Take It Or Leave It

Would you brave the Roosevelt Island tram for low-priced luxury perks?

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 29, 2014 - 12:59PM

The commute to Roosevelt Island likely scares off (or just plain confuses) plenty of potential residents—unless you've got a car, your options are limited to a single F train stop, the Q102 Bus, or the Roosevelt Island Tram. But when a heavily discounted 500-square-foot "junior one-bedroom" showed up at just $1,895 a month—marked down from $2,445—it got us to wondering if living in a luxe building for a comparatively low price is worth the trip across the river.

The place is in the Octagon, a 14-story rental complex attached to an eight-sided 1834 building that originally served as the entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum. Perks include 24-hour doormen, on-site tennis courts and swimming pools. The apartment is the "largest alcove studio" in the complex, the listing says, and includes central A/C, a dishwasher, walk-in closets, floor-to-ceiling windows, a chef's kitchen, and a marble bathroom. However, the photos have a cookie-cutter look that may not be specific to the apartment itself, so you'd likely want to cross the river to sleuth in-person before renting it.

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: studio
Location: 888 Main Street (between RD 10 and W RD)
Cost: $1,895/month
Flexible Layout: No
Days on the market: 172 days (though the listing text says it's new as of Oct. 24)
Subway: F at Roosevelt Island

Pros and Cons:

"If these photos tell the true story, the soothing views of the East River only add to the Zen vibe of this double alcoved studio located in a LEED-certified green building. On the other hand, $1,895 is a bit steep of a price for an apartment on Roosevelt Island, a place that might feel too quiet if you're used to the city's hustle and bustle." - Lambeth

"This a 'junior one bedroom,' basically a studio plus a small room or office, with great amenities on Roosevelt Island. The only downside is that it's on Roosevelt Island, which can be a plus, too." - Zeb​

"The obvious drawback of this place is the location. Roosevelt Island has always felt like an isolated community. On the other hand, people used to say that about Battery Park City, and now it's an oasis. The new developments on Roosevelt Island are definitely making it a more desirable place to be; there are tennis courts, a gym, a swimming pool, storage, etc. It sounds like a great community and a one-bedroom under $2,000 in a building with seemingly endless amenities is a steal!" - Julie

Who would this apartment be perfect for? 

"A New York City newcomer who loves the country club feel of the building--then again, what's not to like about six tennis courts, a heated outdoor pool and amenities galore." - Lambeth

"This place looks great for someone looking for an affordable studio with amenities near midtown, and who can be happy living on Roosevelt Island." - Zeb​

"This listing is perfect for a single or couple who really appreciate the ease and convenience of full-service buildings ... especially someone with a hectic schedule who needs a 24-hour doorman and on-site gym." - Julie

The verdict(s):

TAKE IT "Provided the very idea of hopping aboard the tram doesn't leave you feeling air sick." - Lambeth

TAKE IT "Although the photos look all stock--annoying--so the place needs to be seen, it's potentially a great little apartment with lots of perks." - Zeb

TAKE IT "Try Roosevelt Island for a while. The rest of the city is so congested and outrageously priced. The experience of a full-service building might spoil you for future apartments, though." - 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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