Classic Six Apartment: What They Are, History, Pros, and Cons

By: ROS Team

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The “Classic Six” apartment holds a coveted position in the New York City housing landscape. With their spacious layouts, pre-war charm, and distinct character, they offer a unique living experience sought after by many.

But what exactly defines a classic 6 apartment, and what are the pros and cons of choosing this type of apartment? This guide delves into everything you need to know.

What Is a Classic Six New York Apartment?

Apartment 6 is a type of residential unit typically found in prewar buildings, particularly in cities like New York. The term “Classic Six” originates from its characteristics: “Classic” denotes the pre-war era when most of these apartments were constructed, and “Six” refers to the number of rooms they typically contain.

classic 6 apartment
Photo Credit: Canva


Why Is It Called a Classic 6?

They are called so because these apartments have six living areas or sections, including two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a formal dining room, and a maid’s quarters with a bathroom.

The layout is structured to accommodate the lifestyle of affluent families during the early 20th century, often with designated living areas for family members and domestic staff.

The maid’s quarters, while an integral part of the apartment 6 layout, are usually smaller in size compared to the other rooms, reflecting the societal norms and domestic arrangements of the time. This space was intended for live-in domestic help, reflecting the prevalence of such arrangements among wealthier households during the prewar era.

Where Can You Find a Classic Six Apartment?

Classic Six apartments can be primarily found in the most exclusive neighborhoods in New York City, such as the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. As you stroll through some of the most prominent addresses in these neighborhoods. You are likely to find a high number of older, more formal cooperative buildings that contain Classic Six units.

In addition to Manhattan, you can find Classic Six apartments in certain areas of Brooklyn. These units can be seen in several Brooklyn neighborhoods that were developed at the turn of the 20th century, like Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Brooklyn Heights.

Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn’s oldest parkway, and Grand Army Plaza — the borough’s magnificent memorial to the Civil War — are just two of the most prominent and well-known locations where pre-war buildings still exist and the streets are still lined with them. Many contain Classic Six apartments and maintain the historic charm and architectural elegance of this wonderful period in housing.

History of the Classic 6 Apartment NYC

The history of the Classic 6 apartment NYC traces back to the 1920s when it gained popularity as a favored residential layout. These apartments were predominantly erected throughout the city until the 1940s when construction was halted during WWII.

This period offered some indication of how demographic trends in the city impacted the prevalence and location of Classic Six units. Wealthy individuals who could afford the spacious units were the predominant occupants and resided uptown–most often on the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, with scant availability in Morningside Heights.

One notable aspect contributing to the prevalence of the six apartments was the availability of affordable labor. In an era when live-in domestic help was common and labor costs were relatively lower, families could afford to hire full-time maids to assist with household chores and childcare. This availability of domestic labor further facilitated the popularity and practicality of Classic Six layouts, which often included designated quarters for live-in staff.

Why Are Classic Six Apartments So Desirable?

The six apartments are desirable because they offer a designated room for each activity, providing a sense of organization and functionality. They boast prewar features such as oak floors, thick walls, solid-core doors, and spacious rooms, adding to their appeal and charm. For those seeking a retreat from the bustling city, the tranquil ambiance provided by a Classic Six makes it an ideal choice.

What Are the Benefits of Buying a Classic Six?

  • Flexible Additional Room: The maid’s room serves versatile purposes, doubling as a study, home office, or nursery to accommodate evolving family needs.
  • Great for Families: Spacious layout with two bedrooms and additional living areas, ideal for families seeking ample living space.
  • Unique Architecture and Decor: Reflects the charm and elegance of prewar design, often featuring distinctive architectural details and decor characteristic of the era.

What Are the Disadvantages of Buying a Classic Six?

On the downside, the six-room apartments can have several disadvantages:

Feeling Boxed In: The layout of a Classic Six, with its defined rooms (and a small space like maid’s quarters, in some), can leave residents feeling a bit boxed in, especially if they prefer airier, more open living arrangements.

Lack of Open Layout: Classic Six apartments often do not have the open layout that many modern buyers prioritize—a potential downside if you like a more fluid and connective feeling between your living spaces.

Limited Amenities: Many pre-war buildings, where you’ll find lots of Classic Six apartments, don’t have central air conditioning, and may not have the building-wide plumbing infrastructure needed to support in-unit laundry. (For an apartment that grand, you’d better have the laundry hookups, right?) All of these can be big inconveniences for buyers expecting the most modern of amenities and conveniences.

Diminished Natural Light: The traditional layout of Classic Six units, with designated rooms and potentially smaller windows, can sometimes limit the amount of natural light that enters the apartment. This may be a disadvantage for those who prefer bright, sunlit living spaces.

What Are Some Other Property Types Used in NYC Real Estate Terminology?

Other than Classix Six, some other property types used in NYC real estate terminology include:

Is a Classic Six Right for Me?

A Classic 6 apartment is right for you if you have the financial means and desire to embrace the quintessential “classic” New York City lifestyle. These units offer spacious layouts and historic charm, typically found in upscale neighborhoods, making them an ideal choice for those seeking prestige and elegance in their living space.

Classic 6 Apartment NYC: FAQ’s

How Many Square Feet Is a Classic 6?

A Classic Six apartment typically ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet in size, providing ample space for comfortable living and entertaining within its six-room layout.

What Is a Classic 7 in NYC?

A Classic Seven apartment features an extra bedroom compared to the Classic Six, making it larger with three bedrooms, along with the other standard rooms like the living room, kitchen, formal dining room, and staff room.

How Much Does a Classic Six Apartment Cost?

Classic Six apartments typically range in price from $1.5 million to over $7 million, depending on factors such as location, size, condition, and amenities.

What Does Classic 8 Mean?

The rarest of the classic layouts, a Classic Eight apartment includes an additional small room on top of the standard rooms found in the Classic Seven layout. This small room could serve various purposes, such as a nursery, office, or storage space.