Why the Laundromat Always Wins

We felt obliged to ask this burning question in the sweatiest dog days: How much is a washer-dryer worth to

Would you pay an extra $89,000 for this? (Photo: apartmenttherapy.com)

We felt obliged to ask this burning question in the sweatiest dog days: How much is a washer-dryer worth to you, New York? 

Not surprisingly: Most of the people we encountered during open houses in Harlem this past weekend would prefer a washer/dryer, if cost were no object. But it’s not a dealbreaker.

Robert Pollock, a broker for Uptown Homes Real Estate who was working in 1901 Madison Avenue, agreed that location is more important than laundry. “The washing machine would be an issue with some, but the big selling point for this building is it’s right across from [Mount Morris Park],” he said, adding that in Harlem, in particular, “You get a lot more for your money.”

The units we looked at in 1901 Madison aren’t exactly luxurious, but Harlem is one of the very, very few places in Manhattan where $300,000 will get you three bedrooms and 1,136 square feet (with a small outdoor terrace, albeit on the ground floor).

The apartments aren’t cookie-cutter, either (like some of the newer developments in the area); one in the building (unit 412) had a red-and-green tiled kitchen and another (unit 117) had dark green carpet in the living room and hot pink carpet in a bedroom. If that isn’t your style, you can always use the cash you save by buying a place uptown on doing some minor renovations.

About 10 blocks away, you’ll pay $89,000 more for a newer apartment with less space (two bedrooms and 868 square feet), but you’ll have the added indulgence of a washer and dryer. Units in 362 St. Nicholas Avenue also look more modern, with shiny new kitchen appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors.

One visitor of the open houses at 362 St. Nicholas told us that having a washer and dryer in his apartment isn’t an absolute must, but he would be willing to pay a little more for the convenience. What Jorge LaCourt, a bank branch manager, seemed to focus on more was the building’s location.

“I grew up in the Harlem area, and this building is right across from [St. Nicholas] park. I also like the proximity to the train and the New York Sports Club,” he said.

So there you have it. Location, unsurprisingly, trumps the coveted in-unit washer and dryer amenity. After all, what’s a ride on an elevator with a bag full of laundry when you have an apartment with a view of the park for $300,000? Why the Laundromat Always Wins