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The marvelous history of Mrs. Maisel’s apartment

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A closer look at the layout and true cost of that glorious pad on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

A woman stands in a bright living room with windows overlooking a river.
A fantastic view of the Hudson River from 404 Riverside Drive.
Amazon

Whenever people talk about Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which just released its third season, conversation inevitably turns to the apartment Midge lives in with her parents, Abe and Rose Weissman. The family’s sprawling prewar home in the show is set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, more specifically in an elegant apartment building with a dramatic entrance on Riverside Drive and West 111th Street. It’s arguably the ideal uptown apartment, with fabulous views of the Hudson River, a wood-paneled library, fireplace, classic moldings, and a bedroom hallway that you could bowl down.

It’s something that feels like it could exist only in series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s idealized 1950s universe—or does it? Just how much truth is there to the Weissmans’ home?

The apartment building used for exterior shots is The Strathmore at 404 Riverside Drive, a 12-story block completed in the fall of 1909 on the corner of Riverside Drive and West 113th Street, essentially the exact location as in the show. The apartment building was designed by Schwartz & Gross, prolific architects on the New York apartment scene in early- to mid-20th century.

The original floorplan of the building housed two, 10-room apartments on each floor (there were the “N” apartments and the “S” apartments). Each apartment had a foyer, living room, dining room, library, kitchen, three bedrooms, and two staff rooms.

The exterior of an apartment building with a canopy.
The canopied entrance to 404 Riverside Drive.
Amazon

It’s not uncommon for TV shows to use the exterior of a structure only to employ a set that is starkly different from what was actually inside that building. However, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is different: The Strathmore’s 10-room apartments, specifically the “N” apartments, match the layout, scale, and views of the apartment in the show almost exactly.

The first clue to the continuity between the on- and off-screen apartments? Notice the angled wall and window next to the fireplace that matches the windowed corner on the exterior of The Strathmore.

The Weissmans’ apartment has a distinctive layout: A large foyer opens to a dining room, oblong living room, with a set of double doors to the library on the left, while a long hallway on the right leads to the kitchen and bedrooms.

A foyer with a view down the bedroom hallway.
The foyer with a view down the bedroom hallway.
Amazon
Two women and one man eating at a dinner table.
The Weissmans eating dinner—you can see the study off to the right.
Amazon
A man and woman dance in a wood-paneled room.
The room used as Abe Weissman’s study is originally the “dining room” on the floorplan.
Amazon

The original floorplans of the building reflect that layout precisely, proving the set of the show is shockingly faithful to the true apartment layouts at The Strathmore. Even the room at the end of the bedroom hall—a “dressing room” on the original floorplan—appears on screen as storage for Midge’s dresses, if you don’t mind a light spoiler for the new season.

Over the years, some of those 10-room apartments were broken up into smaller one- and two-bedroom units. This isn’t unique to The Strathmore: As lifestyles changed and people no longer needed such sprawling apartments, many buildings evolved with the tastes of New Yorkers.

Floor plan showing an entire floor of an apartment building.
An original floorplan for The Strathmore.
Select Register of Apartment House Plans

There has been some speculation lately about how much the Weissman apartment would cost in light of a StreetEasy article that attempted to estimate the home’s value by looking at recently sold units. StreetEasy claims an apartment like the one on the show would cost $9 million today, or about $462,000 in 1959. But that valuation is unrealistic, because, first of all, you simply couldn’t buy the apartment in the 1950s: It was a rental building at that time, whose tenants included business executives and, yes, Columbia University professors.

Most apartment buildings in New York City were originally constructed as rentals, whether they were grand or modest. Co-op apartments technically got their start in the 1880s in New York City, but most buildings didn’t convert from rental to co-op until the mid-20th-century. The niece of a former Strathmore tenant was quoted in The New York Times saying that in 1964, her uncle rented a 10-room apartment in the S-line of the building for $700 per month, or about $5,800 per month when adjusted for inflation.

According to another archived Times report, the building went co-op in 1967, just three years later. A 10-room apartment like the one that Midge’s family lived in cost $30,000—or about $231,000 today.

A spacious living room with lots of windows facing a river.
Floorplan showing a three-bedroom home with a living room, foyer, kitchen, staff room, laundry room, and dressing room.
An open living space with two seating areas and built-in shelving to the rear. Compass
A spacious dining room with octagonal pattern in the ceilings, dark wood paneling on walls, and a 8-person dining setup.

While many of the apartments were subdivided into smaller units (a 3-room apartment in the building, by the way, went for $8,000 in 1967, or $61,600 today), some of the 10-room apartments remained intact. And one, Apartment 12N—the same line that Midge’s apartment is based off of—sold in 2017 for $5.9 million. Although the market in Manhattan has cooled considerably since 2017, and it would be difficult to get that same sales price today, we’re still talking about an apartment that would sell in the current market for around $5 million.

The next time you find yourself watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and your attention wanders to its opulent Riverside Drive apartment, you can rest assured: Yes, it really did exist—and it still does.

Robert Khederian is a real estate agent at Compass and former engagement editor at Curbed, where he also penned Period Dramas, a column about historic homes.