Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Morning Links

A real busy day in real estate news here in the city. Swine Flu too. My over/under on seeing people with masks turned out to be an under. My first sighting was not on a train, but on East 84th Street. Thanks to all the tipsters who documented sightings as early as Monday.
Swine Flu
Swine Flu Spawns Surgical Mask Gorilla Marketing Idea (Gawker)
17 Year Old So Sick With Swine Flu That She "Couldn't Text" (Forbes)
Seriously: Five Schools Closed, St. John's Exposure Investigated, Cases Rise (NY1)
Real Estate
Breaking: Building Under Construction At 69 Reade Collapses (WNBC)
Jersey Burbs Prices "Holding Up"? (Forbes)
40 Off Sale For HSBC Tower? (Bloomberg)
Developers Say Labor Pact Doesn't Save Much (NY Times)
Zuckerman's Boston Properties In The Black (Reuters)
Art: Madison Square Park Installs Blue Grass, Literally (Curbed)
Broker Tries Auction Type Scheme, Then Extends Deadline Due To "Heatwave" (Curbed)
Robert A.M. Stern Sues Icon Realty (The Real Deal)
Cuomo Opens Probe Into Rector Square (The Real Deal)
Cat Fight: Housewives' Simon Takes On Detractors On Blog (Brownstoner)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Morning Links

The Swine Flu seems to have spread to Manhattan as there are now 6 suspected cases at Ascension School on West 108th Street. I received another report of a commuter donning a mask on the subway and more reports are coming in through the media. New Yorkers in general seem to be taking the reports in stride.
Swine Flu Spreads To Manhattan (NY Times)
High Line Developer Pleads The Economy In Attempt to Build Larger Tha Zoned, Draws Howls (NY Times)
Daughter Of Madoff Huckster Noel, To Sell Townhouse At A Loss (NYO)
MTA Loses The Sugar Daddy As Real Estate Transfer Taxes Dry Up (NYO)
Hamptons Businesses Brace For Gloomy Summer (NYO)
Neil Denari's HL 23 Rises (Curbed)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mobile Swine Update: A tipster has called in to say that he spotted the first mask wearing traveler at Penn Station boarding NJ Transit. I can't count this towards my over/under which expires at 9 am Thursday. I think I would have to spot the masked person to qualify.
Also, Walgreen's at 4th and 14th sold out of masks last night. 'Suddenly a popular item', said the clerk.

LIC: 10-17 Jackson Topped, Murano Gets Some Glass

(L) The Murano, (R) Murano Glass (forgive the pun)

(L) 10-17 Jackson, and (R) The Solarium

The are three condos looming on the LIC scene that seem to be in a state of limbo, at least from a sales perspective. 10-17 Jackson, The Murano (next to Hunters Point on Borden), and Solarium (2 doors east of 5SL on 48th Avenue) have all made substantial progress since our last look. Still, there isn't but a peep about when they will actually come to market. All the developers seem to have the same idea- wait out the market. (EDITORS NOTE: Hearing from Rick Rosa representing The Solarium, the developers have been tweaking the offering plan and not delaying the project. They are anxious to get started marketing as soon as the plan if ok'd by the AG).
All three have an appeal- 10-17 with it's Chrysler-esque design and 10' ceilings, the green-ness of Solarium, and the unusual light clock feature thingy on The Murano.

Highlight for today's trip: a few reflective glass panels at Murano, the topping of 10-17, and The Solarium.

Flash: National Home Price Declines Moderate

Home prices in the 20 largest cities in the U.S. dropped at a slower pace in February, indicating some moderation in declines compared to the past several months. Still, with rising unemployment, a turnaround should prove to be slow.
For the full story: Home Prices Decline By 18.6% Year Over Year (Bloomberg)

