Take It Or Leave It

Would you rent this six bedroom in Manhattan Valley for $6,000?

The apartment's kitchen has granite countertops and new stainless steel appliances.

Oxford Property Group/StreetEasy

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2020
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Want to live with a large group? If you have five friends looking for a rental, you might want to check out this six-bedroom, two-bath rental, 106 West 105th St., #6, in Manhattan Valley, asking $6,000 a month.

Or is it a five bedroom? When it was listed in September, it was cheaper ($5,750) and there were one fewer bedrooms. That goes to show it’s always a good idea to check an apartment’s listing history for pricing changes. Older listings can also show different photos, and in this apartment’s case—a different number of bedrooms. 

Still, there are reasons to consider this apartment, which is in a 1920 building with 18 units. For one thing, it’s been renovated. There’s a washer/dryer in the apartment, as well as hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. There’s a small, flat screen television that comes with the apartment.

There’s no broker fee and no application fee (of course the application fee in New York is now only $20). The apartment is pet friendly, and the listing says the bedrooms fit queen/full size beds. That may be true, but judging from the photos you would not be able to fit much else in the rooms.

Another major downside that we can see: The common area appears to be limited to the kitchen—that’s where the flat screen is. It’s possible the sixth bedroom used to be a living room.

The neighborhood might be a great fit for some—you’ve got Central Park two blocks in one direction and Riverside Park two blocks in the other direction. The 1, A, B, and C trains are nearby. There are restaurants and shopping on nearby Columbus Avenue.

So what do you think? Is it worth it to cram in here?

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 more pictures of the apartment.

Pros and cons

“Besides this glittery new kitchen—so swank!—to spend $6K per month on a big space facing nothing but other buildings is a novice move. Think about it: You're getting zero amenities, not even a doorman, and you won't even know what the weather's like when you look out the window if you sign this lease.” —Lambeth Hochwald

“What the heck happened to this lobby? It's an unholy combination of classic 1890s tenement and ... 1980s mall. Nice marble? Check. Nice cast-iron railings? Check. But the wavy-ass tiles that look like the Home Depot knockoff of Austin Powers' airplane isn't. Groovy. At. All. Anyhow, I can't stop glaring at the wavy tiles no matter how much I scroll through the other pictures. Like Austin Powers ("Nice to mole yo– meet you...MOLEYMOLEYMOLEYMOLEYMOLEYMOLEY”). Folks, we're in late-stage capitalism here. We don't need a thin veneer of design to extract maximum value from reconfiguring an apartment into tiny spaces.”  —Constantine Valhouli

“Look, it’s a $1,000 to live here—It would be tough to find many apartments that beat this, considering the median asking rent for a studio in Manhattan Valley is $1,975 and it’s $2,500 for a one bedroom. But it’s small, and you’d have to navigate living with five other people and sharing two bedrooms. Hopefully, some of your roomies work the night shift.” —Jennifer White Karp

Who is it good for? 

“Six college friends who don't care one bit about a view, love the fact that the place comes with a free, flat-screen TV, and prefer having their own rooms even if it means zero living room.” —Hochwald

“Someone who just left a micro-rental in Tokyo and doesn't want to commit to actually having furniture yet. Someone who went too far with Marie Kondo-ing their belongings and realized they are now ready for some urban camping (where the Wild West meets the Upper West). Or, more likely, someone who is going to rent this and put it on Airbnb for unsuspecting tourists.” —Valhouli 

“This is a good starter apartment for group of people working their first jobs in NYC. If you take a place like this—in Manhattan—it would make your first year or two here livable—and you might be able to breathe even on a small salary.” —White Karp

Take it or leave it

Leave it. “Walk away and don't think twice.” —Hochwald

Take it. “I was torn on this one, so I asked the Magic 8 Ball, which advised, "It is decidedly so." With the money you save on rent, explore the city and have fun.”  —Valhouli 

Take it. “Socially, it will probably feel like you’re back in college, with more expenses and no papers to write.” —White Karp