When a movie or TV show is set in New York City—and if the people making it are savvy—real estate becomes part of the story itself. In Reel Estate, we look at some of the more memorable domiciles to grace the screen.
Aziz Ansari's new Netflix series, Master of None, has rightly been getting a good amount of hype for showcasing a ton of the city's best bars and restaurants. (Our personal "to-eat" list nearly doubled on the day we spent watching every episode back-to-back.) But what about the enormous apartment that his character Dev—an irregularly employed commercial actor—lives in, complete with impeccable decorations like an Eames chair? How did that happen?
The place looks like a giant, railroad one-bedroom, which is a typical enough layout, and it gets realism points for that tired-looking white dishwasher, and those same light-wooden cabinets you see in every apartment.
But given that Dev seems to live in Williamsburg—he eats in the area all the time, and more importantly, stops into a coffee shop on Haveymeyer on his way to the airport, indicating that it's probably near his apartment—that clocks his rent in at around $2,500, if the current offerings on StreetEasy are to be believed. (The closest equivalent we could find was this $2,700 one-bedroom on Richardson.)
Apparently we're not the only ones who were wondering about this, and Ansari actually explained the living set-up in a recent Reddit AMA:
We agreed Dev should have decent money from his commercials (Gogurt, Wendy's voiceover, Garden Depot) and national commercials actually pay a decent amount. (I based this kind of on Rob Huebel who was doing pretty well during his Inconsiderate Cellphone/NetZero days). We mainly did this to differentiate from the other other New York shows where characters are younger and not doing as well work wise. Also Dev is in a cheaper neighborhood and our production designer Amy Williams was very conscious about the stuff she bought for Dev.
Seems like a legit enough explanation, though if he is living in Williamsburg, we'd beg to differ on that "cheaper neighborhood" descriptor. In any case, later on in the series Dev moves in with his girlfriend (who leaves her clothes all over the place), so presumably the rent gets chopped in half. Note that original brick fireplace:
Plus, without giving too much away, the season finale leaves it unclear if Dev is even staying in his apartment or not. But since he seems pretty attached to the place—and it'd be insane to give up a setup this nice, even if it's on the pricier side—we're keeping our crossed that if anything, the second season opens with some kind of subletter drama.