Tuesday Morning Links

With all Swine Flu, all the time on the tube, I wonder what the over/under is for seeing people with masks on the subway? My guess is within 48 hours.
S.L. Green Posts Better Funds From Ops, But Manhattan Tents Slide 12% And More (Guardian/U.K.)
Mini-Madoff: Dreier To Plead Guilty On All Counts To $700 Million Fraud (National Law Journal)
Trial Of Astor's Son Begins (Bloomberg)
MTA Deficit Grows Even Larger (Bloomberg)
City's Print Media Excited By This Real Estate Thing (Curbed)
Second Avenue Subway Delayed A Third Year To 2016 (NYDN via Curbed)
Hudson River's Pier 64 Now Open To Chelsea Loungers (Curbed)
Hamptons: Vittadini Sells Water Mill Home For $5 Mil., 33% Below Original Ask, Still Triples $ In 12 Years (Newsday)
Hamptons: Corcoran Consolidates In East Hampton, Still Pretty Big (The Real Deal)

Monday, April 27, 2009

FAA, Air Force Completely Freak Out Lower Manhattan, J.C.

Photo courtesy NY Times

Between 10 and 10:30 this morning a mock up of Air Force One, the equivalent to a 747 and two F-16 fighter jets were spotted flying low over the Hudson and making several passes by the Statue Of Liberty. Thousands of people on both side of the river hurriedly evacuated their buildings in what they feared was a replay of 9-11. Apparently the FAA had approved the maneuver for what was a photo shoot for the Air Force. The FAA claims that the Mayor's office, 311, and 911 systems had all been notified beforehand.

Who is the genius the dropped the ball on this one? Surely such a scene would likely freak just about anyone out. How about just a little sensitivity here!
Air Force One Backup Rattles Nerves (CityRoom/NY Times)
F-16s Buzz Lady Liberty, Rattle Nerves (WNBC)
Moment Of Fear As Jet Flies Over Lower Manhattan (MyFoxNY)

Closeout: Sale On, Virgin Departing Union Square

It has been long rumored and confirmed just a couple of weeks ago: Virgin Records is closing it's superstore at Union Square, leaving a gaping hole in the retail scene on East 14th Street. Virgin, joins its former neighbor, Circuit City, in vacating a big box store, leaving the prime block between Broadway and Fourth Avenue completely empty. Circuit City closed up shop a couple of months ago after filing bankruptcy and holding a liquidation sale. Now the sale is on at Virgin. Everything must go, etc, etc...

Monday Morning Links

Swine Flu, it's all the rage. Already this morning, the Swine Flu has been blamed for many things- a stronger dollar, weaker oil prices, a sell off in Dow futures, but no deaths here in the U.S. fortunately. The media is eating it up. Morning news programs have gone to all Swine Flu, all the time, it seems. Just give the media anything that could sound scary to the public and they can't help themselves. Sure, just like any flu bug, it has the potential to become a pandemic, but do we freak out about every flu strain that comes down the line? No. Millions of Americans get the flu every year and 35,000 die from it. But, give it a scary name and all hell breaks loose!
Eight Queens Students Test Positive For Swine Flu, Area On Alert (Newsday)
More Deals Completely Negotiated By Blackberry (NY Times)
Sold For Don't Ask! (NY Times)
Values May Be Slipping, But Property Taxes Expected To Jump 10% (Gotham Gazette)
Prices And Sales Drop Most In The Northeast (Pottstown Mercury)
The Opportunist's Guide To Real Estate (NY Mag)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Morning Links And Comment

Hello all! It has been quite a busy week. I feel as if I have managed only a few minutes per day actually sitting at my desk, hence the lack of original content on the blog this week.

It is an unusual market right now. It is without question a busier market this quarter than last- by a wide margin. Pricing, however, is funky. Where you would normally have a very good understanding of market price, this month it seems to be a guessing game. It is almost as if there was such a pause in the market over the fall and winter, that there is a gap in comps. There are comps, but plenty of questions go with them- when did it actually go to contract, was the transaction reflective of the pre-Lehman demise era, etc... So now we find ourselves in a group feeling out period. If an apartment was listed in September for $1.25 Mil and reduced to $1.125 Mil. in November, what is it worth today? My sense is that we are just starting to get a grip on that number, and it could be as much as 20%-30% lower than last September. Where is this market going? The market is playing catch up to the new reality. For those that have seen the substantial mark-down I would say that the market looks flat over the next 12 months. However, it could be argued that the majority of listings are still not reflective of the post-Lehman reality. Over the next 12 months, slowly but surely, all listings will come to this new reality and we will find stability and the potential to appreciate. So what do you do? Buy today's prices, not yesterday's.
Hot Building Renderings From 1929 (NY Times)
Barbara Say Harlem Will Sleep With The Rest Of The Market (NYDN)
Manhattan Tops In Price Chops? (Metro)
189 Buildings Worth $9 Billion In Distress (The Real Deal)
Rockrose Siblings To Split The Company In Two (Crain's)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Morning Links

