Out and About: Live the impossible dream

Floorplan of Riverside Drive co-op “great for entertaining.”

The listing broker said the apartment would be great for entertaining.

I looked at her in wonderment, thinking she must have a dirty mind.

It turns out that she was referring to the kitchen.  But all I could focus on was the layout, which has the bedroom playing a dominant role.

There’s a good-size foyer at the entrance and then you’re in the living room with exposures so limited that it feels as though there are no windows.  Except. . .

Beyond the living room is an expansive bedroom with an oversize window that affords an excellent view of the Hudson River and New Jersey beyond.  The lone bathroom is at the far end of bedroom.

Neither the listing broker nor I could come up with a way to solve the acknowledged awkwardness of the apartment, which is in a 1926 doorman building on Riverside Drive in the high 70s.  A Murphy bed tucked into a wall of built-ins?

As for the kitchen, it has well-used butcher-block countertops — a pleasant change from the usual stone — cabinets with peeling laminate trim, a washer and a vented dryer.  An update would not be an extravagance.

Short of turning this one-bedroom apartment into a studio, making the best use of any eccentric space such as this one usually amounts to nothing less than an impossible dream.

For proof, consider the price history.  The unit first went on the market last June with an ask of $895,000.  Five reductions (the most recent earlier this month) and a second broker later, the apartment is offered for $739,000 with very high monthly maintenance of $1,822.  If the co-op eventually finds a buyer for as much as the asking price, the owners should count themselves lucky.

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

  • Between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway in the high 90s, a 500-sf co-op that is more open kitchen than anything else.  The one-bedroom apartment has very small rooms, and the exposures are obstructed.  The kitchen is somewhat above average in quality, but the cabinets and countertops are laminate.  For sale by the owner in September for $409,000 and now at $399,995 with maintenance of $897 a month, this place in a 1920 low-rise with few amenities won’t go for much more than $350,000.   
  • A 1,297-sf condo on Central Park West in the low 60s.  With a two spacious bedrooms, two baths, sunken living room, improved (if dated) baths, modern eat-in kitchen that could use updating and every window facing another nearby building, this otherwise lovely apartment shows beautifully.  In a white-glove 1931 building that welcomes pets, permits washer/dryers and allows pieds-à-terre, the unit was listed at an aggressive price of $2.275 million with monthly common charges of $1,491, real estate taxes of $149 and two special assessments totaling $267.  With no takers, it has been removed from the market.
  • In the low 100s of Morningside Heights east of Broadway, a co-op that has two bedrooms by virtue of one having been carved out of the living room.  The south-facing living room over a side street has exposed brick and an inviting ambiance.  But the rest of the apartment is pretty grim — for example, a kitchen with ugly cabinets obviously purchased on the cheap, the sole bath that is small and dated, and views only of brick walls from every room but that living room.  At a price reduced from $629,000 to $595,000 in February with maintenance of $1,300 a month in a pet-friendly 1930 building with no doorman, this apartment is almost there and thus is under contract. 
  • An inviting two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the mid 60s between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues. With exceptional northern light and open views from a high floor in a 1925 doorman building, copious closet space, modern open galley kitchen that has a breakfast counter and maple cabinets, many built-ins, including desk, and washer/dryer, this co-op in good condition is well priced at $1.499 million with maintenance of $2,004 a month and room for negotiations. Unsurprisingly, it went to contract last month. 
  • On West End Avenue in the mid 90s, a handsomely renovated two-bedroom, two-bath co-op on a high floor of a 1920 pet-friendly doorman building.  This apartment has river views from the important rooms, a high-end galley kitchen with Viking appliances, granite countertops and expensive cabinets, cherry floors, recessed lighting and plenty of closet space.  With a listing price of $1.125 million and monthly maintenance of $2,083, the unit probably will sell for just under $1 million to avoid the mansion tax.

Tomorrow: Queens auction

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available listings privately for your new home.

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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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