7 must-have luxury apartment perks in NYC, according to brokers

There’s a running joke among New Yorkers that having in-unit laundry means you’ve “made it.” And, according to Corcoran broker Vicki Negron, at this point, in-unit washer-dryers are an “absolute must” for a New York City apartment to be considered part of the “luxury” market. “People are eager for any opportunity to avoid a trip to the laundromat. Even if it means sacrificing closet space to accommodate an in-unit washer and dryer, it’s a trade-off that many are willing to make,” she added. So now that we’ve reached peak washer/dryer necessity, what are the next big things in NYC luxury apartment living? Real estate brokers dished on what’s hot on the market right now.

This Park Slope townhouse has original detailed moldings and three wood-burning fireplaces. Photo credit: Shannon Dupree/DDReps for The Corcoran Group

Original details

“I think today a sense of ‘home’ is more important than ever,” said Corcoran associate real estate broker Ben Garama. And a lot of what makes a space feel homey are the unique details that add character. For many of his clients, that’s an original-condition fireplace. “They give a certain charm that people tend to appreciate,” he said. A newly listed townhouse at 615 Third Street in Park Slope features not one, but three fireplaces, as well as “historic details like parlor columns, stained glass windows and skylights, and pristine millwork of mahogany, birdseye maple, and cherry,” as reported by 6sqft. The listing price:$6,995,000.

This condo at 72 Berry Street in Williamsburg boasts original wood beams and brick and wide-plank wood floors. Photo credit: Celeste Godoy.

Over the bridge, Megan Eisenberg of Brick&Mortar in Brooklyn finds that things like brick walls, steel I-beams, concrete floors, or wider plank wood flooring and factory-style mullioned windows are all big sellers.

Concierge services

In Negron’s experience, luxury is all about convenience as she finds clients looking for concierge services in their buildings so they don’t have to worry about their packages or dry cleaning. “Concierge services have become a must-have, as they provide residents with a luxurious and more personalized living experience,” she said. “This growing demand reflects renters’ changing expectations as people are not only seeking a place to live but a home that offers a more curated lifestyle. Tenants are willing to pay premium rent for ‘service.’”

A two-story atrium leads to this stunning garden oasis at this $20 million townhouse at 21 West 11th Street. Photo by Eitan Gamliely for Sotheby’s International Realty

Outdoor space and pools

Garama’s clients crave private outdoor spaces like terraces and balconies. Or, if you happen to have $20 million, you could get something like this amazing five-story Greenwich Village townhouse that’s been featured in the New York Times. It has “a two-story atrium framed by a dramatic glass wall leading to a stunning garden oasis,” according to 6sqft. “French doors open onto the stunning bi-level landscaped garden. For outdoor dining, there’s a grill and lounge area. A discreet separate front entry leads to a mud/laundry room.”

While private gardens are certainly nice (and pricey), for Negron, it’s also about the summertime pool life. “Outdoor spaces, specifically with grill areas and pools, have also become a sought-after amenity,” she said. “Residents enjoy the hotel-like experience they offer, conveniently located within their own buildings. This reflects a desire for a luxurious escape without the need to travel to a far-off destination.”

Part of Williamsburg waterfront revitalization included high-rise luxury apartment buildings like 420 Kent, which features “pool club” access that gives residents a summertime escape overlooking the skyline. Talk about luxury.

Hotel-like amenities

And, speaking of living in the lap of luxury, Negron finds that hotel-like building amenities are a big draw for her clients. “Features such as pet spas, sports simulators, and yoga rooms continue to be top priorities for renters, emphasizing the want for a ‘resort’ feel within their building,” she said. “The driving force for people when it comes to rental apartments is the desire for luxury. Renters seek top-notch amenities, typically those associated with high-end hotels, to infuse that sense of quality, sophistication, and indulgence into the comfort of their own space.”

Brooklyn Point in Downtown Brooklyn offers wellness-focused amenities, including a rock climbing wall. Photo by Evan Joseph.

Over in Manhattan, Garama shared that he finds that luxury building features like theater rooms and “over-the-top sports simulators” like virtual golf are not big ticket items for renters, but “it’s nice to know they are there.”

Work-from-home space

It should come as no surprise that since the pandemic, more and more people are working from home, at least some of the time, and need a home office or alcove.

“There has been more focus on having enough space to do everything from your apartment — from business to relaxing — as a result of many now working from home,” said Garama, who brokers in Manhattan. But it’s a city-wide — well, nationwide trend — with Negron seeing the same trend continue with her Brooklyn clients.

The sentiment was echoed by a September 2023 Entrepreneur article: “This trend isn’t merely about providing a desk and a chair; it’s about creating an environment that enhances productivity, well-being and work-life balance.”

Rocket Homes reported in July 2023 that “from March to July this year, there’s been a 16.8% increase in the number of listings that contain the word ‘office’ as compared to last year.” And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33.8 percent of employed people worked some hours at home in 2022.

At 555TEN in Midtown West, there’s a 12th-floor covered outdoor dog run. Photo courtesy of 555TEN

Pet-friendly perks

Another thing that boomed during the pandemic was pet ownership. As we all stayed home isolated, having a furry companion became more important for people. Negron is noticing the effects in the luxury real estate market as renters and buyers look to pamper their pets too with things like pet spas. “There’s a growing demand for pet-friendly amenities. Whether it’s a pet spa, outdoor spaces for pets, or convenient on-site dog walking services, people are now prioritizing their pets when searching for apartments,” she said.

Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Gramercy Park in this two-bedroom apartment. Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Lots of windows

Anyone who has searched for a NYC apartment on a tight budget knows that often something as simple as windows in every room is a luxury. From converted living rooms created by blocking off windows to rooms facing brick walls, sunlight can be a hot commodity in this city. So, it stands to reason that once you get into the luxury market, it’s all about access to natural light.

A glass-enclosed solarium at this Village co-op offers a unique space for enjoying views and daily sunlight. Photo credit: Nina Poon for The Corcoran Group

“In the luxury market, people have the money. They are looking for open, clean, sun-lit apartments. Big windows and clean lines,” said Eisenberg. But this doesn’t only apply to modern glass penthouses in the sky. For example, this $3.25 million apartment in Gramercy features a massive floor-to-ceiling picture window in the living room.

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