What’s the point of an open house if you can’t open the door to enter the house?
A brief TikTok video posted this week has gone viral with more than 2.2 million views as of Friday afternoon — by showing a dark side of New York City living.
In this case, that’s paying an arm and a leg for a unit that — beyond its allegedly hefty asking price — has an entirely different barrier to entry.
“Reality of NYC apartment hunting and the absurd prices,” wrote the user, named Charlotte, in the clip. The video shows her trying to open the front door, which can’t fully swing wide.
About 45 degrees into the door opening, it hits the handle of a stove seemingly standing mere inches away — and the impact makes it shake. She then squeezes herself through the doorframe — opening it as far as it can go — to reveal the rest of the kitchen, oddly installed in what ought to be a foyer. To the left of that oven, there’s a half-size dishwasher, a sink, hardly any counter space — and barely any floor space to maneuver.
“Imagine paying $4000 per month to get whacked with the door any time you use the stove and someone comes home,” she added.
Charlotte, who later says she was on a tour of this unit, did not respond to a request for comment. It isn’t clear where in the city this apartment is located.
The clip, which got more than 175,000 likes, also amassed more than 1,300 comments, very few of which are positive.
“Imagine wanting to live in NYC,” wrote one, while another wrote, “cooking and the roommate walks in … just 3rd degree burns.”
Others questioned the practicality of living in a space where the front door is obstructed by a major appliance. “How are you supposed to move furniture in?” asked another. “I guess we’re just packing a fork.”
Meanwhile, others questioned the legality of this layout. One user, who identified as an employee of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said they were almost certain “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 to try to turn around in the narrow kitchen to head to the rest of the unit, which appears to be a tiny studio.
“Isn’t this, like, a health hazard?” she said, adding in the comments, “I wish I included what the agent said… ‘it’s definitely inconvenient.’”
Also inconvenient is the general state of the city’s rental market. Around this time last year, when rents continued to plunge to record lows, a number of locals upgraded — sometimes scoring more space for the same price they paid elsewhere, or even less. But around the fall of 2021, those sweet deals vanished, with some tenants facing rent hikes as much as 79% more per month to renew.
More recently, New Yorkers looking to rent a new home — at a time when many local offices have reopened, at least partially — have faced bidding wars to secure leases, which have only driven prices higher. Available units have also drawn large crowds for open houses — and that comes at a time when rental housing inventory has fallen quite low.
Across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — not including the Bronx or Staten Island — fewer than 10,000 apartments are up for grabs, according to tallies from Douglas Elliman.