Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trend Watch: Flip Flop Flop?

I've been watching very carefully with trepidation over the past week as Spring has officially sprung. What for? Daffodils? Cherry Blossoms? No, quite the opposite, the return of the dreaded Flip Flop! I remember distinctly last year on my trip to the equally dreaded 4,5,6 train, on the first warm day of the year, hearing that ever present clip, clop, clop. At first I looked around looking for a horse, thinking "what would a horse be doing on Lexington Avenue"? Then I looked down to see that I was surrounded by number of young women on their way to work wearing flip flops! Intrigued and equally dismayed I had my eye out as I hopped the overcrowded 4 train for more of the same. Sure enough, they were everywhere! Worse yet, they were a sight to make your eyes sore. Now if you were a foot model on your day off, maybe I wouldn't have such a problem, but foot models most are not. Have some self respect ladies, look at your feet, and if you are plagued by corns, bunions, and hammertoes, keep them to yourself! Nobody want to see them! Not to mention, a fresh coat of nail polish wouldn't hurt either. As much as ugly feet are offensive, the fact that so many people see wearing flip flops as appropriate footwear for work is equally dismaying. Have we really gone this far down the road to casual sloppiness. I mean, what's next, bikini tops?
O k , so much for my rant. Here is the good news. I have been on the lookout for the march of the flip flop this year and well, it still early yet, but I have been pleasantly surprised to see more dignified sandals, ballet flats, etc. out on the streets. Of course, the "croc" is gaining in popularity (that a whole other rant, people will be embarrassed a couple years down the road that they wore such a stupid looking thing), but at least they keep foot abnormalities discreet.
We can only hope the trend continues and that they days of the flip flop are numbered. Next up, those annoying people who wear sweat suits for air travel.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Legacy To Behold

The Legacy, on East 84th Street between 3rd and Lex has been unveiled. I passed the building last night, and to my surprise, the scaffolding was gone, and the VIPs were rolling in, paparazzi and all. I thought I would try to invite myself as well, but was politely told that this was the developer's party and that brokers would be invited next week. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the sheet of glass exterior designed by renowned Architect Costas Kondylis. The building, formerly a parking garage, doesn't exactly fit in with the architecture in the area, but it struck me as decidedly unoffensive and to a large degree appealing. Rumor has it that the 7 story structure will house 7, ultra-luxury, 5000 sq ft homes priced up to $1400 per square foot. The building is reported to have a doorman, common roof space, fitness center, wine cellar, and more. Sales will be handled by Carrie Chang of Corcoran. I will report back with the actual numbers as they come available.

Friday, April 13, 2007

LIC Madness!!!

It's official, LIC is officially in boom mode. After much speculation, it has finally happened. The once down at the heels middle class and artist hideout, 2 minutes on the 7 train from Grand Central has finally been found, and prices are moving up vigorously.
Several new condos have opened in the past 6 months and they have been getting snatched up at a record pace. Price per square foot is also moving up nicely with averages jumping from $600 per foot to $750 per foot during the same period. Multiple price amendments are the norm and buildings like 10-50 Jackson have seen 90% of their units gobbled up in just a few weeks. With the exception of Arris Lofts a little further inland, there is the potential that there will be virtually no inventory around a month from now. Don't fret, there are still opportunities on the horizon, as the large Powerhouse project on 5th Street and a couple of boutique condos are ready to open in time for summer. My advise, have your running shoes handy, as the second these buildings open, informed buyers are likely to pounce. Given the likelihood of multiple price amendments, getting in first could be very profitable.

East Harlem on the move!

I've spent a day this week touring the streets and condos of East Harlem from 110th Street to 129th Street from Fifth Avenue and East to the river. I have to say, my trip was an eye-opener in many ways. Here are some of my observations:

First, I don't recall one block on any street that didn't have at least one condo going up. The amount of construction is surely the greatest in the area in 100 years. Vacant lots are getting snatched up, community gardens are being moved and renovated to make room for development, and old 4 story brownstones are being torn down to make way for shiny glass 7 story condos.

Second, there is an incredibly wide disparity in pricing per square foot. For instance at Roosevelt Lane (111th between 2nd and 3rd), a seven story intercom, elevator building 3 2 year year old apartments were listed with prices peaking at $900/ft.. In the meantime, up at The Ivy on 118th and 2nd Ave, which has a doorman, prices average $660/ft for 2 bedroom units. As a whole, condos in the area largely average in the $600's per square foot. Buyers beware! Shop around and do your due diligence. The positive spin on the higher priced units is that if a few of these sell, you could see a significant increase in asking price per square foot in the area.

Third, I was charmed by an area known as "Pleasant Village" an area from 114th to 120th between First Avenue and Pleasant Avenue. This area is known for it's Italian heritage and there is evidence in the form of 110 year old Rao's and Patsy's Pizza in the area, while in truth there were plenty of Irish and Germans in the area 100 years ago. Pleasant Avenue itself evokes a kind of Sutton Place charm with gorgeous old brownstone lining all 6 blocks. Tragically, the area does not have historic landmark designation. The area is further threatened by a huge development to it's East at the former site of the Washburn Wire factory which will house nearly 500,000 sq ft of retail space including Home Depot and Target. I can only hope that there is no access from Pleasant Avenue, or the bucolic enclave would surely be overrun with noise and traffic.

Finally, one of the best opportunities, aside from buying up condos at $600/ft., would be the development angle. There are buildable 25' x 100' lots, both vacant or with 4 story buildings priced just at and above the $1,000,000 mark. Considering that these lots typically allow 8600sf buildable, a fully built condo would gross around $5,000,000. So, you have $4,000,000. to get from here to there and you keep the change. If you need a lot, feel free to call!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Hello to all!
I want to welcome everyone to my newest creation, a blog dedicated to life and real estate in New York City. I hope that this blog will not only offer unique insight into the ins and outs of the real estate scene, but also insight into city living in general.
I first moved to New York at Age 7, way back in 1974 when the city was is fiscal disarray, the streets were considered dangerous, yet a 7 year could walk himself home from school. Yes, back then tourists would fear Times Square, there were few if any chain stores, no starbucks, and plenty of grime to go around. But, alot can be said for those days, filth can be embraced and romanticized, danger and fear only made us stronger back then.