Otera Buys 1330 Ave Of The Amercias For $100,000- Plus $240 Mil In Debt (Bloomberg)
The New Market: Bidding Wars (On Foreclosures) (WSJ)
Hamptons Median Home Prices Down 23% vs. Last Year (Bloomberg)
Commercial Real Estate Time Bomb Is Ticking (Time)
NYC Considers Landmark Environmental Code (CSM)
20 Pine, Sexy? (Curbed/Observer)
Real Estate Has Negative Impact On Morgan Stanley Results (Globe Street)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Morning Links

Extell Continues To Excel- Two More New Condos Planned (Observer)
Commercial Use Of Wind Power Surges In NYC, Or Is it Hot Air? (NY Times)
Another Broker, JC DeNiro Closes Shop For Good (The Real Deal)
Helmsley Million To Go Mostly To Medical Research Charities, Not Maltese (WSJ)
Macklowe's 1330 Avenue Of The Americas To Hit Auction Block Today (Reuters)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Morning Links

Macklowe Tower To Be Seized By Lender Today (Bloomberg)
Fighting Mortgage Fraud The Brooklyn Way (Crain's)
An Update On The Hamptons Market (Observer)
Harlem Building Offers Free Zip Car With Purchase (Curbed)
Harlem Could See Big Increase In Buffered Bike Lanes (Streetsblog via Curbed)
834 Fifth Ave Sees Third Listing In 6 Months (Observer)
Disney Heiress Buys At 15 Madison Square North And More....(Cityfile)
MTA Bailout Plan, Take 6, Includes Payroll Tax, Taxi Fees, No Tolls (NY Times)

Monday, April 20, 2009

There Should Be A Law Against That.....Dreaded Street Solicitor

Maybe it's because it's a cool, gray, rainy Monday, but I have a beef that I want to share.

Street solicitors are really starting to bug me! It just seems I can't get off the train at Union Square without having to slalom through a half dozen Children's International representatives nowadays. Then I turn the corner only to have to avoid ACLU solicitors. Really eight solicitors and a guy trying to give me his homemade CD then ask for money, and a pair of homelss folks in just 2 blocks! I have far more sympathy for the enterprising gentleman trying to sell his CD in front of Virgin (despite his tactics) and the homeless than the corporate beggars. Where did these people come from? When did this all start? How much do they pay these folks to get in your face?

Hey, I give to charity, and I consider myself charitable in general, but when I am trying to get to the office or I am running to an appointment, do not block my path and ask me the same thing for the 1000th time this year. No, I do not have a minute for children, the ACLU, or gay rights!
I guess it's the tactics that really bother me. I have no problem with people exercising free speech, and I won't mind if these just sat at a table like the people trying to give away cats. But, is this really a free speech issue? These folks are getting paid, and whether it's a for a non-profit or not, it is panhandling. The worst part is that some of these young folks are overly aggressive- jumping in your path, literally trying to block you from going further. This really crosses the line. And, who in their right mind would give some stranger on the street cash or a credit card number? It just makes no sense!

