In the film The Producers, which is set in New York City, Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder), an innocent accountant, is lured by Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) into a fraudulent money making scheme. In one scene, Max tempts Leo atop the Empire State Building, enumerating all the wonderful things money can buy in New York City which is laid out before them, whispering over his shoulder, "All of these pleasures can be yours."
And for most, one of these pleasures will be a decent home.
Conversations in New York City are dominated by apartments and jobs. The cost of an apartment, rental or purchase, is the most difficult financial hurdle to living in this city, particularly for new transplants.
You will hear and read that prices are up or on occasion down slightly. Then up. Average prices, median prices. This year over last. This quarter over same quarter last year, etc. etc.
Let me simplify. No matter what you read or hear, prices are still high. Very high. Even if prices plunged, they would still be very high. In spite of the economic malaise, apartments in New York City are fetching big numbers. Prices of Manhattan apartments have risen in 2010 over the same period in 2009 - the average one bedroom is now $1.3 million dollars, typically with a maintenance of over $1000 per month.
For that money, you get one privilege and only one - to live in New York City in a habitable place. However, views like those in the photos are far from typical and for that you will pay a premium. Prices in high rises typically increase as move up to higher floors with better views.
The vista in the photo is looking north from the rooftop of the Brevoort East at University Place and 9th Street in the Village. Friends who live in the building (and have virtually an identical view on a lower floor) gave me roof access recently. Atop the roof looking out at the spectacular view in the brisk clear night time air, I could feel Max Bialystock at my shoulder whispering: If you have the money, all of these pleasures can be yours :)