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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


Not the building's game room, but the finished rec room in a private apartment! (222 Hancock Street via The Corcoran Group) Not the building's game room, but the finished rec room in a private apartment! (222 Hancock Street via The Corcoran Group)
In any building, the lack of views and concerns about flooding make lower-level units some of the toughest sells. In recent years, though, developers and designers have sought to sweeten the deal by including a private backyard to make a true "garden unit," not to mention finished underground space described as a recreation or bonus room. These are not legally be used as bedrooms in New York, since these must have two means of egress and measure a certain size, but some people use them for that purpose anyway. The flexible space and private backyards are appealing to a certain demographic at any time, but especially when many of us have been confined to our homes with the whole family for months.

These luxurious homes are a far cry from the illegal basement apartments of yesteryear that attracted negative attention for dangerous conditions. However, it should be noted that the New York City Housing and Preservation Department does not use “basement” and “cellar” interchangeably; cellars have more than half their height below curb level, seldom have windows that meet the city’s safety criteria, and are most commonly illegal. Basement apartments, on the other hand, have at least half their height above curb level and may be legally occupied if they meet the city’s criteria for light, air, sanitation, and egress.

In February 2020, Mayor de Blasio imagined a plan, inspired by a program in East New York, to boost affordable housing units by legalizing basement apartments. While we wait to see how this will play out, see 20 available garden apartments with private backyards and separate recreation rooms downstairs.

66-Steuben-Street-01 All images of Steuben & Park via Nest Seekers
From the Listing: Steuben & Park at 66 Steuben Street features six incredibly unique residences, each with private outdoor space and an abundance of storage. Residence 1R is a sprawling duplex home with one bedroom, 1.5 baths and an enormous recreation space, perfect for a home office or extra den, and 300-square-foot private backyard! The building marries luxury renovation and top-of-the-line finishes with the authentic charm and character of a loft building. Downstairs, the home features a tremendous recreation room (with window and planting terrace) and a half-bathroom. See floor plan and full details here.

40-4th-Place-01 All images of 40 4th Place via Compass
From the Listing: Spread over two floors, this condo has a truly flexible layout that feels more like a townhome with its private entrance, massive private outdoor areas and accommodating a variety of living configurations with its two generously sized bedrooms, three bathrooms, expansive main living area, oversized recreation space, and ample storage. Bask in fantastic natural light streaming from oversized windows as you enter into the open living room, dining room, and kitchen area. See floor plan and full details here.

65-Irving-Place-01 All images of 65 Irving Place via Halstead
From the Listing: This spacious floor-through residence features both east and west exposures creating a bright and airy space in every room throughout the home. The sunny upper level features a west facing bedroom and bath with a large open kitchen and living area with access to private garden. A wide staircase leads to a lower level, featuring an expansive recreation room and half bath. See floor plan and full details here.

289-Devoe-Street-01 All images of 289 Devoe Street via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Unit #1F at 289 Devoe Street is highlighted by floor-to-ceiling Pella windows that allow tons of light into the lower level. This floor-through apartment has private access to the beautiful spacious garden which can be accessed by the master or through the lower level space. The spaciously designed kitchen is off the living room and features a 31" Fisher and Paykel fridge with French doors, Bosch gas range and paneled dishwasher, XO recirculating hood, pot filler and massive waterfall counter-tops made of light grey granite. See floor plan and full details here.

504-West-136th-Street-01 All images of Hamilton Parc via Compass
From the Listing: Designer appointed two-bedroom duplex with spacious lower space leading out to your own private patio garden! This home has two levels with unusually high ceilings that offer comfortable open living and oversized windows providing bright southern and northern light. The lower level recreation room, a/k/a rumpus room, is very versatile for many purposes: home office, virtual classroom, game room, and has a Queen-sized Murphy bed for unexpected guests. See floor plan and full details here.

108-Jackson-Street-01 All images of 108 Jackson Street via New York Casas
From the Listing: One-bedroom duplex in a new boutique building boasts an incredible 3 private outdoor living spaces, including an expansive backyard garden. Enjoy excellent natural light through oversized double glazed windows, and a quiet sense of privacy, being at the back of the building. Private terraces are found both off the bedroom and office space on the second level which is complete with additional half bath powder room. See floor plan and full details here.

175-Jackson-Street-01 All images of Jackson 175 via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Residence 1C, a sprawling two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom garden duplex takes full advantage of its substantial size and open airy layout, presenting endless living options to suit any lifestyle. Enhanced with finest of contemporary finishes, oversized double-glazed windows, white oak hardwood floors, washer/dryer, and an efficient central HVAC and heating system, you can relish 1,956 square feet of interior living space, as well as 491 square feet of private garden patio. Discover your inner chef and explore a new way of cooking in a wide-open chef’s kitchen equipped with top-of-the-line Miele, Bosh and Liebherr appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

1089-Dekalb-Avenue-01 All images of 1089 Dekalb Avenue via Compass
From the Listing: With 1,233 square feet of space, unit A is a generously sized, floor-through, 2-bedroom one-half bathroom duplex with recreational space and a private 666-square-foot backyard primed for your next Spring and Summer BBQ. Dual exposures from the Southeast and Northwest lend natural and ambient lighting throughout the apartment. Below you will find a large recreation room with high ceilings, a half bathroom, and additional storage space. See floor plan and full details here.

