The value of a city view

Recently I gave my personal perspective on the value of an apartment with a view of nature after touring a series of Upper East Side penthouses with terraces. A few days after writing that post,  I was able to view a spectacular apartment on the Upper West Side with tremendous south facing city views; even the master bathroom had a window with a perfectly framed view of the Empire State Building! Now that it has programmable LED lights and even twinkles on occasion (thank you, Tour Eiffel, for the idea – imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery), I was captivated by the idea of taking a bath while looking at an ESB light show. The other day I also saw another apartment uptown which has the misfortune of being in a building with an entrance blocked by the Second Avenue subway construction, but also with great south facing views. It made me wonder, what is the value of an iconic city view?

The most obvious answer, of course, is that its value reflects market demands; the price a qualified buyer is willing to pay more for that apartment compared to an identical apartment in the same building without the view is the value. But why do we value an iconic view above one without one but with as much open space and light?

Perhaps for some it is conveys status; an apartment with an iconic city view clearly cost the buyer more. However, I believe that for many it is more than that. The feeling I get when I am in a wonderful apartment with a view of New York City’s stunning skyscrapers is a cinematic one. So many filmmakers have set the scene with a sweeping view of our skyline that to have such a view from the windows of our own homes roots us firmly in the city. The idea of mise-en-scène, the generating of a sense of time and place in a film, and setting a mood, can generalize to an individual’s creation of the kind of feeling they want in their home. For me, a city view embraces New York and all that it represents, grounding a person in this place and time.

So which is worth more, the view of nature that answers our animal beginnings, or the view of the city that sets us clearly within our current human-made environment? It’s an individual choice, and the one that speaks to you when you see an apartment will reveal which provides value to you.

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