You've watched some of the many TV shows set in New York City, and at one time or another you've wondered how these characters can afford to live there. In reality, most of them could not. If you are dead set on living in Manhattan without roommates, yet you can't keep a job, you will most likely be living in a closet and showering down the hall. But they don't show that on TV! An article at The Washington Post compares and contrasts the realities of New York living with various TV shows. It concentrates on Girls, but looks at other shows over the past 60 years. The further back you go, the more realistic the rent is. Sure, rent was cheaper in the 1950s and '60s, but the characters weren't living in the lap of luxury, either. Neither Ralph Kramden nor Archie Bunker could afford to live in Manhattan. See the breakdown of real estate realism here.