I digress: Some Americans respond selfishly to election

american-flag-3Consider this post from an expat I do not know in response to a rant on Facebook today:

So happy I’m living in France. So happy I’m living in France. So happy I’m living in France.

Which of the four candidates I favor for U.S. president is beside the point of this post, but let me say that the foregoing quote is one of the milder reactions I have seen especially to the possibility of Donald Trump’s winning the election over Hillary Clinton.

Even as an expat myself, I confess to feeling holier than those who fantasize about leaving their country behind for what I contend is the wrong reason.  They despair of one candidate or another leading a nation of more a third of a billion persons and, not incidentally, the whole free world.  They seem to think that leaving will improve their lives . . . and theirs alone.

Those who talk about quitting the United States seem to overlook at least four things: Continue reading

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Weekly Roundup: Shortage of condos, rates down again, strong signs of U.S. recovery, ugliest house

Lottery opens for 682 affordable housing rentals in Clinton

Number of condos projected to enter market in next few years likely to fall short of demand

With supply of condos dropping steeply, prices rise strongly

Basic steps can smooth apartment sale even before listing or searching

Biggest moving decision for parents centers on schools

Fierce competition in Manhattan pushes investors to outlying areas such as Nassau County

High rents causing drain of the middle class, comptroller reports

But billionaires buying many rooms they can afford with unforgettable views

New site grades each city block based on reviews of everything from crime to school, amenities (register free)

Rents for Boerum Hill studios swell 10 percent since July, topping gains elsewhere in Brooklyn

Accepting cash offer, an Ives grandson stymies plan to turn late composer’s home into museum

Actress is stoked to sell her Village duplex for $7 million

Music mogul lists 66th-floor condo for $8.5 million

After moving to California and renting out her downtown condo, Ryan’s daughter asks $1.645 for the unit (3rd item)

Curbed rounds up the buy and sell of Law and Order cast

Real divorce has couple putting Beverly Hills estate on the market for $26 million

Resales climb, prices go up and inventory Continue reading

Out and About: Panache vs. pragmatism

Terrace of $4.150 million townhouse

A new development in Hell’s Kitch– er, Clinton has had a loooong history.  And therein lies a tale.

The long history, of course, has to do with the amount of time it is taking to sell out the building, where sales started two years ago and which has impressively designed and finished interiors. In fact, the development won a 2007 design award from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Combined living room, kitchen

Loaded with amenities, including garage spaces that run $130,000, the building has 51 open flats, 22 duplexes and penthouses, plus nine townhouses.

With preternaturally clean lines, sharp angles and an accent on drama, the units have expensive features such as honed white quartz countertops, marble-tiled baths with radiant heating, Corian- encased soaking tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and wide-plank solid oak floors. At the top of the windows are molding and electrical service to accommodate remote-controlled shades, which would be mandatory for any owner facing south.

Penthouse staircase

On the downside is Continue reading

The High Road: Arrogance and sloth don’t mix

This sloth has three toes; the broker whose listing I wanted to show has 10, presumably. (Photo via National Geographic)

My buyer wanted to see several apartments in a large complex on a Saturday.

The first listing broker I reached readily agreed to the 3:45 slot I requested. When I had to make a last-minute change late that Saturday morning, she didn’t hesitate to accommodate us.

That’s the way it is supposed to work when you are representing the best interests of your clients, the possibly desperate owner of a property on the market.

I also tried to show three other apartments, studios listed in the $400s in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.  After I e-mailed the listing broker, he wrote back, misspelling my name: Continue reading

Out and About: The more things change. . .

Under the. . . High Line

When I arrived in Manhattan more decades ago than I care to remember, the word on Chelsea was that the neighborhood was on the cusp of change.

One of the more celebrated residents at the time was Anthony Perkins, if memory serves, plus short and long-term occupants of the Hotel Chelsea, including the late composer Virgil Thomson.

Decade after decade, the mantra about the neighborhood was this: It’s going to change.  Finally, like a broken clock, Chelsea did undergo its transition from seedy to select. Continue reading

Out and About: Some sellers still defy reason

Huh? (Flickr photo by SAN_DRINO)

Many sellers seem to be misreading the market.

That was my thought this past weekend as I toured open houses on the Upper West Side. I was struck by the magnitude of the chasm between what sellers were asking for their apartments, whether large and rambling or small and musty, and my take on Manhattan’s housing market today.

Perhaps the most glaring example was a condo in the very low 70s.  In a notable 1926 doorman building between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, the overstuffed duplex has some impressive features, such as a living/dining space that has a 16-foot-high ceiling, lovely wide-plank flooring said to have cost $90,000 and stylish baths.  Continue reading

Sealed-bid auction set for two luxury penthouses

43 West

Two duplex penthouses with terraces and views of the Hudson River from an eight-unit building are to be auctioned via sealed bids that are due Dec. 8. The reserve prices were not disclosed.

In the a former 1920 rental building now called West 43, at 552 W. 43rd St., between 10th and 11th avenues, the condos are being marketed as a closeout auction Continue reading