Reality Check

Shack Value

The lowdown on the high prices of the New York apartments featured in 'Friends' and 'Mad About You'

It's a good thing Friends and Mad About You are hits — how else could Rachel and Monica and Jamie and Paul afford those huge apartments? Not on their salaries. The stats:

Mad About You

The hood: One of New York City's finest, Fifth Ave. and 12th St.

The rent: According to J.I. Sopher, a Manhattan real estate firm, the Buchmans' one-bedroom pad would rent for about $3,500 per month. To pay that, experts recommend an annual income of around $150,000.

What Paul and Jamie do: He's a documentary filmmaker; she's a former PR exec now out on her own.

Can they afford it? Doubtful. ''I couldn't afford to feed that dog in New York,'' says Crumb director Terry Zwigoff. ''Last year I had no income from documentaries, zero.'' Any wonder they tried to get Murray the pooch into commercials?

Friends

The hood: A funky ward of Greenwich Village.

The rent: Monica and Rachel's two-bedroom digs with terrace would run the pals $3,000 a month, say the folks at Sopher.

What the roommates do: Rachel's a waitress; Monica's a chef.

Can they afford it? No. Staffers at Starbucks, a java joint similar to Friends' Central Perk, earn about $7 per hour. Slinging double decafs, Rachel would earn just $1,120 a month. At Iridium, the eatery often shown on air, a chef earns $35,000 per year, or $2,900 per month. After taxes, no wonder these girls need friends.

Originally posted May 12, 1995 Published in issue #274 May 12, 1995 Order article reprints
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