In This Week's [em]Observer[/em]…

The far East Side is not your father’s far East Side.
“Ever since Peter Falk lit the opening cigarette in the 1971 Broadway version of The Prisoner of Second Avenue, the eastern reaches of the Upper East Side have been known as a haven–or hell–for modest renters. The real-estate boom has changed all of that, prompting condo conversions as far east as First Avenue and turning a weathered redoubt for curmudgeons into a glossy destination for young, well-heeled families.” Go to story by Matthew Schuerman

Renting a Manhattan apartment not as tough as you think.
“You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Yet it’s something that has to be done many times a month in Manhattan: the hunt for an apartment to rent. But the hunt’s no worse here than in L.A. or even Boston. Really.” Go to The Lab by Tom Acitelli

How is American Apparel like 100 candles?
“Avoiding the glare of American Apparel isn’t easy these days, as the ever-expanding L.A.-based clothing chain continues to flip on more fluorescent lights across New York City. On Nov. 15, the international retailer opened its newest well-lit casual-wear emporium at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 19th Street–its 15th such location in Manhattan and Brooklyn in just three years. The California company that prides itself on providing “proper lighting” for its factory workers seems determined to do the same for gloomy Gotham streetscapes.” Go to Counter Espionage by Chris Shott

Mrs. De Niro buys Upper East Side limestone.
“Though Grace Hightower and her godly husband Robert De Niro just paid $20.9 million for a 15-room Central Park West apartment last month, she has also bought a $3,440,000 limestone townhouse at 516 East 89th Street. ‘She’s going to gut it and renovate it,’ said listing broker Beverly Feingold, a vice president at Halstead. ‘It could just be a hobby! I don’t know.’” Go to Manhattan Transfers by Max Abelson