Teacher stuns TikTok with ‘secret’ behind her New York City apartment: ‘[It] doesn’t bother me’

Katie Mather
·3 min read

Hattie Kolp’s TikTok account, which chronicles her life in New York City, has gone viral for an unusual reason. It’s Kolp’s apartment, which is absolutely incredible.

New York City real estate has been the brunt of the joke on TikTok before, but Kolp’s pre-war apartment in the Upper West Side is truly something to be jealous of.

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At 1,500 square feet, the two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is rent-controlled at a cool $1,300 per month. Rent-controlled apartments — meaning that the rent is not subject to market increases — are almost impossible to get in New York. Usually, the only way to get one is from a family member, which was the case for Kolp.

“I grew up in my apartment and transferred the lease into my name when my parents retired and moved out of the city a few years ago,” she told In The Know.

“That’s really the secret to living in NYC,” a TikToker wrote on one of Kolp’s videos. “Families be holding onto apartments like Draw 4 in Uno lol.”

Kolp’s apartment was constructed in the 1890s and is another rarity in New York. Many pre-war apartments on the market have been renovated by landlords, but Kolp’s family has been able to maintain the apartment with some of its original details and “charm.”

“In addition to the great price I pay, I will never give my apartment up because if I did, the landlord would gut-renovate it and raise the rent to market rate, which would help no one,” Kolp added.

Some TikTok commenters have accused Kolp of being “gifted” the apartment. It’s a criticism she denies, as she’s still paying the monthly rent and costs of repairs — which, in an old building, tend to be a lot.

As a special education teacher, Kolp knows that she would never be able to afford an apartment of this size otherwise.

“I’m eternally grateful for the situation I’m in,” she said. “It’s been the biggest blessing in my life.”

Other TikTok commenters who are more familiar with New York City real estate have explained that anyone in their right mind would do the same thing as Kolp if given the chance.

One commenter estimated that if left up to a landlord, Kolp’s space could cost $15,000 per month — a particularly insane number considering the number of amenities Kolp has sacrificed to keep the apartment in her name.

“There are no amenities like a dishwasher or washer [and] dryer, but that truly doesn’t bother me,” she said. “In New York City, you either get space or amenities (unless you can afford to spend nearly $10,000 a month), [and] I’d choose space every time.”

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Of course, we also had to ask Kolp about her favorite part of the apartment.

“So hard to choose!” she answered. “I really love the butler’s pantry though. With original features like windowed cabinets and a dumbwaiter (!!) you totally feel like you’re in another time. I painted it a glossy dark green, put wallpaper inside the cabinets and installed a black and white tile floor.”

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Excuse me, while I seethe in jealousy from my flex wall bedroom.

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