Anyway, I know that there are laws against aggressive panhandling, perhaps they should either be amended to include charities or simply enforced on charities. If it hasn't already been done, there should be a law against that!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Links

Real Estate Chat Now Less PC Than Religion Or Politics (NY Times)
A Contrarian Goes Real Estate Shopping (NY Times)
A Look At Murray Hill (NY Times)
Hotel Room Rates In Manhattan Drop 30% (Hotel Chatter via TRD)
Condo For Sale Via Twitter (The Real Deal)
Richard Meier's Model Museum In LIC To Open To The Public (Metropolitan Mag)
National Luxury Real Estate Wrap (Luxist)
Lower End Market In Denver "Red Hot" (Denver Channel)
Miami Sales Pick Up, But "Bumpy Road" And No Sign Of Pricing Bottom (Miami Herald)
Southern California Prices "Stable"? (Business Week)
San Fran Market Finding Bottom? Home Sales Up 7 Months Running (Biz Journals)
Boston Sales Picking Up (dBusiness Journals)
Vegas Prices Down 44%, More For Bank Owned (Dallas Morning News)
Dubai House Prices Down 42% In Six Months? (Bloomberg)
Abu Dhabi Sees "First Signs Of Purchase Sentiment", Flat Returns Expected (Bloomberg)
London Sees "Green Shoots Of Recovery"? (UK/Independent)
Paris "Rosier" But More Shoppers Than Buyers (France Today)
Moscow Inventory Surges As Sellers Get More Optimistic (Moscow News)
Japan Suffering More Than Most (NuWire Investor)
Brazil's Real Estate Boom Has Stalled (NuWire Investor)

Friday, April 17, 2009

1000 Followers On Twitter!

Thanks to all of my blog friends for signing up to follow AFineBlogger on Twitter. It's been a pretty rapid climb, and I want to acknowledge @BDShiers for being the 1000th follower! Thanks, BD! You can check my Twitter updates on the right hand side of the blog, or simply search "Andrew Fine" or AFineBlogger to sign on.

What's Happening On East 14th? Not Much!

Top left- 14th bet A&B. Top right- Kennedy Chicken Is Still PC. Bottom left- Millstein lot bet 2nd &3rd. Bottom right- future 123 Third.

Walking East 14th Street today from Avenue C to Third Avenue is something like walking in a time warp. If you haven't walked the area in 20 years, you haven't missed much of anything. Yes, there is the north side of the "A Building", but that is just a spec in the sea of all that hasn't changed. It could easily be the late 70's- the area is littered with 99 cent stores, discount shops, bodegas, etc...Of Course, on the north side of the street from Avenue C to 1st Avenue stands Stytown, and aside from the window frames turning green and some better landscaping, that looks the same as it has forever.

Notably, between Second and Third Avenues, the Millstein lot that takes up half the block on 13th and about 25' on 14th still stands vacant. Weren't they going to build that about 5 years ago? Guess not, but there is a new green carpet of weeds on the lot, and a couple a graffiti artist have refreshed their works.

The only action East of Third Ave is on the SE corner of 3rd where Orange Management of 22 Renwick fame have actual construction equipment in motion. Expected there is an 18 story condo with 45 units. I have a pretty good lead on unravelling the mystery of what the building may look like, so stay tuned!

In short, if it's the old, gritty NYC you long for, you don't need a time machine, just an hour or so to soak in East 14th Street.

LIC's "Prism" Transforms To "Murano"

Sales are expected to start soon for LIC's only building with a 24 hour, built-in "light clock". The building with the Prism of light however at 5-25 Borden Avenue has got a new name, "Murano", replacing the working name of "Prism". Why Murano? I'm not entirely sure, but I would venture to guess that it has more relation to the island in the Venetian Lagoon known for it's exceptional glass making than for a $28,000 Nissan SUV.
A teaser website is up at, more details soon.

Friday Morning Links

Photo Courtesy Architect's Newspaper

Are The WTC Towers Worth It? (Observer)
Citigroup Reports Best Quarter In Two Years (NY Times)
New: MetroCard That Automatically Refills Every Month For 2 Years (CityRoom)
More High Line Shots (Architect's Newspaper via Curbed)
Urban Digs: Market Hits "Comfort Zone", Brokers Mixed (Urban Digs)
Construction Watch Midtown's Setai Gets Limestoned (Curbed)
Village Ranks Tops In Rents, Convenience And More (3rd Item, The Villager via TRD)
EV Grieve Previews Tribeca Film Festival (EV Grieve)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Madonna's Purported Purchase Is On A Nice Block!

