Out and About: A sad tale of two kitchens

Brownstone kitchen

What is the antithesis of a “chef’s” kitchen?

One kitchen, in a townhouse floor-through in a Central Park block of the high 80s, fills a nook off a hallway.

The second kitchen fills, overwhelmingly, the living room of a three-bedroom duplex in Lincoln Square.

Both of them are stunning — in the first case because it is so inadequate and, in the second case, because it is so out of scale. Continue reading

Advertisements

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

Out and About: $25 million is a lot of money

Fully paneled dining room of mansion on Central Park West.

Only buyers can determine what a property is worth to them, so there’s no way for someone who isn’t a lender’s appraiser to decide with any level of certainty the value of the mansion on Central Park West.

Twenty-five feet wide in the mid 80s, the house retains many original details such as carved mahogany mantles, bay windows, coffered ceilings, paneled dining room, very high ceilings, impressively scaled main floor and stained glass windows evocative of Tiffany.  There are three exposures and four outdoor spaces.

Three of the five floors were renovated to various standards, including central air conditioning; the top two floors have been gutted, exposing pipes and opening up walls and ceilings. 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: Love thy neighbor but not thy neighbor who is trying to sell a similar property

One of the brownstone gardens among many.

The listing sounds pretty tempting:

“. . . [A] den/dining/sunroom with skylights and large windows to the lush garden, a true Eden.”

This one seems just as nice:

“In a historic townhouse, this apartment has three levels, a beautiful, private garden, and 2 or 3 bedrooms with 2 renovated baths.”

And there’s this one:

“The living room opens to the verdant garden of approximately 500 square feet, with attractive hardwood decking surrounded by lush plantings.”

This too (albeit grammatically erratic):

“Cute Garden with grill, quiet with lots of plants and lovely brick walkway connecting kitchen Garden.”

And another.

Here’s another:

“Beautiful brownstone triplex with large landscaped garden, three bedrooms and three and a half baths, steps from Central Park.”

And the last:

“Large bright parlor floor 2 bedroom with 12-foot ceilings and classic hardwood detail  . . .  Eight-foot windows look out on a well maintained private garden.”

Although you may have surmised with some justification that I’m fixated on gardens again, my point Continue reading

The Big Apple: CPW sale turns tidy profit. More!

She who hesitates hardly is lost

Mildred Furiya bought her townhouse in Brooklyn for $16,000 in 1966 with a cash gift from her father. Now she plans to list the dwelling for approximately $1.895 million.

A sale at that price would represent an 11,744 percent increase over 45 years — or an annual return of about 11 percent, says the New York Times.

Numbers cruncher says he’s bullish on Manhattan

Manhattan just doesn’t behave like the rest of the country Continue reading

The Big Apple: Flip tax, prices, big sales, more

Look for more or expanded flip taxes in co-ops

A growing number of co-ops are considering creating or expanding flip taxes as they struggle to replenish reserve accounts depleted by rising costs.

A survey commissioned by Habitat magazine found that close to two-thirds of responding co-op boards already have in place what’s colloquially called a flip tax — formally, a “transfer fee.”

Of the 186 co-op boards responding to the survey, more than 129 charge some kind of transfer fee or administrative fee paid by the seller of an apartment when the unit is sold.

“A couple dozen of our buildings may be looking at the issue,” says Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty, which manages 400 properties.

Once a co-op board decides to consider a flip tax, there seems to be broad agreement about what type to institute. “Two percent of the total sales price of an apartment seems to be the number that everybody likes,” according to property manager Gerard J. Picaso.

An Upper East Side mansion that went begging for 7 years finds a buyer at last

A 13-room townhouse at 870 Park Ave. originally listed for $23 million in 2004 finally has found a new owner. Continue reading