In a move that’s left smokers gasping, a major New York real-estate company has banned smoking on all of its properties, including on private terraces and balconies.
Related Companies, which owns and operates apartments and condominiums all over the city, is now making new tenants sign a document promising not to smoke inside their apartments Read More
For the high-end real estate brokerage house Brown Harris Stevens, size is not what matters. The firm has just 350 agents and eight New York offices (as well as six in the Hamptons and two in Palm Beach). “We are not about being big,” says the company’s dapper president, Hall F. Willkie. “Just about being Read More
7:45 AM: Ryan Serhant, the former hand model/soap opera actor-turned-real estate superstar, beats The Observer to his Tribeca office by an hour. “I’m always the first one in,” brags the 28-year-old broker at Nest Seekers International, a boutique real estate brokerage firm.
He has been up since 4:23 a.m, was at the gym by 5 a.m. and in the office shortly thereafter. When we offer to go for a bleary-eyed coffee run, he yells from his office, “Don’t forget to write about how you were an hour late!”
In each issue of NYO, The Observer’s new real estate and lifestyle supplement, we will spotlight a different neighborhood. And what better neighborhood to start with than the venerable, diverse, complicated, constantly evolving Upper East Side, where The Observer was born and first trained its sights. The Upper East Side encompasses a large swath of Manhattan—stretching Read More
Toddlers in towers
Remember the days when a Barbie Dream House seemed like a splurge?
This week, a Chinese mother paid $6.5 million for a condo in Midtown’s One57 for her two-year old daughter to use when she goes to college, according to the Daily News.
As Kevin Brown of Sotheby’s international explained in an Read More
At first blush, the fourth-quarter Manhattan market reports would seem to be evidence of a holiday miracle: co-op boards were overwhelmed by contracts, inventory plummeted, prices skyrocketed and a tremendous amount of money changed hands.
Manhattan ended 2012 with a grand finale: more fourth quarter sales than it has seen in 25 years, according to Douglas Elliman, and the lowest level of inventory in more than a decade. Alas, as is increasingly the case in the Manhattan real estate market and the city at large, the wealth was not spread out evenly in the end-of-the-year closings. The trophy market, while shining brightly, is something of a false beacon when it comes to the Manhattan real estate. It illuminates the seemingly unshakeable good fortunes of the world’s wealthiest, but does not reveal the decidedly uncertain recovery and unstable footing of the financially struggling masses.
Closings can be fraught with tensions between buyers, sellers, co-op boards. But the end of 2012 has brought a new esprit de corps to high-end residential real estate deals. Finally, brokers report, everyone is happy to work together. Is it the holiday spirit uniting this diverse group? Not at all! Just a shared class consciousness born out of the knowledge that capital gains taxes will be increasing next year.
Much like trust transfers, there’s a real impetus to complete the deals before we all fall off the fiscal cliff. Capital gains taxes, as of January 1, are expected to rise from 15 percent to at least 23.8 percent, and possibly more.
Storms are the great equalizer, and none more so than last night’s Hurricane Sandy. The devastating gales and high tides did not take into account summer homes in the Hampton, $4,300+ apartments in the West Village, or anyone living near Tribeca. Okay, so it did look like certain parts of Queens, Brooklyn, LES, and all the hospitals got it worse than say, the Upper East Side, but that’s based on weather patterns, not net worth or number of listings in the society pages.
That being said, here is how Tinsley Mortimer weathered the storm.
off the record
A man’s home may be his castle, but for Wall Street Journal readers, home is Mansion, the newspaper’s aspirationally titled Friday shelter section, which debuted last week. Because houses are all well and good, but, given the choice, aren’t mansions better?
“We all like to think of our home as a mansion, even if it is a humble abode, and we all have the license to aspire, so we have created Mansion to be the home of both aspiration and real estate realization,” WSJ managing editor Robert Thomson said in a statement announcing the launch.
The section bears a subhead with a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that is uttered by the titular heroine about midway through the play.
“O, I have bought the mansion of a love, But not possess’d it,” reads the subhead.
Toshi just wants everyone to have a good time. That’s one of the first things the 38-year-old entrepreneur told The Observer as we sat on the bench outside his Flatiron Hotel. It was only 5:30 p.m., and inside the hotel’s groovy restaurant, brightly colored drinks were passed around as a woman in a sparkly white dress covered a Beyoncé song in a smoky, lounge-y growl.
Through the crowd, you could see into the Flatiron’s lobby, with its two-story cylindrical aquarium filled with exotic undersea creatures, including a remora, a type of suckerfish that resembles a shark and gets around by attaching itself to bigger fish.
The first floor is called Toshi’s Playground. “I just made these signs, look!” said Toshi (real name Robert Chan), pointing to an anime rendition of his dog, Ponzu. Ponzu is a Morkie, we were informed: half Maltese, half Yorkie.
Graphics of Toshi and Ponzu are everywhere: above a red velvet throne that greets customers when they walk in, and almost subliminally painted around the white-on-white minimalist penthouse where Toshi throws his parties.
Unfortunately for non-Ponzus, the Flatiron does not allow other dogs inside.
Ponzu’s ubiquity is more than just a cute gimmick. It’s part of a strategic rebranding of his master as a fun-loving nightlife figure, after Toshi’s last such effort backfired.