worlds. So The Real Deal asked Big Apple Brokers how much some of these iconic TV pads might cost in today’s market.
- Jerry Seinfeld’s Upper West Side apartment at 129 West 81st Street, Unit 5A, from “Seinfeld”
Aside from whether it could exist at all, the funny thing about Seinfeld’s apartment, according to Scott Harris at Brown Harris Stevens, is that it’s a basic, no frills living space. Not a lot of yada, yada, yada. But with the rental market the way it is, Harris says the one-bedroom with living room, a kitchen that has a wraparound counter and a small dining space, would have no problem renting for $4,000 a month.
Who are these people who would pay so much? Practically everyone who is looking for a Manhattan apartment, Harris said.
“If I put it on the market today at probably $4,000 a month, I’d have 200 emails a day,” he said. “The rental market is insane. There is significant demand.”
A bottleneck of inventory in the suburbs has carried over to the city, Harris said, resulting in few people looking to upgrade their current digs.
“Landlords I know have told me they’re having record low turnover,” he said. “People just aren’t finding the next big thing to move up to. On the rental side, it would get a great number for a landlord. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill apartment. It is the most classically bland apartment, which is fine. That’s the point. It’s just mundane. It’s a frame for all the drama [on the show]. … Life in New York is exciting enough. You come home and have a less interesting apartment. What you see in Maxine’s doesn’t have to be in your apartment.”
If it were for sale, depending on the views, the unit would garner between $700,000 and $900,000 today, depending on whether the building has a doorman or not, Harris said.
- Don Draper’s Upper East Side apartment at 73rd and Park Avenue from “Mad Men”
Harris says Draper’s apartment is at the epicenter of high-end, Upper East Side real estate.
“What makes it special is the balcony,” Harrisa said. “That’s what makes it rare, which gives more open views.”
With that said, Harris said that, as a real estate agent, sometimes he has more questions than answers, like how much are the building’s monthly charges, what’s the current condition of the space (the show was set primarily in the 1960s after all). What are Don Draper’s tastes today? Does he have killer taste in art or furniture?
Harris says if nothing much has changed, then the buyer pool may be smaller due to the extensive renovations that need to be done.
“I just don’t know what I’d be walking into,” he said. “Right now the costs of renovations are such that it puts downward pressure on value. If it’s nicely renovated, there’s likely to be a line out the door.”
Harris estimates that, depending on those answers, the condo would likely garner about $4.5 million to $5 million today. And pricing is key.
“In 20 years I’ve been in this business, I’ve never seen such a price sensitive market,” he said. “You price it right, you get a bid. You price it wrong, you get tumbleweeds.”
- Monica Geller’s apartment at 90 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village from “Friends”
A lot’s been written about how realistic, even for television, it was that an underemployed 20-something chef had such prime real estate in the 1990s (the writers said they were subletting from Monica’s grandmother illegally).
The sweet two-bedroom living space that includes a chef’s kitchen, spacious living room, a bathroom and a balcony to peep at their naked neighbors.
“N]ow that is a gem!” real estate agent Bianca D’Alessio of Nest Seekers International wrote in an email. But there are some drawbacks. “Let’s remember this is a walk up with no amenities. Well, I guess you can sneak up to the roof and throw a pretty fun party – but don’t let the door close behind you, there will be no one to save you!”
D’Alessio says there are about 20 Greenwich Village two-bedroom co-ops on the market for under $2 million. She says a $1.85 million price tag “ensures a quick sale — and maybe even a bidding war!” At that price, the unit will be there for you.
- Carrie Bradshaw’s West Village apartment at 64 Perry Street from “Sex and the City”
And just like that, season 2 of the “Sex and the City” spinoff — called “And Just Like That” — dropped on Max. Perfect timing to discuss Carrie Bradshaw’s former apartment, which real estate agent Philip Salem of Compass says would garner $5,300 to $5,600 per month, plus the 15 percent broker fee.
“At lease signing you have to pay first month rent, security deposit and the broker fee at once, so you better have at least $20,000 in the bank before even moving in your toothbrush,” Salem said.
He based his estimate on the West Village being one of the hottest places to rent in New York.
“Be prepared to cough up the dough … if you want to live like Carrie,” he said.
Buying the modest one-bedroom unit would still set you back between $1.3 million to $1.45 million, according to Salem, plus with some add-ons.
“Believe it or not, Carrie’s one bed is a mansion by New York city standards,” he said. “All apartments over $1 million carry a 1 percent mansion tax attached to the purchase price paid for by the seller.”
D’Alessio, of Nest Seekers International, says the walk-in closet, “decent” kitchen and “incredible” bones would enable the seller to command $1.65 million in today’s market.
- Will and Grace’s Riverside and 89th Street apartment from “Will & Grace”
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment offers “moments only New Yorkers can dream of when thinking about living with their best friend,” Salem says.
That includes a home office, gorgeous outdoor terrace, huge living room, open kitchen and an elevator.
Salem says the space would set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.75 to $3 million.
“Hey split it with your bestie and it’s only $1.5 [million] each! Deal right?” Salem quipped.