Archive for the ‘Housing and Real Estate’ Category

Not quite Chelsea or Clinton or Hell’s Kitchen

I am looking at apartments in Manhattan and the realtor s taking me to the area in the 30s between 8th and 10th Avenues.

I have a question. I haven’t really heard of a cutesy name for this area yet. I always consider Clinton aka Hell’s Kitchen to be above 42nd Street and Chelsea to start below 30th and go to about 18th Street or even below. But the West 30s is just called “Midtown West” (MidWe is a possibility)..but how about WEstofGARmentDIstrict or WeGarDi….or NOt-QUite-CLInton — NoQuiCli……or BEtween-CHELsea-and-CLIinton -hmmm BECHELCLI — too tough to pronounce!

I had another idea I want to throw out…..we have Chelsea and Clinton, but somehow we are missing Hillary. I vote that we honor a possible future president by naming the area “Rodham” or “Hillary”…..or give Obama equal time and call the area “Obama Hill” (There’s already “Clinton Hill” in Brooklyn). I’m being optimistic about who our next president will be, but eventually we will want to honor him/her anyway..Washington has a Square and Lincoln has a Center. Let’s honor either our first woman or African-American in the White House. Not that I have any say in the matter, but send your comments anyway.

Keeping Cool on an Island of Cement

Air%20Conditioners.jpgAs the dog days of summer draw ever closer, air condition sales must be astronomical! Staying cool in the summer months is always a challenge, but The Consumerist has some really helpful hints.

Most important, size matters… At least as it pertains to AC. “Do I need 5k BTUs? Maybe I need 8k?” Here’s the answer. To get your necessary BTUs, take the total area of your room (length X width) and multiply that by 30. Add 2,000 to the answer, and that is your BTU number. But, Consumerist is sure to point out a number of important caveats.

• If the room is shaded, reduce the BTUs by 10%.
• If the room is very sunny, increase the BTUs by 10%.
• If you plan on placing the air conditioning unit in your kitchen, add 4,000 BTUs.
• If more than two people will regularly be in the room (e.g., an office), add 600 BTUs per person.

Be sure to stay cool this summer! And for some funny relevant pictures, check out Cool-Props.

[photo courtesy Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection]

you owe me money

I had not realized, prior to moving here, how desperate the housing situation really is. To get what i want, I need to shell out $4,000 for a “spacious” studio. But I don’t have $4,000, I have maybe $1,000 and that’s even a stretch. I’m not going to complain about rent prices because I understand economic principles and  New York City is the Queen of Economy. What I AM going to complain about is the egregious situation that I had gotten myself in upon signing my lease.

That’s Quite Shitty: Allstate Cancelling NYC Homeowner’s Insurance Policies due to Hurricane Risk


Allstate Insurance is engaging in some extremely shady and possibly illegal practices with their homeowners’ insurance policies in the New York City area. I’ve been a customer of theirs for almost 10 years, with various insurance policies for my old condo in Manhattan and now my house in Brooklyn. I’ve paid every single one of my premiums on time and have NEVER registered a claim against any of my policies. I currently live in a townhouse, so there is no exposure on either side of my house. My house is a wood frame but was recently gutted and all steel columns were installed throughout. We are not near the shore or any rivers or canals and we sit fairly high above sea level. So imagine my surprise two weeks ago when I got a letter in the mail saying my policy, which is up in 2 months, is not being renewed. The reason for this was cited as follows:

“As you may know, the 2004 and 2005 Hurricane Seasons brought terrible destruction to the Southeastern United States, across a huge area stretching from Texas to Florida. The extent of the damage and devastation was unprecedented. We have an expectation that similarly destructive storms are possible all along the East coast in the coming years. Although no one can predict with certainty when or where a storm will hit, we believe there is a potential for significant damage in your area.”

What a bunch of bullshit.

Wall Street on the Rise

luxury4.jpg luxury3.jpg

The Financial District may finally become a residential neighborhood. Pretty much since its inception, this area has been solely for work (and maybe for those workers’ happy hours). But now, everywhere you look a new residential building is springing up.

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with most new housing projects I’ve noticed around the city, these building are all ultra-luxury housing. $700,000 for a studio. Yeah. In the buildings is everything you could possibly want, pool, gym, jacuzzi, rooftop garden, massage, room service, childcare, movie theater, bar! Seriously. The good thing is they are often really nice looking buildings built next to parks, sometimes with eco-friendly elements such as green roofs and solar panels. But they’re only affordable to a select few.

Bad “Open House” karma…

I am selling my studio co-op in Queens to, hopefully, move to a one-bedroom rental in Manhattan. We have had three “open houses” so far. There was a lot of interest, but no offers. So, knowing we were priced a bit high anyway, the realtor and I decided to lower the price and have an openn house today from 1 to 3 in the afternoon.

