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: Bad karma exacts heavy price

Another unit in the same line of a Murray Hill condo that has been stigmatized by suicide.

The one-bedroom condo in Murray Hill was originally listed last August for $699,000.  Monthly common charges are $525 and real estate taxes $397.

The asking price was cut, pointlessly, to $690,000 in October and then two weeks later, to $679,000.

In early December, the apartment was taken off the market and now is back.

Before I bring you up to date on the reason for the gap, Continue reading

Out and About: You gotta love the neighborhood

In early May, Riverside Park is this side of paradise.

A while back, I quoted Paul Purcell, who is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, as mentioning what he termed an old saw:

You’ve got to like your home, but you’ve got to love your neighborhood.

Smart and obvious, though not to me until then.

The concept came back to me last month when watching a friend of mine, Teri Karush Rogers of BrickUnderground.com, on WNBC-TV, where she was talking about mistakes that buyers make.  She confessed that she twice had made one such mistake, and you’ve guessed what it is: She loved two places to which she moved but hated the neighborhoods.

As for me, I’ve lived in seven different Manhattan neighborhoods.  In order, they have been Morningside Heights, Washington Heights (in a section that has taken on airs as “Hudson Heights”), close to the East Village (18th and First Avenue), central West Village, Gramercy/Flatiron and now the Upper West Side near the 96th Street express stop on Broadway.

I can’t say Continue reading

Out and About: It’ll cost ya plenty to see forever

Central Park on Dec. 20, 2009. (Flickr photo by Michael McDonough)

For some buyers, nothing is more important than a view.  Although that’s not my priority, I get it.

But what is a view worth?  I make the calculation below.

Consider a pathetically dated apartment close to the top of an exceedingly tall high-rise that harks back to its beginnings in 1971.  In the Lincoln Square area, this one-bedroom, one-and-half-bath condo has been listed since May 2009.  Because it is a rarely used pied-à-terre, the condition is superb–but the style is so out of fashion.

Although some consumers might be enamored of obsolesence, others may well find fault with the laminate countertops in the kitchen, standard-height popcorn ceilings and bifold doors.

Still, those views over the expanse of Central Park north to the George Washington Bridge, east beyond LaGuardia and south to the vaunted Manhattan skyline are hard to come by!  They are spectacular, and they’ll cost you.

This 947-sf apartment went on the market for Continue reading