Reel Estate

Reel Estate: Friends With Kids and its envy-inducing apartments

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In honor of Family Week on BrickUnderground, we're taking the opportunity to revisit 2011's Friends With Kids, a rom-com that's as much about real estate as it is raising children in New York (to us, anyway).

The movie centers around Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote and directed the movie), two best friends who live in the same building on the Upper West Side.  Seeing their married friends plunged into chaos by parenthood, Jason and Julie make the kind of pact people only ever make in movies for the sake of advancing the plot: they'll have a kid together, but remain platonic friends and continue to date other people. Their friends are skeptical at best.

The whole thing starts off well, helped along by the fact that they've each got their own separate apartments in the same building—​which in real life is 210 Riverside Drive, a prewar co-op at 93rd Street that was also featured as Tom Hanks' abode in You've Got Mail, according to On The Set Of New York. The cheapest one-bedroom in the building recently rented out for $2,700 a month, per StreetEasy, and one of the latest sales was a $690,000 one-bedroom. As you can see, it's a doorman building:

Separate apartments in the same building isn't the cheapest idea we've heard, but it also has definite upsides. (Photo via OnTheSetOfNewYork)

When things inevitably go south—Julie falls in love with and is rebuffed by Jason, who's still involved with his current girlfriend Mary Jane (Megan Fox)—she leaves their shared building for Brooklyn. Specifically, she heads to a brownstone that's improbably nice for a single parent with a nebulous job title like "charitable investment manager," who sold off what we'd assume to be a one-bedroom (rather than something larger and more lucrative) to get it. Most of what we see of the building is the front door, gate, and foyer, where Jason eventually shows up to profess his love (spoiler).

As it happens, the Clinton Hill townhouse in question belongs to the NYC family of Corcoran broker Merele Williams-Adkins, who rents the place out to location scouts for movies including Friends with Kids and Bachelorette. "I do it mostly because it’s free money, and because I have two kids who go to Saint Ann’s School," Williams-Adkins told the Times in 2012. As a rule, if your pad gets picked for an ad or movie shoot, you'll be raking in at least a couple of thousand dollars a day (Brokelyn has a guide to listing your place with a scouting service here, if you're interested).  ​

Maybe that's the larger takeaway here: if you manage to land a nice enough apartment (or brownstone), it'll start making money for you. Check out the trailer below for some apartment (if not necessarily relationship) envy:


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Reel Estate: the eponymous brownstone bachelor pad in 1960's The Apartment

Unrealistic apartment hall of fame: 2 Broke Girls does "Bushwick"

Reel Estate: The Upper East Side (and Urban Haute Bourgeoisie) apartments of Whit Stillman's Metropolitan

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