I took a walk down East 81st Street today, the much maligned block of Madonna's purported purchase of a 57' Georgian townhouse for $40 Million. Who you ask and who is maligning should be taken into careful consideration. According to an article in this week's Observer, upper-crustic brokers described the location with "unparalleled meanness". According to unconfirmed reports in that article, she was supposedly told by Wendy Maitland (long associated with Madge) how "ugly the block was".

While I take 3rd party hearsay with a grain of salt, I beg to differ. If these unnamed brokers actually walked the block they would find a delightful tree lined street of prewar doorman buildings, townhouses, and just one of two tenements that could be found on any random block between Fifth and Park. The block is low traffic, unlike 79th, 84th, 85th and 86th which are access points to and from Central Park. Low traffic also means less noise. I'd rather live on this street east of Lex than any of those aforementioned streets west of Lex, or Park for that matter. Speaking of West of Lex, 81st Street between 3rd and Lex is clearly much more desirable than 81st between Park and Lex. That block is dominated by a terribly unsightly (visualize my pinkie in the air) post war, gasp, albatross of a building.

The material girl has clearly picked a practical home (the 2 garages, 13 bedrooms, 9 fireplaces and 3000 sf garden don't hurt) on a beautiful block. Besides, Eli's is just a block away, why make your servants schlep all the way from Fifth?

Thursday Morning Links

In case the Seaport redevelopment plan wasn't long shot enough.......
Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Brooklyn And Queens Markets? (NYDN)
Trump Says Buy Now! (CNN)
Stimulus Cash Could Go To Green Up NYC Office Buildings (The Real Deal)
Stalled 5 Franklin Project Gets Ugly, Developers vs. Brokers Goes To Court (The Real Deal)
Fidi And Soho Commercial Projects Added To The Arrested Development File (Curbed)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bulk Sales Pick Up Steam....

Just in from Crain's New York this afternoon, an article about six developers actively marketing bulk sales to clean up inventory and finish projects off. While bulk sales have been a regular occurrence, particularly at the beginning of projects (to give a boost right out of the gate), there are two distinct differences now.
First, developers are marketing bulk packages to close out inventory to save on further sales and marketing expense. Second, these packages are being actively and openly marketed. Most of these negotiations have been kept quiet over the years for fear of alienating purchasers who have paid full price. However, once a bulk of closings have occurred, the developer's fear declines. Combine that with a weak market and you have public bulk sales. The upside to those that paid more? At least a building becomes fully sold, and more money flows to the common fund. The negative? Your comps just went out the window.
For the full article:
Six Developers trying To Sell Condos In Bulk (Crain's)
This is a test of my mobile blogging capability. Should it actually work, blogging straight from my phone is a possibility from time to time. But without spell check? I'm not so sure!

Prefab Grafitti On UES

So maybe the UES is a little too clean? Maybe a construction site could be boarded up with fresh plywood and nobody would touch it. Nobody would post a bill or tag it like the blank canvas it is as in other areas? Well the folks boarding up the future CVS site at 84th and Lex have a solution to that. It's prefab graffiti! Yes, these boards have already been spray painted, vandalized you could call it, so that the folks on the UES can't be accused of having no grit or being too soft. Ahhh, I feel so much grittier now. Thanks CVS folks! On the bright side, at least they are recycling.

Wedsnesday Morning Links

Reports: Madonna Buying 57' Wide Mansion In The 80's, Gasp! East Of Lex (Curbed)
Snooty Brokers Dis Madonna's Location (Observer)
The Listing: Photos Of Madonna's New Home (Sotheby's)
Sam Zell Sees Housing Market "Bottoming Out", But Commercial Still A Mess (Bloomberg)
Developers Struggle To Fill Office Space (NY Times)
Final Walk Through For Bidders On Tavern On The Green (CityRoom)
Developers: Gowanus To Build Or Not? (Observer)
Q & A With Danny Meyer (Observer)
"Precious Little Going On" In Hamptons Rental Market (27 East)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Morning Links

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Morning Links

It was a real Easter snoozer on the news front this weekend. Here are the highlights:
Sub- $300,000 Makes A Comeback In Manhattan (NY Times)
Manhattanites Downsize So They Can Sleep At Night (NY Times)
National Luxury Real Estate Round Up (Luxist)
HSBC May Unload Buildings In New York, London, Paris (Bloomberg)
Man Falls To His Death, 36 Stories Down The Trash Chute At The Olivia (NYDN)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gehry Tower Gets Curvy, Raising The Roof!

