On the Market: Everything in New York Is Small, Expensive and Hard to Move



It cost New York’s first family a rather astounding $145,000 to relocated from Park Slope to Gracie Mansion, according to The New York Times. Of that, the $80,000 went to making upgrades and renovations to the house and schlepping the family’s possessions—”Gracie Mansion has not had residents in over 12 years; it had to be turned back into a home,” said a spokesperson; so much for museum quality!—while $65,000 was the value of the donated West Elm furnishings. The physical move itself cost just $6,135.

A parking lot at 322-326 West 44th Street—literally right next to the Observer building—is now being marketed as a 99-year net-lease by owners Manhattan Parking Group, who bought it for $6.8 million in 2007, according to Crain’s. The site could accommodate about 35,400 square feet of development and has flexible zoning.

Space is, after all, very much at a premium. To wit, The New York Times reports that luxury developers are targeting busy crosstown thoroughfares more and more, among them 14th, 23rd and 57th. In the past, The Times writes, “privacy and quaintness were the selling points of narrow side streets with one-way traffic. Home sweet home did not apply to the two-way corridors.” Except, ahem, for Park.

Even Queens is feeling the space crunch. The size of apartments in Long Island City is shrinking fast, The Wall Street Journal reports, as land prices rise and developers realize that buyers and renters will still pay up for smaller spaces. The one-bedrooms in Madison LIC, a new development, are 25 percent smaller than those built just seven years before and a Modern Spaces report found that the average square footage of Long Island City condos on the market fell each quarter since the beginning of 2012.

So perhaps it’s not so surprising that the middle class seems to be fleeing from expensive coastal cities to more affordable inland ones where they can enjoy a better life. The New York Times reports that “the country’s fastest-growing cities are now those where housing is more affordable than average, a decisive reversal from the early years of the millennium, when easy credit allowed cities to grow without regard to housing cost and when the fastest-growing cities had housing that was less affordable than the national average.”

One advantage to moving to Oklahoma City or Colorado Springs: never having to take the G train or the G train shuttle again. The train is so bad that some riders even think that shuttle bus service during the very long construction project is preferable to the unreliable line, according to Brooklyn Brief, which published a round-up of rider “reviews.”

Also, possibly cleaner waterways. This Sunday, New York Triathlon athletes were once again required athletes to display fearlessness when it came to jumping in the grimy Hudson River. The New York Times was there to confirm that few were able to complete the task without the Hudson Mustache—the smearing of dirt and debris that affixes itself to swimmers’ faces during the swimming portion of the challenge.

Last of all, Crain’s had an $83 lunch with Dottie Herman at the Four Seasons. They ate two salads and had two coffees and the ambiance was pleasant, the service attentive (no surprises there, it is the Four Seasons). The Douglas Elliman chief thinks the market is strong, but not so strong that you can get into the game without being willing to lose some of your own money (credit isn’t as easy to come by as it was.). Also, she doesn’t hold Leonard Steinberg’s decision to go to Urban Compass against him: “If you hire people who never go anywhere, then you’re not going to have a great company.”

On the Market: Everything in New York Is Small, Expensive and Hard to Move