Would You Rather?

Would you rather have pre-war charm or modern convenience?

By Mayra David  | August 14, 2013 - 11:08AM

The character and idiosycracies of a pre-war  or the reliable convenience of a new development? We asked six New Yorkers which they'd rather dwell in, and their answers were split.

  • Pre-war  "No question. First of all, these are a limited commodity.  In NYC they are always on the market, but they’re not making anymore of them, you know what I mean? I think that makes for pretty steady value. Plus it feels much more luxurious than living in a sterile box."  - Steve, Upper East Side
  • Pre-war "I’d go with pre-war every time. Those buildings are so beautiful to look at so right away, I think they add so much to the value of the city in general. And the apartments themselves are gorgeous. No awkward, boxy rooms and hallways. As long as you’re in a pre-war apartment, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a luxury building on Fifth Avenue. I think the ceiling heights make such a big difference to a room. Even the smallest rooms feel spacious!" - Heather, Harlem
  • Modern "I have mixed feelings about this. Because I’ve lived in this pre-war apartment for many, many years, I know the drawbacks well: no laundry allowed and leaky windows and creaky floors! On the other hand, whenever I’m in my friends’ post-war apartments I think to myself: I could never live here. My friends have nice homes, but there’s nothing in them that lasts -- or should. Standard kitchen features you can just as well toss, flooring you can rip up and replace, and virtually no trim at all. So, I think if I were renting, I’d want to live in a pre-war with lots of charm. If I were a homeowner, I wouldn’t mind the conveniences of a sleek new condo because then I’d also have the freedom to paint, and maybe add architectural details any way I like." - Jennifer, Tudor City
  • Modern "At the end of the day, convenience always wins out. You want large elevators that can accomodate a stroller and luggage,and your whole family. A dishwasher and laundry are a big plus. But I concede the charm factor." - Philip, Upper West Side
  • Pre-war  "Ceiling height would be one huge factor in why I think the character of a pre-war apartment cannot be beat. I feel so boxed-in when I visit friends or family who live in standard, newly built apartments. There are details in my apartment that make me happy everyday, like my gorgeous hardwood floors that are 'framed' at the perimeter of the room, the window frames, and the heavy solid doors with glass door knobs! I even love the imperfections like slightly curved walls. I have very modern furniture, and I think they look better being in a warm, charming old setting." - Naomi, Williamsburg
  • Pre-war "I have a dishwasher in my pre-war apartment and it’s really no hassle whatsoever to go down to the basement to do laundry. There’s an elevator, after all. So those conveniences people keep touting when they talk about those cereal boxes they live in are pointless to me. I love living in a pre-war building. Just coming home and walking up to our handsome building makes me happy. And I love that my building is part of this city’s long history by being home to some distinguished residents." -Lana, Hamilton Heights.

The Consensus Pre-war: 4 vs. Modern: 2.  Winner: Pre-war charm!

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