Few phrases in New York real estate are more evocative than “Manhattan lofts.” The very words conjure images of high ceilings, generous open floor plans and plenty of light, usually in a raw, formerly industrial space. Such classic loft spaces do still exist in New York real estate, but for the classic Manhattan loft apartment feel, you’ll need to leave Manhattan and head to Queens or The Bronx, where the warehouse spaces that traditionally became lofts are still in the process of doing so. Manhattan’s warehouses became Manhattan lofts decades ago, and the former artist lofts that helped define the real estate market in Tribeca, Soho, Noho, Chelsea and Greenwich Village are now some of the most sought-after apartment listings in Manhattan.
While lofts are traditionally associated with artists—those soaring ceilings and all that open space leave plenty of room for creativity—their contemporary identity is very different, and notably more upscale. Lofts can be open spaces that function like massive studio apartments, or one-bedrooms configured with open areas for dining, entertaining and, you know, living. Of course, given that Manhattan lofts tend to be spacious, full-floor residences, there’s no need to stop at one bedroom—lofts offer plenty of space for families. Lofts may no longer be the cheap Manhattan living spaces they once were, but their appeal is plain to see—and every bit as strong as it was when they first took Manhattan real estate by storm.