What’s the point of an open house if you can’t open the door to enter the house?
A short TikTok video posted this week has gone viral with more than 2.2 million views as of Friday afternoon – showing a dark side of life in New York City.
In this case, that’s paying an arm and a leg for a unit that – aside from the supposedly high asking price – has a very different barrier to entry.
“Reality of the NYC apartment hunt and the absurd prices,” the user named Charlotte wrote in the clip. The video shows her trying to open the front door, which cannot swing all the way wide.
About 45 degrees into the doorway, it hits the handle of a stove seemingly only inches away—and the impact shakes it. She then squeezes through the door frame – opening it as far as it can go – to reveal the rest of the kitchen, oddly installed in what should be a foyer. To the left of that oven, there’s a half-sized dishwasher, a sink, barely any counter space — and barely any floor space to maneuver.
“Imagine paying $4,000 a month to get slammed when you use the stove and someone comes home,” she added.
Charlotte, who later says she was touring this unit, did not respond to a request for comment. It is not clear where in the city this apartment is located.
The clip, which received more than 175,000 likes, also received more than 1,300 comments, very few of which were positive.
“Imagine wanting to live in NYC,” one wrote, while another wrote, “cooking and the roommate comes in…only 3rd degree burns.”
Others questioned the practicality of living in a room where the front door is obstructed by a large appliance. “How should you move furniture?” asked another. “I think we’ll just pack a fork.”
Meanwhile, others questioned the legality of this layout. One user, who identified himself as an employee of the city’s Department of Housing Conservation and Development, said they were almost certain that “there are some housing code violations in [that] apartment.”
“LMK, because that was my first thought when I walked in,” Charlotte replied in a follow-up clip posted two days later, which received more than 120,600 views. That video shows what it’s like trying to turn around in the narrow kitchen to get to the rest of the unit, which appears to be a small studio.
“Isn’t this a health hazard?” she said, adding in the comments, “I wish I’d recorded what the cop said…’it’s absolutely inconvenient.'”
Also troublesome is the general state of the city’s rental market. Last year around this time, as rents continued to fall to record lows, some locals started upgrading – sometimes scoring more space for the same price they paid elsewhere, or even less. But around the fall of 2021, those great deals disappeared, with some tenants having to deal with rent increases that had to be renewed by as much as 79% more per month.
More recently, New Yorkers looking for a new home — at a time when many local offices have reopened, at least in part — have faced bidding wars to secure leases, which has only pushed prices up. Available units have also drawn large crowds for open houses – and that comes at a time when the rental housing stock has fallen quite low.
In Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — not counting the Bronx or Staten Island — fewer than 10,000 apartments are up for grabs, according to Douglas Elliman.