Jason Giambi hasn’t been lacking in friends since he came to New York in April to don the pinstripes for the New York Yankees. But what if the ascendant slugger needs to borrow a teaspoonful of sugar from a neighbor at tea time? Or catch the Yankees game on satellite TV?
Leo Hindrey’s ready to hook him up. The rookie chief of the YES Network, that embattled new cable station blocked by James Dolan’s Cablevision from broadcasting games in the homes of their three-million-plus subscribers, recently closed a deal on a condo in the Empire at 188 East 78th Street-seven floors up from the place that Mr. Giambi bought in the same building just last month.
Mr. Hindrey’s YES Network filed suit against Cablevision in late April, accusing the cable company of using anti-competitive measures to block distribution of YES programming on its systems.
“I’d prayed this day would never come,” Mr. Hindrey said in a statement. “But it is now obvious that Cablevision, which has a history of anticompetitive behavior, hopes to run YES out of business and restore and protect its own stranglehold over local sports.”
To which the Yankees-who have a stake in YES-have been gasping, “Amen!”
Mr. Hindrey’s apartment, the last unit to sell at the Empire, went for $3.5 million. For that price, he got a 2,900-square-foot pad on the 31st floor that features 10-and-a-half-foot-high ceilings and two terraces with views of three boroughs and New Jersey. The apartment also comes equipped with cherrywood kitchen cabinets, black granite counters and herringbone-patterned walnut floors.
Mr. Giambi paid just $3.3 million and got 3,000 square feet and an extra bedroom (albeit a maid’s room), which Mr. Hindrey doesn’t have. But the YES Network chief has those terraces and fireplaces-and brokers say he got the better deal.
Richard Steinberg of Ashforth Warburg brokered both deals, but the resident Yankees broker wouldn’t comment on either of them.
maya angelou stakes $275,000 claim on ‘second harlem renaissance’
The buzz about the “second Harlem renaissance” continues unabated-and with it has come a flood of personal investment from well-to-do black celebrities like CeCe Peniston, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Don Williams, DMX and Roberta Flack, all putting down roots in what is still, to many, the capital of black America.
The latest to arrive, tempest-tossed, on Harlem’s shores: poet laureate Maya Angelou, who seems to be starting some arduous work on the three-story, brownstone at 29 East 129th Street that she bought this January-for the fire-sale price of $275,000.
“Relatively speaking, it’s a bargain,” voluble Harlem real-estate maven Willie Kathryn Suggs told The Observer about Ms. Angelou’s purchase. Most “shells”-brokers’ lingo for the many buildings in Harlem that have retained their famous beautiful façades, but little of their interior charm-go for $400,000 and up. “But it’s not a bargain when you look at the rest of block.”
Theareajustone long block west of Ms. Angelou’s purchase has been attracting considerable attention from that hardy New York breedofreal-estatepoacherssince The New York Times ‘ Felicia Lee made it the focus of an award-winningthree-partseries chroniclingWest129th Street’s recovery from its crime- and drug-ridden past-and the unlikely and sometimes uneasy relationships between old-timers and newcomers, many of whom are white, that have resulted. But while the effects of that renewal are wending their way east-across the psychological divide of West and East Harlem at Fifth Avenue-brokers say it’s been a particularly slow march on 129th.
“[The renaissance] has not moved as fast on the East 129th Street blocks as it has on the other parts,” said Edward Myers Jr., senior partner of Myers, Smith & Granady, a Harlem real-estate brokerage.
Ms. Angelou, who teaches American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., is traveling and could not be reached to discuss the purchase.
Her broker, Shahara Oliver, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the property’s previous owner, Taqwa Enterprises.
Whatever Ms. Angelou’s motivations, Ms. Suggs estimated that she would need to sink upwards of $400,000 into the place to make it livable. Ms. Suggs said there had been a fire at the property within the last few years, and records from the New York City Department of Buildings show that in March of 2001, the building was “vacant, open and unguarded,” and its roof was “open to elements.”
Then there’s the legal wrangling. The building’s certificate of occupancy lists it as a “single-room occupancy hotel” or boarding house-meaning a bit of money and a lot of paperwork will be needed to make it into a one-family home.
The same was true of Ms. Angelou’s earlier efforts to invest in Harlem. Last year she put a $10,000 deposit down on a three-story house on West 120th Street, and the deal has still not closed. Ms. Oliver, who was also her broker on that deal, declined to discuss where it stands now that Ms. Angelou has closed on her East 129th Street residence.
The 74-year-old poet recently landed back on the best-seller list with A Song Flung Up to Heaven , the sixth and final volume in an autobiographical series that began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . Ms. Angelou has been attracting legions of admirers for the past four decades, but she made perhaps her most indelible impression on the national consciousness in 1993 by reciting her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration as President. Now he’s just a few short blocks away.
1070 Park Avenue
Three-bed, three-bath, 2,600-square-foot co-op.
Asking $2.5 million.
Selling $2.4 million.
Maintenance: $2,358; 43 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
PATIENCE PAYS OFF Riding uptown on Park Avenue to their board interview at 1070 Park, this lawyer turned hedge-fund manager and his wife realized that over the last two years, they’d checked out virtually every apartment building they passed. The clincher on this prewar apartment, which was sold by an estate, was its grand entertaining space and inviting gallery. But this won’t be one of those untouchable grand-dame apartments: The couple envisions their two toddlers “running baby wind-sprints and cluttering it with toys,” the ex-lawyer told The Observer . “We’re looking forward to a fall season spent with contractors and decorators.” All that may seem like a lot for a Park Avenue board to contend with-but their interview went swimmingly, the couple said. Roger Erickson, senior managing director of William B. May, brokered the deal.
170 Fifth Ave (the Piano Building)
Three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath, 2,736-square-foot condo.
Asking: $2.7 million.
Selling: $2.6 million.
Charges: $1,601. Taxes: $1,750
Time on the market: two months.
FORTY-EIGHT HOURS A Canadian bought this 10th-floor raw condo from the sponsor for about $2 million in 2000, then gutted it and added three bedrooms, a marble bathroom, a huge open kitchen, four-exposure windows and broadband Internet wiring-all without ever moving in. When a fiftysomething chairman of a large financial-consulting company and his wife came around looking for a place that was funkier than their old digs in the same neighborhood, they made the Canadian an offer even before the renovation was complete. The buyers signed a contract, but their enthusiasm seems to have been infectious: The Canadian wavered on sealing the deal and didn’t sign it himself, saying he might move into the place after all. Forty-eight hours later, the chairman sweetened the pot, a new contract was closed, and Michael Shvo-a vice president at Insignia Douglas Elliman who brokered the deal-called it closed.
189 Further Lane
Five-bedroom house on 3.2 acres of land.
Asking: $5 million. Selling: $4.65 million.
Time on the market: two years.
HAMPTONS SWAP A single corporate lawyer in his late 40’s was already sitting pretty with an apartment on Central Park West and a house in Bridgehampton, but when this place on Further Lane came on the market in the spring of 2000-it’s the street where Jerry Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and art dealer Larry Gagosian live-he couldn’t pass up the chance to upgrade his Hamptons seat. Not only is the new place a stone’s throw from the