If you grew up watching Sesame Street, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the low-stakes world of the show. The children’s series is set in a fantasy land where your friends live around the block, you get along with your neighbors, and you can afford to live in a New York City brownstone. That last point may have been true when the show premiered in the 1970s, but it’s no longer the case for most people in the real world. According to Realtor.com, an address on Sesame Street would set you back millions of dollars in the present day.
It’s no secret that Sesame Street is based on New York, but the exact neighborhood that inspired the show is disputed. The block’s real-life counterpoint has been pinpointed everywhere from East Harlem, to Alphabet City, to Astoria in Queens. In 2019, the city unveiled a sign for “123 Sesame Street” on Manhattan’s Upper West Side down the street from the Sesame Workshop, adding another contender to the list.
Though the real estate values in these neighborhoods vary, none of them is cheap. In Alphabet City, a one-bedroom condo goes for nearly $1 million. Brownstones make up most of the housing on Sesame Street, and on the Upper West Side a similar building is listed for $8.6 million. A multi-story home is more affordable in East Harlem, but most will still cost you well over $1 million.
Astoria is the cheapest potential Sesame Street location by far. In 2012, Motovo determined that if 123 Sesame Street was located in Queens as indicated by one official map, the building would be valued at approximately $614,460. Adjusted for inflation, that means it’s worth about $817,000 today.
In a show where monsters and humans learn their ABCs together, the true cost of life on Sesame Street shouldn’t ruin your suspension of disbelief. But for adults who spend too much time browsing Zillow, it’s hard not to overanalyze the real estate you see on TV—even on a fictional show for kids. At least Oscar the Grouch's place is still affordable.
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