Pictures at an evacuation center

MS 118 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan

From my kitchen window, I can readily see the front door of an storm shelter in the schools complex on W. 93rd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues.

I decided to pop in and snap a few photos before someone said doing so wasn’t allowed.  Since it is such a joyless place, I was happy not to tarry, but I wanted to share with readers how miserable the experience must be for those who have had to abandon their homes.

Spending nights and much of the days in a school gym (where voting is to take place on Tuesday) now serving as dormitory, commissary and clothing-supply facility has to be better than making do in a cold and powerless apartment.  But it ain’t great.

There is much need of volunteer help and clothing.

One woman I questioned said that Sandy had forced her to leave her home in the Lower East Side. The photos below will give you some idea of where she has to live now.

Continue reading


State to tighten advertising rules for real estate

Few buyers and sellers of residential real estate believe everything in advertisements placed by brokers and agents.

Neither does New York’s Department of State (DOS), which is proposing to implement new rules as a consumer protection to replace its informal advertising guidelines.  In a notice about the change published on Oct. 24, it said:

After consulting with the New York State Board of Real Estate, however, it was determined that enforceable regulations were required in order to adequate protect the public from dishonest and misleading advertising practices.

Covered by the rule is Continue reading

I’ve got your number. Do you have it too?

(flickr photo by MervC)

Among my travel companions over the years, I am legend for wanting to walk just one more block to check out restaurants for dinner.  Such treks can last for hours, literally.

So, I’m sympathetic to homebuyers who want to see one potential new home after another until the search exhausts everyone involved.

And I fully appreciate that buying a home is nothing to undertake casually.

But there comes a point at which enough is enough: Continue reading

Out and About: Welcome home, Rosemary

The Dakota

It probably isn’t a stretch to venture that the Dakota, at 1 W. 72nd St., is the most photographed apartment building in Manhattan and possibly the whole world.

It is, of course, where John Lennon lived at the time of his death in front of the building, never mind a slew of other celebrities.  It also was shown as the site where Rosemary’s baby was born.

Departing from my norm of providing only vague addresses of the properties that I visit, let me tell you about a co-op that went on the market there in April.  And it is one memorable apartment. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Lawsuits, rising sales, falling foreclosures, ghostly cities, rosier forecasts

Everywhere in the city, brown sandstone is a fading commodity

Having tried a $500,000 two-week Hamptons rental to snag a man, Cheryl Mercuris buys $13.72 million UWS condo

Good investment property must first of all be in — duh — right location

Record 33 contracts signed for luxury properties last week

To track down pre-construction bargains, start with city’s Web site, then negotiate hard

Priciest zip isn’t on the Upper East Side after all

Median price of lower-end homes swoons in the Hamptons

Agents have reasons stemming from mid 90s lawsuit for withholding square footage

Mauritian national seeks more than $1 million on claim that co-op board broke anti-discrimination law

Rise recorded in foreclosure, delinquency rates in metro region

Stigmatized Kennedy property in Connecticut finds buyer in week

Acting couple rid themselves of Mediterranean-style mansion in Los Angeles for $6.7 million

Moving four blocks away, funny man and wife add a room

Ex-wife of billionaire financier/philanthropist Continue reading

Buyers and sellers alike need to trust their gut

Maybe not every gut should be trusted. (Flickr photo by Vic DeLeon)

Between accepting the offer and agreeing to the contract, a seller backpeddles on whether that flat-screen TV and the chandelier over the dining room table are included.

Then there’s the seller who suddenly is asking that contingencies stated in the offer be removed from the contract.

Or, there’s the buyer who is beginning to express second thoughts about the closing date.

And what to make of the buyer who doesn’t return the signed contract quickly?

These are just a few of the warning signs of transactions that could prove to be a rough ride or even result in derailment, and they should not be ignored.  Consider what an acquaintance of mine related to me in the following e-mail, which I quote verbatim: Continue reading

How ’bout a house with your wedding gift?

Ellen and Sabrina on their big day.

A family in Calgary offers $5,000 for the successful buyers of their house to help pay for their wedding.  (As newlyweds years earlier, it was their first home.)

Buyers of Christopher Meloni’s condo can have a sports car as well.

Other sellers throw in the furniture, advertise bonuses for the buyer’s broker, pitch a free vacation or dangle a year’s worth of house cleaning.

Will such tactics do the trick? Continue reading