the rent is too damn high

The $3,500 No-Kitchen Apartment

This listing photo for a $3,500 one-bedroom in Cobble Hill shows a “kitchen” consisting of a hot plate, microwave, and toaster oven. Photo: J Misrahi Realty Corp

A video walk-through of a Cobble Hill one-bedroom shows a spacious living room, ample windows, and original moldings. There are marble fireplaces, six closets, and garden views. It’s listed for $3,500, not exactly cheap, but not egregious for the neighborhood. One issue: There’s no kitchen. “A unique feature,” per the listing, that allows for a “versatile and portable” setup. At least for the time being, that versatile setup includes a hot plate and what appears to be a countertop dishwasher with a bucket sitting underneath it.

The kitchenless apartment is nothing new in New York real estate. For most of its existence, it’s been acceptable, if not exactly ideal, because it generally meant cheap rent. Sure, you’ve only got a microwave and mini-fridge, but takeout is abundant and electric-kettle aesthetics are kind of peaking right now. But the social contract is fraying, and some of these apartments are currently running for upwards of $2,500. The market has created a new monster — the luxurification of the hot-plate apartment.

You can find one in the neighborhood of your choice. In August, a $2,500 listing for a 125-square-foot studio in Midtown West went viral because it had no kitchen sink. (“No one said it was ideal,” the Realtor said while showing the space.) A $3,000 studio listed this month in the East Village has “recently renovated amenities,” which apparently does not extend to the kitchen — “a convenient kitchenette and a mini fridge (not a full kitchen).” A $2,200 listing in Park Slope calls the apartment a “spacious 1 bedroom suite” that takes up an entire floor, with just one catch — it only has a mini-fridge, microwave, and a sink tucked into a dark corner.

Sometimes, the person writing the listing gets creative. A one-bedroom in Chelsea that’s going for $4,500 tries to sell its partial kitchen (and clear former-office-ness) as a “European kitchenette” with a cooktop, microwave, and small refrigerator. A “cozy studio” in Greenpoint comes with a microwave stacked on a refrigerator (you’ll have to wash your dishes in the bathroom). Melinda Sicari, a broker at Douglas Elliman, says because the market is still so tight and prices are high, the expensive non-kitchen still might be worth it for some renters. “People want to be in specific locations,” she says. “And a lot of people, they don’t cook — they go out.”

There are, of course, still kitchenless, but priced-to-move, places out there. The listing for a $500 “dorm-style unit” on West 122nd Street at least respects its future tenant enough not to pretend to be anything but a dark room: “NO kitchen,” it reads. “NO VISITORS.”

The $3,500 No-Kitchen Apartment