Only in New York

New York brokers describe the oddest apartments they've ever seen

By Caitlin Nolan | October 31, 2013 - 1:16PM

Searching in New York City for a place to call your own is no small feat, and the process of looking for your perfect pad can produce many a war story.

That said, we wager that no one has seen more unique and strange apartments than real estate agents...

A bathtub in the kitchen... and that's not all:

"I rented out an East 6th Street apartment back in March that not only had a bathtub in the kitchen, but it was completely covered in graffiti," recalls Loretta Bricchi Lee of Citi Habitats.

But beauty was in the eye of the beholder.

"The graffiti was the deciding factor," she says. "My clients were two international film students and they just loved the place."

The new tenants left everything as it was when they moved in to the $1,700-a-month apartment, making no repairs or attempts to cover the graffiti.

An apartment with a locker room feel:

George Case, another Citi Habitats broker, recalls the $3,000/month studio apartment in the West Village covered from top to bottom in gray tiles.

"The tenant had remodeled completely in tile --on the walls, floors, columns," Case said. "It looked like a men’s locker room in 1986. The bathroom was so cavernous, it was so overwhelming. It looked like a prison bathroom. It didn't even have a toilet seat."

An apartment with a playground feel:

A pricey Financial District penthouse threw agent Ross Ellis of Halstead for a loop when she showed the property.

"There was an 80-foot slide in the apartment," she said. "It was really bizarre. This three- or four-story mirrored, stainless steel slide twisted and turned throughout the whole house. It was very, very interesting."

Outdoor space that more than doubles the square footage:

Ellis also recalls a studio apartment in an Upper East Side co-op building that offered little in the way of indoor space, but made up for the cramped quarters in other ways.

"It was set up as a writer's studio, but when you walked outside there was a huge patio; the patio was bigger than the apartment, by far," she said. "It was the tiniest apartment I've ever seen. It could fit a Murphy bed, a tiny writer's table and art on the walls. To have a living space so small and a patio so huge… I was just as surprised by it as my client."

Not-so-stellar views and a seriously huge bathroom:

Debra Hoffman, a realtor with Town, recalls the one-bedroom, first-floor apartment on the Upper West Side that offered anything but a view.

"Every window faced a brick wall," Hoffman said. "There was a small bedroom that was completely dark, a good size living room and a 1,000-square foot bathroom. It was as big as the rest of the apartment; you could have parties in it."

Hoffman's clients walked into the apartment  and were instantly smitten. "The moment they walked in, they said 'It's a keeper!" she said. 

The couple was out of the apartment for most of the day during the workweek for their jobs, and they had bought a home in upstate New York to spend their weekends in, so the lack of a view seemed a non issue. And the couple simply couldn't resist the $300,000 price tag.

An apartment/yacht:

Douglas Elliman agent Michael Graves sold a $2m two-bedroom penthouse in TriBeCa that offered a nautical appeal.

"[The previous owner] built out an entire photo processing room as if it was the inside cabin of a yacht," Graves said. "It was beautifully done with mahogany wood."

An apartment or a crypt?

Francisco Nunez-Fondeur, a realtor with Citi Habitats, once showed a two-bedroom property in an East Village townhouse that looked more like a tomb than an apartment.

"It was a basement level apartment that looked like a crypt," Nunez-Fondeur says. "Exposed brick and stone walls everywhere."

1960s-era carpeting that just had to go:

Mindy Feldman, a broker with Halstead Property, showed a rental in Midtown East that had everything going for it, except one large detail.

"It was this great two-bedroom apartment that had a really lovely backyard and a doorman, but it had this 1960's zebra striped wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the entire apartment that reminded me of the wallpaper in Gino's restaurant," she said.

Though the apartment had the ability to be every New Yorker's dream, it seemed the carpeting was putting a snag in sales. "We marketed it that way, but after a while I said 'We have to pull up the carpeting,'" Feldman said. "The week we pulled up the carpeting, it went."

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