Which Episode Three? That shouldn’t matter:
Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Filed under: Cultural-Anthropological, Real Estate
“A lot of people in this city have gotten what they want by being emotional.”
Which Episode Three? That shouldn’t matter:
Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Filed under: Cultural-Anthropological, Real Estate
“A lot of people in this city have gotten what they want by being emotional.”
Daily Intel is wrong — the coolest part about the New York Post article about the cheapest rent-controlled apartments in the city isn’t the gay marriage angle but rather that one of the two guys profiled, who only pays $71.23 a month for a 500-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in SoHo, can make his monthly rent from less than four hours of nude modeling:
Posted: March 19th, 2012 | Filed under: Manhattan, Real Estate, You're Kidding, Right?
[The 87-year-old retired military meteorologist], a published poet who was friends with William Carlos Williams, currently lives off an Air Force pension of $1,100 a month, according to court papers.
And he told The Post he earns extra money as a nude model for painting students, earning $18.50 an hour.
“They tell me I’m so good at it, I feel I have a duty to do it,” he said. “I have an interesting face.”
Posted: February 13th, 2012 | Filed under: Class War, Manhattan, Real Estate, Things That Make You Go "Oy"
Even fifth-floor walk-ups in the Village are commanding top dollar, she said, pointing to a 515-square-foot two-bedroom that recently rented for $3,195 a month. “It was an all-time high for that building and that floor,” she said. “But for two people splitting it, it’s about $1,600 a month, and relatively speaking for Manhattan, that’s affordable for living in a great neighborhood.”
Not that the Museum of the Moving Image isn’t a great cultural resource but arguing there’s a causal link between its recent renovation and an influx of condos with crystallized glass countertops seems like a stretch, even if you do avoid using the word “influx” because it’s one of those hugely overused flabby terms:
Posted: April 4th, 2011 | Filed under: Queens, Real Estate
Sometimes, it takes a museum — or, rather, the much-hyped renovation of one — to retrain the spotlight on a neighborhood.
In an SEC filing, Atlantic Yards developers admit that the big project that will reshape downtown Brooklyn may never pan out, meaning that all the project would amount to would be one lousy arena — no low-income housing, no Miss Brooklyn tower and little economic benefit, because sports arenas don’t easily recoup a $300 million public investment:
Documents filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission by developer Bruce Ratner and his Forest City Enterprises warn that the non-arena portions of the plan could experience “further delays” leading to most or all of the rest of the 22-acre, $4.9 million project being scrapped.
Location Scout: Atlantic Yards.Posted: April 4th, 2011 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Jerk Move, Real Estate, There Goes The Neighborhood
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Related Companies, the real estate concern, appear to be weeks away from a final agreement on the long-delayed $15 billion redevelopment of the railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan.
Under a deal unveiled Monday, Related would commit to the project with a $21.7 million down payment. But the company would not have to close on the project — and therefore start paying the 99-year lease — until after the city’s real estate market improves.
Here are some more details about what benchmarks constitute an “improving” real estate market (“Assuming Related signs its contract with the M.T.A., it will not have to close on the deal and thus be on the hook to start paying rent worth about $1 billion until the three triggers are hit. That kicks the can down the road some on the question of whether or not Related will indeed go ahead with the deal, which seems quite risky right now.”).
Remember, Bloomberg put everyone in debt for the $2 billion subway extension — something to think about if (when?) services are cut in the coming FY2011 budget. The argument for the bonds went that by developing the railyards, the City would recoup the costs of the extension through higher property taxes. Revenue-raising tax base-based developments may have worked in the 19th century (think Central Park), but today’s regional economy seems more like a zero-sum game (unless you really think New York City will have 1 million new residents by 2030 — perhaps the 2010 census will shed some light about where they are in that bold prediction).
Back to the 7 extension though — would it have been so bad to try out Bus Rapid Transit in a part of the city that doesn’t even have the infrastructure to support an expensive subway project? Or is the dirty secret about BRT that everyone knows in their heart of hearts that it’s kind of lame? Think about what a $2 billion bond could have done for other transportation projects — even current transportation projects — even current transportation projects in Manhattan (East Harlem seems like a good candidate for some wealth creation — and people actually live there already!).Posted: April 27th, 2010 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Manhattan, Real Estate, See, The Thing Is Was . . .
The Observer discovers another great thing about lesbians:
Posted: April 24th, 2010 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Real Estate
They have a natural property: auguring increases in property values.
