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Dynamax: Resources - Navigating NYC Housing


Navigating NYC Housing

Many house hunters not familiar with the New York City housing market will often be confused and confounded with terminology that is often unique to New York City. An understanding of this terminology will help you in your search for the housing that best suits your needs, taste and budget.


  • Except for kitchens, a room in Manhattan must be at least 100 square feet and have a window.
  • Kitchens are considered rooms, unless they are "Pullman" types, in which case they would be found as part of the living room.
  • A bathroom is not counted as a room.
  • In New York City, you may hear the term "half-room". For example, a three and a half room apartment means that the living room has an alcove adjacent to it which is not quite the size of an actual room, but which can be used as a dining area.



are six to twenty-story non-doorman buildings. These often utilize an intercom and/or video security system.
are generally associated with new construction or are apartment buildings that were built after 1980. They are typically twenty to forty-story condominium buildings that offer doorman and concierge services. They may also include additional amenities such as health clubs, swimming pools, valet service and a parking garage.
are typically found in buildings that were either previously built for commercial or manufacturing purposes and are now used for residential living spaces or are newly constructed as loft buildings. The spaces typically offer higher ceilings (9 feet-20 feet), open spaces and original details such as supporting columns, tin ceilings, etc. They are usually found in Greenwich Village, SoHo, TriBeCa, Chelsea, Flatiron, Nolita, and lower Manhattan and often do not have the services of a doorman.
(often referred to as "luxury doorman") were built after World War II. They are high-rise buildings, often with narrow rooms and alcoves. Most feature through-the-wall or central air conditioning and other modern amenities. Most have doormen. These buildings were built between the late 1940's through the 1970's. They are generally hi-rise and are constructed of white, red or brown brick. Most will have doormen. Postwar apartments may actually afford more living space than their prewar counterparts in studio, one and two bedroom sizes. They have ample closets, a live-in superintendent and laundry facilities.
were built before Word War II. These buildings are usually ten to twenty stories, provide spacious apartment lay-outs, and architectural amenities with features such as larger rooms, fireplaces, hardwood parquet floors and high ceilings. Many pre-war buildings are usually serviced by doormen.
are charming, four to six-story buildings built between the 1800's and the early 1900's. They are either single-family houses or have been converted into cooperative or condominium apartments. As a single family home, a townhouse or brownstone offers privacy, large living spaces, gardens, fireplaces, beautiful hardwood floors and ornamental wood moldings. The term "brownstone" refers to the type of material used as facing on the front of the structure. Townhouses represent a small, but highly coveted percentage of the Manhattan real estate market. Many townhouses are located in historic preservation districts.
are usually four to five-story buildings without an elevator or doorman. Apartments located in walk-up buildings are the least expensive type of housing in Manhattan and the quality can vary widely. These buildings were originally constructed as multi-family housing and lack the charm and elegance of traditional brownstones or townhouses.



a small area, usually less than 100 square feet, adjoining the living room space of an apartment. It is not considered a full room, but usually referred to as a half room. It is often used as either a "dining alcove" or a "sleeping alcove". Depending upon size, it can sometimes be "walled off" to create an additional bedroom.
is either a one and a half or two room L-shaped apartment with a separate alcove. The alcove area is most often used as a sleeping area.
The word "classic" is usually followed by a number indicating the number of rooms in an apartment. Classic Six, Seven or Eight usually refers to a pre-war apartment with a living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms and one or two "maid's" rooms. A "classic" style apartment can exist in a post-war building, assuming it follows the same layout.
In New York, a Duplex refers to an apartment that contains two floors or levels. It does not refer to two apartment units.
is an apartment with an alcove adjoining the living room which can be converted into either a bedroom dining room. A Junior-4, for example, is a three room apartment (living room, kitchen and bedroom) with an alcove space that can be converted into an additional room, such as a separate bedroom or dining room.
This is an additional space created in apartments with very high ceilings. The loft area is constructed above the traditional living area, and it is accessed by a staircase or ladder. The loft area is often used for extra storage, or as a sleeping.
are typically the smallest apartments and are usually between 250-650 square feet in size. They are comprised of one or two rooms where the living and sleeping areas are combined. If it is a one room studio, the kitchen will be of the "Pullman" variety. The Pullman kitchen is usually a converted closet featuring a half fridge, a two burner stove and a small sink. If it is a two room studio, the kitchen will be separate.