Weekly Roundup: Sales and prices rise in Manhattan, surfeit of celebs on the move, U.S. stats up and down, yet another historic low rate

Manhattan sales jump 9.3 percent over year earlier in third quarter, median prices climb 2.7 percent

Residents praise lifestyle of small spaces, and developers show big interest in them

Much desired sponsor apartments in co-ops bear scrutiny

11 groups lodge lawsuit seeking to block NYU expansion

Prices of single-family homes in broad region off 2.6 percent from prior year, bucking national trend

10th annual Open House New York weekend to celebrate city’s architecture, design

Land-use committee approves massive Lower East Side development

To developer’s dismay, those billionaires strive to leave individualistic impressions on One57 tower

Oscar winner sells Upper West Side penthouse for more than $1.7 million

Actress’ puts Ojai retreat legally on the market for $10 million

Nick and Meagan seek Continue reading

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The High Road: Today Show stoops to new low

Many years have passed since I started viewing the Today Show for a sample of the latest news.

Old habits, as they say, die hard, and I’m probably doomed to hang onto that one.  Enough of the pandering celebrity interviews, the glimpses into the on-camera personalities’ lives and Matt’s trips around the world.

I thought things were bad enough until Friday’s broadcast, which I had planned to ignore on this blog.  But two full days after watching a Barbara Corcoran segment, I cannot restrain myself from ranting about the shameless new low to which Today’s producers permitted themselves to stoop. Continue reading

The High Road: Today gives poor appraisal advice

While sipping my second cup of coffee the other day, something I heard on the Today show had me sputtering in disbelief.  What a mess!

Okay, I exaggerate, but MSNBC financial analyst Vera Gibbons was providing poor advice to homeowners on how to get a fair appraisal when selling or refinancing their residence.

To be fair, television demands brevity, but some of her comments struck me as uninformed or disingenuous.

With respect to folks refinancing with the same lender that directly holds the mortgage, Gibbons basically urged pleading with the loan officer to choose an appraiser who is skilled, competent and state certified.

Correctly, she notes that “you can’t go out and pick your appraiser.”  Seemingly skeptical of her counsel, she does creditably say that homeowners may have just “a little bit of say.”

So far, so good.

But Gibbons then remarks Continue reading

Out and About: How does your garden grow?

One of the houses with virtues that Barbara Corcoran extolled recently on the Today Show.

The one-bedroom, two-bath duplex I was checking out during a Sunday open house recently has two assets and many liabilities.

On the minus side are its entry almost directly into the small kitchen (in which an ancient dishwasher caught my eye), cramped living room, a spiral staircase so narrow that I had to hunch my shoulders, its bedroom (albeit one that fits the legal definition) in the basement and baths that I’d classify as ordinary.

On the plus side is its location in a Central Park block of the high 60s, a stone’s throw from Lincoln Center.  (To digress, when you see “steps from” in a listing, consider the Fair Housing Act, which bars discrimination against persons with disabilities.)

Also on the plus side — and the only conceivable explanation for the co-op’s inflated asking price of Continue reading

NBC never pays sources for the news. Right.

Having been a traditional print journalist years ago (and now obviously a blogger and a newsletter writer), I noted with particular interest the Today Show’s coverage of David Goldman’s recovery of his son from Brazil.

The reason for my interest is that NBC chartered the jet on which Goldman and his son Sean were flown back to the United States. I don’t know whether NBC also paid for Goldman’s accommodations in Brazil or anything else, but I’m betting that the company did so.

Certainly, helping the Tinton Falls, N.J. real estate agent and charter-fishing boat captain with his exorbitant expenses must be characterized as a humanitarian gesture.  However, it was not altruistic.

No upstanding journalist will argue that it is ethical to pay a source for access, and it’s hypocritical for NBC to maintain that it doesn’t give money or other benefits to newsmakers. Continue reading