Not so long ago observers hailed the mayor’s foresight in updating the Jane Jacobs school of thought by both preserving a neighborhood’s character and allowing for smart redevelopment. Jane Jacobs herself seemed to disagree, but whatever — it became a useful campaign talking point. Contrarian voices questioned. Then they finally pooped in the punch bowl:
[Brooklyn College sociology professor Sharon] Zukin — whose own book, “Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places,” was published in December — peered through the window at rows of glass candleholders. “Tchotchkes!” she said. “Oh, the sheer ignominy.”
Ms. Jacobs’s continuing influence on the city is clear. As Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, wrote a few years back, “Projects may fail to live up to Jane Jacobs’s standards, but they are still judged by her rules.”
But if Ms. Jacobs is much hailed as an urban prophet, Ms. Zukin is a heretic on her canonization. She views Ms. Jacobs as a passionate and prescient writer, but also one who failed to reckon with steroidal gentrification and the pervasive hunger of the upper middle class for ever more homogenous neighborhoods.
The pattern in places like Williamsburg and Atlantic Yards, Ms. Zukin said, is dreary and inexorable: Middle-class “pioneers” buy brownstones and row houses. City officials rezone to allow luxury towers, which swell the value of the brownstones. And banks and real estate companies unleash a river of capital, flushing out the people who gave the neighborhoods character.
Ms. Jacobs viewed cities as self-regulating organisms, and placed her faith in local residents. But Ms. Zukin argues that without more aggressive government regulation of rents and zoning, neighborhoods will keep getting more stratified.
“Jacobs’s values — the small blocks, the cobblestone streets, the sense of local identity in old neighborhoods — became the gentrifiers’ ideal,” Ms. Zukin said. “But Jacobs’s social goals, the preservation of classes, have been lost.”
Observers also love — love! — irony, and any story about Jane Jacobs now carries with it requisite colorful there-goes-the-neighborhood details:
Posted: February 21st, 2010 | Filed under: All Over But The Shouting, Class War, Cultural-Anthropological, Real Estate, There Goes The Neighborhood, Well, What Did You Expect?
Ms. Jacobs, who died in 2006, waged heroic war against planners who dreamed of paving the Village’s cobblestone streets, demolishing its tenements and creating sterile superblocks. Her victory in that fight was complete, if freighted with unanticipated consequences. The cobblestone remains, but the high bourgeoisie has taken over; not many tailors can afford to live there anymore. Ms. Jacobs’s old home recently sold for more than $3 million, and the ground floor harbors a boutique glass store.
. . .
Ms. Zukin recently acted as tour guide on a stroll through Ms. Jacobs’s urban village, where Irish and Italian grandmothers once watched from windows as children played on the streets, and milkmen delivered bottles as chain-smoking playwrights typed in grotty flats. It began just north of Christopher and Bleecker Streets in the West Village, once a working-class haven, then the black-leather heart of Queerdom, and now something like the back lot in a Paramount Studios version of New York.
There’s the Magnolia Bakery, where perpetual lines snake out the door not so much because of its excellent cupcakes as because of its appearance on “Sex and the City.” There’s Marc Jacobs, where the lines are no less endless. A Ralph Lauren, a Madden, and a children’s store with the most adorable petite $250 pants. Ms. Zukin sighed.
“It’s another Madison Avenue, or the Short Hills mall,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Really, did we need that?”
Then they’d quickly integrate really cool story lines like this into the show:
Posted: February 21st, 2010 | Filed under: Class War, Manhattan, Real Estate
An Upper East Side all-girls prep school is accusing two elderly women in rent-controlled apartments of stalling its plan to expand to the building next door.
The Nightingale-Bamford School on East 92nd Street said it has done everything by the book since it purchased the adjacent space in 2007 for $9 million, and should be allowed to take over the four-story building.
But two women who have lived at 28 E. 92nd St. for nearly 40 years aren’t so enamored of the eviction and expansion effort.
. . .
“They are harassing two elderly women and trying to drive them out of their homes,” said lawyer David Rozenholc. “I really believe they’re heartless. They knew these elderly people lived there when they bought the building. I think it’s terrible.”
The problem is that it’s a lot easier to get the Obama Administration to twist in the wind than it is to get a thousand-ton tunnel boring machine to poke a couple more holes in the bedrock:
Fresh off a victorious effort to persuade the federal government to move the Khalid Shaikh Mohammed trial from New York City, the Real Estate Board of New York, the powerful lobbying arm of the industry, has turned its attention to the missing link in the No. 7 line. This week it started a Web site (BuildTheStation.com), a petition drive and a lobbying campaign to press the Obama administration to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the station.
