Do not be fooled by the smoke and mirrors. Part of the fun of the process is to inspect the apartment. That's also when you feel the need to start paying close attention to what you are doing.
Some apartment communities will only show their model apartment a special reserve for that purpose, which is designed to help prospective renters visualize living there.
Inessential to say, nearly all the models you saw looked brand new, sophisticatedly furnished, and in much better shape than the apartments are available for hire. If you are looking for beautiful Morningside heights new condominiums, then you can browse various sources online.
And, except to give a sense of the layout of the floor plan (and some communities have many) and how the furniture might be regulated, models provide little insight into the quality end of the apartment is available for new tenants.
They also offer no sense of your neighbors or other features related to the atmosphere of your apartment, such as a view or from light, air, and noise.
Pretend you are living there. You should learn quickly that the easiest way to be enthusiastic or eliminate an apartment is to test the layout, especially paying special attention to the configuration of the space, connecting the wall and the line of sight.
If, for example, while standing at the front door, you could see all of the bedrooms and the bathroom door, you immediately knew you are ready to move to the next apartment and hopefully one that will give the appearance (if not the reality) more privacy.
If the layout flows logically with, say, a kitchen situated near the dining area but separate from other living areas, you should be satisfied and moved to inspect the rooms yourselves.