Take It Or Leave It

Take It or Leave It: Would you pay $2,900/month for this Upper East Side studio?

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This week, our Take It Or Leave It team of seasoned renters tackles a loft-like alcove studio with home office space in One Museum Mile, a luxury building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Our panelists—who have 43 years of rental experience between them—are RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter.

The Apartment:

Size: Studio, 1 bathroom
Location: 1280 Fifth Ave. on Upper East Side
Cost & concessions: $2,900/month, no broker’s fee
Flexible Layout: Yes
Subway: 2, 3 at 110th St.; 6 at 110th St.; B, C at Cathedral Pkwy.-110th St.

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: “A pool on the roof, good light and a killer new kitchen—those are all pros. But if you frequently socialize downtown with friends, this location might be a con since it’s always going to be a 30-plus-minute train trek to get home, or a hefty taxi fare. As for the layout, the runway style of the apartment could leave you with a front door opening into your bedroom.”

Lambeth: “If you love light and want to live in a condo tower designed by famed architect Robert A.M. Stern, this 19th-floor studio is definitely the apartment for you. Points for the all-teak kitchen, which looks like it was ripped right out of the pages of a home decor magazine, and the proximity to Central Park and the Museum of African Art, not to mention all the other museums dotting Fifth Avenue. And while the view is wide open, you’re looking out onto buildings—it’s not a bucolic Central Park vista. Also, I’d want to know if I’d be one of only a few renters in an otherwise condo-owners building since that can often be awkward.”

Lucy: “The building is luxury, and the apartment has condo-like finishes, it seems. Also, it’s across the street from Central Park and on the 19th floor! It also looks pretty spacious for a studio. And there’s no broker fee. However, while the address is Fifth Avenue, this building is on 109th and Fifth, a world away from the tonier parts of Fifth Avenue. When people are paying that price tag, they may not appreciate the walk from the 110th Street subway station on Lexington.”

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: “Wealthy young professionals who don’t want to put up with the tradeoffs of a regular NY neighborhood apartment might be happy in this new, luxurious uptown building.” 

Lambeth: “A hip and cultured couple from the ’burbs who are looking for a weekend pied-à-terre in which to crash when they’re in-between exhibits and art openings.”

Lucy: “A young professional who’s more interested in a luxurious lifestyle and less interested in being in a tony neighborhood.”

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT “That kitchen is to die for and I’m a big fan of the rooftop pool. But it’s so far uptown it might as well be Connecticut. Only at least in CT, you have a yard. If you want to live and breathe a true NYC experience, just say no.” —Zeb

TAKE IT “Let’s not forget the amenities. There’s even an outdoor swimming pool on the roof!”— Lambeth

TAKE IT “…if your dream is to live across from Central Park and not pay through the nose for the privilege.”—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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