Out and About: The allure of Hamilton Heights

View of a Hamilton Heights from top floor of nicely renovated townhouse offered for $2.695 million.

View of a Hamilton Heights from top floor of a nicely renovated 4,400-sf townhouse that is offered for $2.695 million.

For buyers accustomed to neighborhoods farther south, Hamilton Heights may represent challenges with respect to convenience, amenities and street life.

Yet on a recent tour of an even dozen open houses, I was struck anew with how vibrant the area is and how great is the value of properties in contrast to more popular parts of Manhattan.

As the New York Times has noted, the massive Columbia University development now rising to the south suggests that Hamilton Heights is on the verge of a boomlet:

. . . Hamilton Heights, largely unknown to those who have never cracked the 100s on the No. 1 train, is preparing for an influx of teachers, students and support workers. It is also anticipating the higher real estate prices that usually come with proximity to an Ivy League institution.

The Heights Continue reading

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Weekly Roundup: Landlord confession, piece of Portugal, April building permits, pocket listings, air purifiers, timely Lotto win, recovery threats

Penthouse pursuit is costly contagion to attain height, light, unobstructed views

Airbnb gears up for Albany initiative that would regulate short-term apartment rentals

City plans sale to debt collectors of tax liens against Sandy-hit homeowners

Cost of rent, price of property actually moving in sync

New York region’s borrowers way below average of homeowners who deduct mortgage interest

Stuyvesant Town tenants told pay up and up or move out this summer

Onetime Sinatra apartment sells after steep price cut

Lease confessions of small landlord make for compelling reading

All it takes is money, but there’s still rental inventory in the Hamptons

Investment group identified as purchaser of most expensive Manhattan residence, One 57 penthouse

Nascar superstar lists trophy condo on Central Park West for $30 million

Dancing queen 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

Luxe Manhattan condo faces bankruptcy auction

View from terrace of a West Harlem penthouse to be auctioned off July 31 at a Harrison, N.Y. law office

A West Harlem penthouse with unobstructed views of Central Park and the surrounding skyline is headed for a bankruptcy auction at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 31.

Public records show that the two-bedroom, two-bath condo with 1,000-sf wraparound terrace at 125 Central Park North was purchased for $1.4 million earlier this year, and the starting bid is $950,000. According to the announcement, the value is $1.9 million. 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

Out and About: Half a measure isn’t enough

This photo makes my point that the kitchen looks fine at a glance. But the cabinets, countertop, floor and appliances are wanting.

Surely your parents and teacher suggested that there was no point in doing something if you didn’t do it well.

I have to wonder whether some sellers ever got that message.  They’ll slap on a coat of white paint, install low-grade appliance and add cheap cabinets to, as we say, fluff up a property.

Who do they think they are fooling?

While I am sure that what they have replaced was pretty objectionable and that the property looks superficially more saleable, Continue reading

The Big Apple: Schools, smoke, slides and more

If you can’t beat them, you don’t have to let bedbugs join you

Adam Greenberg, president of USBedBugs.com, one of the country’s largest online retailers of anti-bedbug gear, tells BrickUnderground.com that, in comparison with the rest of the nation, New Yorkers are “ahead of the curve” on knowing what to do about bedbugs.  Says he:

“Therefore, New Yorkers are both more hands-on in the products they buy for monitoring and treatment of bedbugs and also more proactive at purchasing prevention items like mattress encasements and travel protectors.”

Because almost everyone knows someone who has experienced bedbugs by now, they know the value of the prevention items, Greenberg explains.

Topping his list of 10 preventative items purchased are luggage and clothing encasements–that is, containers for containers.  For the other nine, visit BrickUnderground.

New Web site points to best public schools using your maximum price to purchase or rent

SchoolFisher.com is for New Yorkers “who want Continue reading