Archive for West Side


Manhattan Co-op Board to Madonna: Be Quiet Or Get Out!

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off

AP photo madonna_150 from MSN articleMadonna’s Upper West Side co-op board  is threatening to evict the Material Girl.  According to a lawsuit filed by her upstairs neighbor Karen George, Madonna is using her Central Park West pied a terre ” as a rehearsal studio, forcing neighbors to endure “blaring music, stomping and shaking walls,” for up to three hours each day.

When a colleague sent me this link reporting the story, I remembered a similar problem that my wife and I  had with an upstairs neighbor (not music- but walking both human and canine). Fortunately, carpeting resolved the problem and our “quiet enjoyment” was restored. If you live in New York City you should expect noise from police cars to fire engine sirens, horns and car alarms, garbage trucks and yes from your neighbors as well.

If you are moving from a quiet suburban neighborhood or if you are particularly sensitive to noise here are some suggestions to test your decibel tolerance before you buy an apartment in Manhattan.

  • If the apartment is located near an elevator, public laundry room or trash room make sure mechanical noises can’t be  heard.
  • Check to see if the windows have been upgraded to reduce street noises  as well as  energy costs.
  • Depending on the floor of the apartment, you may want to listen carefully- especially in rear courtyard facing rooms-for fans and other mechanical noise creating devices on adjacent rooftops.
  • Ask the seller’s/showing broker to turn off or lower any music playing in the apartment.
  • Before signing the contract, visit the apartment at different times of the day. A morning visit will expose the going to work noises,  an afternoon visit will let you concentrate on street and traffic sounds and the evening visit may give you some insight into the level of noise you can expect from prospective neighbors  are reading or blaring their music or TVs?
  • As part of your due diligence, you and/or your attorney should read the  co-op or condo meeting minutes and see if there are any noise issues discussed.

Generally speaking, a co-op board will have more jurisdiction and clout over noise matters. Based on their bylaws a co-op board may be able to levy fines until the offending shareholder complies or, as with Madonna,  threaten and ultimately have the shareholder evicted. Condos generally do not have this power and,  it may be completely up to you to bring any legal pressure on your fellow condo neighbor.

Comments Comments Off

Faith New York City Leasing Activity Report - Fall 2009

The end of a quarter brings a blizzard of Residential Sales and Rental Market Reports; followed by a spurt of press coverage spinning and analyzing the reports. But here’s a report that’s different.

The Faith Report-Fall 2009 New York Retail Leasing Activity Report created by Faith Consolo Chairman of  Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Leasing and Sales Division.

The Faith Report reads like a who’s who of luxury retailers.

Faith believes that “New York City luxury retail remains resilient, with new entries and expansions paving the way for a phenomenal fall.”

From Madison Avenue to 5th Avenue and the Upper East Side,  across Central Park on the Upper West Side down to Union Square, the West Village, Soho, Nolita, Tribeca and to the Lower East Side, the Faith Report alerts you to the newest digs for your favorite designers and other trend-setting retailers.


Fantastic Lunch at Per Se Restaurant!

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off

We celebrated our anniversary at Per Se in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. From the personalized menu wishing us a Happy Anniversary to the tour of the kitchen and wine cellar, it was an amazing day. Their service was stellar and the food was remarkable! We booked a reservation (on the wait list) for next month.

Enjoy the photos and beautiful presentation of our Chef’s Tasting Menu – you can almost taste the food with your eyes!

Comments Comments Off

It was going to be in iMAX and 3D at the “only real IMAX, not the new fake digital LieMAX. We got to the AMC Lincoln Square theatre at 68th Street and Broadway about 45 minutes early so we could get “perfect seats”  smack in the middle of the theater and  about 3/4 of the way up.

While we waited for the show to begin, we munched lots of popcorn and I began read the NY Times article by Micha Pollan: Out Of The Kitchen, Onto The Couch about “How American cooking became a spectator sport and what we lost along the way”. It seemd to explain to me the design of so many kitchens in new developments: Kitchen Stadiums. More on this another time.

Just as the movie started there was an annoucement “…as you know, only the first 20 minutes will be in 3D…” We were pissed but when the “signal” came to remove our 3D glasses we did and enjoyed the rest of the movie in “real” iMAX. Caveat emptor!

