Take It Or Leave It

Take It or Leave It: Would you shell out $2,200/month for this tiny Upper West Side studio?

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | October 9, 2013 - 11:06AM

This week, our Take It or Leave It panel of diehard renters size up a newly renovated 296-square-foot studio on the Upper West Side with an all-white kitchen, oversized windows and a 7.5% broker’s fee. Our panelists—who together have 43 years of rental experience—include RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter.

The Apartment:

Size: studio, 1 bathroom
Location: 53 W. 72nd St. on the Upper West Side, betweeen Columbus Ave & Central Park West
Cost : $2,200/month+7.5% broker’s fee
Flexible Layout: You can sleep with your head to the fridge, or your toes to the fridge.
Subway: B, C at 72nd St.; 1, 2, 3 at 72nd St.; 1 at 66th St.; A, C, B, D at 59th St.-Columbus Circle

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: “This place has wood floors, radiator heat, white walls, and black-and-white tile in the bathroom—it’s practically a cliché of the typical New York City apartment. But at less than 300-square-feet, you might actually get more living space of your own by renting a room in a shared apartment.” 

Lambeth: “Who cares if you’re jammed into a teensy 296-square-foot space if you’re living just a half-block away from the heart of Central Park? After all, you’ll be spending every minute you can frolicking in Central Park or dining out at one of the many cafés dotting Columbus Avenue. And, while $2,200/month is a lot to pay for what is ostensibly one room, the flat fee of 7.5% seems reasonable in this tight rental market. Plus, you can always use some of the many kitchen cabinets to store your sweaters!”

Lucy: “Pros include the location--both being close to Central Park and just a couple of blocks from the 72nd Street transportation hub--the condition of the appliances, which all seem new, and the fact that the broker’s fee is low at just 7.5% of the yearly rent) As for the cons, the apartment is small—under 300-square-feet. And since we don’t see any photos of the sleeping area, we can only assume that it’s tiny too.”

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: “A student or anyone else in search of a starter apartment on the Upper West Side.” 

Lambeth: “A recent grad or California transplant who needs green space within easy reach.”

Lucy: “A single person who’s not planning on spending much time at home and just needs a place to rest his or her head.”

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT “This place is too tight for most people, and anyway, you can probably find a decent-sized room in a shared apartment for at least $500 less and still have more room to move.”  —Zeb  

TAKE IT “…so long as there are other windows besides the one shown near the kitchen area. It looks like a clean and sunny place to call home.” —Lambeth

LEAVE IT “I have to assume that for that price you can get something a little bigger… unless you want to be a stone’s throw away from Central Park. Then I think it’s safe to assume this might be one of the more affordable options.” —Lucy

Ready to rent? Check out our How to Rent Guide...and if the apartment you like requires a guarantor that you don’t have, see if the landlord accepts Insurent, a guarantor solution from one of BrickUnderground’s sponsors.

Take It Or Leave It is a weekly column in which a panel of long-time renters weighs in on the pros and cons of an apartment that’s currently on the market.

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