“We think it should have two stops,” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board. “There is substantial growth already taking place near 10th and 41st. For them to quietly let the station evaporate, without anyone telling anybody, is a mistake.”
(Innocent question: Since when did REBNY get the government to switch the KSM trial location?)Posted: February 17th, 2010 | Filed under: Architecture & Infrastructure, Real Estate, Things That Make You Go "Oy"
If you can’t moneymake a waterfront site into a money-making commercial property, try building dorms instead:
Developer Joe Sitt sent shockwaves through a monthly gathering of real estate executives on Tuesday by sharing news that he hoped to convert his waterfront land between the Ikea superstore and the Fairway supermarket into a student housing complex.
“Ask any university, they’re starving for student housing,” Sitt, the CEO of Thor Equities, told the development big wigs at the Real Estate Roundtable at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
“[It could be] quasi-residential student housing if we can tempt a nearby university.”
Location Scout: Revere Sugar Refinery.Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Real Estate, There Goes The Neighborhood, Well, What Did You Expect?
The owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the iconic middle-class housing complexes overlooking the East River in Manhattan, have decided to turn over the properties to creditors, officials said Monday morning.
. . .
For tenant advocates and urban planners, the sale underscored the loss of affordable housing in the city and the highly speculative financial structures that, they warned, would only end in disaster.
Sorry, wrong link there . . . turns out you can actually pay $100 an hour to rent a pimped out limo and smoke pot with the driver:
Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Filed under: Grrr!, Jerk Move, Real Estate, See, The Thing Is Was . . .
For $100 an hour, late-night club crawlers can spread across its red leather seats, roll up its tinted windows and share a fat joint with the driver – Al, the affable cannabis chauffeur.
First there was the 250-square-foot studio and baby nest. Then we had the 175-square-foot apartment, which was a bizarre enough story when it first appeared, but got even stranger now that it is occupied by two human beings and two cats:
Posted: December 8th, 2009 | Filed under: Cultural-Anthropological, Manhattan, Real Estate, You're Kidding, Right?
Zaarath and Christopher Prokop — and their two cats — live in the smallest apartment in the city, a 175-square-foot “microstudio” in Morningside Heights the couple bought three months ago for $150,000.
At 14.9 feet long and 10 feet wide, it’s about as narrow as a subway car and as claustrophobic as a jail cell. But to the Prokops, it’s a castle.
. . .
The couple wakes up every morning in their queen-size bed, which takes up one-third of the living space.
They then walk five feet toward the tiny kitchen, where they pull out their workout clothes, which are folded neatly in two cabinets above the sink. A third cabinet holds several containers of espresso for their only kitchen appliance, a cappuccino maker.
They turn off their hotplate, and use the space on the counter as a feeding area for their cats, Esmeralda and Beauregard.
“We don’t cook,” Zaarath said, adding that their fridge never has any food in it. “So when you don’t cook, you don’t need plates or pots or pans. So we use that space for our clothes.”
Once in their running attire, the two change the cat litter box (stored under the sink) and start their small Rumba vacuum — which operates automatically while they’re out, picking up cat hair.
They then jog to their jobs in Midtown, picking up along the way their work clothes, which are “strategically stashed at various dry cleaners.”
Posted: October 11th, 2009 | Filed under: Queens, Real Estate
“My block is so quiet,” begins a joke that Moody McCarthy has added to his routine, “if there’s any yelling at night that means Ecuador scored a goal.”
. . .
In case you haven’t been to a comedy show in a while, comedians are still having little luck with the ladies. And living in Astoria isn’t necessarily helping.
Tishman Speyer’s Stuyvesant Town resembles dorm now that leasing agents make it easier to convert one-bedroom apartments into two-bedroom dwellings:
Posted: August 6th, 2009 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Manhattan, Real Estate
A young, chirpy brunette showed us a model one-bedroom apartment that had a pressurized wall built in the living room so it could comfortably work as a two-bedroom. The unit had recently undergone luxury upgrades such as granite countertops, new appliances, posh lighting fixtures, a renovated bathroom and brand-new air conditioners. Even with the wall, the living room and both bedrooms were considerably larger and nicer than any apartment we had seen through Craigslist. We would have both a trendy East Village address and be surrounded by trees, green lawns, street hockey and basketball courts. It was the perfect surrounding to sit and study or play Wiffle Ball. Stuy Town felt like the college campus that NYU could never deliver.
