As Whole Foods opens in Harlem will real estate values rise even more?

Early next year, Whole Foods will open their much anticipated store at 125th street and Lenox avenue. The store will carry local vendors products including from Sylvia’s Restaurant. According to real estate brokers in the area, landlords are already gearing up to raise residential rents in the area as a result. The new store may also attract more retail tenants as well. Prices have appreciated substantially in Central Harlem in the last several years since the store was announced. 4 years ago, $2 million would have bought a nice townhouse in the West 130’s and now you are probably looking at a fixer upper in that range now and need to spend close to $3 million to get something move in ready.  Below 125 street, you will spend another $500k to $1 million to find that dream brownstone.

So which came first? Is there really a Whole Foods effect on real estate values or is it that Whole Foods chooses areas where values are on the rise and it continues to be that way. I think it’s a mixture of both. What do you think?

Upper West side only 33rd best nabe in NYC according to list

According to a recent study of best NYC neighborhoods, the Upper West side is the 33rd best nabe. The UWS as a neighborhood scored high due to schools, transportation and shopping but it’s score was lowered due to affordability of real estate. Interesting that TriBeCa got the number one spot and the Upper East side was 28th!

Seems to remind me of a recent episode of the Jim Gaffigan show on TVLand where there was a list of top 100  NYC comedians and he was not even on it. When he asked the author of the list why, she responded that it was for comedians who live in NYC and since he lives in Ohio he was not part of it. Of course on the show, Mr. Gaffigan lives in a 2 bedroom downtown NYC apartment.

Read the full story and view the list (angry comments optional)

Upper west side building not approved by LPC

466-468 Columbus avenue is currently  a 3 story building with retail that once housed the vegan restaurant, Blossom and Flywheel. The owners had submitted designs to create a new 8 story mixed use building on the site. The design was critiqued by the LPC and did not receive approval. The design team of BKSK will tweak their proposal and return at a later date.

Landmarks Wants Refinements for BKSK’s New Mixed-Use Building at 466-468 Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side

What is your favorite Downtown NYC building?

What is your favorite downtown Manhattan icon? Is it the Woolworth building which is undergoing a partial condo conversion? Is it the Freedom Tower? What about the curvaceous New York by Gehry? The Downtown skyline has been changing in the last few years.

What about 56 Leonard, the record breaking Jenga condo tower in TriBeCa?

Downtown Freedom tower

New York by Gehry

Upper West side schools- Rezoning news

Late this week, Department of education spelled out two possible plans to rezone Manhattan’s upper west side schools.  One proposal has the popular PS 452 moving to PS 191’s current location and PS 191 moving to a new building part of Riverside Center complex. This proposal has been met with much opposition as could be predicted. Another proposal has changes being made to the entire district up to the West 100’s.

A vote would have to be passed by December to take place in time for the Fall 2017 school year.

WSJ coverage


Riverside Park-Upper West side oasis

If you are living or thinking of living on Manhattan’s Upper West side,  and can find an apartment close to Riverside Park, you will always be able to do find something to do even if it’s just a stroll on a hot summer day.

There’s a Cherry Walk from 100th to 125th street on the water as well as the red clay tennis courts at West 96th street in case you want to channel the spirit of The French Open. There’s soccer fields, long winding paths, the Boat Basin Cafe and this just takes you into the West 70’s.  Here are some photos to get you motivated to take a walk on the Hudson River and maybe catch a sunset, take a free yoga class or watch an outdoor movie.  Click on the below for a list of events. Calendar of events in Riverside Park


One of the best places to live is in one of the many full service buildings on Riverside boulevard. There are a range of apartments from studios to family size apartments. Many of the buildings have roof decks, and swimming pools among the amenities. One of the best buildings is the newest addition- One Riverside Park where a 3 bed/3.5 of around 2000 sqft (185m2) can be had for under $5 million  or rented for under $10k per month.  Around the corner at 1 West end avenue, you can find interesting offerings at around $2000 per sqft and this building comes with a 20 year tax abatement.

Beyond the glitzy new condos in this section of Lincoln Square, you can find the more affordable Lincoln Towers, a postwar co-op on West end avenue. A 3 bedroom is for sale for $2.295 million with a monthly maintenance under $2500 per month. Prices are around $1500 per sqft in this pet friendly development which has several buildings and while not as fancy as it’s neighbors to the west, it is more centrally located, a full two avenues closer to Broadway including Zabar’s and the express subway stop.

