From I Love Lucy to Friends to Girls, popular television shows featuring New York apartment settings often give viewers the impression that even those of modest means can afford to live in such places.
While that may have been true at the time when the series are set, it’s far from true now. According to studies, the average price of a Manhattan apartment was more than $2 million in 2016. If Monica, Phoebe and Rachel were looking for an apartment now, they’d be hard pressed to afford a closet, let alone the two-bedroom place they shared on the series, set in the ‘90s.
“The real estate landscape has shifted so profoundly over the last two decades that this generation’s girl-about-town occupies a very different kind of space, notes a recent article in the New York Times. “And it is [space] that keeps shrinking.”
What would these TV settings sell for now? RisMedia’s Housecall recently offered this update. Read it and weep:
I Love Lucy: Lucy and Ricky’s apartment featured a kitchen, living room area and one bedroom, all for $125 a month. The couple signed a 99-year lease. If they had lived throughout the duration of the lease, the apartment on East 68th Street (between York Ave. and FDR Drive) would have cost them $150,000. To buy the space now? The price was $899,000 in 2015.
Mad Men: At the height of his advertising success, Don Draper bought a swanky uptown penthouse apartment at 783 Park Avenue. In 1965, his purchase price was $55,000. In 2015, the value had increased exponentially, to $8 million.
Friends: The two-bedroom apartment rented by the show’s 20something characters included a patio and a nice location on 90 Bedford St. in New York City. In 1996, when the show was in its second season, median rents in the city were $2,000. Today, that figure has increased 67% to $3,344.
Girls: Hannah’s cramped Brooklynn apartment appears to be the kind of place a girl barely skating by can afford. That’s not likely in today’s market, with prices in Brooklyn now raging hotter than Hannah’s hormones. Hannah’s apartment would go for $750,000 in today’s prices.