A ‘Blank Space’ in Soho Becomes a Family Home

The Wall Street JournalFebruary 28, 2017

Location: Manhattan, NY  


Price: $5,850,000


Attracted by a 65-foot-long wall of windows, the owners renovated this 3,000-square-foot loft—Sarah Tilton


Mike and Lori Gelhard were living in Mamaroneck, N.Y., with their family of five and wanted a place in New York City. This loft in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood fit one of their main requirements: The circa 1890s space needed everything. ‘It was a rare blank space. It meant we could create exactly what we wanted,’ says Mrs. Gelhard, an artist and designer.


‘I’d been commuting to Wall Street and we wanted a pied-à-terre in the city,’ says Mr. Gelhard, a retired banker. ‘We looked for about a year. When we saw this one we walked in and knew.’ Mrs. Gelhard says it was the light from the 65-foot-long wall of windows overlooking Crosby Street that also sold them. ‘That’s what really struck us. When you’re in the space there’s a lot of natural light,’ she says.


The couple paid $2.4 million for the approximately 3,000-square-foot home in 2011. They spent two years and another $1.6 million redoing it, they say. The building once housed a printing company, Mrs. Gelhard says. The kitchen is one of her favorite places in the home with the windows and the view of the great room.


The Gelhards describe themselves as ‘serial renovators.’ This is their 20th project in 30 years. ‘How we like to renovate is to stay as authentic to the building as possible,’ says Mrs. Gelhard. They left some of the ceiling beams exposed and painted the columns which are original. ‘When you’re in the space you can imagine what it was once like,’ she says.


Mrs. Gelhard did the painting in the entry area. They replaced the original floor boards, which were narrow, with 11-inch-wide white oak. The ceilings are approximately 10.5 feet high.


The floating headboard in the master bedroom is cedar painted with a silvered finish. ‘I wanted it to look like barn siding,’ says Mrs. Gelhard.


The couple chose a sliding door for the shower and black porcelain tile in the master bath. The long sink adds to the industrial look, says Mrs. Gelhard.


In their daughter’s bedroom, the couple dropped a portion of the ceiling while keeping some of the original beams exposed. The floating ceiling highlights the 45-degree angle of the wall that the bed sits against, says Mrs. Gelhard.


The home has three bedrooms and 3½ baths.


The couple, both age 55, are selling as they spend less time in the city now that Mr. Gelhard has retired. They also have homes in Australia and California. There are closets on either side of the Murphy bed, shown here.


They will miss the location. ‘You just walk out the door and everything you could possibly want is there,’ says Mr. Gelhard. The home has an asking price of $5.85 million. Todd Lewin and Michael Rubin of Core share the listing.

Brooklyn Real Estate Listings Six Months Later

BrownstonerFebruary 24, 2017

The weekend is almost here, and it’s time for us to take a look back six months and check in on how four of our featured listings fared on the market.


It’s been quite a while since all four of our featured listings sold, but that’s the case this week. Even more remarkable, they all sold for above ask — that might be a first.


Next we are looking at an estate-condition Italianate brownstone in Bed Stuy. It needs work, but with a load of original detail and stately proportions, it has the makings of quite a grand residence. It’s at 33 Monroe Street, on a particularly nice block near the Clinton Hill border. This former House of the Day sold in January for $2.135 million, $300,000 above ask.


33 Monroe Street
Price: $1.835 million
Area: Bed Stuy
Broker: Core (John Harrison, Paul Johansen)
Sold in January for $2.135 million

The High Line's transformative real estate boom, mapped

CurbedFebruary 21, 2017

The arrival of the High Line and a coinciding neighborhood rezoning has spurred a high-end real estate boom that’s still playing out across West Chelsea. Some of the city’s most prolific developers, and the world’s leading architects—including Rafael Viñoly, Isay Weinfeld, and the late Zaha Hadid—have all left their mark on the area. For it, the neighborhood has been transformed both physically and economically: an August 2016 dive by StreetEasy into apartment pricing near the High Line shows that condos along the linear park’s southern end are twice as expensive as those just one block away. The area’s cachet is undeniable, and as construction continues to boom that will become even more true.


