Life in New York City apartments is an expensive proposition. But residents are paying for more than just convenient locations, unbelievable views, high-end architecture and exclusivity: They also get amenities typically reserved for sprawling vacation resorts. Here are some of the most outrageous bonuses that come along with $5,000-per-month studio rentals and $10 million apartment purchases.
Driving ranges Country clubs don't have much of a presence in Manhattan, but more and more new luxury buildings aren't letting that stop them from enticing ultra-wealthy buyers. New condominium and rental buildings, including New York by Gehry, One Brooklyn Bridge Park and many more are offering virtual driving ranges to their residents. The Victory condo building, at 56 W. 110th Ave. in Hell's Kitchen, takes the trend a step further with the outdoor range and putting green, pictured above.
Residents' only Equinox Practically every high-rise worth its weight has some sort of fitness amenity for its residents. The trend started with a room scattered some treadmills, but it has grown in recent years to include weight and cardio centers and even yoga studios. The Related Companies raised the bar with its MIMA rental tower at 450 W. 42nd St. in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, by offering members an 18,000-square-foot Equinox-sponsored fitness center for their enjoyment.
En suite sky garage Arguably the most talked-about amenity in any New York City building is the sky garage at 200 11th Ave. in Chelsea. Residents drive their car into special entrances on the ground floor, and a lift carries the vehicle to one of the private garages attached to each apartment. If that sounds ridiculous, consider the alternative: owners of eight-figure apartments circling Chelsea for parking spots.
Brooklyn Bridge views Buyers of pricey New York City pads have come to expect spectacular views, but when they're as good as those at the One Brooklyn Bridge Park condominium, pictured above, they get elevated to amenity status. It's a common selling point for many new developments along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfronts, where brokers will quickly remind you that the best skyline views come from across the river. Some new buildings, such as the View in Long Island City, even name themselves after that feature.
Wine room A few of Manhattan's most well-heeled residences offer wine cellars to their owners. Residents of 15 Central Park West, for example, can purchase private, climate-controlled wine rooms while also getting access to a wine cellar with a central tasting area.
Children's play area Another increasingly common amenity is children playrooms, which are often attached to buildings' fitness centers so that kids can keep occupied while their parents work out. Most prominent in new buildings on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, including in the pictured Rushmore on Riverside Boulevard, the playrooms offer a hint of suburban-style child-rearing to decidedly urban parents.
Maid service Some of the most expensive amenity packages can be found in apartment buildings that are attached to famed New York City hotels. For example, the Carlyle co-ops, pictured above, have the most expensive amenities package in the city, according to a recent New York Times report. For that money, which amounts to about $10.23 monthly per square foot, owners get pampered with twice-daily hotel-style housekeeping services, including the option of having your laundry and dry cleaning done. Also include: daily newspapers, and pricey hotel bedding and towels.
Performance rooms Some buildings, like the under-construction One57 complex on West 57th Street, boast spaces designed specifically to host performances. The amenity can help condo and co-op boards land private shows — both from outside entertainers and maybe even musically inclined (read: celebrity) residents.
Bowling alleys While bowling is universally loved, few enjoy the cheesy music and lighting, greasy food and shoe-swapping ordeal that typically accompany it. Luckily for residents of fine apartments, like those at the Ashley on the Upper West Side, they can just hop on an elevator and avoid those inconveniences by utilizing the lanes in their building.
Saunas and steam rooms As gyms become more prevalent, developers are pushing to offer residents all the services they have come to expect from high end fitness clubs. One such feature is the steam room, which is typically listed among the "spa services" at amenity-laden apartment houses like the Edge on Williamsburg's waterfront.
Screening rooms Why watch feature-length films on your puny flat-screen TV and your worn couch when you could be watching in a movie-theater quality setting? That's what developers of most high-end projects, including the Laurel on the Upper East Side, are asking these days as they regularly include this feature in their projects to give residents one more excuse to never leave the comfort of their buildings.
Rock climbing Another sporty amenity found in New York City apartment buildings is rock-climbing walls. If judged solely based on its increasing appearance in new developments, such as 10 Hanover Square in the Financial District, the hobby must be gaining traction among the city's fitness fanatics.
Full basketball court If rock-climbing is the new fitness amenity, then judging by New York's tradition of packed public basketball courts, hoops is an age-old one. But only recently have developments begun to dedicate ample space for a full hardwood court. The Aldyn, whose court is pictured above, reportedly landed Knicks star Carmelo Anthony as a tenant when he first came to the Knicks, in part because of the amenity.
Pet spas and grooming Some apartment-hunters aren't only seeking the best treatment for themselves, but also demand top-quality amenities for their pets. That's why more developers and apartment management companies are delivering pet spas and dog care services to their residents. The trend marks a complete reversal from high-end buildings' longtime aversion to four-legged companions. Pictured above is the dog spa at the Caledonia condominium that borders the High Line in Chelsea.
Card game and media rooms
A million dollars typically isn't even enough money to buy 1,000 square feet in Manhattan, so even millionaire's might be starved for space to host their weekly "guys night" card games. Luckily for residents of buildings like One Museum Mile in Harlem, they get access to moody but lavish rooms that offer a casino-like setting for game-watching and card-playing.
For the slightly younger set of similarly minded residents, a game room, that typically includes pool tables and occasionally also features equipment for ping-pong and air hockey, is a must-have amenity that takes precedence over a card game room. The billiards room in Midtown West's the Biltmore is shown above.
For the still younger set, and maybe even for the Wall Street hires scouting for their first rental apartment, an arcade can be a nice touch. The three-year-old Ohm building on the Far West Side offers a retro arcade to its largely under-30 clientele.
Once off-limits to residents, building rooftops have become a near standard amenity in New York City. Many, including the Ten23 building in Chelsea, boast landscaped gardens, beach chairs, outdoor pools and even communal grills, where inhabitants can enjoy nice weather and stunning views in relative privacy.
Another amenity that's become nearly standard in the city's larger buildings is the swimming pool. Public pools are few and far between in New York City — and often get uncomfortably crowded on the days they're most desirable — so residents-only pools, like the one pictured at New York by Gehry in Lower Manhattan, are pretty useful features.
Practically made for owners and renters of high-end apartments that can attribute any part of their wealth to an Ivy League education, squash courts are popping up more and more as part of fitness packages in developments in younger areas like the Williamsburg waterfront and the Financial District. Pictured above is the court in the latter's William Beaver House rental building.