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Cheaper Alternatives to 5 NYC Real Estate Record-Setters

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Welcome back to Splurge/Steal, a feature that we've shamelessly borrowed from our friends at Eater. In it, we give you five high-class apartments in a particular neighborhood and five more affordable (but still probably not all that affordable) versions of each one. Got any tips? Send them in to our tipline.

For all the recession-induced sluggishness of the market, it seems like the highest of the high-end apartments are still selling, or at least attempting to. A bunch of NYC real estate record-setters have hit the market or found buyers over the past year, and their interiors and floorplans fill us with apartment envy. So we searched through active listings for (slightly) more affordable alternatives:

1) The penthouse at 15 Central Park West PH hit the market for $88 million in November and recently sold for that same amount (in cash!). We know customized Robert A.M. Stern floorplans don't come much cheaper, but we went hunting for an otherwise similar and more affordable alternative: a 4BR, 4-or-more BA condo on the Upper West Side. And we found one on the 14th floor of 595 West End Avenue, above, on the market for $8.995 million. The place is the product of a two-year renovation and has the kind of classically symmetrical floorplan any competitor to the 15 CPW penthouse needs to have.

2) The city's most expensive rental is a $165,000/month 4BR, 6BA at The Plaza with hand-drawn plaster ceilings and hand-hammered leather walls. It's hard for any noticeably cheaper rental to match those characteristics, but one decent approximation is this apartment at 1049 Fifth Avenue, asking $18,000/month. Like the Plaza rental, it has a wood-paneled library and formal dining room. It's just the interior finishes by the Windsor Castle artisans that are not included.

3) Piano in the living room? Check. Terrace big enough for a temporary figure-skating rink? Tentative check. Unfortunately, PHA at 1175 Park Avenue is still missing the billiards room, some of the bedrooms, the in-apartment gym, and a few of the other extras found in Denise Rich's penthouse at 785 Fifth Avenue, the city's most expensive co-op listing. But for the much cheaper price of $12.5 million, this is probably the best alternative we can hope for.

4) When it comes to size, there aren't many alternatives to 212 Columbia Heights, the 7,000-square-foot Brooklyn Heights townhouse that ties the borough record for most expensive sale with its $11 million price. We're going with 104 Prospect Park West, a Park Slope townhouse built in 1899. The 5,200-square-foot house is asking (a PriceChopped $3.9 million and seeks "a connoisseur with an appreciation for timeless detail and the possibilities that await." Perhaps one of those possibilities is an expansion.

5) Our final record-setter is once again at The Plaza, the 6,000-square-foot 12th-floor pad that Russian composer Igor Krutoy and his wife purchased for $48 million last year. The alternative above, an $8,445,000 penthouse in Midtown, feels a little more modern than the Plaza. But it is a potential condo combo that would result in 6,100 square feet at a substantially lower price tag.
· Splurge/Steal archive [Curbed]

The Plaza

768 5th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10019 Visit Website

The Parc V

785 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY