More than a taste of Cipriani faces auction

Giuseppi (left) and Arrigo Cipriani (inset) and their restaurant on 42nd Street. (NY Post photo)

(Note: Please see updated information that you will find highlighted below.)

When Giuseppi Cipriani opened Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1931, little did he know that his undertaking would grow into an empire with restaurants in New York, London, Hong Kong, Miami, Los Angeles and Porto Cervo.

Harry’s Bar is something else, according to the hyperbolic Cipriani Web site: Continue reading

Two NY Times columnists offer food for thought

Ron Lieber (New York Times photo by Earl Wilson)

Saturday’s New York Times contained two rather provocative columns about housing, one of which surprised me by suggesting that buying now would not be a bad idea for some consumers.

If you haven’t been following my blog, you would expect me to unabashedly trumpet Joe Lieber’s stance in his piece, “In Defense of Home Ownership.” In fact, I do largely agree with him, but I have reservations that he doesn’t express. Continue reading

One is luckiest number at city estate auction

This is the best I ever can manage for a forbidden photo inside the impossibly lush Surrogate Courthouse.

Only a couple of dozen hopefuls turned out for the city’s estate auction in the Surrogate Courthouse yesterday, so two lone bidders ran away with co-ops at the minimum asking price.

Lawyer Glenn Ostrager was the sole bidder for the 825-sf apartment at 60 Sutton Place South, which he won for $580,000.  Paddle in hand, a second bidder dropped out before the auction even started after hearing the sale conditions read; among other things, the buyer is required to replace the metal-framed windows and the sliding glass door to the balcony.

Ostrager, who declined to be photographed or quoted much, said he lived in the area and planned to move into the new place.  That’s provided the board approves the sale.

Asked how he felt about succeeding with his bid, the lawyer responded by saying just this:

“I don’t have any reaction.”

Ostrager seemed like a nice enough guy, but let’s say that he wouldn’t be my first choice for a dinner companion.

No one showed up to bid on the units offered at Continue reading

Okay, New Yorkers, let’s all take a deep breath

Flickr photo by palisade 14

With the news this week of plunging home sales across the country, doom and gloom has enveloped almost everyone I know.  Stock prices dropped impressively, and the New York Times led the paper yesterday to report on mounting anxiety related to the impact of the latest housing statistics.

To be sure, I recently took a dim view (which I retain) about the chances of a housing recovery in the Big Apple, but Josh Barbanel, whom I know and much respect, injected welcome perspective in an article he wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.  The headline said it all: Continue reading

Kith and kin can be kiss of death in a purchase

Flickr photo by Wisconsin Historical Images

I love it when buyers fall in love with a property.

I hate it when they ask for a second or third viewing accompanied by parents, friends or individuals who supposedly have a great deal of experience purchasing real estate.

Seven, eight or nine times out of 10, the extra visitors will kill the deal.

While the buyer himself or herself sees everything that’s right about the apartment, Continue reading

Data firm is alarmed by its latest statistics

January-to-June change in the 25-MSA RPX transaction count for each of the last 10 years, says RadarLogic. To illustrate the impact of the homebuyer tax credit on housing demand, the actual change in transactions in 2010 is shown alongside the change assuming June transactions were reduced by 15%. This reduction reflects an estimate of sales that would not have occurred in June without the tax credit.

It’s taken me too long to get to this report from Radar Logic, which compiles and analyzes real estate data, but the information remains pertinent.

Michael Feder

Noting distortions from the homebuyer tax credit,  President and CEO Michael Feder looked at what seasonal activity in the U.S. would have been without this “pull through”  and assumed that 15 percent of the activity (transaction counts) came from this accelerated demand.  Says he: Continue reading

Sticky subject bedevils new 96th street station

North entrance of the station.

The new headhouse, as it’s called, at 96th Street and Broadway, isn’t even finished.  But it’s already scarred.

That's not abstract art in this closeup from the photo above.

The pigs among New Yorkers being what they are have decided to share their chewing gum with the lovely stonework beneath their feet. Continue reading