Op-ed—A born and bred New York City boy, I love real estate, and have seen thousands of apartments throughout the years. New York is the greatest city in the world, and I am raising my kids in the city—but the reality of New York life is rarely as glamorous as it’s portrayed in the media. Certainly NYC apartments are rarely as realistic as those from the movies.
Watching the season five premier of Mad Men, I felt compelled to write about the five most unrealistic New York City apartments in pop-culture media portrayals:
Don Draper’s new apartment in the new season of Mad Men:
With immaculate fashion style, a new Cadillac, three kids and an expensive ex-wife, the recently divorced creative director of a recently struggling advertising agency couldn’t possibly have such a large, modern apartment.
As The NY Times noted in discussing Draper: “financially comfortable characters are hardly spared the mess of unhappy marriages and the toll of heavy drinking.” I think this comment in reality would be much more realistic in discussing Draper: “I feel stuck,” a marketing executive earning $350,000 a year said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.”
Carrie Bradshaw’s Upper East Side apartment on Sex In the City:
One bedroom walk-up in a gorgeous brownstone with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, walk-in closet, and bedroom—and it’s on a tree-lined block with great views. Seems like a lot for a newspaper columnist who goes out every night, with an expensive shoe habit.
You’ve Got Mail Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly:
In an Upper West Side Brownstone, filled with light and with a nice sized apartment, how could a single woman struggling to keep a small (and inherited) bookstore open afford an apartment like this?
Monica and Rachel’s Greenwich Village apartment on Friends:
Amazing location, huge living room, balcony, great closets—the two bedroom apartment isn’t believable even with the explanation that it seems to be an illegal sublet. A struggling chef and a waitress couldn’t possibly afford such an apartment.
Kramer’s apartment on Seinfeld:
Estranged from his family, this unemployed high-school dropout seemingly would have no way to live next door to Seinfeld (although raiding his neighbors’ fridge could happen). Perhaps one could make the argument that Seinfeld’s apartment was realistic, but Kramer? No way…
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a Public Relations firm, and author of PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.”