Recent Transactions and Trends

The Daily News recently wrote that “Brooklyn was always considered a poor step child to Manhattan, but now its really coming into its own.”  That’s because many Wall Street executives have found a new home in Brooklyn Heights.  Many of these millionaires have been purchasing brownstones at a cost of $10-$20 million.  The appeal? Close enough to New York City, and very low key neighborhoods.  In addition, Columbia Heights, the “city’s off-the-radar Millionaires Row,” boasts phenomenal views.  It remains to be seen whether the exodus will continue to other parts of Brooklyn.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/02/wall-street-executives-discover-tiny-part-brooklyn/48384/

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It turns out that today is the 52nd anniversary of the use of the name “East Village” which was apparently monikered by real estate agents in the 1960’s.  The New York Times first mentioned “East Village” in its article entitled “Village Spills Across 3D Ave.”  The article indicates that the destruction of the Third Avenue El (an elevated train in the Bronx and Manhattan) in 1956 “helped stir up a minor social and realty revolution on the Lower East Side.”  Interestingly enough, real estate agents were responsible for the name: “Rental agents-some of them advertising rooms for ‘$40 and down’-are increasingly referring to the area as Village East or East Village.”  Don’t ask what $40 gets you these days in Manhattan.  Of course, the more “luxuries” the apartment had such as “bathrooms, new kitchens and air-conditioning”, the pricier the pad.
 
Anyway, Happy Name Day East Village and many more…
 

For those of you familiar with the DeWitt Clinton Park at West 52nd Street and 12th Avenue, there is an astonishing work of natural sculpture (see photographs below).  The rock formation has smooth curves and bubbly folds, which was formed as a result of one tectonic plate that has been sutured into another.  The only other evidence of this rock formation is in Pelham Bay in the Bronx.  This collision took place 450 million years ago (ok, so maybe Hell’s Kitchen did not get its name because of this).

How is this relevant to New Yorkers?  Well, this phenomenon has actually shaped the way our New York skyline developed.  There are generally two locations in New York where there is enough bedrock close enough to the street level that towers could be anchored to it: Midtown and Downtown.  Next time you are near these rock formations in DeWitt Clinton Park or the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, look towards Midtown and Downtown and appreciate how these rock formations shaped our beautiful skyline.

See the full story here: 

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/450-million-years-ago-hells-kitchen-earned-its-name/

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Actress Susan Sarandon recently made a third real estate purchase in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, on Grand Avenue.  The home boasts 2,500 square feet, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, twelve foot ceilings, and seven (that’s right) skylights.  This helps where Ms. Sarandon may want some sun but not head to the roof deck.  Oh, and there is a two car garage. 
 
Check out pictures of Ms. Sarandon’s new digs, as well as pictures of her $1.75 million Chelsea penthouse and her $3.2 million Chelsea duplex.
 
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/31/third_homes_a_hideous_charm_for_susan_sarandon_in_brooklyn.php

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It has been difficult to nail down exactly what type of area SoHo really is; does it qualify as a tourist trap, a business district, or a neighborhood?  Many residents find the number of tourists daunting, which usually attracts more traffic, garbage, and street vendors selling stuff New Yorkers would never buy.  The solution: the formation of SoHo Business Improvement District.
 
The SoHo Business Improvement District would be a private and public partnerships, which would focus on sanitation, marketing, and beautification.  Opponents say that the SoHo Business Improvement District is nothing more than an “undemocratic layer of governance” what will follow what commercial real estate firms want, and not residents.  A public hearing before the City Council will be held this March.
 
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/30/is_soho_a_business_district_tourist_trap_neighborhood.php

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Attention!! This is your final opportunity to visit the legendary Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark’s Place, between First and Second Avenue.  Saturday night will be the final night of service and after that, locks will be changed immediately.  A new unnamed bar will be moving in.

Holiday was opened by Stefan Lutak in 1965 and quickly became a spot for poets and intellectuals such as W.H. Auden, Leon Trotsky, and Allen Ginsberg.  Even Madonna reportedly hung out here before she became big.

In 2006, Caroline Dworin wrote a beautiful piece on the Holiday for the New York Times saying: “There is great poignancy to the case of the New York dive bar.  In such an ever-shifting metropolis, whose streets, like rivers, are never the same streets twice, whose heights rise ever upward into taller, better, sleeker plains of steel, those small and stagnant pools may be the only place left where a man can see his reflection.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/nyregion/thecity/31dive.html

If you have some time and you’re in Lower Manhattan, you should go check out Holiday.

For more information, click here http://ny.eater.com/archives/2012/01/classic_dive_the_holiday_cocktail_lounge_closing_saturday.php

A-Rod’s fear of commitment continues; the slugger is selling his Upper West Side 3,500 square foot apartment, furnished with Andy Warhol prints of Marilyn Monroe.  The New York Yankee is selling his five-bedroom apartment for approximately $8 million, a considerable difference from the $5.5 million cost last February.

Click here to take a look at pics of A-Rod’s apartment:
 
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/rod-sells-nyc-condo-considerable-profit-161618917.html
 

Jeter, however, is still having trouble selling his $20 million Trump Tower penthouse if anyone is interested:
 
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Movin-on-up-Buy-Jeter-s-luxurious-NYC-penthous?urn=mlb-309328
 
Which New York Yankee pad do you prefer?

For those of you who live in New York City, or who have looked for apartments in New York City, you know that $600 per month will get you a broom closet in an outerborough with a communal bathroom.  Well, on the upper east side, between 64th and 65th street near York Avenue, residents typically pay $600 per month for an approximately 370 square foot apartment.  These 190 rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments have played a vital role for lower- and middle-class tenants for a very long time.
Stahl Real Estate (the owner), however, has applied to demolish the building and has submitted a hardship application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.  They claim that the $600 per month rents do not generate sufficient economic return and, as such, they look to make way for a high-rise building.  Hardship status can be obtained if the building generates less than 6% in profit.  Opponents of Stahl’s plan, however, claim that the units could easily go for $1,500 per month and, therefore, the buildings could generate an annual return of 13%.  Interestingly, there is nothing on StreetEasy that shows anything less than $1,350 a month.  
Do you think Stahl should tear down the building and make way for a high-rise building?
Full story on the Wall Street Journal:

On 67th and Park Avenue, there is a 21-room apartment that occupies three floors of the 660 Park Avenue building.  The apartment itself, however, has always enjoyed its own “devilish” address, as 666 Park Avenue.  The first resident, in the 1920’s, was the distinguished Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, who paid $185,000 for the unit.  At the time, it was the most ever paid for a residence in Manhattan.  By 1991, the home listed by owner Leslie Samuels for $9 million.  Today, this listing could perhaps sell for over $25 million, however, the Samuels couple spent more than 40 years entertaining in this Park Avenue home and it does not appear that they are moving any time soon.
 
Click below for more information and articles on the 666 Park Avenue residence:

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/01/23/a_peek_behind_the_devilish_veil_at_the_real_666_park_avenue.php

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The Trump SoHo hotel/apartment complex is auctioning off its common hotel areas and any unsold condos.  It appears that the auction sale is taking place due to a number of problems with the building, including a number of lawsuits brought by condo buyers who claimed that Trump SoHo misrepresented the number of apartments that had already been sold.  The prices of the apartments range from $2.5 million to $8.7 million.  Click here to see what these luxury apartments look like:
 

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