Out and About: Love granite? You’ll love this.

Granite, granite everywhere.

When it comes to pet peeves, I do have more than one concerning kitchens.  (Truth be told, I have a trunk full of pet peeves centered on real estate alone.)

This peeve is a small one compared with my others and relates to granite in the kitchen.  I’m fine, though no fan of, countertops made of granite, which have proliferated beyond any stonecutter’s most improbable fantasies a couple of decades ago.

My issue is granite upon granite upon granite, especially when it is the same granite.

An unacceptably priced two-bedroom condo with overshadowed balcony called my attention to the matter.  Although the 1,380-sf apartment has assets that include well-proportioned rooms, lots of closet space, a dining area that could suffer conversion into a bedroom, two slightly improved baths, sound-deadening windows and views to the north and west from the mid-floor of its Lincoln Square high-rise, the unit looks mainly at nearby buildings.

As for the galley kitchen shown above, it was renovated approximately six years ago.  Having the same granite on two countertops and the floor was a mistake the owners made, albeit one that can be undone for relatively little cost.  (Because the pattern is somewhat less flamboyant than some, this is not the worst example, just the latest that I happened to have seen.)

The apartment in a pet-friendly, full-service 1987 building on Columbus Avenue in the low 60s  has been listed since November for $1.649 million with monthly common charges of $1,581 and real estate taxes of $1.276.

Below are other properties listed by various brokers that I recently visited:

  • On Riverside Drive in the mid 70s, a 1,992-sf co-op that is undergoing modest improvements and is unfortunately on a ground floor close to bus noise. This two-bedroom corner unit facing south and west has two bedrooms, two baths the cry out for updating, an eat-in kitchen in equal straits, washer/dryer and a disorienting layout.  In a 1927 pet-friendly building with full-time doorman, the apartment is priced more or less appropriately at $989,000 after a $40,000 cut, with maintenance of $2,056 per month.
  • In the low 90s on Central Park West, a 2,500-sf co-op with three bedrooms; two and a half ugly baths; and an older, but upscale kitchen with perplexing finishes–green marble counters and wall covering better suited to a bedroom–and professional appliances such as stainless-steel Trausen refrigerator and six-burner Garland plus grill.  Among the high points of this apartment on a low floor are wonderful views of the park through oversize windows, dazzling herringbone floors, generous closet space, a washer/dryer, keyed elevator and living room of nearly 375 square feet.  In a distinguished 1929 full-service building, this apartment is offered for $4.25 million with monthly maintenance of $3,197, a price that as good a starting sum as any.
  • Between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West, a decent one-bedroom co-op in a pet-averse 1925 building that lacks most amenities.  With pass-through kitchen that has been inexpensively but cleanly updated, this 650-sf apartment has a vintage bath, exposure to the street from the bedroom and courtyard views otherwise.  It first went on the market a year ago January at $525,000 and it remained at $499,000 with high monthly maintenance $1,238 since March–until the listing expired two weeks ago.  Do you think it just might have been overpriced?
  • In the high 80s west of West End Avenue, an enormously appealing, gut-renovated 1,527-sf condo in a 1920 doorman building that is pet-friendly.  The sponsor apartment has a generally high-end eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms, two baths, washer/dryer and three exposures.  Unfortunately, the southern exposures from the living room and master bedroom are at sidewalk level.  Still, the asking price of $1.425 million with monthly common charges of 1,084 and real estate taxes of $665 is within reason.
  • A two-bedroom, one-bath co-op in a 1917 doorman building west of Broadway in the low 100s.  This blindingly sunny, south-facing unit with open exposures is burdened by a nice open eat-in kitchen that unfortunately overwhelms the living room.  Among the apartment’s features are a washer/ dryer and excellent condition.  But it has been grossly overpriced at $895,000 with maintenance of $1,178 a month since it went on the market last July.  (It was taken off the market temporarily over the holidays.)
  • On West End Avenue in the high 90s, a one-bedroom co-op that has a big old white kitchen with space for a small table.  Otherwise, this apartment on a low floor in a 1926 Rosario Candela doorman building that accepts only those dogs of which the board approves suffers from having no open exposures.  However, closets are plentiful.  The bath is vintage and the hardwood floors, passable.  Currently at $479,000 with monthly maintenance of $803, the asking price has see-sawed between $879,000 immediately after Lehman Brothers imploded and $475,000.  The unit has endured three brokers in that period.
  • An attractive  two-bedroom co-op with sufficient closet space, just adequately open living room views but pleasant exposures over a brownstone garden from the master bedroom, two new baths, living room more than 30 feet long, ugly views from the second bedroom and a small interior kitchen right off the entrance that has a slate floor, stone back-splash, granite countertops and mid-level appliances.  This 1,200-sf unit in a full-service 1929 building in the low 70s on a Central Park block has been on and off the market for more than a year and at its reduced price of $1.25 million with maintenance per month of $2,091, including electricity, still is too much.

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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

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