Take It Or Leave It

Take It or Leave It: Would you pay $1,885/month for this gut-renovated 1-bedroom in East Harlem?

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Under this week's Take It or Leave It microscope: A gut-renovated East Harlem 1-bedroom that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from both Central Park and Marcus Garvey Park. Read on to see what our panel of longtime renters—RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter—have to say about it.

The Apartment:

Size: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Location: 138 E. 112th St. between Lexington and Park Aves. in East Harlem
Cost & concessions: $1,885/month+1/2 month broker’s fee
Flexible Layout: No
Days on the market: 12 days
Subway: 6 at 110th St.; 2, 3 at 110th St.; 4, 5, 6 at 125th St.

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: “On the pro side, this newly renovated 1-bedroom near Central Park is relatively inexpensive, and heat is included. As for the cons, the renovation looks cheap and basic, and the location is way up in East Harlem—still not the best of neighborhoods.” 

Lambeth: “This gut-renovated gem comes with lots of bells and whistles, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and one pretty snazzy-looking bathroom. The downsides? The $1,885/month rent is kind of pricey for an East Harlem pad located right across from public housing. Also, you’ll need to meet income guidelines--$75,400-$155,400--have a good credit history, pass a background check and be approved by local government housing agencies.”

Lucy: “The apartment is obviously newly renovated, and all of the appliances/fixtures look brand new. I also love the double-width his-and-hers closets in the bedroom. And the price is right—under $2,000 in Manhattan is practically a Christmas miracle.  Of course, it should be noted that there are some income restrictions. On the con side is the neighborhood, which still has a ways to go to become more charming and safer. The good news is that the building’s off of Lexington on 112th Street, so it’s only a two-block walk from the 6 train.”

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: “Renters who are on a budget, but still want to live in a Manhattan apartment that’s walking distance to Central Park.” 

Lambeth:  “A young person working at a non-profit or school who wants to live in an up-and-coming neighborhood.”

Lucy: “A single person or couple who fits the income guidelines, and who don’t mind being neighborhood pioneers.”

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT “There are lots of places in the same neighborhood that both look and feel better. And head’s up, it looks like similar units at this location have rented for $1,700/month instead of $1,885. ” —Zeb

LEAVE IT “At that price--don’t forget to factor in the 1/2 month broker’s fee--surely you can find something in a doorman building in the neighborhood.”—Lambeth

TAKE IT “If you’re cool with the neighborhood and you qualify, it’ll be hard to beat that price anywhere else in Manhattan.”—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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