(L) Raising the roof!, (R and below) Curves, curves, and more curves!

There were plenty of rumors swirling about Frank Gehry's Tower at Beekman Street getting cut in half just a couple of weeks ago, but as you can see above, the march skyward has resumed! By my count the structure has progressed to a 39th and 40th story.
More interesting though is that the form is starting to take shape. How about those metallic curves? I like!

Friday Morning Links

Nation's First Green Multi-Level Industrial Building Opens At Brooklyn Navy Yard (NY1) Photo Courtesy Green Brooklyn
Yet Another Ponzi Scheme Unravelled In New Jersey (NJ via TRD)
Work Resumes At Goldman Sachs Tower (The Real Deal)
Six Injured In Midtown High Rise Fire (NY1)
Thanksgiving Parade Moved To 7th Ave (Crain's)
Giant Mural Contest For Hell's Kitchen (Curbed)
Hamptons Sales Plunge 67% (Bloomberg)
Gowanus Could Become Super-Fund Site, Delaying Development (Bkln Paper)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apt Flash: East 50's 3 Bed, 2 Bath, Doorman, $4500

It can't get better than this, or can it? The bargains just keep rolling off the rental production line this spring!

This apartment is undergoing a complete gut renovation. A brand new granite kitchen with stainless steel appliances await, and yes, you will be the very first to use one of two full marble baths. Aside from a great 50's East location, West of Third, the greatest feature here is space. The bedrooms measure 21'x12', 18'x12', and 18'x12'. The living room is also quite spacious, measuring over 32' feet from the kitchen to the South facing living room windows.

24 hour doorman building.
For more info call Andrew at 646-237-4170, or email

Thursday Morning Links

Trying To Get Out: 170 East End Avenue Sees Multiple Lawsuits (The Real Deal)
Just Let me Foreclose: Gluck Says Junior Lender Obstructing Foreclosure (Crain's)
Retailers Look To Cash In On Cheap Real Estate (NY Mag)
Can This Man Fix The Real Estate Market? (Forbes)
Manhattan Sub Lease Space Set To Explode (Crain's)
Preservationists Plan Rezoning Of Far West Village (Curbed)
Made In LIC: Water Tower Tanks (NY Times)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wall Of Shame: 95 Foot Western Union Ad Smothers 57th And Third

(L) 57th Street, (R) Third Ave at 57th

Shrink Wrap On 22nd And Broadway

I was dismayed to find yet another example of shrink wrap building advertising this morning on the corner of 57th and 3rd Avenue. The building has been vacated, tagged with graffiti, and now a gigantic Western Union ad smothers the storefront and side of the building. The sign is 12 feet high and covers 15 feet on 3rd Avenue and approximately 80 feet on 57th Street, far larger than even and over sized billboard. We are talking 1140 square feet here! This Western Union ad is nearly identical to the wall of shame on 22nd and Broadway and far larger than the Snickers wall of shame on 13th and University.

Again, there should be a law against this! Perhaps signage on vacant storefronts should be limited to 50% of the window space and prohibited from the buildings themselves.

On a side note, looks like another condo could be in the works for this corner. Subway and Wendy's are out and the building is vacant. Air rights were transferred to 207 East 57th Street a few years back, so its fate is anyone's guess. The building was built in 1874 as a bank and apartments, steps from the old Boston Post Road. The New York Times has a great article about it's rich history. And now, just a corpse that has been shrink wrapped to honor Western Union.

