General education & other

Pop Culture Apartments: How I Met Your Mother

Rob Whiting
Boom Team

Ted and Marshall’s apartment on the hit comedy series How I Met Your Mother has seen it all: from a literal duel in the living room to see who would end up owning the apartment to being turned into an impromptu bar called Puzzles. But have you ever wondered if the HIMYM apartment is a real place, and if so, where it would be located in New York City?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk about “The HIMYM Apartment” and how it is one of the most important locations in the legend...wait for it...legendary series!

The Layout of the HIMYM apartment

Fans of the show would be intimately familiar with the layout of Ted and Marshall’s apartment. It is a 2-bedroom apartment with a huge living room, a separate kitchen (without a door), and a bathroom.

The door of Ted and Marshall’s apartment has a sign saying that it is unit 4C, and it is located on the third floor of a walk-up building. The gang is never shown to use an elevator throughout the show. The apartment also has a fire escape that allows the gang to go up to the roof. The roof is a common space for other tenants in the building, as there have been several Halloween parties held there (do you remember the slutty pumpkin and Ted’s Hanging Chad costume?)

Interestingly, the HIMYM apartment was modeled after showrunner’ Carter Bays and Craig Thomas’s “awesomely crappy” apartment while the pair was living in New York. While they wanted to have an apartment that was “much smaller” than the one that was shown in the series in order to replicate their real-life apartment, they were told that they needed to have a large apartment to accommodate all the cameras during filming.

So, in a nutshell, here is the rundown of Ted and Marshall’s apartment:

Location: 86th and Broadway, Upper West Side, 4C

Square footage: Around 1000 square feet

Rooms: 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen, living room

Building Type: Walk-up

The Location of Ted and Marshall’s apartment

Google Maps of HIMYM Apartment

In the show, the apartment was located on the Upper West Side across 86th Street. In one episode, Subway Wars, fans even got a glimpse of the actual address of the building: 150 W. 85th Street.

Of course, we can’t talk about the apartment without talking about one of the show’s most frequent settings: MacLaren's Pub. McLaren’s was located at the basement of the building and was the setting of many of the gang’s adventures. The fictional pub was also inspired by a real-life source: it was named after Bay’s production assistant Carl MacLaren (and Carl, of course, was the bartender who managed the pub).

Could Ted and Marshall afford the Apartment?

Now for the most pressing question, you might have wondered while watching the show: how much do Ted and Marshall pay for their apartment per month, and would they be able to afford it in real life?

The apartment was around 1000 square feet, and during the runtime of the show (2005-2014), the rent would have cost an average of $3,595 per month. With inflation, however, Ted and Marshall would be shelling around $4,775 per month in 2021 as the Upper West Side is one of the more expensive places to live in NYC.

The monthly rental is a bit steep, so would Ted and Marshall have been able to afford it?

No, and yes.

During the earlier seasons when Ted was starting his career as an architect and Marshall was only a law student, it would have been difficult to afford the apartment between them. In fact, it was never really discussed how the pair could afford to live in their apartment, beyond a vague explanation of the place being “rent-controlled”.

However, when Ted became a professor and a professional architect, and Marshall became a lawyer for Goliath National Bank, it would be easy to afford the apartment between their salaries.

So maybe the question of how Ted and Marshall could afford the apartment was a bit of a plot hole in the beginning, but it was one that most fans could overlook considering how awesome the rest of the series was.

The Real-Life Counterparts to HIMYM Locations

Now that we know where the apartment would be if you searched for it through an apartment rental hunting website, are there any locations mentioned in the show that are also real?

Yes! Here are some of the locations featured in the show that has a real-life counterpart in New York:

Gray’s Papaya

Gray’s Papaya is a 24-hour hot dog spot that’s beloved by real New Yorkers, so it’s no surprise that Ted, Barney, and Marshal grab a bite there in between hopping from one party to another during New Year’s Eve. The real Gray’s Papaya location at the Upper West Side is at West 70S.

Corner Bistro

New York might be known for pastrami sandwiches and bagels, but in the show, it’s actually a burger that sends Marshall on his quest to find the “best burger in New York” after he eats one at an “unnamed hole in the wall” upon first arriving in NYC.

In his efforts to find the “best burger”, Marshall tries the burger at Corner Bistro, a real restaurant on 331 W. Fourth Street. While it wasn’t Marshall’s best burger, thousands of New Yorkers would disagree with him! Corner Bistro had the highest-ranked burger in the city in the 2008 Zagat guide.

Hosier Hut

When Robin was feeling homesick for the Great White North, Marshall took it upon himself to bring her to the Hosier Hut: a bar that was bursting to the gills with Canuck Pride. If you’re in the mood for a game of hockey and some Tim Hortons, head on over to Ontario at 559 Grand Street in Williamsburg for a taste of Canada in the heart of the Big Apple (just don’t turn out the lights!)

Ready to take the next step to better credit?