Take It Or Leave It

This $2,500 UES duplex is something of a steal—if you can make it work

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This $2,500 one-bedroom duplex is situated on one of those picturesque side streets on the Upper East Side (77th between Second and First to be exact), and it also happens to be three avenues from the 6 train.

The building is no-frills and so is the apartment, though it's got some pretty New York-y details, like brick walls and a (non-working) fireplace. And there's a dishwasher, too. Although the layout is less-than-ideal, it's also about $600 less than the median rent for similarly sized apartments in the neighborhood.

So is it a steal or simply not worth it? We asked our experts (and veteran renters), RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin and freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, to weigh in with me on this week's Take It or Leave It.​

Size: One-bedroom, one-bath
Location:  316 East 77th Street (between First and Second avenues)
Cost: $2,500
Flexible layout: Yes
Days on the market: 13
Subway: 6 to 77th Street

Pros and cons:

"I've said it before and it bears repeating: An affordably priced duplex translates into a less than ideal layout, and this one-bedroom duplex appears to be slightly odd. There's no door to the bedroom upstairs, and if guests come over and need to use the bathroom, it looks like they'll have to go upstairs and through your bedroom. That said, the brick wall is charming and the price is pretty good. Plus, it's on the same block as the subway—though several avenues down—so one point for convenience. " —Lucy

"This looks like a slightly under market one-bedroom on the UES with exposed brick and a working fireplace. The downsides include having to navigate a spiral staircase to go to bed upstairs, or to use the bathroom from downstairs, no pets allowed, and cramped kitchen." —Zeb

"Ah, the duplex apartment with winding staircase—we’ve seen this set-up before. I’ve got to say that while the renovation of this Upper East Side fourth-floor walk-up seems nice, it’s odd to think that the living space appears to be on the lower level with the bedroom upstairs. Which leads me to wonder: Where’s the bathroom in all of this? You won’t want this place if you have to run upstairs to take a shower." —Lambeth​

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

 "A single person who doesn't mind the somewhat strange layout and works off the 6 train." —Lucy

"This place is good for a nimble young couple, or a solo renter that has a reason to live on the UES, and who really wants a fireplace in their apartment. ." —Zeb

"A new grad with a fab job who can swing $2,500 a month." —Lambeth

The verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "Between the less-than-ideal stairs and what looks like really limited closet space, I'm just not sold."—Lucy

LEAVE IT "A fireplace usually sounds a lot better than it is to live with, and the duplex layout in inconvenient." —Zeb

LEAVE IT "The blueprint of the space seems unworkable. Plus, I can’t imagine the noise of the nearby Second Avenue subway construction won’t be a bother over time." —Lambeth

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