Alanis Morissette should check out this article because, unless I’m mistaken, it’s basically the textbook definition of “irony”:
Posted: July 6th, 2009 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Real Estate, Tragicomic, Ironic, Obnoxious Or Absurd
Williamsburg is ground zero in the growing scourge of stalled construction that has left the neighborhood littered with 18 vacant lots and rusting steel building frames — more than in all of The Bronx, The Post has learned.
Block after block in the trendy Brooklyn community and a few adjacent streets in Greenpoint have been declared stalled construction sites by the city.
A team of building inspectors found 143 stalled sites around the city. But the cluster of lots in Williamsburg, where development was white-hot just two years ago, is the biggest.
By contrast, The Bronx and Queens each had just 14 stalled construction sites, and Staten Island had 13, city records show.
. . .
Philip DePaolo, who moved from The Bronx to Williamsburg in 1979, said the neighborhood looks like the arson-scarred streets he left behind.
“It looks like I never left,” said DePaolo, comparing his old neighborhood to Williamsburg today.
“The problem we’re having now is that we’re starting to get squatters in these buildings and lots,” said DePaolo. “Blight draws crime, and if you have blocks and blocks of vacant lots with no people, that creates a problem.”
DePaolo pointed to broken construction fencing surrounding some of the sites and piles of blankets and cardboard shacks left behind by homeless squatters who spend nights there.
Officials say they’re working on the problem as a growing number of developers struggle with financing in a slumping housing market.
Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Manhattan, Please, Make It Stop, Real Estate
Rumors have been going around lately that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are making a big move to New York. We heard it for the first time from Nat Hentoff, who told us a few weeks ago that he’d heard it from doormen on his block of west 12th Street in the Village.
. . .
During another visit we talked to a doorman in the neighborhood who said: “Can’t tell you who lives there. I would lose my job. But you know, we doormen know everything that goes on around here. I can tell you the owner won’t be there much because he’ll be filming in LA a lot, and I can tell you he bought the house for his wife, who was in a Broadway show.” The doorman smiled, “But I can’t tell you who it is. I could lose my job.”
. . . then they move in the homeless shelter. Buried lede — at $2700 a month, developers everywhere should be volunteering to convert their bad investments into shelters:
City officials said the condos — which couldn’t attract buyers in the fizzled housing market — are part of an effort to help an “unprecedented” number of homeless families who have ended up on the street because of the tough economy.
Units priced at $350,000
It appears to be the first time a faltering upscale building has found a new purpose as a shelter, said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York.
Neighbors were furious the 67-unit building on East New York Ave., where apartments were supposed to sell for $250,000 to $350,000, has been turned into a shelter.
“I’m a hardworking taxpayer, and I don’t think homeless people should be living better than me,” fumed Desmond John, 35, a window salesman who wanted to rent one of the fancy apartments. “They said it’s not for rent. It’s a shelter. I was shocked.”
Luxury brokerage firm HQ Marketing Partners started promoting the condos last summer — with the hook that buyers could custom design the units.
When the market started to tank in the fall — and his gamble on a fringe neighborhood didn’t pay off — developer Avi Shriki said he had to come up with a Plan B.
“When the market went south, we knew we had to do something different,” said Shriki, 44. “With the market being the way it is you have to be creative.”
This spring, Shriki signed a 10-year contract with the Bushwick Economic Development Group to turn the building into a homeless shelter.
Shriki wouldn’t say how much he gets paid — but he said he jumped at the chance to get people in his building.
“At least we still own the building and we are paying our mortgage, so that’s good,” said Shriki. “The outcome is not as bad as some people I know who had to surrender the whole building to the bank.”
City pays $90 a night
The city is paying Bushwick Economic Development Corp. $90 a night for each of the apartments, about $2,700 a month — a figure that also covers social services, housing help and job counseling designed to get families back on their feet.
The developers in similiarly overbuilt Long Island City should take notice — some of these rentals are way under $2700 . . .Posted: June 4th, 2009 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Real Estate, You're Kidding, Right?
