The Salary You’d Need to Own the “Friends” Apartment

published Nov 21, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: NBC)

If you’re like me, you’re probably spending the holiday weekend indulging in the ultimate Thanksgiving tradition: Marathoning the “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes.

Amid lost toes, shepherd’s pie trifle, and The Geller Cup, you might be marveling at that marvelous purple apartment. By now, it’s a well-established fact that an up-and-coming chef and an on-and-off again waitress would have trouble splitting a 1,300-ish square-feet apartment in Manhattan—even in the early 90s. But have you ever thought about what it would take in 2018 to make that apartment a reality?

Time to put on my real estate reporter hat: First off, “495 Grove Street” (the address of the apartment) is actually a sound stage, so it doesn’t exist anywhere in New York City. The exterior shot, however, is real—90 Bedford Street, at the corner of Bedford and Grove in the West Village. The building is still a rental and the units hover around 650 square-feet to 750 square feet. And though the units go for more than $3,000 for one-bedroom, unfortunately, for die-hard “Friends” fans, nothing is available right now.

If you want something like Monica’s apartment in the same neighborhood, look to 380 West 12th Street, says Scotty Elyanow of Corcoran real estate in NYC. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom loft in the West Village is just a little over a half mile northwest of 90 Bedford and is the most comparable apartment on the market. Like the Monica and Rachel’s place, it has an open-plan design, a balcony (where you can keep your eye on an ugly naked guy of your own), and even an elevator (bid adieu to pivoting up stairs).

Here’s a look inside:

So how much would you have to make to afford the two-bedroom apartment without rent control? The unit is on the market for $2.25M, which with a 20 percent down payment, would come out to $11K each month for 30 years at current interest rates. This includes taxes, maintenance, and HOA fees. Elyanow says that since this unit is in a co-op, you’d need at least a 27.5 percent debt-to-income ratio (ideally 25 percent or lower). This all comes out to around $483,000 a year, says Elyanow.

If that wasn’t a hefty enough price, he says you also need around $260,000 in liquid savings after closing to qualify—plus cash (or Pottery Barn gift cards) to furnish the place. (Oh. my. god!)

Ross’s paleontologist salary wouldn’t even be able to cover that. But you know who could? Dave, Jennifer, Courtney, Matt, Lisa, or Matthew. Each member of the group reportedly receive at least $20 million a year IRL from syndication alone, which would more than enough cover the mortgage on a place like this.