Real Estate

Could Abbi and Ilana Afford Their ‘Broad City’ Apartments?

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Cara Howe)

On January 24th, “Broad City” returns to Comedy Central for its fifth and final season. For the last five years, viewers have watched Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer play fictional versions of themselves trying to navigate New York City as 20-something women. We have watched this story play out in many different ways on television, from shows like “Friends,” to “Sex and the City,” to “Gossip Girl,” to “The Bold Type.” On television, New York is portrayed as a place where you can have your own apartment—even though you work part time—and where drinks don’t cost an entire hour’s wage. This is the magic of television and the magic of New York itself. “Broad City” is no different.

(Image credit: Comedy Central)

But how realistic is it?

Abbi and Ilana live in Astoria, Queens and Gowanus, Brooklyn respectively. Both women live in two-bedroom apartments with one other roommate. (Sort of—Abbi’s roommate’s boyfriend came over one day and never left, but he doesn’t pay rent.) At the show’s start, Abbi is working as a cleaner at the Equinox-adjacent “Soulstice,” while Ilana is working at a Groupon knock-off in sales. In season four we see Abbi get a job as a graphic designer, but eventually get fired before becoming a security guard at Anthropologie. Ilana, who was fired from Deals! Deals! Deals! in season three, now works at Sushi Mambeaux, a fictional homage to Nobu.

So let’s break this down.

(Image credit: Comedy Central)


According to Zillow, the lower end of the rent spectrum for a two-bedroom in Astoria is $2,200. Obviously rent fluctuates based on the time of year, how old the building is, how close it is to a subway stop, and a myriad other factors. Using this as a benchmark, Abbi’s rent would be about $1,100 a month before utilities and other expenses. An hourly staff member at Equinox Fitness, according to Glassdoor, makes about $12 an hour. Provided she works 40-hour weeks, her yearly gross pay would be around $24,000. Over half of that (before taxes) would go to rent. It is hard to believe an hourly staff member at Anthropologie would make much more than that, meaning her situation is extremely unrealistic.

(Image credit: Comedy Central)


Recent Zillow listings show two-bedroom apartments in Gowanus going for $2,600, meaning that Ilana and Jaimé would be paying $1,300 each. An entry level sales associate at Groupon makes about $32,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. There are three reported salaries for servers at Nobu on Glassdoor that average $43,000 (though she was really raking in those tips). While Ilana seems to be making more than Abbi, her rent is likely higher. Ilana is in slightly better a financial situation, but things for her could be tight. Her situation is slightly unrealistic.

Like many shows before it, “Broad City” fails to show a realistic depiction of life in New York from a financial standpoint. While it is certainly closer than “Friends,” it’s hard to believe Abbi and Ilana could survive in New York when they could choose a more affordable city like Philadelphia (Abbi’s hometown).

The most unrealistic part though? How much time they spend together. The G train isn’t that reliable, even on a good day Just to travel between apartments, the friends are looking at a commute of at least an hour.

No wonder they spend so much time in Manhattan.