Wednesday Morning Links

Coming Soon.....Yet More Drugstores! (Crain's)
Platinum Possibly Tarnished By Lawsuit (The Real Deal)
220 CPS Clears Hurdle To Demolition (NY Post)
Dreaming Up Ways To Silence The BQE (Curbed)
Manhattan Office Rents Fall Off The Table (Bloomberg)
REBNY Report Shows Number Of Sales Down , But Prices All Over The Place (Crain's)
With Co-Broke Nation, Agent Aims To Be "The Twitter Of Real Estate" (Inman)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hello Kitty Apparently Very Comfortable With Park Avenue Address

Ok, so I am really late to this one! This exhibition by Tom Sachs, the "Hello Kitty Wind-Up" has been in place since May of last year. But, I ask you, has Hello Kitty refused to vacate? I've done numerous searches on the net , and they all seem to imply that the Hello Kitty exhibition was to run until September 6th, 2008.

So, is she, Miffy, and her friends squatters? Has the Lever House taken them to housing court yet? Have they been served? I guess Hello Kitty is very comfortable just where she is and why not, it's Park Avenue afterall!
Regardless of her status, passerbys still seem to get a big kick out of the 21' painted bronze.

Tuesday Morning Links

The Real Deal Claims Some Brokers Ban Publication Since It Doesn't "Sugar Coat" (The Real Deal)
Tishman Speyer Can Appeal StyTown Ruling (NY Times)
Empire State Building Reno Goes Green-ish (Crain's)
Eighth Ave Sliver Building Offers Volume Discount (Curbed)
Jumbo Mortgages Make A Comeback (WSJ)
Inside Chelsea Enclave's Secret Garden (Curbed)
Vornado's Steve Ross Talks "Great Recession" (Observer)
State Finds $350Mil To Re-Up Film Credit, Studios Generally Pleased (NYDN)
Polls Show Increasing Confidence Among Consumers Since Inauguration (NY Times)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Morning Links

A special note on the first article regarding people moving to take advantage of excellent school districts. You are not the first to think of this, check with the local school to see what the situation is. Currently there is a wait list at PS 290, PS6, and PS 199. So, it may sound like a great idea, but what's the point if you won't get in anyway? Food for thought.
In Tough Times, New Yorkers Move Based On Public School Zones (NY Times)
Coop Charges Go Through The Roof (NY Times)
Super Luxe Apartments Linger On Market (NY Times)
A Profile Of Seven Buyers That See This Market As An Opportunity (NY Mag)
Chinese TV Highlights U.S. Buying Tours (Miami Herald)
Rent To Own Options Gains In Popularity (Smart Money)
National Luxury Real Estate Wrap (Luxist)
Upper East Side Luxury Sales Skyrocket 278% Thanks To Delayed Closings (Observer)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Satisfaction At CitiField, Shake Shake In 5 Mins, Beer List Too!

Shake Shack (L), Shake Shack Line (R)

Blue Smoke (L), Ample Beer Case (R)

Beer List

What a concept- great food at a ballpark! It was rave reviews all around at the new home of the Mets, CitiField.

After making a quick tour of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and viewing the field, I made a b-line for the Shake Shack in center field. Of course, there was a line, but with so many options, including Danny Meyer's "Blue Smoke" and "Taqueria", the "Catch Of The Day" with lobster rolls, and a sausage stand (and this is just center field), it was a mere 5 minutes or so wait for a shack burger. In the world of Shack Burgers this is near instant gratification! And, the burger did not disappoint. From the first bite there was no doubt that this was indeed an authentic Shack Burger. Makes you want to run out to Citifield just for good eats. Next time I think I'll starve myself for a day, so I can pig out and try 2 or 3 of the offerings at once.

I was also impressed by the wide selection of beers. At one stand near Blue Smoke, there was a beer stand with a beer list with brands ranging from Kirin, Red Stripe, and Stella to Hoegaarden, Czechvar and Leffe Blond. Now, if you are going to pay $7.50 for a beer, it might as well be a good one.

The one downside here is that if I plan to start going to more Mets games, and it is more likely with such great food, I better start working out!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Q1: Manhattan Foreclosures Go From Low To Lower, None In LIC

Manhattan Map (L), Queens (R).....Maps Courtesy of Property Shark

A special thanks to for waking me up to the latest foreclosure report.