After the show we took a walk to the Time Warner Center to visit the Whole Foods Store stopping off at a small Farmers’ Market on 65th Street rght where Columbus Avenue and  Broadway cross.

Whole Foods Market at Time Warner Center

Whole Foods Market at Time Warner Center

Here’s the map and some more Flickr photos.

Comments Comments Off

All Real Estate is Local, Very Very Local (Still)

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off
Real Estate is Hyper-Local

Real Estate is Hyper-Local

The Case-Shiller Index reporting on residential  property sales for the period of March, April, and May was published yesterday.

As noted in last month’s Geezer Rant,  because the index excludes price data on new developments, condos and co-ops,   the Index is not applicable to 99% of residential sales in Manhattan.

It’s interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal commented on this fact albeit  in the second page and 22 paragraphs into the article:

The Survey doesn’t track condominium or cooperative apartment sales, so it doesn’t take into account the majority of housing stock on New York City.

To get a better picture of the Manhattan real estate market in the second quarter of 2009, check out the various reports and press commentary published and discussed at the beginning of this month.

The Q2 Manhattan Market Overview prepared by  Miller Samuel, an independent appraisal firm,  and Prudential Douglas Elliman real estate, differentiates sales by the four major regions of Manhattan:  East Side, West Side, Downtown and Uptown. In addition to accounting for seasonal adjustments, the report also breaks out sales by new developments and resales–both very important factors in reporting median and average prices so that like sales are properly compared.

Even with that degree of Manhattan specificity, there remain neighborhoods within those regions can have quite different sales price results. For example the East Side consists of at least  seven neighborhoods including Beekman, Kips Bay, Murray Hill, Sutton Place, Carnegie Hill and Yorkville. Then there are “corridors” like the 5th Avenue and Park Avenue.

Within Manhattan there are areas, neighborhoods, sub neighborhoods corridors etc. Within those areas are specific blocks, specific buildings with specific views from specific floors or amenities which may affect property prices. Think about  a 5th Avenue apartment on a high floor facing Central Park vs.  an apartment in the same building on a low floor with no park views.

But  as Barry Ritholtz pointed out in his blog The Big Picture the “media coverage was mostly gushing” (see below),  the point is that all real estate is local, very very local and even hyper-local. Caution should be taken when extrapolating any national reports’ data  to any specific city or  town.

Front Page WSJ: Home Prices Rise Across U.S.Home prices in major U.S. cities registered the first monthly gain in nearly three years, according to a new report that provided fresh evidence that the severe U.S. housing downturn could be easing. Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index, which tracks home prices in 20 metropolitan areas, rose 0.5% for the three-monthperiod ending in May, compared with the three months ending in April. It marked the index’s first increase after 34 straight months of decline, and came after a variety of housing indicators has shown glimmers of hope for the past several months

Front Page NYT: Recovery Signs in Housing Market Stir Some Hope

After a plunge lasting three years, houses have finally become cheap enough to lure buyers. That, in turn, is stabilizing prices, generating hope that the real estate market is beginning to recover. Eight cities, including Chicago, Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco, showed price increases in May, up from four in April and one in March, according to data released Tuesday. Two other cities, Charlotte, N.C., and New York, were flat. - U.S. Home Prices Rise for First Time in Three Years

Home prices posted their first monthly gain in three years in May, a gauge of values in 20 major U.S. cities showed, reinforcing signs of stabilization in a market hammered by the worst slump since the 1930s. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index rose 0.5 percent from April, the first monthly gain since July 2006 and biggest since May of that year, the group said today in New York. The measure was down 17.1 percent from May 2008, less than forecast and the smallest year-over-year drop in nine months.

CNN/Money – Home prices up for 1st time in 3 years

Index of 20 major cities rises on a monthly basis for the first time since July 2006, hinting that the worst of the declines may be over. The value of U.S. homes grew on a monthly basis in May for the first time in nearly three years, according to 20-city index released Tuesday. The month-over-month increase was 0.5%, according to the report from financial data company Standard & Poor’s and economists Case-Shiller. It was the first increase in the monthly index since July 2006.

Reuters - Home prices up for first time in three years

U.S. single-family home prices rose in May from April, the first monthly increase in nearly three years, suggesting prices may be stabilizing, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price indexes on Tuesday.