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Real Estate

New York City's strangest apartments

Who needs a trip to the museum when some of the best New York City sights are right at home?

The real estate market of our wacky metropolis proves that anything can, and does, happen. Take for example the rustic cottages on building rooftops, like the one at 203. E. 13th St. in the East Village and another at 79 Greenwich St. in the West.

“Just because it sounds non-traditional,” doesn’t mean no one will want to live in it, according to Jessica Kaufman, a licensed associate real estate broker at Citi Habitats. “I always tell people to be open-minded.”

Some New Yorkers say they are.

Brooklyn resident Joseph Montes, 43, though skeptical of spaces where bathrooms and kitchens are one in the same, is willing to give all apartments the benefit of the doubt.

“It depends,” he said when asked if he’d live in a bizarre layout. “I’d have to see it.”

But not everyone is so adventurous.

“I wouldn’t be interested,” another Brooklyn resident, Liz Brown, 34, said of peculiar apartments. “It just doesn’t make sense [but] I guess you can do whatever you want here.”

After searching listings and speaking to brokers, we found out that she wasn’t exaggerating. Check out examples of some of the most, innovative, spaces we’ve seen listed on the market.

2-in-1 bathtub kitchen: E. 11th St., East Village

New Yorkers are both consummate multitaskers and used
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

New Yorkers are both consummate multitaskers and used to making the most of small spaces, so it should come as no surprise to find a bathtub in the kitchen of this charming East Village apartment listed on StreetEasy. But this isn't just any old tub; it's a cast iron, claw foot tub with rain showerhead. For $2,700-a-month, this one-bedroom apartment also has high ceilings, hardwood floors, exquisitely crafted crown and picture molding, and exposed brick details.

Cabin in the sky: 203 E. 13th St., Manhattan

This urban-country East Village penthouse with its rooftop
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

This urban-country East Village penthouse with its rooftop cottage was on the market in recent years with a $4.4 million sales tag, but was sold over its asking price, according to Corcoran. It was nearly damaged by a fire in the building in August 2015, but survived unscathed thanks to a quick response from the FDNY. New Yorkers have fawned over the property's pre-war rooftop charms for years. "When we had it on the market, we had so much [publicity] for that apartment, not that we tried," Corcoran broker Tamir Shemesh said. "It was called the cottage in the sky."

Back to black: 213 W. 23rd St., Manhattan

A 3,750-square-foot open loft in Chelsea is rock
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Town Residential

A 3,750-square-foot open loft in Chelsea is rock star in real estate form. The pad is decked out in all-black, from the ceiling and floor to the shelves and kitchen cabinets. "A lot of [clients] had a hard time picturing the apartment in white or another color they were used to," said Claudia M. Saez, a licensed real estate salesperson at Town Residential. But, "you need these cool places to make the city special," she said. The apartment was turned into a haven for the noir by its former owner, MakeLoveNotPorn founder Cindy Gallop, and was famously the setting for Notorious B.IG.'s music video for "Nasty Girl." Gallop reportedly sold it for $4.5 million in August 2015.

Dorm life: 14 St. Mark’s Place, Manhattan

It's like college, but without the R.A. This
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

It's like college, but without the R.A. This East Village studio proves that with location comes compromise, particularly in the amount of square footage, or lack thereof. Though renters are promised a loft, fridge, sink and microwave, the missing stove, the fact that bathrooms must be shared with other tenants and the guarantor requirement for a lease signing harken back to days at the alma mater. However, as there is a tenant for every home in New York, the apartment was rented out in late March for $1,195 a month, according to StreetEasy, which didn't list the exact size of the pad.

The kitchen shower: 27 Orchard St., Manhattan

For $1,795 a month, a lucky renter could
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

For $1,795 a month, a lucky renter could score a deal. Who wouldn't want to shower in their kitchen? Imagine flipping the bacon before going back to rinse your hair out. Described as an "old world style apartment," this Chinatown space was listed on StreetEasy as "temporarily off-market" 11 months ago.

Hot tub time machine: 529 W. 42nd St., Manhattan

No, that's not just a bar in the
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

No, that's not just a bar in the living room -- it's a hot tub with a bar in the living room. "It's not your typical New York-type apartment," Kaufman, of Citi Habitats, said of this one-bedroom that also has an outdoor balcony. The kingpin-style digs were listed as a $3,750-a-month rental on StreetEasy until they were taken off the market about a year ago. "It'd be a great bachelor, bachelorette space for those looking to entertain," Kaufman said.

Living piously: 455 Central Park West

For those looking to explore their faith --
Photo Credit: StreetEasy

For those looking to explore their faith -- and who have an extra $10 million lying around -- this former 19th century chapel-turned-home is perfect. Roughly three years ago, a tenant snagged the space, which boasts stone columns, arched ceilings and church windows, according to StreetEasy. "It makes it interesting when you're not showing your typical cookie-cutter apartment," Kaufman said of the gorgeous living space.


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