How Much Would Monica's Apartment On Friends Cost In Real Life?

Let's face it, everyone has watched at least a few episodes of "Friends," one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. The primetime show that chronicled the lives and loves of tightknit pals Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe regularly attracted audiences of more than 20 million and an almost unbelievable 52 million viewers for the final episode in 2004. For many fans, the purple-walled apartment that Monica shared with Rachel set the stage for so many sweet and funny moment on the show that it could almost be considered the seventh main character. 

Like most television shows, "Friends" was filmed on a mocked up set in Southern California — Burbank, to be specific — but a series of exterior shots were filmed outside a real apartment building in New York City. The location of that building was a closely guarded secret for the first few years that "Friends" was on the air, but in 1997 a neighbor leaked the location to the New York Times. With the building's address revealed to be 90 Bedford Street, the showrunners actually embraced the leak and started featuring a street sign from the building corner — at Bedford Street and Grove Street — between scenes to establish location. The real building is six stories tall with a Mediterranean restaurant at street level. It was completed way back in 1899. 

The space was enormous for NYC

Probably realizing that skeptical viewers might question how a coffee shop waitress and a newly-minted chef could afford such a large apartment in the trendy West Village, Monica frequently offers the hand-wavy explanation that her apartment is rent controled. Rent controled apartments are near-mythic beasts in New York City in 2023 — though they do exist. Investopedia describes rent control as "a government program that places a limit on the amount that a landlord can demand for leasing a home or renewing a lease." Needless to say, rent control apartments are a hot commodity and Monica was lucky to snag hers for just $200 per month from her grandmother, who previously lived there.

Eagle-eyed viewers have estimated the two-bedroom domicile between 1,125 and 1,500 square feet of living space, far more generous than the average New York City digs, which hover around 740 square feet, according to NBC News.

Nowadays, and without the constraints of rent control, such a large apartment could fetch $7,000 to $8,000 per month. The actual building at 90 Bedford Street doesn't have any apartments that large, but the units it does contain have a going rate of approximately $3,000 to $5,000 per month. If you'd prefer to own your apartment instead of renting, the average price for the neighborhood is approximately $1.6 million, according to Zillow.

Another famous sitcom character lived nearby to Monica

The real-life actors and actresses of "Friends" would have no trouble renting or buying at those prices. That's because as of 2019, the show was still pulling in a billion (that's billion with a "b") dollars per year in syndication, including a Netflix deal totaling $200 million that the streamer inked for rights to run the popular sitcom between 2014 and 2019. For the six main cast members that translates into over $20 million per year in passive income from residuals.

Like the show itself, the building at the corner of Bedford and Grove has enduring popularity. Neighborhood residents report a regular parade of domestic and international visitors taking selfies at the famous corner in front of 90 Bedford Street, which is also a staple of guided tours around New York City. If any of those tourists happen to be fans of another guilty pleasure from the second millennium, "Sex and the City," they're in luck because Carrie Bradshaw's apartment at 66 Perry Street is only about a seven minute stroll from Monica and Rachel's digs. If you want to do the math on that one, we assure you it's equally unaffordable on a freelance writer's salary.