Halloween in Riverside Park

In Riverside Park, on Manhattan’s Upper west side, The Halloween children’s parade took place at about 3:30pm today with many participants. The children marched from the Soldiers and Sailors monument on west 89th street down to the Hippo Playground. The Parks dept provided donuts and there was live music as well.




Deli set to open on Central Park west

This photo was taken this week as a banner has gone up advertising the Park Pleasant Deli coming soon to the north west corner of West 100th street and Central Park west. This is one of only two retail locations on Central Park west below 101st street. Formerly, a dry cleaners, the space has been subdivided and the deli will take up the corner location and the other space appears to be still available for lease.



189 Edgecombe avenue Harlem townhouse coming soon to the market

A single family townhouse at 189 Edgecombe avenue will be coming to the market later this week. It features 4 bedrooms/ 2 bathrooms on the top two floors plus a parlor floor with living room and dining room/den. The yard is accessed from the kitchen. It is located within walking distance of the A,B,C and D train on West 145th street. It can be renovated or lived in as is depending on the buyer and budget. The price will be under $2 million which is rare for a property that is intact and not an SRO.

Pictures and floor plan later this week and first open house Sunday 12:30pm -2pm.

Is Brownstone Lane Harlem’s best kept secret?

The condominium known as Brownstone Lane I and II is located on West 118th street, West 119th street and West 120th street between Frederick Douglass boulevard and Morningside avenue adjacent to Harlem’s Restaurant Row and a short walk to Morningside Park. In addition, with the express subway at 125th street it’s easy commute to Midtown. But why are so few apartments for sale? Currently there aren’t any apartments for sale and only 3 for rent. There can be several reasons for this.

Price is very attractive at around $1200 per sqft. Recently, a 3bd/2ba 1419 sqft apartment transacted at $1,740,000 and was in the market for less than 2 months before it went to contract. Brownstone Lane I does not allow subletting so that may explain the less transitory nature of the buildings. With the neighborhood amenities plus the architectural aesthetic of the Brownstone facades which fit well in the neighborhood, it is not surprising that some buyers may eschew the fancier glass buildings on FDB in favor of the more traditional look and feel of this complex. Also, the common courtyards give children and families a chance to get to know their neighbors.

Since the buildings are tax abated until 2033, that may also explain a lack of willing sellers. Upgrading to a larger apartment is difficult when you have a nice amenity package, convenient location and very low monthly charges.

Brownstone Lane

Brownstone Lane

Brownstone Lane I on the left on West 119th street where there aren't any apartments for sale currently. Prices are around $1200 per sqft and the complex is tax abated until 2033.
Brownstone Lane I on the left on West 119th street where there aren’t any apartments for sale currently. Prices are around $1200 per sqft and the complex is tax abated until 2033.



Looking for something to do for Halloween on the Upper West side?

Take a look at DNAInfo’s guide to Halloween on the Upper West side in the below link. Tricking or treating at the Museum of Natural History sounds like a good one. Personally, I like to make the trip downtown to see the Village’s Halloween Day Parade.


DNAInfo guide to your Halloween on the Upper west side

Village Halloween Day parade info

Fall foliage in Central Park

As we get deeper into the Fall season, more and more of Autumn’s colors are on display in Central Park. On Manhattan’s upper west side at west 100th street there is a “lake” aka the pool which is ideal place to view the colorful show that was once described as fireworks in slow motion. Here is an appetizer of what is to come.


Central Park Conservancy to restore paths, meadow near 86th street

One of the few areas of Central Park that has not seen restoration in the last 30 years will be received a $5 million face lift thanks to the Central Park Conservancy. The Meadow area which is mostly dirt on the way to the Reservoir near the 86th street entrance will get some new grass and sidewalk improvements as well to make the area around and to the Reservoir more accessible to people with disabilities.

Read the full coverage on DNAInfo


Is 418 Central Park west the best kept secret on Manhattan’s Upper west side?

418 Central Park west aka The Braender condo located between 101 and 102 street in the Manhattan valley section of the upper west side,  features 88 units and a unique facade. The doorman building has storage, laundry and bike room. The building is located directly across from Central Park and within 1 block of the B,C subway and a short walk to the shops at Columbus Square including Whole Foods, Michael’s and Home Goods.

Recent sales included a renovated 3bd/3ba with park views that went for $2.4 million. Common charges and taxes were combined $2098 for this 1372 sqft condo. Pretty reasonable given the location. Currently, no apartments show available for sale and there is one rental of a small 500 sqft 1 bedroom for $2400.


The Braender condo features 88 units and is located between 101-102 street.
The Braender condo features 88 units and is located between 101-102 street.
The archway at the entrance of 418 Central Park west.
The archway at the entrance of 418 Central Park west.
418 CPW seen from Central Park west
418 CPW seen from Central Park west


Is now the right time to buy a Manhattan apartment?

Periodically, we ask the same question that maybe many buyers ask themselves. Is NOW the right time to buy a Manhattan apartment? So many reports and so much confusing data, broker speak, developers’ spin etc…. How do you interpret it all and make a wise purchase that your family can enjoy without overpaying?

Let’s start with the obvious and state the market is a dichotomy right now. Over $5mm, you need to be patient as a buyer and make sure you find value. A 2500 sqft apartment with a view of Central Park on Manhattan’s upper west side in a recent conversion that is selling well is value. See 360 CPW for example. According to streeteasy.com, 26 active listings and all 26 properties in contract. Look for higher prices on the next round of listings. Take a look at 50 Riverside boulevard, aka One Riverside Park, the amenity rich building at the southern tip of Riverside boulevard. A 3 bedroom/3 bathroom there that sold for $4.1 million is up for sale for $4.35 million. At a price under $2000 per sqft. That’s pretty reasonable if that word can be used to describe Manhattan real estate.

Abover the $5mm mark, it gets dicey, above $10 mm even more so. In this range,  the market has slowed and it really warrants a careful analysis to see if you are actually getting value to avoid buying something that will be worth 20% less in 1 year. But in some cases, when you shop for a unique property(let’s say over $20mm), it might just be that you want a specific location, amount of outdoor space or a certain building. At that price points, if you found that needle in the haystack you probably will need to pay for it.

Where do you need to be very careful if you are searching for a value or solid investment under $3 million? Watch out for walk ups or first floor units. These type of apartments sell well when the market is hot. Let’s say you want to sell in 5 years in a tepid market ,you might take a hit. Also, watch out for buildings with higher than normal monthly charges. Ask why are they so high. Generally speaking, you will pay about $2 to $2.5 per sqft in monthly charges depending on the building. Above that, you are in the higher end of the range and may end up with even higher charges in the coming years. The higher your common charges go up beyond the norm, the harder it will be for your apartment to appreciate.

In summary, it might be the exact time to buy right now with interest rates low, and if you find either an apartment that has built in value due to price or the amount of space that you will need long term.


Here comes the Sun: Will NYC become the Solar City?

Sunday’s NYT article detailed some of the many reasons that not only single family homes in the suburbs are installing solar systems. Thanks to falling costs and grants from NYS, many buildings can recoup their expenses in about 5 years from installing solar panels. Additionally, thanks to some new innovative techniques, more solar panels can be installed on even flat brownstone roofs. However, one of the limited factors is the NYC fire code which restricts how much surface area of a roof can be covered by panels.