This is the final Out and About for the summer, but please do check in for occasional posts on other topics meantime.
Second bedroom of my apartment, now on the market.
Two-bedroom apartments may well meet the needs of the biggest segment of buyers.
For one or two residents, they represent the flexibility of having an office, guest room or baby’s room for a family planning to grow.
For a couple already with offspring, two-bedroom units make it possible to accommodate easily (in New York City terms) two quite young children of even the opposite sex, two of the same sex into their teens and even three kids should it be possible to divide a large bedroom if, as often is the case, a true third bedroom is too much of a financial stretch for the buyers.
It is no surprise, then, that two-bedroom co-ops and condos accounted for approximately a third of the market share in Manhattan during the first quarter of the year. And they sell quickly when priced correctly.
Two-bedroom units that are listed under the market have been going fast, while those that seem to be exactly on the market take just a bit longer. That’s true of at least three pre-war apartments that I happened to see on the Upper West Side within the last couple of months. Consider these: Continue reading
View of a Hamilton Heights from top floor of a nicely renovated 4,400-sf townhouse that is offered for $2.695 million.
For buyers accustomed to neighborhoods farther south, Hamilton Heights may represent challenges with respect to convenience, amenities and street life.
Yet on a recent tour of an even dozen open houses, I was struck anew with how vibrant the area is and how great is the value of properties in contrast to more popular parts of Manhattan.
As the New York Times has noted, the massive Columbia University development now rising to the south suggests that Hamilton Heights is on the verge of a boomlet:
. . . Hamilton Heights, largely unknown to those who have never cracked the 100s on the No. 1 train, is preparing for an influx of teachers, students and support workers. It is also anticipating the higher real estate prices that usually come with proximity to an Ivy League institution.
The Heights Continue reading
Truncated living room in an Upper West Side studio apartment.
Given the cost of residential real estate in Manhattan, nothing could be more understandable than buyers’ willingness to match the imperfect co-op or condo that they decide to purchase with the amount of money they can afford.
Consequently, many folks in search of a new home readily accept the necessity of turning a two-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom unit, an alcove studio into a one-bedroom home.
But they invariably pay a price both in aesthetics and, paradoxically, flexibility. Gone the dining area, the well-placed window in the living room, the airy ambiance.
So it is with Continue reading
View through kitchen into living room of Upper West Side condo.
Conventional wisdom has it that vivid colors can be an overwhelming obstacle to the sale of a residential property that is on the market.
Mostly the notion seems to hold true. It is difficult, the argument goes, for prospective buyers to imagine themselves in a home that speaks too loudly of its sellers.
In fact, I recall one client of mine who rejected a house in suburban Washington, D.C. — solely, she said — because she hated the wall covering in the living room. That sort of reaction happens more often than you might imagine.
But the well renovated apartment pictured here may defy the advice to tone down an apartment’s personality as expressed by bright colors.
Although I cannot imagine myself living with the palette chosen by the condo’s residents, I did find the place to be Continue reading
Next Out and About April 8
Front door of apartment on Riverside Drive.
Sometimes, it is not the layout, spaciousness or fine finishes that sell an apartment, not the overall characteristics. Instead, it can be details that capture a prospective buyer’s imagination.
Such might be the case of a three-bedroom, two-bath condo on Riverside Drive in the low 90s.
The 2,600-sf corner unit has superlative views of the Hudson River through oversize windows from most rooms, including the improbably large kitchen, an exceptional amount of floor-to-ceiling mahogany woodwork and numerous other original features.
What first got me was Continue reading
When it comes to obstructed exposures, it takes all kinds.
There are those where all you can see out the windows is forbidding blank brick walls mere feet away, often in courtyards.
Other more distant exposures may tower so high that the only way to glimpse the sky is to stick your head out the window.
Others may consist of buildings some distance away, perhaps half a block, where it is impossible to see anything worth seeing — not a skyline, not a river, nothing of interest and nothing particularly offensive.
Then there are those exposures like the one in the photo that are partly blocked by buildings across the way, letting in a modicum of light but permitting nothing like a view. What they offer is a patch of blue.
The apartment from which I took this photo is Continue reading
14 Queens co-ops, houses also go on the block in March
The bankruptcy saga of the Upper West Side brownstone, right, finally seems to be coming to an end.
The 11-unit townhouse at 313 W. 77th St. went on the market in September of 2011 at an asking price of $3.995 million. It has languished since then.
Still, the 5,898-sf brownstone between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive is bound to fetch more than that at a bankruptcy auction.
Bankruptcy trustee Albert Togut of the Togut, Segal & Segal law firm previously entered into a contract to sell the building for $3.75 million with a tenant who has agreed to move out if an offer of at least $4.5 million is made to purchase the place vacant.
Consequently, any successful bidder below $4.5 million would have a doozy of a time Continue reading
Close to Fairway but far from contemporary, this beautifully renovated co-op in superlative condition has a $3.535 million asking price.
What do buyers of multi-million-dollar apartments get for their money?
Answer: Both more and less than you might imagine.
Virtually the only commonality among the apartments that I visited up and down the Upper West Side to focus on the question is, with few exceptions . . . space.
Chef’s kitchen — owner actually is a chef — is open to living area and enjoys views through 12-foot-high windows to terrace.
But whether listed for $3 million, $4 million or more than $5 million, none of the condos and co-ops was without drawbacks, proving one of my persistent observations to buyers: No one fails to make compromises at any price level.
One of the units I saw was just about perfect, but Continue reading
Built in 1910, this low-rise has 20 apartments on five floors — and no elevator — but represents value for a hardy soul.
They exist, those apartments for buyers on a tight budget.
It will not surprise them that low prices inevitably mean compromise, usually serious tradeoffs for homeownership in Manhattan.
Among the issues they can more or less count on are lack of light, excess of stairs, cramped quarters, dismal condition, inconvenient location, noisy streets or neighbors, grim public spaces, minimal amenities such as doorman or live-in super, or persistent visits by creatures parading on more than two legs. Continue reading
A view of Riverside Drive last fall.
In some circles, Riverside Drive has never quite measured up to the desirability of Fifth Avenue or Central Park West, even though it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.
But residences on the tree-lined serpentine roadway, which runs from 72nd to 181st streets along Riverside Park and the river beyond, are much in demand.
Lobbies, like this frosted beauty at 180 Riverside Drive, were designed to impress.
With many of them selling at a premium, the apartments in stately pre-war apartment buildings and converted mansions, for the most part, have boasted among their occupants notables such as Damon Runyon, George Gershwin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Paul Krugman, according to Wikipedia. My former sister-in-law and brother-in-law live there, and my first home in Manhattan was there as well, at No. 425.
Fictional characters have included the leads of 6 Rms Riv Vu by my late friend Bob Randall, the Will & Grace mainstays, Liz Lemon of 30 Rock, copywriter Freddy Rumsen of Mad Men and White Collar‘s Neal Caffrey.
When I checked one day last year to see how many apartments were available on Riverside Drive, I found Continue reading