Take It Or Leave It

Take It Or Leave It: Should you rent this $3,995/month West Harlem 2-bedroom?

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In this week’s Take It Or Leave It, our veteran renters tell us what they really think about a 2-bedroom/2-bathroom apartment in The Alberta, a full-service, luxury building in West Harlem. Our panelists—who have 43 years of collective rental experience—include RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter.

The Apartment:

Size: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Location: 620 W. 143rd St. in West Harlem
Cost & concessions: $3,995/month, no broker’s fee
Flexible Layout: No
Subway: 1 at Broadway and 145th St.; A, B, C, D at W. 145th St. and St. Nicholas Ave.  

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: “There’s laundry in this brand new apartment, as well as a humongous private terrace? This is some kind of unicorn. It’s a bit of a wayward creature, being up in Hamilton Heights and all, but it’s still pretty awesome. And having that terrace for friends and cookouts is great, but your friends have to be willing to schlep to you.”

Lambeth: “With a full-time doorman, playroom, parking and a bike room, there’s a lot to like about this building, which is tucked right on the edge of Riverside Park. Definite props for the nice-sized terrace, separated bedrooms for maximum privacy, and in-apartment washer/dryer. As for the negatives, the living space looks a bit awkward/rectangular, and it’s hard to picture how exactly to furnish it.” 

Lucy: “The building amenities and the outdoor space are great. Plus it’s a true two-bedroom, and right near Riverbank State Park, which is great for swimmers. I also love the his-and-hers sinks. That’s a nice touch. However, the location—just off the West Side Highway—is pretty remote. I can only assume that you’ll be slightly lacking in the conveniences that typically make New York City living so easy. Also, the layout of the living area seems a bit awkward—not conducive to setting up both dining and lounging areas.”

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: “I’m actually thinking about whether or not I want to move to 143rd St. and take this one for myself! Who doesn’t want all the stuff this place has? Its location is great for anyone who doesn’t have to commute too far, and/or is cool going uptown to go home at night.”

Lambeth: “Sunset worshippers. Or a cyclist couple who live for weekend George Washington Bridge crossings.”

Lucy: “Anyone who wants to stretch their dollars, but still insists on a luxury building. You also have to be okay with not being in the most happening/convenient of neighborhoods.”

The Verdict(s):

TAKE IT “If you’ve been living downtown in a cramped, roach-infested place without light it might be time to go (north)west, young one. Show the rest of us how to live like civilized human beings.”—Zeb

LEAVE IT Despite all the bells and whistles, the price is high for the neighborhood.”— Lambeth

TAKE IT “…if the apartment/building condition means more to you than the location. Otherwise, I’d leave it.”—Lucy

Ready to rent? Check out our How to Rent Guide...and if the apartment you like requires a guarantor that you don’t have, see if the landlord accepts Insurent, a guarantor solution from one of BrickUnderground’s sponsors


Take It Or Leave It is a weekly column in which a panel of long-time renters weighs in on the pros and cons of an apartment that’s currently on the market.

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