Take It Or Leave It

$4,395/month for a cottage-like Long Island City duplex?

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner | March 19, 2014 - 9:59AM 

This week, our Take It or Leave It panelists apply their expertise to a 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom duplex apartment in Long Island City, Queens with a country feel and a fruit-bearing cherry tree in the backyard—on a block voted the third most beautiful in the city. Our experts—who have 43 years of combined rental experience—are RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior contributing editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter.

The Apartment:

Size: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms                                          
Location: 21-33 45th Ave. between 21st and 23rd Sts. in Long Island City, Queens
Cost: $4,395/month
Flexible Layout: No
Days on the market: 4 days
Subway: 7 at 45 Rd.-Court House Sq.; G, E, M at Ely Ave.-23rd St.; G at 21st St.; N, Q, 7 at Queensboro Plaza; LIRR at Hunterspoint Ave.

Pros and Cons:

Zeb: “This rustic micro-mansion is just a short commute from Manhattan and comes with a sweet backyard. But where are the photos of the bathrooms and bedrooms?” 

Lambeth: “If you’ve been eager to give Long Island City a try, this landmarked townhouse duplex is a pretty good place to start. The backyard could be smack dab in the middle of Vermont--if you overlook the building beyond--and you’d be hard-pressed to find problems with the rustic look of the place, which dates to the 1880s. My biggest concerns are that the place is pricey, there aren’t any photos of the bedrooms to be found, and there are only 1.5 bathrooms. Another big red flag: The home, previously owned by the Good Enough to Eat restaurateurs, was just sold to an Upper East Side developer for a record $2.15 million and it’s hard to tell what the new owner’s plans might be for the place.”

Lucy: “There are some major pros here: It’s a townhouse. With a backyard. The stuff NYC residents’ dreams are made of. It’s brownstone Brooklyn charm in industrial Long Island City. On the con side, the kitchen doesn’t have much storage space. It’s a bit suspicious that there are no photos of the bedrooms, but they seem to be a decent size, judging from the floor plan. Maybe the place isn’t exactly in tip-top shape, even though it says it's move-in ready?” 

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

Zeb: This place would be great for a family with pets that can run rampant in the yard, or for roommates who’d rather live in a real house than an apartment.” 

Lambeth: “Urban pioneers who might want to give the neighborhood a try for a year until the property sorts itself out.”

Lucy: “A family that wants to live in Long Island City, but prefers townhouse charm to the shiny new rental complexes that line much of the LIC waterfront.”

The Verdict(s):

Zeb: LEAVE IT. “There must be a reason that pictures of those bedrooms and bathrooms aren’t included in the listing.”

Lambeth : LEAVE IT. “...but be sure to visit the block next time you’re in LIC. I know I will.” 

Lucy: TAKE IT. “The price seems fair for a 3-bedroom and the neighborhood is convenient. Plus there’s outdoor space! Just make sure you see those bedrooms first!”

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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