“The Jeffersons” UES apartment would have cost just $150K

New York Weekend Edition /
Apr.April 09, 2017 11:00 AM

In the popular mid-’70s TV sitcom “The Jeffersons,” the Jefferson family “moves on up” to the Upper East Side, leaving their neighbor Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” behind in Queens. But moving to the UES was quite a bit more realistic for an upwardly mobile family back in the 1970s.

George Jefferson’s character moved his family to 185 East 85th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues, and, according to the New York Times, he probably got a pretty sweet deal.

It was a buyer’s market at the time, and a three-bedroom apartment in the area could be had for just $150,000, according to Realtor.com. Today, that apartment would have cost several million.

And one of the most interesting aspects of “The Jeffersons,” which ran for a decade, was that it portrayed living conditions in the city fairly accurately — unlike most sitcoms.

“Most of the buildings on Park and Fifth are more difficult co-ops to get into,” Nicole Beauchamp, a realtor who grew up in the neighborhood, told Realtor.com. That would have been especially true for people of color, of course. “That area west of Third Avenue would have been much more tolerant of an African-American family than Fifth or Park Avenues would have. [Realtor] Christopher Cameron


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