Out and About: Divinity is in the Details

Next Out and About April 8

Front door of apartment on Riverside Drive.

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 the front door, which announces to all who approach that the apartment beyond is bound to be unique (if not always in a good way).

Several doors in the co-op feature this artful glass.

Several doors in the co-op feature this artful glass.

Several other doors grabbed my attention plus the fireplace mantle and surround, fancy kitchen cabinetry, hideaway office space, walnut inlay that enhanced the original oak floors and — yes! — coffered ceilings.

They are the aspects that drew my attention, but the sprawling unit carved out of an even bigger one dismayed me in many respects.

For one thing, I felt lost by the layout and had to walk through the seven rooms twice to get my bearings, a sure giveaway in any apartment that it has been combined from others or chopped from one.  This one is the victim of a chop.

The outsize kitchen is down a hall from what is now the dining room, the two, albeit stylish, baths are inadequate for such a large apartment and closet space is minimal.  As for the master bedroom, it seems oddly placed on the far side of the kitchen at one end of the unit.

For another thing, the décor is over the top, personalized to a fairtheewell with prints upon prints, heavy patterned draperies, vividly colored furniture and, in places, wall covering that mimicked a mural.  Even the woodwork was overwhelmingly overbearing to my taste.

When I saw the place soon after it went on the market in late January, one family had already visited it twice.  They were said to be talking about removing walls and eliminating details that have existed for more than a century.

Change of that magnitude would be a pity, however necessary, for the layout to become sensible.

But I can’t get those details out of my head, though the asking price of $5.25 million with common charges of $2,424 and real estate taxes of $1,663 per month would be waaay beyond my price range.  Someone else signed on the bottom line just two weeks ago.

Other properties that other brokers have listed and that I have seen:

  • On a Central Park block in the low 70s, a 710-sf one-bedroom co-op with partly open, if unappealing, exposures.  This unexceptional unit has a minuscule interior kitchen that was modestly updated two years ago with granite, stainless steel and a Miele dishwasher.  The bath is decent, and that corner bedroom is on the small side.  In a full-service 1929 building that permits pets, pieds-à-terre and sublets, the apartment is listed at $739,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,209.  It will be lucky to sell for close to $700,000.
  • A purportedly two-bedroom co-op that was inexpensively renovated more than six years ago in Morningside Heights between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.  With recessed lights, upgraded bath, unimpeded views of bricks walls to the south, hollow-core doors and little more than 91 square feet in the second bedroom, the 650-sf co-op in a pet-friendly 1910 low-rise lacking many amenities had an asking price of $535,000 with maintenance of $1,230 a month when it went on the market in November.  And so it sits.
  • In the mid-80s east of Columbus Avenue, a studio without an ounce of pretension,.  There are a modest Pullman kitchen, through-wall air conditioning, confining bath and sloping hardwood floors.  The 270-sf unit looking north in a dog-averse 1894 building lacking amenities was overpriced at $269,000 with maintenance of $446 per month.  After a reduction to $245,000, the co-op went to contract early this month.
  • A 760-sf condo in a pet-friendly full-service 1931 building on Central Park West in the low 60s.  A lovely kitchenette graces the foyer (!), which gives into a large sunken living room; the bath is of minimal size; closet space is ample; and each of the one-bedroom apartment’s four windows faces a wall.  But the floors are gorgeous.  The asking price of $995,000 with monthly common charge of $1,061 and real estate tax of $435 seemed to me to represent a seller’s fantasy. . . until a buyer committed to the place last month.

Look for my next Out and About April 8, after I return from my travels.  In the interim, I’ve scheduled new blog posts and remain available to take care of all your real estate needs.

Tomorrow: Going down

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

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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

Web site

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