Out and About: Tip top an East Side condo is not

The little garden is lovely, the apartment at the top of fire escape not so.

Getting to the one-bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side means negotiating a passageway in an early 20th century building facing the street and entering a sweet little garden.  At the far side stands a three-story white clapboard house dating to the mid-19th Century.

There the charm ends.

The apartment is a one-bedroom unit up two flights of stairs with ceilings so low that I had to fight the urge to hunch over — and no one would mistake me for tall.

To many consumers, ceiling height is everything.  Many prospective buyers won’t even look at apartments that don’t exceed the legal minimum.  To quote the New York City Administrative Code, Continue reading

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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

Weekly Roundup: NYC condos, U.S. inventory, all-time low rates, Airbnb, pet furniture, most diverse metros, housing forecasts and much more

Brownstones increasingly go mod

Number of new listings of new condos turns up in Manhattan along with prices there and in Brooklyn, Queens

Causing 15 percent increase in materials and monopolizing workers, Sandy raises construction costs

Buyers of lower Manhattan apartments so far unmoved by storm

Rents continue to climb as vacancies reach 32-month high, and biggest October increases hit smaller units

Report suggests that multiple bids for renovations may encourage homeowners to overpay

And don’t expect financing for renovations to be a breeze

Five brokers investigated on complaints that they demanded extra fees from HIV renters

Region remains least-affordable major housing market in nation

Foreclosure filings surge in metro area, more than anywhere else

With her Georgia home foreclosed, she has reason to sing the blues

Media mogul pays record $54 million Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: May luxury sales boom in Manhattan, U.S. pending sales drop, interest rates reach new lows, talk of recovery swells

Upper West Side townhouse breaks price barrier

Avoid red flags when applying to rent an apartment

You may think this fish story is hard to stomach

Lawyer advises buyers to order a “physical” for new developments

Condo loses bid to stop resident from smoking cigarettes

Luxury properties enjoy blockbuster sales in May, and foreign ‘fright capital’ is driving prices beyond reach of typical wealthy buyer

View of park from Central Park West can be double cost of apartments elsewhere on UWS

Abacus Bank, which primarily serves Chinese community, indicted on charges of mortgage fraud

On Fifth Avenue, one white-glove building means it

Oscar-winning divorcée sells her townhouse in Harlem for $2.8 million

Former senator Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Turning point possibility, record rates again, pet habitats that pamper, stocks vs. housing returns, bulls in retreat. More!

By dollars per square foot, Tribeca tops all other Manhattan neighborhoods in Q1

Average monthly rent in Manhattan attains record $3,429 or $4,250 in April, depending on source

When you move here from out of state, the taxman wants to get his hooks into you

Manhattan has had 169 percent spike in new building permits this year, 35 of them in contrast to 13

Water Board approves 7 percent increase starting July 1

Citywide Q1 sales Continue reading

The Big Apple: Luxury sales skew market. More!

LUXURY SALES COLOR THE HOUSING MARKET, WHICH IS MOVING ‘SIDEWAYS’ AND PROMPTING CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC FORECASTS

Sales activity in the second half–as measured by number of sales, median sale prices, average number of days on market and the number of Manhattan apartments on the market–settled comfortably into historic 10-year ranges, according to two separate market reports in Crain’s New York.

(via Prudential Douglas Elliman)

Despite a busy market for trophy properties, the pace of sales and median prices of Manhattan apartments slipped during the fourth quarter, the Wall Street Journal observed.

The number of sales fell by Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: The Fed’s actions could lower rates

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s three posts.

BILLY’S EX STANDS TO CLEAN UP IN MORE WAYS THAN A SPIC-AND-SPAN KITCHEN

LATE MERGER MAVEN’S FIFTH AVENUE APARTMENT IS LISTED FOR $26 MILLION

SHE’S NOW GETTING HER LETTERS AT DEVONSHIRE HOUSE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE

AUTHOR OF GREED AND GLORY ON WALL STREET BUYS SECOND MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR APARTMENT

PALIN DOPPELGANGER DISPOSES OF AN UWS STUDIO SHE USED AS AN OFFICE NEAR HER $3.4 MILLION CO-OP

NOVELIST AND PAINTER WIFE SELL GRAMERCY PARK TOWNHOUSE FOR A GREAT PRICE

ACTOR IS TREATED TO SALE OF HIS BROOKLYN TOWNHOUSE OVER THE ASKING PRICE

AND AN ACADEMY-AWARD WINNER’S MAISON BLANCHE IS FOR SALE ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE


HOME OWNERSHIP IS AT Continue reading