Take It Or Leave It

A storage-filled Hell's Kitchen one-bedroom for $2,250 a month? The caveat: lots of stairs

By Virginia K. Smith  | September 10, 2014 - 12:59PM

For a genuine one-bedroom (not a glorified studio) in the heart of Hell's Kitchen with exposed brick, tons of built-in storage, and a reasonably spacious kitchen and bathroom, $2,250 is not a bad deal. (Especially for an apartment that was originally on the market for $2,575 a month.) Of course, you have to be willing to climb three flights of stairs, and likely sacrifice a certain amount of natural light because there doesn't seem to be a surplus of windows.

So is the price worth it for an old-fashioned place in the heart of the Theater District? Our experts, including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin as well as real estate bloggers and veteran NYC renters Julie Inzanti and Lambeth Hochwald (who have a combined 27 years of experience in the world of New York rentals) weigh in for this week’s Take It or Leave It.

Size: 1-bed, 1-bath    
Location: 438 West 49th Street (between Ninth and 10th)
Cost: $2,250/month
Flexible Layout: No​
Days on the market: 74 days
Subway: C, E at 50th St.; 1 at 50th St.; N, R at 49th St.; A, C, B, D, 1 at 59th St.-Columbus Circle; B, D, E at 7th Ave.; A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority; N, Q, R at 57th St.; B, D, F, M at 47-50th St.s-Rockefeller Center

Pros and Cons:

"Take this apartment and you’ll never have to visit the Container Store again. The sheer amount of storage/built-in cabinets is a New Yorker’s dream, and the old-fashioned tub and exposed brick are just some of the apartment’s many nice details. On the flip side, the bedroom appears to have a teensy window that likely faces a shaft or courtyard, and the three flight walk-up could be a real bummer." - Lambeth

"This spot is close to local subways, has lots of good food nearby, and comes with built-in storage. On the negative side, it's across the street from a high school, has a northern exposure, so no direct sun, and has weird angled walls in an old 1910 walkup." - Zeb

"This price is right for a one-bedroom in Manhattan, and it definitely looks like a cool New York apartment with the exposed brick and the long wood plank floors. The location is not bad, either, close to the water so you can Citi Bike along the Hudson, and not terribly far from the West Side trains. One major con: north-facing exposure does not give you a lot of light, especially in the winter. And the building's exterior is pretty underwhelming, as is the interior. The railroad space is generous, but having the kitchenette along one wall in the living room isn't ideal. Similarly, the bathroom looks cute but this kind of tub-shower set-up is not functional in my experience. Those circular shower curtain situations are terrible! The bathroom gets soaked, and seriously, who really has time for a daily bath? The nostalgia of a claw-footed tub is nice but not realistic, especially when it is jammed in the corner of an odd-shaped bathroom." - Julie

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

"A theater person who wants to live super close to work." - Lambeth

​"Someone who likes to eat out or order in instead of cooking, and who works in Midtown and could walk or bike to work, would get the most out of living here.​" - Zeb

"A single person or a couple who doesn't plan on hosting a lot of dinner parties or cooking much at all. Couples with babies/toddlers should look elsewhere because this third-floor walk-up will be a killer." - Julie

The verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "There are a few apartments for sale in this co-op building, which might be the biggest red flag of all." - Lambeth

TAKE IT "If you don't need an elevator or a lot of light, this looks like it could be a good deal for a one-bedroom on a budget." - Zeb

​LEAVE IT "There is a reason this listing was reduced. It might be better to find a place with a real kitchen and a functional bathroom." - Julie

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.

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