I am 22 and I own a modest apartment in the Village. I am not an Ecclestone sister, fertilizer heiress or start up sell out. I am a normal 20-something. I don’t own a matching set of dishes, and I’m not entirely sure how to do laundry without ruining something.
Before the purchase, I was shelling out over $2,000 a month for a four flight walk-up, a glorified attic in the not-yet-chic part of Alphabet City. The building was home exclusively to 20-somethings who assumed this is how we should be living. For us, that’s what Manhattan housing is: terrible walk-up apartments in trendy neighborhoods or luxury apartments with three or more roommates.
Tax the Rich
It’s a story that pops up every few years: New York City’s co-operative apartments—especially those on the Upper East and West Sides and in the wealthiest neighborhoods in brownstone Brooklyn—pay next to nothing in property taxes, leaving massive tax burdens for poorer renters.
Back in 2009, for example, the Manhattan Institute found that 740 Park Avenue, that limestone-faced bastion of privilege home to billionaires like David Koch, was taxed as if it were a postwar rent-stabilized building in Yorkville.
According to a report released today (.pdf) by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, nothing’s changed.
They say nothing is certain except death and taxes, but—as estate planners know—there’s nothing particularly certain about those either, especially this year. In the month and a half since Barack Obama won re-election, the only thing wealthy New Yorkers have been sure of is that if you want to give a gift, the time to Read More
There’s something to be said for embracing stereotypes. At least as far as political pundit, intellectual and Open Zion editor Peter Beinart is concerned.
Sure, Mr. Beinart and his wife Diana might have found the perfect co-op in the Village or a trendy loft in Tribeca. If they wanted to follow the herd, or at least scions of The New York Times, they would have snapped up a place in Brooklyn.
But the Beinarts—who just purchased a classic six complete with great light and river views at 755 West End Avenue—are apparently in love with the Upper West Side.
Gracious living is the hallmark of life at Wellington Tower Condominium. Luxuries like a round-the-clock doorman, concierge and parking valet, a skylit swimming pool, on-site maid services, dry cleaning and spa facilities provide residents “with the very essence of living well.”
Unless, that is, a resident falls from grace.
A few years ago it became obvious to the board of the East 82nd Street building that not everyone was contributing to Wellington Tower’s luxurious lifestyle. A few occupants—not many, but a few—were more than a little bit behind on their common charges. And although they weren’t paying for the kinds of comforts that smooth out life’s rough edges, they were still enjoying them. This didn’t seem right to the board. So they cut the delinquents off.
Ah, spring! The season of warm breezes, blossoming trees and brisk home sales is upon us. And last week saw a flurry of activity, with 22 contracts signed for homes $4 million and above, according to the Olshan Luxury Market report.
The number was a luxury market record for 2012, with the biggest contract signed for the $22 million duplex co-op at 88 Central Park West (12 room duplex co-op, park views, 6,000-square feet). However, most of the action was happening downtown and most of it involved condos (10 of the 22 contracts signed were for downtown condos).
Many a New York basement and unventilated bathroom is thick with the stuff; the city’s courts may be next.
A few weeks ago, Manhattan’s appellate court overturned an earlier decision blocking damage claims for health problems resulting from living in moldy buildings, The Journal reports—a decision that could result in a wave of personal injury lawsuits.
By now, word has traveled around New York’s society circles that video game magnate Gregory Fischbach and his wife Linda have put their home at 740 Park Avenue on the market.
In this market, however, it can take a while for these palatial grandaddy apartments to sell. Neighboring unit 4/5C, for example, has been on the market since August 2008. Initially priced at $35 million that unit has embarrassingly been chopped a full twelve million, remaining unsold at $23 million.
Apparently the Fischbach’s residence, on the 17th floor, will not suffer the same fate. It quietly came on the market earlier this year, and a source with close ties to the godly building has told The Observer that a prospective buyer has just passed the notoriously severe co-op board. A sale at 740, it would seem, is on the horizon.
Co-ops are the dominant form of for-sale housing on our fair isle, more difficult to get into (persnickety boards that have recently gotten that much more uppity) and generally more expensive to buy (bigger down payments and more stringent financial requirements). They account for roughly two-thirds of the Manhattan housing stock, with condos comprising much of the rest.
But, for a while there during the last decade, condos overtook co-ops as the preferred housing choice, maybe due to looser mortgages or just the simple ubiquity of all those gleaming, new towers. This reporter recalls offhand a study done by The Real Deal magazine that showed more than 9,000 condos proposed for Manhattan in 2005 alone—and most of them subsequently got built.
It appears, though, that the dowager has risen.
Rancher Tom Brokaw and his wife Miss South Dakota Meredith Auld Brokaw recently downsized their New York spread, buying a two-bedroom co-op at 33 East 79th Street. Their 10-room duplex at 941 Park Avenue went into contract back in April, but this being a New York City co-op, these things take time. The Read More