That’s it. Just “scoreboard.” We don’t even want to buy something in this stupid city; we just want you to admit that you were wrong all along:
Posted: March 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Class War, Insert Muted Trumpet's Sad Wah-Wah Here, Real Estate
For years, Halstead Property’s Richard Grossman has run a boot camp, teaching agents how to get buyers approved by co-op boards. In it, he presents four hypothetical applicant profiles. The first is a professional — a teacher, perhaps — with an average income but an outsize down payment. The second is a bonus-dependent candidate like a banker, who makes $80,000 and is putting down the minimum, but has a bonus three times his salary. The third, a non–Wall Streeter, earns somewhere in the low six figures and has a small bonus and a standard down payment, and the fourth, a first-time buyer with a good job, relies on relatives to cobble together a decent down payment.
In the past, says Grossman, agents invariably picked the financier as the most board-worthy, thanks to his bonus. At last month’s seminar, however, the answers were unanimous: “Go with the teacher.” And that is a big change. “If you were bidding against someone from Wall Street who had this kind of bonus history, you couldn’t compete. First of all, they were willing to outbid you, and second of all, the sellers were willing to take them over somebody else,” says Gumley Haft Kleier president Michele Kleier. “Bonus used to be the favorite word in everybody’s vocabulary. Now salary is a much more attractive word.” Admits one Upper West Side board member: “We’re definitely cautious across the board now, especially when someone’s touting their bonus.”
Posted: January 17th, 2009 | Filed under: Manhattan, Real Estate, Simply The Best Better Than All The Rest
“It’s like Yankee Stadium,” Antony, a security guard, said over his shoulder, leading the way through the thumping entrance of what used to be the original East Side location of Scores strip club.
Scores lost its battle with the state over its liquor license last year. Since then, the Las Vegas-based empire, Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, has moved in, and last night was their official opening in New York.
Sapphire made sure to bring yards of neon sapphire blue back-lighting, a fluorescent, engraved pompadour-shaped ice-sculpture, plushier (much plush-ier, according to the dancers) leather chairs, new carpeting, a concierge service, and a new chef — Jayson Margulies from Robert’s Steak House at the Penthouse Executive Club.
Antony, like other security guards on Thursday night, wore a dark suit with an aquarium blue skinny-tie.
“Yankee Stadium,” he continued dreamily. “That’s what it’s like with this particular venue. This is the granddaddy of gentleman’s clubs, For years when I was growing up they were called strip bars or something else, some less politically correct kind of word, you know what I mean. But you walk in here and you are called ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am,’ and you get the white-glove treatment from the minute you walk in the door. That’s how this franchise does the thing.”
Sapphire’s main room looks largely identical to the old Scores, largely because there were no actual construction renovations done. The layout, too, is similar: bar to the left, mirrored wall and couches on the right, the stage front and center.
There are amateurs:
A Manhattan woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to scam thousands of dollars in fees by placing a bogus ad in a newspaper offering cheap rents in fancy apartments, authorities said yesterday. Raadiya James, 22, is accused of buying an ad in AM New York on Dec. 2 that mimicked an official announcement from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development offering cheap apartments on West 57th Street.
In exchange for a $5 application fee, the home-seekers were offered a shot at studios for $538 and two-bedrooms for $823.
Over the next few days, more than 1,000 money orders poured into a post-office box.
But authorities picked up on the alleged scam and when James came to pick up the loot, she was arrested.
And then there are professionals:
Posted: December 16th, 2008 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Manhattan, Real Estate
“Of course, honey, we’re in a recession,” replied Jackie Sim, the building’s [Avalon Morningside Park, a new 20-story monolith capping Columbus Avenue at 110th Street] leasing agent, when asked whether units had been going more slowly than anticipated. “People are shopping around more.”
. . .
Ms. Sim would call the Avalon a “luxury” building rather than “full-service” — in fact, she did slip up a couple of times — if 20 percent of it didn’t fall under the city’s 80-20 affordable housing guidelines. Developer AvalonBay secured $100 million in tax-exempt bonds to keep 59 units rent-stabilized at “affordable” rates (studios for about $620, $922 for a three-bedroom). Though the apartments aren’t quite as swank — Corian countertops instead of granite, for example — AvalonBay won’t have problems filling them up: HPD was still inundated with applications for the lottery.
“Everyone applied,” said Kelly Garcia, owner of the overstuffed Hardware and Houseware store on 109th and Columbus-including him. “Nobody has said they got in. What I think is they keep it for their own people.”
Nope, I don’t believe it. Except there it is, plain as day on Craig’s List and in the Brooklyn Paper:
Posted: October 22nd, 2008 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Real Estate
Finding a cheap apartment on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg? Priceless. Paying $550 a month to sleep inches from a toilet? A little disgusting.
