Out and About: Unavailable for half a century

It is not even an estate sale, but the Upper West Side co-op in the high 70s on West End Avenue apparently hasn’t been improved in the half century since the owners purchased the place.

Defining “vintage,” the apartment is typical of one that has aged in tandem with the owners.

The situation is understandable and not all that unusual, except for the number of years that have passed.  More often than not, it seems, owners grow comfortable in their homes and fail to notice the need for updating.

I suppose the feeling is not unlike the pleasures of an old pair of slippers, a well-worn cardigan or a hardcover book that has been losing the test of time.

The challenge for any broker is Continue reading

Out and About: How about Riverside Drive?

A view of Riverside Drive last fall.

In some circles, Riverside Drive has never quite measured up to the desirability of Fifth Avenue or Central Park West, even though it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.

But residences on the tree-lined serpentine roadway, which runs from 72nd to 181st streets along Riverside Park and the river beyond, are much in demand.

Lobbies, like this frosted beauty at 180 Riverside Drive, were designed to impress.

With many of them selling at a premium, the apartments in stately pre-war apartment buildings and converted mansions, for the most part, have boasted among their occupants notables such as Damon Runyon, George Gershwin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Paul Krugman, according to Wikipedia.  My former sister-in-law and brother-in-law live there, and my first home in Manhattan was there as well, at No. 425.

Fictional characters have included the leads of 6 Rms Riv Vu by my late friend Bob Randall, the Will & Grace mainstays, Liz Lemon of 30 Rock, copywriter Freddy Rumsen of Mad Men and White Collar‘s Neal Caffrey.

When I checked one day last year to see how many apartments were available on Riverside Drive, I found Continue reading

Out and About: ‘Affordable’ co-op needs fix-up

Kitchen of 775-sf apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Some Manhattan apartments in popular neighborhoods actually are affordable for buyers whose incomes put them in the middle class.

However, many of those units have less realized than actually fulfilled potential such as one in the low 90s close to Central Park.

The co-op is in one of the formerly city-owned buildings transferred to a Housing Development Fund Corp. and thus is known as an HDFC apartment.

HDFC apartments come with income restrictions, but they are reasonably liberal.  The latest median income standards Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Beresford auction, Brooklyn’s Manhattanization, latest market stats, celeb moves, same old loan limits, staging errors

Question facing downtown is whether hurricane stigma short-term phenomenon

Value of views depends on what you see and from what height

Mitchell-Lama program originally aimed to help ‘blighted’ neighborhoods

It is possible to double-check suspicious prices in city’s property records

Foreclosure auction scheduled for Beresford co-op listed for $7.35 million

Residential buildings largely account for 17 percent growth of stalled construction

Price data show ‘Manhattanization’ of condos in hot Brooklyn neighborhoods

Banks hesitant to offer financing for co-ops in buildings with only five or 10 units

Stuyvesant Town tenants reach $68 million settlement with controlling company

Pop queen’s Central Park West duplex is listed for $23.5 million

Actor in search of buyer for Chelsea penthouse Continue reading

Out and About: A dormitory for $10.5 million

In a classy full-service Lincoln Square high-rise, the condo is on a very high floor with superlative views of the skyline, parks and rivers in three directions.

Monthly nut: $7,082.  Asking price:$10.5 million.

Covering 4,134 square feet, the apartment is undeniably spacious.  There are a living room (22’7″ x 19’4″), den (11’2″ x 10′) and “great room” (21’3″ x 16’3″) at the western end of the place.

Visitors entering at the opposite end of a nearly 40-foot-long hallway, termed “gallery” for marketing purposes, peer down a very long tunnel past the doors of five of the unit’s six bedrooms splayed left and right like a high-class college dormitory or hotel.

At the end of the “gallery,” Continue reading

Out and About: The trouble with boxes

What buyer doesn’t savor the idea of a desperate seller?

Almost nothing spells desperation more clearly than the sight of moving boxes piled in a corner.

So it was when I stopped by an open house of a one-bedroom co-op in the very low 90s between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue.  The sound of prospective purchasers smacking their lips was practically audible.

And well they may have appreciated the 750-sf corner unit, which contains an above average eat-in kitchen, spacious living room, plenty of closet space, nicely updated bath with subway tiles, through-wall air conditioning and generally open exposures in three directions.

The only issue worth noting is Continue reading

Out and About: $25 million is a lot of money

Fully paneled dining room of mansion on Central Park West.

Only buyers can determine what a property is worth to them, so there’s no way for someone who isn’t a lender’s appraiser to decide with any level of certainty the value of the mansion on Central Park West.

Twenty-five feet wide in the mid 80s, the house retains many original details such as carved mahogany mantles, bay windows, coffered ceilings, paneled dining room, very high ceilings, impressively scaled main floor and stained glass windows evocative of Tiffany.  There are three exposures and four outdoor spaces.

Three of the five floors were renovated to various standards, including central air conditioning; the top two floors have been gutted, exposing pipes and opening up walls and ceilings. Continue reading