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    Could you afford Monica’s apartment?

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    Monica and Rachel’s apartment is undoubtedly the Friends‘ most famous set. But after years of watching reruns one thing always left us feeling perplexed; just how could Monica and Rachel afford to live in such a huge New York apartment?

    Monica and Rachel lived in an enclave of Greenwich Village known as the West Village. While the show was shot on a soundstage far from the bright lights of Broadway, the exterior shots for the show utilized a building located at the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street. 

    Monica’s apartment has an open plan for the main living space, mainly comprised of the kitchen and the living room. The apartment has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a balcony in addition to the main living area. 

    monica's apartment

    How much would it cost today?

    Mortgage Advisors have priced up what Monica and Chandler’s place at Apt. 20. 495 Grove Street, New York City and it ain’t cheap. For a two bedroom, open plan apartment in the sought-after Greenwich Village area, complete with a balcony/roof terrace overlooking Manhattan, it would set you back an eye-watering $4m.

    Could you afford Monica's apartment? 1

    Rent for a spacious 2-bedroom, even during the 1990s would have cost around $2,500 per month. Today, a similar apartment can cost upwards of $5,000. That’s per month, just for rent. We haven’t even factored in the cost of utilities or food! 

    How could Monica and Rachel afford it?

    As everyone knows, Monica spent most of her career as a head chef, save for some time as a short-order cook in a themed diner. In the 1990s, the average salary for a chef would be far less than today, and even now most chefs, save for a few in dining meccas or at top-tier eateries, earn under $100,000 per year.

    Rachel first grabbed a job as a coffee shop waitress. In the 1990s, Rachel was likely making closer to $5 per hour plus tips. Even if she were to work a 40-hour week, her check was unlikely to be for more than $200 per week, before taxes.

    The writers did have an explanation for the generously-sized apartment though – rent-control.

    Rent-controlled apartments in New York City, are essentially apartments that are under regulations that don’t allow the landlord to raise the rent to market value if the original tenant maintains the lease. During the run of the show, Monica explains that she inherited the apartment from her grandmother and paid just $200 per month in rent due to rent-control. 

    See how spacious Monica’s apartment was!

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