Out and About: One hard sell

Questionable kitchen of the apartment in question. (I wasn't able to do sufficient injustice in the photo to the insults that the owners heaped upon the space.)

It is one thing to stroll into “grandma’s” apartment or one with walls of vivid orange and blue or a unit with so much overstuffed furniture that breathing becomes a challenge.

It is quite another thing to walk into a co-op in which the origins of the owners’ taste are unfathomable and unalterably bad.

Although I’ve written about “the vision thing,” a limitation many buyers have when surveying a prospective purchase, I have to say that an apartment I recently viewed gave me pause.  It was hard to see past the execrable décor, for which I cannot summon a word or phrase that describes the aesthetic.

In a distinguished Central Park West building in the low 90s, the co-op is a jumble of clashing styles that called attention away from the rooms themselves.  For example, there is an unbridled conglomeration of ornate lighting fixtures — sconces, lamps and chandeliers — from different periods, of necessarily different styles and of manufacture in different countries, none of which I was able to discern.

Wall coverings are of every stripe, literally, flocked or flowered and unremittingly overwhelming.

Consider the kitchen, which is a confined sort of L-shaped affair.  The photo at the top looks at the place from the entrance, where a (I guess) Baroque piece of forbidding furniture dominates the space and assaults the eye.  It is far more prominent than my camera lens was able to capture, and it intrudes into the short end of the “L.”

I get eclecticism, but I don’t see how that unharmonious hulk contributes to an otherwise modernized kitchen with its stainless-steel appliances, including a massive industrial stove with 10 burners.

As for the rest of the apartment, which is on the 1930 building’s first floor, mismatched priorities — a huge bath bigger than the kitchen and just off the unit’s entrance with a whirlpool that might accommodate the Jolly Green Giant — deficits such as absent closets in one of the bedrooms, lack of windows in the small dining “area” and otherwise odds bouts of tastelessness create an atmosphere of oppressiveness, despite the expanse of 1,800 square feet.

I don’t think the place is not just my taste; I don’t see how anyone could love the apartment with its shrouded bones.

Out of date is forgivable.  Out of mind is quite questionable.

Altogether, there are two bedrooms, a maid’s room and three full baths, two of them laughably small in comparison with the behemoth off the entrance and none en suite.

On the plus side, the floors are in very good condition and the ceilings rise more than 11 feet.  So, although the place is a hard sell, it does have potential.

Last April, the initial price was $2.495 million.  Now, it is down to $1.895 milion with monthly maintenance of $1,255.  At $1,052 per square foot, the unit is within striking distance of finding a buyer for perhaps $100/sf less, but it went temporarily off the market last month.

Following are some of the other properties that are listed by various brokers and that I have seen:

  • In the very low 70s east of Broadway, a 1,050-sf two-bedroom co-op of undeniable charm in a 1917 building that has minimal amenities.  With a foyer that makes for a graceful entry, high-end pass-through kitchen that unfortunately places the refrigerator and sink at its opposite ends, single updated bath, floors in good condition and southern exposures into the block’s nice interior, the apartment is in a 1917 building that permits washer/dryers, sublets and pets, though there is no doorman.  Originally offered for $1.180 million in August, the unit has a thrice-reduced and now realistic asking price of $999,000 million with maintenance of $1,,516 per month, explaining why it now is under contract. 
  • A one-bedroom sponsor apartment in Lincoln Square.  This modestly renovated co-op in a pet-friendly 1963 doorman building with gym has a new interior kitchen that is not high-end, new parquet flooring, new paint, six closets and views only of the structure across the street.  On a lower floor, the unit is listed at a steep $599,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,115 and changed hands a week ago. 
  • On Riverside Drive in the low 100s, a remarkably unappealing 1,322-sf duplex with nothing but gloomy exposures from the two lowest floors.  There are two plain baths, basic kitchen, a spiral staircase, small rooms, few closets, wasted hallway space, three bedrooms and floors in need of refinishing in this co-op, which cries out for a gut renovation that cannot banish the dreary, dark walls outside.  At its initial offering price of $1.16 million, reduced last week to $1.04 million, with maintenance of $1,533 a month in a 1908 building lacking a doorman and much else, this unit will go begging for some time. 
  • A two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath condo that is the combination of two units.  Renovated 10 or so years ago, the 1,380-sf apartment looks south over brownstones in the mid 80s between West End Avenue and Broadway.  The galley kitchen has been nicely improved, floors are just okay, there is a washer/dryer, ceilings are standard height, air conditioners are through-wall and the layout feels pleasantly open.  In a 1988 pet-friendly building, this place is listed for $1.375 million with monthly common charges of $1,765, including an assessment, and real estate taxes of $1,323.  A sold price of $1.275 million would be more like it, and that may be the number on the contract signed two weeks ago.

Tomorrow: All about auctions

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Subscribe by Email

Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

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