270-12th-Street-01 All images of 270 12th Street via Compass
From the Listing: This garden home is a stunning duplex, with a massive private backyard measuring approximately 1,000 square feet. Interiors feature a massive bedroom upstairs with a recreation space that could easily be used as a guest room plus home office, an entertainment room, or many flexible options to fit your needs. With well-proportioned living spaces, there is even more charm in the details: floor-through home intakes light from the north and south, and includes built-in bookshelves and stunning hardwood floors, while also offering the space and functionality you've been looking for. See floor plan and full details here.

222-Hancock-Street-01 All images of 222 Hancock Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Unit 1 at 222 Hancock occupies the entire parlor, garden, and finished basement floors of a rare 20' X 70' townhouse on arguably the single best block in the neighborhood. The parlor floor features soaring ceilings with original plaster details and over 1,250 square feet of entertaining, living, and dining space. On this level and just off the kitchen, is a wrap-around, 206-square-foot deck, perfect for grilling and entertaining. See floor plan and full details here.

187-Gates-Avenue-01 All images of 187 Gates Avenue via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Tall ceilings, 5-inch white oak flooring, over sized windows, and a strategic floor plan effortlessly flow together in this masterfully crafted home. Off of the living room, you’ll find an immaculate garden with a decked patio, that is a true escape from the city. When the amenities--the recreation room, in-unit washer/ dryer and common rooftop-- are factored in, you’ll know that you’re home. See floor plan and full details here.

290-13th-Street-01 All images of 290 13th Street via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Duplex garden apartment lives like a house with over 2,200 square feet of impeccably-designed living space and an expansive private rear patio and garden that is rare in the neighborhood. The spacious living room with oversized windows adjoins an open dining area for hosting, and gorgeous custom kitchen featuring granite counters and high-end stainless steel appliances. The expansive finished lower level extends the living space and the possibilities, with a huge open recreation space you can use for parties, office space, play space, a media room and more. See floor plan and full details here.

227-East-7th-Street-01 All images of 227 East 7th Street via Compass
From the Listing: Reminiscent of townhouse living, the home features a floor-thru duplex layout and private outdoor garden. Step into the living room / open concept kitchen flooded with south-facing light. The lower level is a sprawling recreation area with an oversize skylight, radiant heat floors, a door leading up to the private garden and a laundry room. See floor plan and full details here.

119-Saint-Marks-Place-01 All images of 119 St. Mark's Place via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: In a four-unit brownstone in the heart of North Park Slope, this sprawling, renovated and well-designed duplx apartment offers wonderful living space on two full floors plus more than 800 square feet of outdoor space, featuring a private landscaped patio garden. The large living room features over-sized, south-facing windows which bring in great light throughout the day, and a wood-burning fireplace with an exposed brick mantel. The enormous lower level is configured with a home office area, a recreation/TV room, and, separated by wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, an expansive bedroom area with a large walk-in closet. See floor plan and full details here.

356-Baltic-Street-01 All images of 356 Baltic Street via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: This garden duplex offers two large bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main floor and a large recreation room downstairs with a powder room, utility room with a sink, and a full wall of sliding glass doors with a walkout to your 901-square-foot private garden. Custom storage has also been cleverly built into the lower level offering ample space to put everything away. Enjoy townhouse-style proportions on only two floors in this 1,850-square-foot home, with a flexible layout that can be used in a variety of ways to suit your needs. See floor plan and full details here.

310-West-113th-Street-01 All images of The Parkmor via Compass
From the Listing: This spacious home boasts over 1900 square feet of interior and 688 of exterior square footage. Features include high ceilings, 5-inch hardwood oak floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows including large picture oversize casement windows. The recreation space is perfectly divided into two separate areas ideal for an office (13.6 X 16.9) and a Den (13.9 X 22) with south windows in the back allowing for southern light entry. See floor plan and full details here.

405-Dean-Street-01 All images of 405 Dean Street via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Nestled on cozy Dean Street, arguably the most convenient and exciting location in the North Slope find this spacious duplex that lives like a small townhome with garden. Hard wood flooring, spacious spa-like bathrooms, skylights and a loft-like layout will charm you! The recreation space below is sprawling and converts nicely to a master suite or room for the kids with room for a home office too. See floor plan and full details here.

872-St-Johns-Place-01 All images of 872 St. John's Place via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Unit #1R is a 854-square-foot garden level one-bedroom duplex with soaring ceilings, a ton of natural light, and a 936-square-foot private backyard! The spacious living room has great light with a Pullman kitchen that efficiently provides you with all the prep space you could ever dream of! An in unit washer and dryer closet is located downstairs in the 223-square-foot private recreation room, keeping the sound of the machines away from your serene living space. See floor plan and full details here.

453-West-19th-Street-01 All images of 453 West 19th Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Ideally nestled on a quiet tree-lined block, this 1-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom duplex with a large private garden and recreation room rests at the desirable crossroads of the High Line, Chelsea, and Meatpacking District. Off the living room you can access the balcony and take the stairs down to the wonderful garden oasis where you can entertain beneath the stars and sky with a backdrop of mature trees, and low-maintenance decking. The real surprise is the large, lower level bonus room for recreation, working remotely, sleeping quarters, or possibly even a primary bedroom suite featuring a walk-in closet, private bath, and a washer-dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

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