What a West Village apartment cost in 1955


From the mid-1950s to the advent of Craiglist, the Village Voice was New York’s go-to reference when it came to finding a new apartment, especially if you wanted to live downtown.

And now that years of back issues of the Voice have been digitized, you can check out some of those ads—and the incredible rents some Village living spaces went for.

Even though Greenwich Village has been a pricey place to live for decades, rents were still much cheaper in the Beat era than today.


A 3-room elevator apartment with a fireplace at University and 10th Street? In 1955, it went for $183 a month.

Adjusted for inflation, that would be $1595 in 2013.

If you were willing to live on the Upper West Side in 1955, you could really score a bargain.

Three rooms in an elevator building on West 88th Street and West End Avenue would run you $98 a month—$854 today.

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9 Responses to “What a West Village apartment cost in 1955”

  1. Pontifikate Says:

    So, according to inflation-adjusted prices and wages, is it any wonder most people are feeling screwed?

  2. Edward Says:

    New York before it became a haven for EuroWealth. How quaint.

  3. chas1133 Says:

    Couldn’t get a cardboard box in Jones Alley for that now…

  4. Liza Dey Says:

    Yup! When my mom was a starving theatre person in the late 50s and early 60s she and a roommate were able to afford to sublet an old writer’s apt. on Sheridan Sq. Don’t know how much it cost, but couldn’t have been much! My surrogate grandfather in the building I grew up in was paying $90 a month for what would rightly be called a one BR w/pantry (some apts. used the other room as a very narrow 2nd BR) into the 80s, and we’re in the East Village. (He’d lived here since he came home from WWII and got married.)

    And the classic: in the book ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, written in ’65, they pay a month’s rent in advance and a month’s security deposit on ‘The Bramford’, which is, you know, The Dakota. How much was the check they wrote to cover 2 month’s rent in The Dakota in ’65 for a 2BR with EIK and working FP, laundry in building and doorman/elevator man (ok, and creepy, Satan-worshipping neighbors)? $583!!!!!! Boy, how times have changed!!!!!!!

  5. nabeguy Says:

    Liza Dey, these days, people would sell their souls to Satan to get an apartment at that price!

  6. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News via Tigho Says:

    […] Renting a West Village apartment in 1955 (Ephemeral New York) […]

  7. TMac Says:

    Hey, what’s with the ‘WAtkins 9’ exchange on the last ad?

    I always thought WA was for Waverly

  8. Mrs Shoutfire Says:

    I linked this article to my mom, and she wrote back to me, “In 1955 Da found an apartment on 5th Ave. in the Village and the rent was $95. I couldn’t sleep worrying that we couldn’t afford it, so we didn’t rent it. Instead we found a 3rd floor walkup on Barrow St. It had 2 rooms and a tiny kitchen the size of a closet. Two people couldn’t fit in the kitchen. But the front room had a fireplace (which didn’t work). No closets. The bathroom had 2 windows, one of which was in the shower. Evidently the bathroom was added later. The front door had a big crack in it and for this sumptuous apartment the rent was $85 which included gas. We took it and lived there until Da graduated from NYU. We loved it and have happy memories of living in the Village.”

  9. Michael Scully Says:

    Actually, I wonder why I or anyone lives here. It’s rather atrocious now.

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