Out and About: Beyond sow’s ear, a silk purse

Silk purse, a co-op near Central Park.

Silk purse, a co-operative apartment near Central Park.

Indiana Jones comes to mind.  Imagine the challenging and unsavory conditions he had weather on the way to the treasure he was hunting.

So it would be for buyers in search of a new home as they approach the building where an 800-sf apartment awaits them in the very low 100s of a Central Park West block.

When they spot the building, a pet-friendly 1900 low-rise with no elevators and no amenities beyond private storage, they undoubtedly will note how it is in a block dotted with shabby storefronts on a busy street.

It gets worse when they walk through the front door into a hallway that is all-too reminiscent of a tenement.  Not only is there an unpleasant odor that the trash barrels at the far end emit, but — how it put it nicely — the space utterly lack pretension.  Okay, it’s gloomy and depressing.

But look at the sow's ear inside the building's entrance.

But look at the sow’s ear inside the building’s entrance.

And, of course, there is no elevator, and the apartment is a couple of flights from the street.

Yet, the co-op offers pleasant surprises.

Sun pours in from the south-facing windows.  The living/dining room is attractive, thanks to its exposed brick walls and wood-burning fireplace.  There is a combo washer/dryer.  The hardwood floors are lovely.  And the genuinely tin, but not original, ceiling is appealing.

Down a hall to the rear lie a pleasant bath and the bedroom, which has a not uncommon exposure that looks onto brick walls, built-in closets and more than 200 square feet.

For anyone serious about cooking, the biggest concern would be the kitchen.  It is tucked into an outcropping along the hallway.  Though dated, the older so-called kitchen is serviceable, appears to be in good condition and doesn’t hurt the eyes.

In a building with no mortgage, the unit is priced well at $599,000 with extraordinarily low monthly maintenance of $410 probably in the hope of ultimately selling for something above $550,000.

Below are some of the other properties that various other brokers have listed and that I have visited:

  • In the high 70s between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, a 900-sf one-bedroom apartment that had been chopped from a larger unit. The small but upscale kitchen includes granite countertops, an undersize stove and self-closing drawers. The hardwood floors are in good condition, though they have withstood their last refinishing, and the rooms boast huge proportions. Facing north over a busy street, the co-op is in a 1910 building that has a part-time doorman and allows pieds-à-terre, washer/dryers and sublets.  It is offered reasonably for $775,000 with maintenance of $1,533 a month and thus went to contract last month.
  • A superbly renovated sort of three-bedroom co-op on Central Park West in the mid 90s.  With big handsome open kitchen that boasts two wine coolers and other high-end appliances, two and a half stylish baths (which easily could become three), laundry room, a room adjacent to the living room that could be a bedroom but wisely is used as a library, recessed lights, central air conditioning and Creston sound system, this apartment is listed appropriately at $2.695 million with monthly maintenance of $3,145.  In a 1909 mid-rise that has a doorman and fitness room among its amenities, the unit suffers from a singular deficit — a lone window in the master bedroom with apparently so offensive a view that the window is hidden.  It found a buyer in less than a month.
  • On West End Avenue in the very high 80s, a two-bedroom apartment too obviously chopped long ago from another unit.  The expansive square-shaped living room has high lattice ceilings and so-so parquet floors.  It and the master bedroom face West End Avenue from the lower floor of a 1910 doorman building that allows washer/dryers and pets but little in the way of amenities.  Major problems with the co-op are the minuscule kitchen wedged into the unit, the old bath that feels beyond vintage and the gloomy second bedroom looking onto brick walls.  The asking price of $1.195 million with maintenance per month of $2,053 somehow was not too much for the buyer who went under contract in a mere few weeks.
  • An exceptionally stunning one-bedroom condo on Broadway in the mid 60s.  Renovated expensively and tastefully, this apartment lacks nothing — built-ins galore, open eastern exposures through floor-to-ceiling windows, washer/dryer, central air conditioning, huge closets and great use of its 849 square feet, including dining area with banquette.  In a desirable 1996 doorman building, the place is offered within reason for the high-rise but, boy, $1.499 million with real estate taxes of $970 and common charges of $699 monthly is a lot of moolah.  Which didn’t deter a buyer from going to contract within a month.

Tomorrow: Too toxic

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
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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