As has been the case over the course of this housing crisis, the foreclosure wave has continued to leave Manhattan virtually untouched. Foreclosure filings in Manhattan dropped 26% from the same quarter last year- from 23 to 17. Of the 17, only 3 were below 110th Street, and there were none on the Upper East or Upper West Sides.

In Queens, which leads NYC with 577 foreclosures (up 15% year over year), the carnage is confined to Central and Eastern parts of the borough. Long Island City, for instance had zero foreclosure filings.
Quarter 1 Foreclosure Report: Brooklyn Plummets, Bronx Pops (Curbed)
Property Shark Foreclosure Report (Property Shark)

Friday Morning Links

New Home Buyers Snapping Up Foreclosed Properties (NY Times)
A Detailed Look At The New CitiField And Yankee Stadium (NY Times)
US Companies Dump 25 Million Square Feet Of Commercial Space In 1st Q (WSJ)
Coney And Willets Point Mega Developments Update (Curbed)
Sweet Rendering Of Coney's New Amphitheatre (Curbed)
Median Co-op Prices Drop Most Since 1995, Median Prices Overall Are Up? (Bloomberg)
Miller Samuel Chart Shows Severity Of Real Estate Decline Come Into Focus (Miller Samuel)
Yair Levy: Condo King Loses His Crown (The Real Deal)
Brokers vs. Developers: Taking The Fight To Court (The Real Deal)
Hermes and Hillfiger To Open In East Hampton (Shopping Blog and WWD)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kalimian Tower Quiety Soars On 66th & Amsterdam

The glass tower at 66th and Amsterdam has soared to it's final height of 470 feet or 42 stories, and is about 2/3rds glassed up. The future rental tower with retail at the base is located in an enviable location behind the newly revamped Lincoln Center. The location was bought by A&R Kalimian five years ago for $74 Million. 310 units are expected, and it would appear that the building should be completed by mid to late 2010.

Thursday Morning Links

Not a big news day yesterday. There were more urns in the Apthorp saga, and more seizures of Madoff properties, but not much. Maybe I can make some news and coin a new term- "YardsVille". That's what I would call the area between 30th and 42nd, West of Ninth Avenue. I'm not sure if it should be "YardsVille", "Yardsville" or either with Hudson in front of it. A work in progress. YardsVille has some more buildings:
More Luxury High Rise Rentals In Hudson YardsVille (Curbed)
Madoff's Palm Beach Mansion, Yacht Seized (LA Times)
Fairfield Greenwich, $7 Bil Madoff Loser, Charged With Fraud (Guardian UK)
Mann Slated To Settle Apthorp Lawsuit (The Real Deal)
Debunking Rental Myths (Examiner)
Lower East Side Girls Club To Finally Break Ground (EV Grieve)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Queens Plaza Revitalization Revitalized With Stimulus Funds

It's on! The greening of Queens Plaza should commence this year. No, really, this time, really! According to a document put out by the Bloomberg administration, $37 Million of stimulus funds will be used towards the $135 Million cost, the rest will be paid for by the city and federal gov't. "Bidding" is expected this summer with "completion" of spring 2011. I use quotations because I am still skeptical.
Long Island City Vision (NYC EDC: Warning PDF)
NYC Government "Stimulus Tracker" (NYC.Gov)

UPDATE- (4/1/09) I spoke to the NYC EDC this afternoon and they tell me that all contracts have already been bid and that construction should start by June.

Wednesday Morning Links

Judge Rules In Favor Of Union Square Park Restaurant (NY Post)
New Yankee Stadium Trades Family Section For Beer Everywhere! (NY Post)
Related Takes Over Management Of Troubled Rector Square (The Real Deal)
Halstead Targets "Affordable Housing" Segment (The Real Deal)
New Yorkers Now Pay Nation's Highest Cigarette Taxes- $5.26 Per Pack (Emaxhealth)
Albany Eyes 50-Cent Taxi Tax To Help MTA (Metro)
Sellers In Manhattan "In Shock" (Reuters)
Deal To Cut Costs Close For Developers And Unions (NY Times)