Outdoor space is nice but is it worth it?

BY MARTHA WILKIE | Many New Yorkers dream of having a little outdoor space of their own. But for those lucky enough to afford a bit of earth (or balcony or roof deck), do they really use it?

My first post-college apartments (with a bunch of roommates) in Boston was a rowhouse with a deck and backyard. I rarely set foot in the backyard! Nowadays, of course, I’d love to have a garden, but could never afford it in today’s market.

Laura Rich, founder of Exit Club, a group for successful entrepreneurs, used to live in a studio on W. 13th St. with a shared garden. She misses the space, where she used to throw elegant parties.

“The garden made the tiny space feel luxurious,” she said.

Now she lives in a house with a yard in Boulder, Colorado, but mourns the loss of her New York City outdoor space.

“My backyard here is unkempt and gets too hot in the summer,” she said.

Agent Beth Chase has buyers who insist upon it.

There are clients who will not live without outdoor space,” she explained. “Beautiful outdoor space is rare.There is a premium, but it adds great value to the apartment.”


One of the places Chase currently represents is in the East Village, a two-bedroom, two-bath with a private balcony at 70 E. 10th St.

This apartment is a rare find,” she said. “The sunsets are incredible.”

The views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and the spire of Grace Church belong in a fantasy movie version of New York. It’s on the market for $2.64 million.


This East Harlem apartment offers a rooftop deck getaway.

In East Harlem, a two-bedroom, one-bath condo at 353 E. 104th St., Apartment 9A, has a private balcony and communal roof deck. The deck sports attractive outdoor furniture and plantings, including herb boxes. Observatory Place, which is LEED certified, is a new doorman building with an amenity newly popular for the Fresh Direct-era: refrigerated storage for deliveries. $795,000.


Take me to the river: Coveted East River views come with this E. 96th St. abode.

On the Upper East side, a penthouse unit in a new development at 302 E. 96th St., has a roof deck with breathtaking East River views. Two bedrooms, two baths. $2.025 million.


The sky’s the limit with a one-bedroom apartment in a brownstone on Fifth Ave. in Harlem that sports this roof deck.

For rent in Harlem at 2032 Fifth Ave. is a one-bedroom, one-bath in a brownstone with a glorious roof deck with panoramic views. The second-floor home features central air, a nice original mantlepiece, marble kitchen countertops, central AC and a virtual doorman. https://streeteasy.com/building/2032-5-avenue-manhattan/2b

2 Responses to Outdoor space is nice but is it worth it?

  1. My husband and I live in a high rise on 14th Street with approximately 50 large balconies (12 x 7). We are among ten residents who actually use our balcony. Although a bit noisy, we have made it into a garden space with dining table, eating outdoors for most of the summer. We couldn't live in the city without this bit of outdoor space. For the life of me I have no idea why most residents totally ignore their outdoor space.

    • I don't know either but they sure do ignore their outdoor space. You pass a building with dozens of balconies on a lovely evening and they are all empty.

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