Nonetheless, just such a humble abode turned up on Tuesday morning on Craigslist — with pictures, no less, of a room that fits little more than a bed, a sink, a shower, a mini-fridge and hotplate and, yes, that toilet, all inches away from each other.
Oh, and one more detail: there are no windows.
“Room is in basement,” the listing reads. “There is no separation between the bedroom and the bathroom.”
What did you expect for $550? A gap of more than six inches from the foot of the bed to the toilet? Are you some kind of Rockefeller?
If not, join the club. The landlord’s housekeeper, who showed the room to The Brooklyn Paper on Tuesday afternoon, said there has been lots of interest in the listing.
“We’ve gotten a lot of e-mails today [to come see the apartment],” she said.
But by sunset, the listing for the “prison chic” unit had been “flagged” by Craigslist for further investigation, possibly because a basement apartment with no windows is illegal.
Illegal or not, there could be another reason why the listing was de-listed. “The apartment has rented,” the landlord claimed when contacted by The Brooklyn Paper on Wednesday.
Oh, that wily Eloise:
Posted: September 9th, 2008 | Filed under: Manhattan, Real Estate, Well, What Did You Expect?
Low ceilings. Columns in the living room. Drainage grates outside the windows.
What sounds like a Lower East Side tenement is actually a $53.5 million pair of Plaza penthouses bought by Russian hedge-fund manager Andrei Vavilov, who says the developer promised him the epitome of luxury and then handed over an “attic-like space.”
In a $31 million suit, Vavilov says the purchase — which would have represented the second-highest amount for a residential sale in New York City history — was the result of a bait-and-switch scam. Unlike The Plaza hotel of the children’s story “Eloise,” where rooms “embodied the height of elegance and sophistication, the same cannot be said of the penthouses,” said lawyer Y. David Scharf, who filed the suit Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
“The disparity between what they were supposed to get and what [developer] El-Ad was planning to deliver to them is outrageous.”
Vavilov’s wife, Russian actress Maryana Tsaregradskaya, “burst into tears” when she first saw the finished unit on June 28.
In other news, some snotnose at the Post thinks 66 is “elderly”:
Posted: September 3rd, 2008 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Manhattan, Real Estate
A group of elderly tenants has won a court order blocking their landlord from installing windows in their rent-stabilized Lincoln Square apartments — even though the windows would give them sweeping, much-coveted views of the park.
“I’m not terribly interested in looking at Central Park or the East Side,” said Ned O’Gorman, one of the four tenants who turned up their nose at the offer.
The poet and his cronies had filed suit to stop their landlord, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, from ripping out the walls in their one-bedroom apartments and replacing them with windows.
“Plaintiffs argue that they would be severely and irreparably damaged by the removal of the wall and by the dust, fumes, noise and vibrations,” Judge Michael Stallman wrote.
He signed off on their bid for a preliminary order barring the landlord from doing work on their apartments, finding the changes were purely cosmetic and not a “necessary repair.”
The landlord’s lawyer, Seth Denenberg, said the window installation between the 22nd and 37th floors was part of a massive rehab of 60 W. 66th St., designed to transform the tower into a “premium building.”
When work is finally completed, the plaintiffs’ four units — all on different floors — will be the only ones without the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The four tenants all said they had good reason to block the construction.
Abraham Cherney is 87 and gets kidney dialysis several times a week.
Former model and dancer Laima Drobavicius has severe allergies, and both said they would “suffer potentially life threatening health consequences” if forced to stay in their apartments during construction.
Donald Stone, 66, said the windows would cost him a wall that’s “now covered by antiques, books and watercolors,” and the construction and sunlight would “endanger his valuable belongings.”
Posted: August 25th, 2008 | Filed under: Bah! Humbug!, Class War, Real Estate, The Weather, There Goes The Neighborhood, Things That Make You Go "Oy"
Until last May, Cloyd and Herbeck were living in Sunset Park, in Brooklyn, and they were barely making it. They ate mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner. They couldn’t afford to go out with their friends. They wanted a family, but “there was no room in our Brooklyn equation to have kids unless we put them in a closet,” Herbeck says.
Then one night, Herbeck, who’s 30, found herself browsing online listings in Buffalo. (Why Buffalo? She comes from Buffalo. And like many young Buffalonians, she got out as soon as she could.) “We were like, ‘Okay, the prices are great,'” she says. So they looked at some photos. “And we were like, ‘Okay, they’re really nice apartments. They’re really big. And right by the park.'”
