Janio Marrero is a very lucky man. As facilities manager and technical director at the Cherry Lane Theater, Mr. Marrero can rent a lovely apartment above the theater at a discount — a serious discount. For the West Village one-bedroom with exposed brick and wide-beam floors, he pays $750 a monthRead the rest here.
Yes, it is the stuff that dreams, and apartments on the television show “Friends,” are made of. But compared with what his neighbors pay? Meh.
Just across the hall, a tenant named Arnold Warwick, who has had the same address for a half-century, pays $331.76 a month.
“I don’t plan on dying because I don’t want to give up a rent-controlled apartment,” said Mr. Warwick, who is 80. “I pay so little I’m almost embarrassed.”
In New York City, there is no shame in forking over thousands of dollars a month to live in somebody’s basement or crawl space. This unfortunate hiccup in the magic of the city makes the 16,000 remaining rent-controlled units in Manhattan mouthwatering in almost any context.
Cheaper apartments than the ones above the Cherry Lane do exist in the five boroughs, and a few of them even rent for less than three figures. But Mr. Warwick’s apartment, which has four small bedrooms built up around a wide-open living room, isn’t just cheap. It is also a fabulous apartment.
With 11-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, piles of hardcover books, and views of chimneys and water towers, it is a 1,200-square-foot monument to the Greenwich Village of our fantasies.
His home is nestled on Commerce Street, a windy little road that stood in for Paris on the series finale of “Sex and the City.” A two-bedroom apartment in that area rents for an average of $4,745 per month, according to the brokerage Citi Habitats. And just down the block at 17 Commerce Street, a 2,200-square-foot federal style town house is currently for sale for $4.975 million.
This makes me ill. It is so grossly unfair that it beggars belief anyone could seriously support this.