Though it initially debuted in the US on Lifetime all the way back in September, 2018, the show You is suddenly enjoying a second life thanks to its presence, as of this month, on Netflix. Based on Caroline Kepnes' 2015 novel of the same name, You follows Joe (Penn Badgley, in a role that could easily be Dan from Gossip Girl ten years later), a nerdy-hot bookstore employee who meets-cute with and subsequently begins to stalk graduate student and aspiring poet Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who mostly goes by Beck. The show takes place in New York, with Beck supposedly attending NYU, and like so many Big Apple-centric shows (see: Sex and the City, Friends, pretty much everything) it takes a few liberties when it comes to the realities of housing in the city.
In the show, Beck's apartment — which, very conveniently for stalker Joe, is on the ground level and has a massive, street-facing window with blinds that are, for some reason, rarely drawn — is in the West Village, at the fictional 171 Bank Street, according to Brick Underground. (IRL, there is a 171 Bank Street in existence, but it's not a residential property.) According to StreetEasy, ground-level properties, like this one, on Bank Street average about $3,000 - $3,500 (£2,331-£2,720) a month.
The show sort of addresses this, with Joe remarking in the first episode, as he stands outside Beck's apartment: "Nice, too nice. I’m thinking subsidised housing." Indeed, Beck's housing is subsidised through her grad program at NYU, something that becomes a plot point when a lecherous professor threatens to get her fired from her teaching assistant gig, thus disqualifying her from the housing subsidy.
It's worth noting that in reality, however, NYU grad housing is a far cry from Beck's spacious, light-filled, unfortunately Peeping Tom-friendly West Village digs. According to the school's website, "Housing provided by the University for graduate students generally involves two locations: Washington Square Village (WSV) and Stuyvesant Town (StuyTown). Housing for graduate students is not guaranteed and is very limited."
As anyone who has been approximately 23 years old in NYC knows, StuyTown is pretty much the opposite of the hip, quietly luxurious West Village. It's a self-contained, suburb-esque community on the edge of Manhattan's East Side known to attract students and recent grads who aren't considering the outer boroughs (and are probably parentally subsidised.) While one-bedroom apartments in the complex actually tend to hover in the same range as those on Bank Street, it's a decidedly different vibe. And those high-rise buildings, which also define the very similar Washington Square Village complex, would make it hard for any obsessive book store boys to peer in late at night. (That last part is definitely a good thing.)
Okay, so in the grand tradition of too-good-to-be-true TV housing, swapping a $3,500 West Village apartment for a $3,000 one in a less-trendy neighbourhood really isn't too high a crime, even if those giant windows are highly suspect for anyone not raking in the cash. The truly unrealistic thing about the show? According to Insider, who polled booksellers, it's that thriving independent bookstore with its massive, climate-controlled, sound-proof, underground vault-turned-torture chamber. Yeah... turns out, The Strand doesn't have one of those.