Reel Estate

How does Matt Murdock afford his ludicrous apartment in "Daredevil"?

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Daredevil on Netflix is a solid comic book show, full of good looking people hitting each other and pulling off feats of strength mere mortals can only dream of. That hasn’t stopped people from pointing out that the show taking place in a gritty, gangland Hell’s Kitchen is kind of funny, given that the biggest threats faced by Hell’s Kitchen residents today are drunken brunchers and theater geeks from out of town, and deli prices that are so high they feel criminal.

There’s another questionable element of the show that’s gone unnoticed though, and that’s Matt Murdock’s apartment. Murdock—the blind, eponymous lawyer-by-day and Daredevil-by-night—owns (!) a Hell’s Kitchen loft with all sorts of raw open space to mold to your desires, tons of windows, and enough space for a huge bar in his kitchen.

Previously, we looked at Jessica Jones’ apartment on her eponymous show, which as a dingy-but-spacious three-bedroom/home office, at least fits the profile for where a down-on-her-luck private eye would live. (This despite also being in high-priced Hell's Kitchen.) There’s evidence, too, that when she’s not struggling to neutralize psychopathic mind controllers, Jessica does work for clients who pay her in actual U.S. currency, as opposed to Matt Murdock’s clients who pay him in banana bread.

Despite the fact that every scene in the show surrounding Murdock’s law practice involves some variation on the theme of “we might close at any moment because our clients are all desperately poor,” Murdock lives in a roomy, high-ceilinged bachelor pad loft that would be the envy of any oligarch trying to hide money in NYC real estate by buying it for his awful spawn. Look at the ridiculous size of this place, as found in a pan just from a piece of the living room to his foyer (a foyer!):

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How does he do it? There’s a clue at the beginning of the show’s run, when Murdock brings his eventual secretary, Karen Page, to stay at his apartment. At night, the apartment’s living room is lit up by a huge L.E.D. sign that runs all night. “The co-op board nearly rioted,” he tells Page about the addition of the sign across the street from the building. “The upside is, nobody wanted it and I got a corner apartment at a hell of a discount.” Sure, a blind guy wouldn’t mind the presence of a bright purple light shining into his living room all night. That, combined with the show taking place in a Hell’s Kitchen devastated by a Chitauri invasion and subsequent brawl with the Avengers, would definitely depress the value of Murdock’s sweet corner co-op apartment. Although the light doesn’t look that bad, all things considered. (And, let's be honest, New Yorkers have forgiven much bigger real estate ills just to own property.)

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Here it is from another scene, and it’s not like things look like permanent daylight:


Stepping back for a moment though, we have to remember that the (fictional) attack that devastated Midtown happened in 2012, which was just three years before we met Matt Murdock, Hell’s Kitchen lifer. There’s no indication Murdock has ever left the neighborhood, so you’re left determining whether he just waited out the market until a huge calamity dropped prices to record lows (2009, perhaps?), or if he bought before the attack.

Let’s assume he bought shortly after the attack. In today’s real estate market, a 600 square foot co-op for sale on West 47th Street and 10th Avenue is going for $549,000. The thing is though, when you look at the floorplan for this apartment and compare it to the one that someone guesstimated (and guesstimated well, I might add) for Murdock’s place, you’re almost certainly dealing with more than 600 square feet. A 750 square foot co-op on 58th Street and 9th Avenue is going for $805,000, but the odds are Murdock doesn’t live so close to the park. So let’s say he’s a bit more downtown in an apartment with a much better layout than the other two we found, and it hit the market at $650,000. He gets a 30 percent discount due to the presence of that ridiculous L.E.D. sign, bringing it down to $455,000. If you give the sale price the same 50 percent discount that Jessica Jones got for her place, you wind up with a super cool Manhattan loft for $223,000.

That of course, doesn’t sound crazy, but also doesn't factor in certain obvious problems. For starters, once you find a blind person willing to buy your apartment next to a ridiculous sign, chances are you'd try to negotiate something better than a 30 percent discount. (That is, unless Matt was already savvy to its below-market value caused by the sign.) 

Even a 20 percent discount could be described as “a hell of a discount” in dealing with the supervillain that is New York real estate, and given the huge amount of apartments that just sit empty until Bruce Willis or some anonymous CEO wants to pop in to New York for a weekend, there’s almost no way Murdock would be bidding for this in a vacuum. And that of course doesn’t take into account who would give this guy a mortgage after he walked into a bank and told them, “Hi I’d like a loan. I’m an attorney, and my law offices revenues are this banana and an apple tart. The apple tart is pretty dang good, though.”

Look at this bedroom, it’s probably larger than your studio!

Murdock’s apartment is so swank, so spacious, that it’s by far the least believable element in a show about a blind man who can “see,” ancient supernatural orders of ninjas, and newspaper editors who don’t think crime sells newspapers. That being said, for comic book logic applied to real estate, it certainly fits the bill.


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