Out and About: Can you tell book by cover?

Three-bedroom Upper West Side duplex is but one highlight of the co-op

Three-bedroom duplex has kitchen that is but one highlight of the co-op.

There’s nothing like an ugly duckling wearing pearls.

Woe to the seller of a gorgeous apartment in a building that offends its neighbors and hurts the eyes.

Such it is with a sparkling and stylish top-floor duplex on a Central Park block in the very low 90s.

Virtually nothing about the co-op could be better.  For one thing, there is a 400-sf roof deck overlooking the block’s lovely interior and not hemmed in by taller buildings.

Other qualities include lavish floors of Brazilian teak, numerous harmonious built-ins, a wonderful open kitchen with two sinks and top-end appliances, baths of uncommon beauty, terrific use of space, washer/dryer, through-wall air conditioning, excellent closet space, master suite on its own floor and an invitingly warm ambiance.

Can you guess which building contains the duplex?

Can you guess which building contains the duplex?

But. . . Continue reading


Out and About: A walk on the upper high side

Chef's kitchen -- owner actually is a chef -- is open to living area and enjoys views through 12-foot-high windows to terrace and beyond.

Close to Fairway but far from contemporary, this beautifully renovated co-op in superlative condition has a $3.535 million asking price.

What do buyers of multi-million-dollar apartments get for their money?

Answer: Both more and less than you might imagine.

Virtually the only commonality among the apartments that I visited up and down the Upper West Side to focus on the question is, with few exceptions . . . space.

Chef's kitchen -- owner actually is a chef -- is open to living area and enjoys views through 12-foot-high windows to terrace and beyond.

Chef’s kitchen — owner actually is a chef — is open to living area and enjoys views through 12-foot-high windows to terrace.

But whether listed for $3 million, $4 million or more than $5 million, none of the condos and co-ops was without drawbacks, proving one of my persistent observations to buyers: No one fails to make compromises at any price level.

One of the units I saw was just about perfect, but Continue reading

Out and About: It’s hard to fill in the blanks

Views through floor-to-ceiling windows are winning, but a vacant apartment like this one near Lincoln Center can have a chilling effect on buyers.

Views through floor-to-ceiling windows are winning, but even well staged vacant apartments like this one can have a chilling effect on buyers.

There’s always something a little mournful about unoccupied apartments, except those in new developments.

Empty but, occasionally, with sparse staging, they seem to me to cry out for attention.  They remind me of cats and dogs in cages eager for the release that comes with adoption.

“Take me, I’m yours,” both the creatures and the condos or co-ops plead.

Their challenge — the apartments, not the dogs or cats — is that Continue reading

Out and About: Morningside co-ops for a song

When buyers are in search of a bargain in Manhattan, many tend to rule out the Upper West Side.

Morningside Heights arguably is beyond that neighborhood, but a complex at the edge of Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music and Union Theological Seminary is also a stone’s throw from excellent transportation, shopping and the West Side’s numerous other amenities.

Morningside Gardens

The first urban renewal project in the city, the cooperative complex is called Morningside Gardens, which has comprised six mid-to-high rise buildings and 987 apartments on eight acres since 1957.

Nine religious and academic institutions in the area banded together with David Rockefeller to help sponsor the project and to ward off further urban blight.

While the complex has an overwhelmingly institutional ambiance 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

Out and About: Kitchens don’t have to talk

Although kitchens don’t have to talk, they speak loudly to prospective buyers.

In the mid 80s on a corner of Broadway, one co-op sits above another in the same line with the same dimensions.  Although the kitchens do not represent the only difference between the units, they may well sway buyers more than anything else.

The renovated corner apartments, which can be purchased separately or together from the same owner, are listed at only $100,000 apart.  The gap between their ultimate selling prices is likely to be much bigger.

In the photos (above, the less expensive co-op), perhaps you can see why one kitchen (below, the costlier unit) might be responsible alone for a buyer’s willingness to pay more than for the other apartment . Continue reading

Out and About: Two too awkward for words

Apartments that have been truncated or expanded almost always suffer from contorted flow. (Flickr photo by hpb_pix)

From virtually the moment you enter some apartments, the sense may emerge that something is very wrong.

Although a bad smell, a rundown appearance or a suffocating gloom can be the source of the sense, a bastardized layout also can account for a more subtle — if no less offputting — reaction

Such is the case for a co-op or condo that has been chopped from a larger one and, frequently, an apartment that has been combined from one or two adjacent units.

Two apartments in the low 100s suffer from such a disconcerting burden.  Continue reading