It’s been more than two decades since Friends first aired on NBC, luring in no less than 21.5 million viewers from its very first episode. Now, fans all over the world have watched the series more times than they can count (yours truly included) and still waiting for the group to reunite for a sequel.
Following the lives of six quirky, independent friends (Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey) living in Manhattan, the series jump-started the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer and went on to become one of the most successful TV shows of all time.
And that comes as no surprise, since each episode of the sitcom went far beyond its goal of grabbing a few chuckles from the audience; Friends stayed true to its name, and provided comfort and a familiar face, some solid advice, and even good life lessons throughout the years, teaching us a great deal about the meaning of true friendship and what we can do to make sure it lasts forever.
As the primary setting for the series, Monica’s apartment in Friends has made history along with the show. It’s where most of the episodes take place and it has been the home of every member of the group at one point or another.
The Friends apartment is supposedly set at 90 Bedford Street in West Village, New York, which means it comes with a great location; not to mention it’s cozy and spacious, with a living room that seems to be size of entire NYC apartments nowadays.
Could Rachel and Monica afford the apartment in Friends?
For most of the series, Monica (Courteney Cox) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) split the two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in the city’s pricey West Village neighborhood — despite the fact that such a spacious pad would be so ridiculously priced that no waiter, cook, or whatever Chandler does for a living could have afforded the rent.
Today, a similar apartment in the area would easily rent upwards of $5,000/mo, according to CheatSheet. Even with some major salary increases, Monica and Rachel wouldn’t have been able to swing the hefty rent and keep up the lifestyle they enjoyed, with daily trips to the coffee house. The writers did have an explanation for the generously-sized apartment though: rent-control.
In Season 1, Monica tries to clarify the rent situation and says that the apartment is on her grandmother’s name — so “If anyone asks, tell them an 80-year-old woman lives here”. Which goes in line with the rent control story, basically stating that her grandmother rented the apartment for a great rate before NYC real estate got out of control, and Monica is now reaping the benefits.
But even if that’s a little far-fetched, we’ll let that one slide, as we couldn’t have pictured the show taking place in any other setting than New York (where else would one find a Central Perk coffee shop downstairs?)
Now, unfortunately, while outside shots have been used for the exterior of the Friends apartment, the oh-so-familiar interiors of Monica’s apartment have been created on set, in a filming studio.
The one with the open space
As soon as you walk into Monica and Rachel’s apartment, you’re greeted by an open space, where you’ll find the lively, colorful kitchen and the welcoming living room.
The walls of the living room are painted purple and there’s a cool vintage French poster behind the TV. It’s one of the advertising posters that Jules Cheret designed for a department store in Paris that was known as “Aux Buttes Chaumont”.
The couch and the coffee table are exactly where they need to be – in front of the TV – perfectly aligned with the rest of the Universe so Monica won’t have a panic attack.
There’s also a little desk placed in front on the window that no one seems to use, but it’s cute nonetheless.
The kitchen’s furniture is blue, and for all of you who love to cook, but don’t have an enormous space for organizing all the tools you need, here’s your inspiration. Monica is the host, the chef and the cleaning lady in her house so she made sure she has everything at hand.
The one with the bedrooms
Monica’s bedroom seems to have it all, including some sort of survival kit that Joey managed to sneak under the bed in case of “an emergency”… How did she not know of that?
The second bedroom changes along the series. We don’t know exactly what it looked like when Phoebe lived there — especially since she moved out before even Monica knew — but we’re just it just screamed ‘Phoebe’.
For the biggest part of the series, the second bedroom is known as Rachel’s room AND as the place where she’s had the best sex… before Ross, of course.
When Rachel moves out, it becomes a lovely guest bedroom where, ironically, no one wants to stay for too long. Monica might seem like a perfect host, but her strict rules drive everyone crazy.
The one with the bathroom
Everything looks just fine in the bathroom until Joey gets bored and decides to be a “handyman”. It appears it needed some changes – new tiles, to be more specific. It’s also the place where Chandler likes to take his bubbly, oil scented baths (pour les connaisseurs).
The purple and beige bathroom in Monica’s apartment is not too spacious, but it’s big enough to fit a free-standing bathtub and all the essentials two girls might need.
Not many scenes were filmed here, but the ones that have been, were definitely memorable.
“The one with the secret closet”
We all have a dirty secret and we finally find out Monica’s once Chandler gets curious about what’s behind the door next to the bathroom.
He obviously doesn’t have a key, but eventually finds a way to open it and there it is — Monica is messy too! She managed to keep her apartment neat by stuffing everything that’s “extra” inside that closet, and it’s chaos in there! But that’s just something that happened over the years . If you really pay attention, Monica’s closet hasn’t always been closed.
Sadly, the Friends’ apartment in NYC is not real so…
Where was Friends filmed?
Well, the interior scenes of the show were filmed on sets in Los Angeles. Only three walls were commonly used to create the Friends’ apartment, but you can also see a fourth one during scenes shot from the balcony. The latter doesn’t usually appear since the producers wanted to offer a wider and clearer view of the apartment.
However, we can provide the address where the exterior shots were taken, if you’re looking to find the location of the Friends apartment. Take a walk on the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets, in New York’s Greenwich Village if you’re feeling nostalgic; the surroundings are bound to look incredibly familiar.
And you’d be forgiven a little reminiscing, as you’re far from being the only one — Courtney Cox shared this short video on her Instagram account a few months back:
More homes from movies and TV shows
The Dream House Derek Built for Meredith in “Grey’s Anatomy”
Is it Real? The Story Behind Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment in “Sex and the City”
Is It Real? Edward Cullen’s Sleek Glass House in the Twilight Saga
The Simpsons House Gets a Modern Day Makeover