Don Draper Probably Couldn't Afford His Fancy UES Apartment in 2015

Published On 03/23/2015 Published On 03/23/2015
Courtesy of Trulia/AMC

With the final season of Mad Men beginning April 5th, you'll only have so many more new episodes to help envision yourself living in Don Draper's fancy Upper East Side apartment with its swanky sunken living room and Park Ave address, 783 Park Ave., Apt. 17B, to be exact. Most of us can't afford such chic digs, but it turns out that Don Draper probably wouldn't be able to swing a mortgage for a similar place with NYC's astronomical real estate prices in 2015, according to real estate site Trulia.

Trulia did all the fun math and estimated Don Draper's salary as a Creative Director versus the cost of his apartment in the 1960s and compared it with how much it might cost today. Here's what they found:

  • As Creative Director and Junior Partner it is estimated that he made around $45,000 per year in the 1960s
  • In 2015, he would have a buying power of about $355,297
  • In the '60s, median home values in NYC were $75,000, which is quite a bit if Draper was making $45,000 per year
  • Today, creative directors in NYC make an average of $154,838 or more a year
  • In 2015, places in the Draper's apartment are going for $16.5 million  

  In other words, Don Draper makes some damn good money both by 1960s standards and today's standards, but thanks to NYC's current real estate market, it's highly unlikely that Draper -- or a creative director in NYC -- today would be able to afford a stunning place on the UES as seen in the show, according to Trulia. Instead, the real estate experts there recommend that he look for more affordable places in neighborhoods like Midtown or the Financial District. Let's just hope they have sunken living rooms there...

UPDATE: As one of our astute readers points out in the comments, Don Draper actually might have been able to afford his Upper East Side place thanks to what was likely about $5 million he made in the sale of Sterling Cooper.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and also cannot afford a fancy UES apartment in 2015, or likely ever. Send news tips to him at and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



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