And all of a sudden, they found they were staring at a very different what-could-be life: the one they’d be able to have if they were willing to leave New York.
Fortunately there are many spots on community boards and the like; work your way up:
Posted: July 21st, 2008 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Real Estate
A rent-stabilized apartment in New York is a precious find. Which could explain the indignation that greeted the disclosure that Representative Charles B. Rangel was occupying four of them in the luxurious Lenox Terrace towers in Harlem, where Gov. David A. Paterson also has one.
Throughout the city, the well-connected (or just plain lucky) have been able to snare such prizes and retain them over the years.
But few rental buildings in the city have been as hospitable to public officials, past and present, as the Rudin Management Company’s high rise at 215 East 68th Street, where a shouted, “Good morning, your honor!” could turn every head in the lobby.
A fancy white brick monolith of 608 apartments between Second and Third Avenues, the 33-story structure, built in 1962 — when a seven-room unit went for $615 a month — is home to an unusual concentration of luminaries of the public and private sectors.
Some entered as rent-stabilized tenants; some retain that status, while others are paying deregulated prices, though often below what today’s bloated real estate market could command.
Former Mayor David N. Dinkins lives there, as did a predecessor, John V. Lindsay. Norman Goodman, the New York County clerk, and Burton B. Roberts, former administrative judge of State Supreme Court in the Bronx, are tenants, as are Betty Weinberg Ellerin, former presiding justice of the state’s Appellate Division, First Department, and Justice Jacqueline W. Silbermann, administrative judge of the civil branch of State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Also Howard Safir, a former police commissioner; Thomas Von Essen, a former fire commissioner; and John Roland, the former WNYW-TV/Channel 5 anchor.
Richard Aurelio, a deputy mayor under Mr. Lindsay, used to live there. So did Andrew P. Beame, a lawyer and grandson of another former mayor, Abraham D. Beame; Hazel N. Dukes, the former president of the Off-Track Betting Corporation who pleaded guilty to embezzlement; and Melvyn Altman, a lawyer who did time for racketeering. Tony Bennett once lived there, and so did the songwriter Sammy Cahn — until, his widow says, they were forced out to make way for a preferred tenant.
In fact, some residents say, there are still so many boldface names on the roster you could practically establish a city government right in the building.
“As you mention it, there are a lot here,” said Justice Roberts, in seeming wonder.
But I guess you have a better view at 15 CPW:
Class War, Manhattan, Real Estate
Remember that rumored $90 million listing at 15 Central Park West? It was nothing.
Dolly Lenz, New York City’s most gargantuan real estate agent, broke astounding news at Portofio’s Four Seasons get-together this morning: “There are a few apartments on the market at 15 CPW, a new development on Central Park West, asking somewhere between $80 and $125 million — three different apartments — and one quietly on the market at $150 million,” she said.
Wowzah. Brokers have already made it known that two condos in the Robert A.M. Stern-designed blockbuster building are being offered at $80 and $90 million, so Ms. Lenz’s quote not only means that there’s a third apartment on the market in the building for somewhere between $80 and $125 million, but that there’s a fourth spread whose owner wants $150 million.
That would be more than any single-family residential property in New York City has ever asked for.
The Mayor is sounding a little defensive:
Posted: May 13th, 2008 | Filed under: Insert Muted Trumpet's Sad Wah-Wah Here, Real Estate
A war of words erupted yesterday as Mayor Bloomberg reacted angrily to comments made by Sen. Charles Schumer suggesting the city has its priorities wrong in turning Manhattan’s far West Side into a business district.
“The city’s priorities are clear,” the mayor said. “We set the city’s priorities. They don’t come out of Washington, and the city’s priorities are the West Side, getting it going and getting the rail line going there.”
He was reacting to a speech Schumer gave earlier in the day, when he said the city should shift its focus from building office and apartment towers above the MTA rail yards west of 10th Avenue and instead concentrate on constructing a new train station named after the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan.
“I appreciate all the senator’s views on Moynihan Station. His part of the job is to bring us the money,” Bloomberg snipped.
Bloomberg also rejected Schumer’s call to put the Port Authority in charge of building Moynihan Station inside the Farley Post Office building, calling it a “terrible idea” based on the agency’s difficulty rebuilding Ground Zero.
Schumer said he has every right to make suggestions about West Side development, since he’s helped secure more than $100 million from Washington for Moynihan Station.
“It is equally important for a responsible senator to watchdog how that money is spent,” he said.