Riverside boulevard buildings
Riverside boulevard buildings

Whether you decide to purchase, rent near Riverside Park or just pass through, there’s always plenty to do…


Is now the right time to buy a Manhattan apartment?

Certainly with all of the news of late about the slowing of the real estate market, what do you do if you are about to purchase a Manhattan apartment right now? I think it is wise to take a look at a number of factors within your personal situation.

1- How long will you stay in the apartment?
2- Will you be able to rent it out if you have an opportunity/need to move away due to work etc?
3- Will the additional monthly payment offset by tax advantages be more affordable than continuing to rent?
4- What price range are you in?

If you are leaving NYC in 2 years due to anticipated job transfer, purchase if you like, but best to stay away form a co-op due to the restrictions in renting. Typically, Manhattan co-ops will allow you to rent for 2 of 5 years. After that, you will need to move back or sell. Condos on the other hand allow for unlimited subletting. So if the resale value decreases on your recent purchase then you can rent it out. As sales prices go down, rents normally rise.

It has been well documented that the luxury market is experiencing a glut. So if you are going to buy that $15 mm townhouse, have your real estate broker do an analysis to make sure that it is worth the offering price. Recently, I had one potential client that brought to me a listing that was for a townhouse in Chelsea. I just didn’t believe that it was worth the ask and in fact it seemed like the price will probably go down in the future so I told him so.

At the other end of the market spectrum, if you are looking under $3 million that market is still moving  notwithstanding overpriced listings. So be prepared to compete at that level especially for 2 or 3 bedroom apartments which sell due to so many families staying in Manhattan and empty nesters whose dream may be a classic 6 on Central Park west or a 2 bedroom in the West Village.

Two other factors to consider are interest rates and the effect of Brexit. Interest rates are extremely low and even if prices level off slightly, interest rates will rise so the savings may be negated.

Brexit, most agree, may end up being a boon for the Manhattan real estate market, due to investors and buyers looking for a safe haven for their money.

In conclusion, you really need to do an analysis of what your personal situation is and if you decide to go forward with a purchase in a segment of the market that is peaking now, just make sure it’s a long term investment and not something that you need to get out of in 3-5 years.

Building profile 400 Central Park west

If you are thinking of buying on the Upper west one of the most desired building is within the postwar Park West Village. It is located at the corner of Central Park west and 100th street. The building features studios to 2 bedrooms (540 sqft(50m2) to 1140 sqft(105m2)). There are 1 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms with balconies. Apartments face either north or south due to the building being sideways on Central Park west and the 2 bedroom apartments have a second exposure either west or east.

Inside the building, there is a full time concierge, live-in-super, on site property manager, exercise room, children’s playroom, and laundry. Bike storage, storage and parking are also available on a wait list basis with parking in the outdoor parking lot going for only $204 per month! It takes about 1 year to get a space in the 400 Central Park west parking lot as of this time.

Best of all, 400 Central Park west has very low monthly charges. A 2 bedroom/2 bathroom which might sell for between $1.6-$1.9 million will have a common charge of about $900 and taxes around $400. For this reason, there are a limited number of apartments for sale in 414 unit building. Owners tend to purchase and stay or hold their properties long term.

The building also shares a playground with the neighboring buildings plus there is another playground inside Central Park at West 100th street. Many of the southern facing apartments have wonderful views of the Park and a Citi bike station is coming soon adjacent to the building.

Listings in 400 Central Park west




NYC Public swimming pools open

NYC swimming pools are open and Brick Underground has a comprehensive guide that they have published. Lasker Pool in Central Park is worth mentioning and is an Olympic size pool with lots of space though the morning session is a little more tranquil than the afternoon. One of the best tips is that the water is very cold and best on a very hot day. Read their full post to learn about the most recent renovated pool in the system as well as what to bring with you and what not to bring.

For those of you bringing the little ones, Lasker makes you leave the strollers outside but will let you bring car seats in. There is an area for the littlest little ones with fountains as the general pool can be a little raucous at times. Also the water in that area is a little warmer. Happy Summer!


What is your favorite area of Central Park?

Central Park has so many places to enjoy and seek refuge from a hot summer day. One of my favorite nooks of the park is the pool at West 100 street. It’s an area where you can see owners walk their dogs, ducks swimming, and even the occasional stray turtle planting their eggs. One of the advantages of this section is while it does swell up with picnickers on the weekend, it is nowhere near as crowded as sections closer to Midtown. That’s right Strawberry Fields, I am talking to you.