Well, since the ad went into the NY Times, and onto the realtor’s website, we can’t cancel. So for those of you who are just getting up and haven’t looked out the window, go take a look. Would YOU go apartment-hunting on a day like this? And, as if the weather weren’t a bad enough shot against me, get a load of this bad luck: This is a doorman building and has been advertised as such in my apartment listings. My doorman retired and left the job last Sunday and the board hasn’t replaced him as yet, and they haven’t even hired a temp. So IF any potential buyers decide to brave the nor’easter, they won’t see a doorman. I understand there is a Catholic saint that helps a house get sold. House-sellers on Long Island have been burying a statue of this saint on their properties and have reported that, when they do, their house sells. Does anyone know which saint this is. Although I am Jewish, my realtor is Irish-Catholic, and he wants this place to sell to so he can collect his chunk of money and not have to spend any more Sundays coming out to Queens to sit here (he is a Manhattan-ite. Need I say more about how much he must hate coming to Queens?) If you are reading this, say a prayer for me in any religion, will you? And if you know the name of the saint, please let me know. If you have a statue of the saint, please let me know too…I have just under an hour to come pick it up and borrow it. It is way too sloppy out there to bury it in my building’s garden, but maybe I can have it on the table where the realtor signs in potential buyers….

One City?

I make it my point to subscribe to the feeds of other metblogs. An entry by Gina in Metblog Orange County caught my eye this morning. The entry, entitled “CityFacts” talks about the thing that is different about how Metblog Orange County is that Orange County is comprised of 34 distinct municipalities. But I wondered, is the OC comprised of 34 different mentalities and attitudes? I asked Gina in a comment to her post “Would a man in Anaheim refuse to date a woman in, say, Huntington Beach citing “geographical undesirability”?

Now if our blogging territory covered the same square mile area as the OC, we would also be blogging about parts of Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, and even Northern and/or N. Central New Jersey or Southern Connecticut. Talk about differing mentalities!

Does anyone recall the Seinfeld episode when Elaine changes her phone number and she gets a 646 area code, which is the newer area code for Manhattan? She goes into hysterical begging to the phone man “pleeez let me keep my 212” . and then laments to Jerry that when she first came to NYC, she had a 718 area code and went into a funk for a year!

How about the episode when Kramer meets a girl from downtown and calls it a “long-distance relationship” and says “it’s a whole different world down there [downtown]”. While he is on the phone with his girlfriend in Jerry’s apartment, he tells Jerry “Do you know it is the same time down there as it is here?” How many of us live, or have lived in the hinterlands of Brooklyn or Queens and have a bunch of Manhattan friends who have never seen our apartments because they won’t leave the “island”.

Years ago, when Williamsburg was just getting hip, I heard comments such as “I would never move there! You have to take that G train!” And while living in Queens, I once asked a Manhattan-resident coworker if she would come to Forest Hills and see MY apartment for once. “What is there to do there? What would we do in Queens?” I tried not to be too sarcastic. I wanted to say “Oh I don’t know, maybe milk the cows and sit on the porch in rocking chairs” But instead I told her “Go get a your passport and a visa and take the R train. Where’s your sense of adventure?” (I know, that remark was sarcastic too). When she arrived at 63rd Drive and saw Marshall’s and Old Navy, she said “Oh you have the same stores” duhhhh!
Okay she was originally from out of town, so I will excuse her. But even I would say “going to the City”

An Open Letter to ‘The Casa’


Hey there Casa,

We’ve spoken before remember? How’s it going? I know you’re feeling pretty superior having somehow managed to win your fight with the DoB with all those illegal mezzanine spaces you have. I’m assuming since one of your three building is currently vacant that you simply transferred FAR from that to the other two buildings that have been occupied for the last few months. Way to avoid knocking a few floors off! Good for you.

I’m actually happy for the owners in those two buildings, as I know you put them through hell with your two plus years of construction delays. I know they felt pretty fed up and left in the dark for a while there, so it’s nice to know they finally landed on their feet and are part of the fine section of Williamsburg.

But what of that one vacant building, you know the one with the plywood over the entrances and all the graffiti? How can your other occupants feel safe being adjoined to such an insecure structure?

And what of the snow removal? I know it only snowed 6 days ago and your schedule is soooo busy, but how about you find some freaking time to shovel or at least put down some salt? It’s a real nuisance slipping and sliding all over that stuff, especially in the 66 degree weather today. Just trying to make the neighborhood a safe place to be.

Thanks and bye bye,

Atlantic Yards Wait for the Fat Lady


The Atlantic Yards project continues to stir up controversy.
There’s a new film out, “Brooklyn Matters,” detailing lawsuits, inquiries by Spitzer into Pataki’s dealings with Ratner (the man who would have brought the Nets right into Brooklyn with this deal – side tangential rant: why the HELL does anyone think we need to build large stadiums in or that near Manhattan?) and growing public resistance to the Atlantic Yards development project.

[photo from]

Decision-Making Garage

I spotted this old, seemingly abandoned garage on Flushing Ave in Bushwick and I instantly fell in love and make my friend circle around the block so I could get a photo.


If you were the proud owner of a three-car garage, what signs would you put on top of them? I might opt for Huey, Dewey and Louie, but that’s just because I have ducks on the brain.

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