Take It Or Leave It

Is this $1,630 Chelsea studio a steal or proof of all that's wrong with NYC real estate?

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | March 25, 2015 - 9:59AM 

Update: According to StreetEasy, this apartment  is now in contract. What is it they say about one man's trash?

This studio feels more like a dorm room than an apartment to us (maybe it's the mini-fridge?), but that doesn't mean it won't get rented. In fact, it's already been saved by 50 users, according to StreetEasy. 

The last time we wrote a post for a listing like this one, we nearly  broke the Internet and sparked a debate on our Facebook page about whether it was a total dump or a great deal.

This one has some similar characteristics to that one: First, it's in a very trendy neighborhood— last time it was the West Village, this time it's Chelsea (though it should be noted that it's on the very edge of Chelsea, and nearly in Midtown), and  at $1,630 a month, with utilities included, it's significantly less expensive than other apartments in the area. (The median price of a studio in Chelsea is nearly twice as much.) Still, it's also got some strange features like a teeny tiny "kitchen" with the aforementioned mini-fridge and it only has a stovetop. The sleeping loft has no windows.

So, let's start a new debate, shall we? I asked our veteran renters, including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin and freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, to weigh in with me on this week's Take It or Leave It.

Size: Studio
Location: 351 West 29th Street (Eighth and Ninth)
Cost: $1,630
Flexible layout: No
Days on the market: 5
Subway: 1 to 28th St.; C,E to 23rd St.

Pros and Cons:

"Where to begin? Pros: location and price. Cons: Just about everything else. Well, except, that it looks like the apartment might look out onto a garden. Maybe you could become friends with the people with access to it and have the occasional (much need) break from your teeny tiny apartment? Forget the wood-overload interior and the teeny tiny appliances: That lofted bedroom is scaring me, as is the ledge." - Lucy

"Before we had 'micro apartments,' we called them shoeboxes. This is a shoebox with a loft sleeping area and Fios. It's listed as Chelsea, but it borders Midtown up on 29th St." - Zeb

"Sure the price is right for this Chelsea studio in a quaint brownstone (the $1,630 per month rent even includes utilities), but this place takes micro-living to a whole new level. And, is it me, or does this have a very Being John Malkovich feel with its low ceilings and exposed pipes? (Take note anyone nearing six feet—the upstairs loft is going to feel cramped)." - Lambeth​

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

"Perfect? No one. But it could be okay for someone who's dying to live in Chelsea but doesn't have the budget for it, never cooks and has almost no stuff." - Lucy

"Dying to live in Chelsea without roommates, but can't afford it? This may be your best bet. Young renters could make use of a guarantor here. " - Zeb

"A single gallery worker who is determined to live in the ‘hood. FYI: You should have zero plans to cook at home—when was the last time you saw a two burner, dorm-sized fridge, no stove kitchen?" - Lambeth

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "I couldn't make this work without losing my mind. I'm sure others could." - Lucy

LEAVE IT "You deserve better than one window and a two burner stove in an extremely narrow apartment. " - Zeb

LEAVE IT "I feel claustrophobic just looking at these photos." - Lambeth


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