Could you afford to be neighbors with Bert and Ernie?
Here's what it would cost to live in that famous building among the Muppets and people you grew up with, if it were real.
For more than four decades, America's children — and the young at heart, of course — have watched as Bert and Ernie quarreled, Cookie Monster scarfed down and sang about cookies — and even some fruits and veggies — and Elmo told the world about all of the things he loves.
Many of those memories centered on "Sesame Street's" famous building at 123 Sesame St., where Muppets and humans frequently gathered on the front stoop to have important conversations.
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Movoto's first hurdle was figuring out where in New York the building would be. Its location has been alluded to in several episodes, with references to the 10128 ZIP code (Upper East Side), the corner of 64th and Broadway and the 86th Street subway stop. But Movoto opted to use the "Sesame Street" interactive map, which says:
You get there by going to Times Square, Manhattan or anywhere you can pick up the local R train. Then hop on the subway and head east to Queens.
Queens it is. Movoto's next task was estimating rent for the various apartments in the building. According to hotpads.com, the median costs of renting in Queens are:
- $1,525 for a one-bedroom apartment.
- $1,850 for a two-bedroom apartment.
- $2,000 for a three-bedroom apartment.
Bert and Ernie live in the basement and have one bedroom with two single beds, so they would pay about $1,525 a month. That's $18,300 a year. Assuming the two need to earn three times their rent — a requirement by many landlords — they'd need to make at least $54,900 a year together to afford to live there. But do those guys even have jobs?
Movoto even figured out how much the building would be worth — $614,460 — based on the other apartments it knows are in the building and using a gross rent multiplier of 9.8. Other occupants of the building are Gordon and Susan Robinson and their adopted son, Miles, who live on the first floor and are assumed by Movoto to have two bedrooms and one bathroom. The top floor is home to Luis and Maria Rodriguez and their daughter Gabi, who Movoto estimated also have two bedrooms and one bathroom.
We think that there are other apartments in the building that haven't been accounted for, since the show made reference to vacancies in 2011. (Elmo said his parents found the rent to be quite economical compared with other places in the city.) But without Count von Count to help us total those units, we really have no way of knowing.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.