Take It Or Leave It

Pricey Midtown rental is gilded with extras—do they make up for the hike to the train?

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | April 2, 2014 - 2:30PM

If you don’t mind a bit of a trek to get to the subway each day, this Midtown West (emphasis on the West) one-bedroom could be the place for you. Located in the Mercedes House—a full-service luxury building between 10th and 11th avenues with a wellness center and health club, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and two outdoor decks—the apartment features in-unit laundry, a stainless steel kitchen with granite countertops and wide plank hardwood floors.

It sure does look pretty, but is $3,495 a month simply too much to pay for this far flung one-bedroom? RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and BrickUnderground’s own senior contributing editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter, gauge what’s good, bad and ugly about this place in this week’s Take It or Leave It.

The Apartment:

Size: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom                                                
Location: 550 West 54th Street between 10th and 11th Aves. in Midtown West
Cost: $3,495/month
Flexible Layout: No
Days on the market: 23 days
Subway: A, C, B, D, 1 at 59th St.-Columbus Circle; C, E at 50th St.; B, D, E at 7th Ave.; N, Q, R at 57th St.; 1 at 50th St.; N, R at 49th St.; Ferry at W. 39th St. Ferry Landing

Pros and Cons:

“Built in 2011, this fancy, new-ish apartment comes with exceptional amenities like garbage disposals--rare in NYC!--a gym, indoor and outdoor pools, and game courts. But it’s kind of far from the subway… and from everything else.” —Zeb

“This one-bedroom in the Mercedes House—the mega building that dominates the far West 50s—is definitely a goodie. The apartment feels airy and clean, and has stainless steel appliances, a washer/dryer and a northern exposure. However, while the building is known for its amenities—from outdoor decks to suburban-sized pools—you’re going to have to be prepared to walk far for most things, including the subway and a decent supermarket. Also, since it's a lease break situation, I’d want to know why the previous tenant left early before I moved in.” —Lambeth

“The Mercedes House is one of those super scene-y buildings with tons of amenities--which might explain the $3,495 price tag for this not-too-big one-bedroom. There's  even a boxing ring. Plus the apartment feels shiny and new. On the downside, the amenities may be there to make up for the fact that there’s not much around you.” Lucy

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

“A young professional or couple that can afford to live in this high-class apartment in a building that will take care of everything. It’s also great for city-dwellers with cars.” —Zeb

“A couple who works in one of the cool offices on 10th Avenue and doesn't mind the compact layout or the fact that it’ll be a schlep to get back to civilization.” Lambeth

“Someone who loves amenities and new building bells and whistles more than anything else.” Lucy

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT “Unless you just can’t say no to those high-end amenities, I’d recommend finding a place closer to transit and friends.” —Zeb

TAKE IT “…but prepare to put Fresh Direct on speed dial.” Lambeth

TAKE IT “If you think you’ll make use of all the extras and have the money to burn, why not?” 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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