Take It Or Leave It

Would you rent this four-bedroom triplex in a Manhattan Valley brownstone for $6,250 a month?

By Jennifer White Karp  |
July 31, 2019 - 9:00AM

There’s 2,000 square feet of space and a lot of nice details, such as an open kitchen, fireplaces, washer/dryer, and private garden.


Call it the renter’s conundrum: Do you go solo for privacy, or go in with roommates to gain a larger space, and maybe even a back yard?

It’s a tough call, especially if you’re not used to living in a cramped NYC one bedroom, or navigating the complexity of having multiple people on a lease and splitting the bills. 

Here’s a listing that illustrates one side of this debate: 32 West 105th St., #Garden, is a three-bedroom, two-bath triplex near Central Park West in Manhattan Valley. 

The apartment is in a brownstone and it’s pretty sweet. There’s 2,000 square feet of space and a lot of nice details, such as an open kitchen, fireplaces, washer/dryer, and private garden. It’s also close to the B and C trains at 103rd Street. It looks like someone may be sleeping in the basement as well, but that’s not a legal bedroom.

The rent is $6,250, so split three ways it’s $2,083—which is far pricier than the median for a three bedroom in the neighborhood ($4,064). Still, you’d be doing better than renting a one bedroom in Manhattan Valley, where the median rent for apartments that size is $2,512. The landlord is not offering any concessions.

There are only two units in this 1899 building, and the apartment is available September 1.

So, what do you think? Is it worth it to share an apartment three ways this far Uptown?

As always, when weighing New York City apartment listings, we turn to our Take It Or Leave It experts: Constantine Valhouli, founder of real estate research and analytics firm NeighborhoodX, freelance writer Lambeth Hochwald, and myself.

But first, here are pictures of the apartment.










Pros & cons

“If you’re all about the details, this is quite the pricey apartment for you. I mean seriously—the stained glass and woodwork is classic old-school NYC. Problem is, the living space is basically microscopic so, unless you're a basement person (that's where the large majority of the apartment square footage is located), I'm skeptical. And P.S.: Why do gardens like this get so neglected? Anyone taking this apartment better have a pretty solid green thumb to get this backyard shipshape by the time the leaves start to change color.” —Lambeth Hochwald

“The woodwork. Damn. This is a beautiful building where the interior architectural details look to be thoughtfully preserved, <em>and not painted over in Landlord White(TM) paint</em>. It's a rarity to see details like this Downtown, except after a long and expensive restoration. Cons: It's expensive, but it's big, so on a rent-per-square-foot basis, it's not as bad as it looks on an asking price basis. Also, the backyard looks a bit like post-apocalyptic Manhattan in that Will Smith movie, <em>I Am Legend</em>.” —Constantine Valhouli 

“You don’t often find rental apartments with so many architectural details and in such good shape, so for some who loves brownstones, this is a find. The basement would make a good rec room too. Don’t use it as a bedroom.” —Jennifer White Karp

Whom is it good for

Three pals with hefty salaried jobs who just graduated from Columbia and aren't quite ready to quit this part of town.” —Hochwald

“Three bedrooms on the upper level, one on the basement level. Three friends in finance kinda subsidizing their friend in the band, maybe? Three extroverts and an introvert?” —Valhouli 

“Because it has two baths, it works well for roommates or a family. Hopefully someone with a green thumb who can do something about that yard.” —White Karp

Take it or leave it

LEAVE IT. “Not only are you cracking into $6,000 a month territory for an apartment with zero amenities but you're going to pay a hefty broker's fee the minute the ink on the lease is dry!” —Hochwald

LEAVE IT. “The (asking) rent is too damn high.” —Valhouli 

TAKE IT. “If you want to be in a townhouse instead of a plain white box and it works financially for you, you should take it. There are only a couple of listings like this in this market.” —Jennifer White Karp



Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in New York City real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.