Posted: May 11th, 2008 | Filed under: Real Estate, You're Kidding, Right?
Living in a top-floor walk-up in New York City is a mixed blessing.
Sure there are those stairs; all those stairs. There is the moment of dread when you look up the stairs and contemplate the trek up, up and up, carrying groceries, children, luggage, furniture, whatever.
But that’s not all there is. In the current real estate market, top-floor walk-ups may well be the best deals. They can also be quiet spaces that are flooded with light and that have open views of the city, especially if they peek out above their surrounding neighbors. In some cases, they also have a deck or terrace that can become an outdoor living room with the twinkling night sky as a backdrop.
. . .
Since 1968, the city has generally required builders to install elevators in all new residential buildings that have five or more stories. But under certain zoning provisions, a five-story building can be built without an elevator.
Brokers say there are some developers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who have gotten approval to build five-story walk-ups by setting the top floor back from the front of the building and by keeping ceiling height under eight feet.
At five stories, “having an elevator would mean pretty significant common charges,” said Roberto Gonzalez, an agent at Bond New York. “Developers will do walk-ups because they want to be competitive, and they want to use as much of the footprint as they can for living space as opposed to an elevator shaft.”
David Kazemi, a vice president at Bond New York, said that walk-ups don’t seem to bother many of the young professionals looking to buy in Williamsburg. “A lot of people prefer it actually because they don’t want the luxury high-rise lifestyle,” he said. “That’s not the point of living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”
. . .
People who live in top-floor walk-ups say they have a variety of coping mechanisms that help them deal with the daily hike up the stairs.
Ms. Stern said she learned very quickly not to focus on the number of steps. She counted and knew the exact number at one point. “But that was discouraging because then I found myself counting every time I went up,” she said. “It was much better when I stayed focused on the mission and the goal of just getting home.”
Big shopping trips to the grocery store are replaced by more frequent and smaller purchases, and heavy items like kitty litter might be put on the Fresh Direct order, along with a generous tip to the delivery man.
Mr. Gonzalez, the Bond agent, recently bought a fifth-floor walk-up for himself in Williamsburg, and he said that he had learned to become more organized to avoid having to run up and down the stairs several times a day to retrieve forgotten items. “Before I leave the house now I have a little saying: ‘Money, keys, phone. Money, keys, phone. Money, keys, phone,'” he said. “Because if I forget one of them, that’s when I regret the top floor.”
Mr. Nguyen, the owner in Inwood, said the one thing that he takes special care with is the trash and recycling. “I make sure it’s well secured for the trip down because I don’t want it breaking,” he said.
Also, after spending a week personally gutting and renovating the apartment’s kitchen with a friend, he said, “If I’d known what all we had to go through, I’d have probably hired somebody else to do it.”
He and his friend hauled up 15 kitchen cabinets, two 7-foot-tall storage units, countless bags of grout, boxes of tile and piles of new floorboards. “We sort of had to do a lot of maneuvering and we had to shimmy a lot of things around corners on the stairs to make it fit,” he said. “But it’s amazing what you can do with sheer will and determination.”
In case you thought it would be a good thing for the City to control transportation projects, there’s this — Hizzoner paying a little too much attention to the wrong parts of the Power Broker:
Bloomberg said Friday that a week or two ago, developer Jerry Speyer expressed concerns about whether the city would complete the 7 subway line extension critical to the $1 billion project.
“If I were you,” the mayor said he told Speyer, “I would make absolutely, positively sure that we are going to build that subway before I put one dime of my own money in.”
The MTA’s announcement Thursday night that it had canned the Tishman-Speyer deal came without warning to the mayor, City Hall insiders said.
. . .
Neither Bloomberg staffers nor Tishman-Speyer representatives would discuss the outcome of the hour-long talk at Bloomberg’s London apartment Friday.
“The plan isn’t dead by any means,” Bloomberg said before the sitdown. “All these things go though many cycles.
“The No. 7 line is going to get done,” the mayor added, “and it will be so far along before I leave office that nobody’s going to be able to stop it.”
Plans for the site include thousands of units of housing, commercial skyscrapers, a school and parkland.
Oh, well as long as there’s a park — and a school! — Robert Moses would smile, since he popularized the “get as far along as possible and make ’em take it back down” philosophy of urban planning (recently embraced by Bruce Ratner, among others).Posted: May 10th, 2008 | Filed under: Follow The Money, Please, Make It Stop, Real Estate