Take It Or Leave It

For NYC newbies, this $3,000 Manhattan Valley duplex might be just right

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Here's a helpful NYC apartment hunting tip: If you see a duplex listed at a decent price, that means the layout is kinda funky and/or one floor is subterranean. Both are the case in this $3,000 three-bedroom in Manhattan Valley (a micro-neighborhood  in the northern part of the Upper West Side).

It appears as though the apartment's on the first and basement floor of a five-story building. The listing says the fee is negotiable, and that the apartment is about 1,200 square feet. It looks like the bedrooms are varying sizes, so chances are you'd want to split up the rent accordingly.

There's a recently renovated kitchen (that's more like a kitchen wall)  and two full bathrooms, but judging from the photos, at least one just has a stall shower.

The building is pet-friendly and has a live-in super.

So is it worth finding some roommates and checking it out? I asked our experts (and veteran renters), RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin and freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, to weigh in with me on this week's Take It or Leave It.​

Size: 3-bed, 2-bath
Location:  115 West 106th Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus)
Cost: $3,000, negotiable broker's fee
Flexible layout: No
Days on the market: 24
Subway: B, C to 110th

Pros and Cons:

"I have seen so many duplex apartments like this one when I've been searching for rentals -- usually the square footage is decent, the layout is less-than-ideal (with no easily discernible living room and oddly shaped bedrooms), and one floor is subterranean. If you like things dark when you sleep, that might be a plus. There are two bedrooms that fit queen sized beds and one smaller one, so if you're looking with roommates, it's possible you could get away with spending less than $1,000 for your share and still live in Manhattan -- not bad." — Lucy

"A three-bedroom for $3k is a pretty hard to argue with. But when one bedroom is in the basement, another can't even fit a queen bed, and the shared spaces are very narrow, this deal seems a lot less sweet." — Zeb

"If subterranean living appeals to you, this is the place for you. Even though this three-bedroom is large and reasonably priced at $3,000, if you’re three shares, you’ll have to be okay with the fact that natural light just won’t be part of your life while you’re home doing your thing. Luckily Central Park is a mere two avenues away." — Lambeth​

Who would this apartment be perfect for?

"Three roommates who want to stay in Manhattan on a budget, and don't plan to spend too much time at home." — Lucy

"Near the Northwest corner of of Central Park and half an hour from Union Square by subway, this location works for three roommates on a tight budget who will use of the park to make up for the small apartment space." —Zeb

"Three Big Apple newbies who have low expectations, want to live cheap and are interested in giving Manhattan Valley a go." — Lambeth

The Verdict(s):

LEAVE IT "There's something depressing about being subterranean, and the layout just isn't very usable." — Lucy

LEAVE IT "Unless you'll rarely be at home, you'll do better finding a space that has more light, air, and usable shared space." — Zeb

LEAVE IT "I think even a negotiable fee is a lot to ask for this place." — Lambeth