TV shows make living in NYC look like paradise; every apartment is large with cool wall art and sexy vintage furniture. However, anyone who actually lives here knows that only the most upper of echelons can truly relate to the spacious accommodations, expensive furniture, and shady streets shown on screen. So which shows got it right? And who tried to trick us? Here are 5 examples we can all relate to:
Jerry Seinfeld’s Apartment: Seinfeld
The outside shot of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment is actually an apartment complex in Los Angeles. Inside, though, is as comfy and “decorated by a guy” as we remember it. Images from: voteprime on Flickr and dvdsetcollection.com
Fictional location: 129 West 81st Street
Actual location: 757 New Hampshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California
West 81st Street goes a little something like this:
Jerry Seinfeld lived on the actual West 81st Street when making his break into stand-up in New York. Image from: Google Maps
Believability: This one makes sense. Seinfeld’s income:amenities ratio is perfection. A successful stand-up comedian deserves a clean, roomy one bedroom on the Upper West Side. If Seinfeld the show was still running today, Seinfeld the character would have Ikea’d his apartment a bit more, but I love the 90s two-toned walls and mismatched furniture. With similar apartments on 129 West 81st Street coming in at around $2,000 per month, I applaud Jerry and Dave for keeping things realistic.
Monica Geller’s Apartment: Friends
The familiar façade and brightly-colored kitchen from Friends. How long do you think it took Monica to dust all her kitcheny knick-knacks? Images from: khgrace.nomadlife.org and the Friends NBC myspace page
Fictional location: Greenwich Village, Apartment 20
Actual location: The corner of Grove and Bedford, Greenwich Village
Believability: For a girl who spends the first several seasons vacillating between poor, unemployed, employed by a diner, and then poor again (didn’t she at one point have $127.00 to her name?) the line cook turned executive chef lived in some pretty sweet digs. Together with her roommates who were even less financially secure than she (Rachel, the barista who couldn’t make a latte, and Phoebe, who was a masseuse sometimes), how much could these girls really rake in? 30 grand a year? 35? 40?
Friends explains that the apartment is a hand-me-down from Grandma Geller, and thus rent-controlled at far less than market value, but honestly – when Padmapper gives similar New York apartments a monthly rent of $3,000 – 5,000, when did Grandma need to get her hands on this gem so that she could pass it on to Monica at the feasible rate of $200 a month?
Liz Lemon’s Apartment: 30 Rock
Nothing like functional air-conditioner covers to show off a residence’s true potential. Inside, Liz Lemon’s apartment is cozy and comfy. Images from: smlhope on Flickr and youaremyfave.com
Fictional location: 160 Riverside Drive
Actual location: Right where they said it’d be
Believability: An A+ for Tina Fey & Co. Since 30 Rock is loosely based on Fey’s life as head writer for Saturday Night Live, she knows how to keep it believable. Available one-bedroom apartments around 160 Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side sit squarely at $2,000 per month, which seems entirely reasonable for a head writer raking in about 1.5 million every year. Lemon’s interior is not overly-decorative and no one is surprised when she can afford to buy it (plus the apartment next door) during the fourth season.
Don Draper’s Apartment: Mad Men (Season 4)
The Waverly, built in 1928, is still standing today. Image from: kelly.frombrc on Flickr
Fictional location: 6th and Waverly
Actual Probable location: 136 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village
Believability: Always sticklers for accuracy, the guys behind Mad Men would want a building still standing to represent the home of newly-divorced Don Draper. A slew of “Maddicts” took it upon themselves to discover the real deal after Draper declares “6th and Waverly” to the cabby, and have determined 136 Waverly as where the Draper-magic happens.
A contemporary apartment in the Waverly features fresh, white-washed walls, as opposed to the 60s bachelor-pad vibe. Images from: stribling.com and thegothamist.com
While the current apartments boast better lighting than the grimy glow of Draper’s pad, today’s selling price for a one bedroom is a about $769,000; Maddicts guesstimate Draper could have been sitting pretty for a few hundred dollars a month. Not too shabby for an ad executive with low expectations for interior decorating.
Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment: Sex and the City
Carrie’s well-known stoop alongside her shabby-chic kitchen and bedroom from Sex and the City. Images from: cherishtoronto on Flickr, eclecticinteririordesigngroup.blogspot.com, and sensationalcolor.com
Fictional location: 245 E 73rd Street, between Park and Madison
Actual location: 66 Perry Street, between Bleeker and 4th
East 73rd street actually looks something like this:
It’s got the red brick, but is lacking the staircase. Where would Carrie be without her stoop? Image from: Google Maps
Believability: A spacious one-bedroom with walk-through closet and bathroom and a full kitchen – sounds too good to be true, although her décor is not overtly ostentatious. A quick check of Padmapper’s apartments for rent on East 73rd street sets the average rental price at $3,000 per month. Coupled with Carrie’s job as a newspaper columnist (who couldn’t possibly make over $40,000 per year, right?) and her obsession with Manolo Blahniks, we give this set location a big, fat “Yeah Right.” Sorry ladies.