Would You Rather?

Do New Yorkers prefer their apartments new and modern or historical and charming?

Share this Article

New condos and luxury rentals are endlessly popping up all over New York City. From the gentrified shores of North Brooklyn to the avenues of Harlem to the heart of Brooklyn in Crown Heights, modern apartments are easy to find (if you’re willing to pay).

But do New Yorkers really want to live in brand new, modern apartments or do they prefer historical detailing? You might be surprised by the answers.

Don’t want problems Definitely new. Old buildings tend to have problems, leaks, pipes bursting… I’d rather be somewhere new and clean. —Kat, Elmhurst

Craving authenticity Historic. It seems a lot more authentic and I think modern homes are cold. And you have to keep them clean! I like to feel cozy at home. —Nicole, Bushwick (pictured below)

Wishing for better renovations Historical details. I appreciate a touch of the vintage and that classic charm of prewar New York apartments. I was deeply turned off, even angered, during my latest apartment hunt in May 2015, when it seemed like every one I saw was another old gem that had its heart cut out and replaced with cold chrome, fake marble or worse. —Mary, Crown Heights

New buildings are just ‘thrown up’ Old historic because the way they’re building buildings today, they’re just throwing them up. They’re not doing the kind of work they used to do. —Tracie, Greenwich Village (pictured below)

New isn’t NYC I’d choose historic. It just looks better. I feel like new buildings feel less like New York. —Jasper, Park Slope
Old is bigger An old place because you get more room. The new places they cut them into pieces. They cut a bedroom into a bedroom and a half! —Carole, Crown Heights
Unique is everything Historical details all the way. I live in a prewar building and I love the uniqueness of my apartment. —Elissa, East Village
Loving the old-school look As nice as it would be to, in theory, have new, functional fixtures, and structural components, I don't know that I'd ever get over feeling like I was living in a hotel in a brand new apartment. And I just love the way certain older apartments look, with tin ceilings or old wooden floors. —Nell, Williamsburg

Character: required! Historic because I like character. I hate all this modern, sterile bull---t. —Irene, Flatbush

Duh, historical of course Give me my varnished wooden woodwork, my chandeliers and my deep, wide moat, please! —Anne, Hell’s Kitchen
Cleanliness is godliness Modern. It’s just more clean. Clean lines, concise design. The more modern it is, the more straightforward. It’s simple. —Saja, Flatbush

Craving problem-free living Brand new because I’m afraid the building, if it’s historic, it might come with mice and bug problems. Unless it was newly renovated. In older buildings, nothing works. Our water has stopped working [he lives in an old townhouse]. There are holes in the brick that let in fleas! —Joshua, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Historic aesthetic, please I tend to prefer historical details over the newly renovated modern look. As long as everything functions properly, the historic aesthetic is my choice. —Dana, Bushwick

Verdict: Historic building, by a landslide