Armchair Apartment Hunting: What You Get for $2,500 a Month
See what your money will get you in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx -- the deals may shock you
What can $2,500 get you on the New York City real estate market? Well, the answer is, surprisingly, a lot. But, as always in real estate, where you choose to spend that dough is the main factor in how much you get. In less tony neighborhoods, that sum will reward you with a two-bedroom palace in a newly constructed building with a parking spot; in Manhattan and Brooklyn, you’ll net yourself a livable, relatively spacious one-bedroom, likely in a walk-up. To survey the landscape, NewYork.com broke it down borough-by-borough, identifying a prototypical $2,500 apartment in two distinct Manhattan neighborhoods, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx from our trove of real estate listings.
Midtown, Manhattan, $2,500/month
Somewhat counter intuitively, a prospective renter can get a decent bang for his or her buck in certain regions of Gotham, as evidenced by this listing, for what appears to be a clean, high-ceilinged one-bedroom apartment at 51st Street and Ninth Avenue in what’s generally known as Midtown West or Hell’s Kitchen. Despite the, ahem, quality listing photos (note the broker in the bathroom mirror), this apartment is spacious enough to not even carry a whiff of what can be found on the real estate worm-hole that is Worstroom.com. Even better, it appears, as the listing says, to truly be “sunny and bright.” While the neighborhood lacks the charm of the Upper West Side and the shopping and schools of Downtown neighborhoods like SoHo, it does have its own budding “restaurant row” along Ninth Avenue. The C and E trains (not the best, but not the worst) are two blocks away, with the B, D and 1 about a 10-minute walk away. The listing also insists there is an eat-in-kitchen, although the photographic evidence is scant. And there’s a courtyard, which is pretty sweet no matter what borough you’re in. See more rentals in Midtown.
Astoria, Queens, $2,500/month
In one of the quirkier amenities packages ever advertised, this Astoria apartment listing promises “outdoor pool, terrace, and … ping pong table.” Finally, a weary renter’s oft-overlooked tennis table needs can be quenched. But, in all seriousness, the apartment looks like a winner. An in-unit washer-dryer, walk-in closet, “chef’s kitchen” — which in this case appears to reference (unseen) stainless steel appliances and (seen) a breakfast bar — and floor-to-ceiling windows are all standard in this new construction compound. The building also offers a gym, garage and bike room, all extras that would run you $5,000 a month in Manhattan. After a rousing Ping-Pong game, residents can relax by the pool, in one of many chaise lounges, which one assumes will be populated by young, attractive affluents during the summer months. Though this paradise is 20 minutes from Midtown at rush hour, renter be warned that the trains serving fair Astoria — N and R — are generally accepted to stand for “Never” and “Rarely,” especially late at night and on the weekends. However, Astoria’s fresh markets and delicious restaurants — many provided by the native Greek immigrants — easily make the borough of Queens habitable enough that you shouldn’t really have to leave on the weekend. See more rentals in Astoria.
Riverdale, Bronx, $2,575/month
When in the Bronx, a renter gets by far the most space of any of the other boroughs. One can rent this two-bedroom (convertible to three if you have a lot of kids) in the borough’s chic and best neighborhood, Riverdale, with its multi-million dollar mansions, for a mere $2,575 per month. The apartment comes with a dining room, dishwasher, hardwood floors, balcony and “tons of closets,” which may make the hour spent on the 1 train each morning if you work in Manhattan totally worth it. The building offers a 24-hour doorman, elevator, parking, fitness center and pool — Phoenix-level pricing! For a family looking to maximize space and safety on a budget, the Bronx seems the way to go. Drawbacks, of course, include the fact that it’s going to be hard to convince your Manhattan friends to come over for dinner, and if your friends all live in Brooklyn? Fuggedaboutit. See more rentals in Riverdale.
Speaking of Brooklyn, for $2,395, you can live in the borough of throwback Reeboks, aspiring performance artists, wannabe novelists and artisanal mayonnaise purveyors. What this one-bedroom listing doesn’t say is more important than what it does; and it doesn’t say or show a lot (there’s no kitchen or bathroom views and no view of the view it touts.) All we really know is that it the bedroom has “two large closets and two windows.” This is the sort of listing you can expect in a borough with plummeting inventory and skyrocketing demand — light on the details. The good news is that this area of Brooklyn has some of the best transit access in New York City. Almost every subway line, plus the Long Island Railroad, is within a 10-minute walk. While the listing says “Fort Greene,” it appears that the apartment falls just outside those bounds in Downtown Brooklyn. However, a quick walk gets you into Fort Greene proper, with its attendant super-hyped restaurants, artisanal cheeses and BAM. See more rentals in Downtown Brooklyn.
Harlem, Manhattan, $2,500/month
The slowest-to-gentrify bit of Manhattan still brings a bargain for the intrepid real estate hunter, as evidenced by this 800-square-foot convertible two-bedroom apartment, asking $2,500. Although the exact address in Harlem isn’t provided, given its zip code and other information in the advertisement indicate it’s near the 1 train at Broadway and A, C, B, D trains at St. Nicholas Ave. It’s also near to Riverbank State Park, which includes an indoor and outdoor pool, among other amenities. Appearances are positive — what with the photos of bamboo flooring, granite counters, stainless steel appliances and a dishwasher. It’s advertised as “sunny and bright,” which appears true despite a window looking out onto a brick wall. The kitchen and bathroom also seem fully and tastefully renovated. To top it off, it’s in a pre-war elevator building with laundry. Those ready to make the trade off to an area without many of Manhattan’s bells and whistles (fewer restaurants and fewer amenities) will get far more space than if they rented below 110th Street. See more rentals in Harlem.