New York City has just about every style of apartment you can imagine, from the 125 sq. foot studio to the industrial loft to the three-story penthouse. One category that has been expanding rapidly in the past decade is the "luxury" apartment building, which provides a full-suite of services in addition to just a place to call home.
So what do you get in a New York City luxury building that you wouldn't otherwise? Certainly that depends, but generally the building might include some or all of the following: a large open lobby with a doorman, a roof deck, a gym, laundry and dry-cleaning drop-off, ATM, recreation/entertainment room, pool, and attached parking. As you can imagine, having all of those amenities under one roof can add quite a bit of convenience, and even a touch of luxury, to your life.
In addition to the amenities, the other big perk of luxury buildings is the staff. Again, this will vary by property, but you can expect a doorman (who will be able to sign for packages), a cleaning staff to ensure that common areas are always clean, and a maintenance staff who will help you with any apartment issues (from a clogged sink to a broken stove). There will be few scenarios where you would need to call an outside serviceman for anything in your apartment other than cable/internet.
Although these luxury buildings come at a premium, they are not reserved for the ultra-wealthy. Many young professionals are able to afford these apartments, particularly when they convert a 1-bedroom into two bedrooms. New buildings also tend to be more flexible with rent discounts to help fill up the space quickly. Lastly, many luxury buildings are no-fee and can be contacted directly through the management company, which can make them more affordable on a total cost basis.
Your best bet for finding a luxury building is through a broker or by contacting the buildings directly. A couple of NYC management buildings have a handful of luxury buildings, so you would likely be able to set up appointments for a couple of properties. The advantage of going with the second strategy is no broker's fee.
It's hard to argue with the perks of living in a luxury building, but you can certainly question the price.