Now, take a peek at what developments are still playing out along the 1.45-mile park—from recently launched condo projects to sites snatched by developers that are laying in wait, here’s what’s going on along the city’s most desirable stretch of real estate.


17. 520 West 28th Street


The late Zaha Hadid’s condo at 520 West 28th Street embodies so much of what the High Line corridor has become known for: stand-out architecture (that comes at a hefty price) by some of the world’s greatest architects. The condos of 520 West 28th Street hit the market in October 2015 with its famed—and still-on-the-market—$50 million penthouse following several months later. The final touches are now being put on the futuristic-looking building. The building’s first residents are expected to move in this year.


20. 515 West 29th Street


The lesser-known sister project to Soori High Line, 515 Highline is also designed by architect Soo K. Chan and, as the Times put it in a 2014 profile, “will be rippled like the surface of a sea.” Unlike Soori High Line, sales have yet to launch at this 12-apartment project. The full- and half-floor pads are expected to ask between $5 million and $25 million. A High Line condo wouldn’t be complete without an outrageous amenity—here that translates to personal outdoor fire pits for each apartment.




5 NYC Apartments Perfect for Pet Owners

GOTHAMFebruary 17, 2017

When you’re looking for a new apartment, a place that’s also a fit for Fido is important. Luckily, some of the city’s best real estate is pet friendly and sure to make your furry friends feel at home.


101 W. 24th St., 15B


This two-bedroom condo in the elegant Chelsea Stratus affords panoramic views of the city. But when you and your pet need a break from the expansive 1,242-square-foot space—which features everything from high ceilings to state-of-the-art appliances to hardwood floors—there’s a dog run and park among this full-service building’s many amenities. $2.4 million; contact CORE agent Adie Kriegstein, 917-921-6929


Chelsea Open Houses This Weekend

CurbedFebruary 17, 2017

Welcome to the weekly Open House Tour, because who doesn't love a little real estate gawking? This time around, we're looking at what's on the market in Chelsea.


On West 23rd Street, $675,000 buys you this sunny one-bedroom. It’s been designed with oak floors, high ceilings, and a kitchen equipped with custom cabinets. The bedroom is separated from the living room with a set of unique sliding doors and a huge walk-in closet neighbors the large bathroom. 


When: Sunday, February 19th (1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

Inside Look: 4 luxury lofts for rent

MetroFebruary 15, 2017

Decades ago lofts were the opposite of luxury, but today they are reserved for those looking for open space and contemporary details. Here are four lofts for rent — from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan.


242 Lafayette St., 3S




Described as a “classic Soho floor-through loft,” this apartment comes furnished in 1,350 square feet. There are two bedrooms and one-and-a-half-bathrooms, with an open kitchen. Unforgettable details includes the 12-foot tin ceilings, exposed brick and oversized windows. The furniture includes a mix of modern and antique pieces to compliment the home.

Homes with Private Saunas

Brick UndergroundFebruary 10, 2017

Flu season is, unfortunately, upon us. You can start by arming yourself with plenty of fluids, boxes of tissues, and an arsenal of pain relievers, cough expectorants, and nasal decongestants. Better yet, take it one step further and sweat out the toxins from the hot and humid comfort of your own personal sauna or steam rooms. Here, a few apartments that have you covered.


The master en-suite of this loft-like four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo at 135 West 70th Street (priced at $3.95 million) is decked out with an enormous dressing room, plus a bathroom with separate areas for the soaking tub, rainforest shower (outfitted by WaterWorks), and a sauna.

New Century Artistry

d+AFebruary 10, 2017

87 Leonard was featured in d+A for the building's quintessential TriBeCa design and architecture.

Foreign Buyers in NYC

Brick UndergroundFebruary 10, 2017

Buyers from overseas don't always have the greatest reputation in the world of New York City real estate. There's a broad perception that international investors are snatching up luxury condos which then sit empty, leaving beautiful-but-vacant boxes scattered across the city skyline. Last year, the New York Post even tried to extract some vigilante justice, calling for an unmasking of the foreign buyers who are turning the city "into a secrecy haven to stash their cash through the use of shell companies."


But is that reputation deserved? As with anything in New York City, though, it's hardly that simple, and foreign buyers are not a monolith. We spoke to real estate experts who have worked with international clients to find out what this particular cohort is really like.


An introduction to the "average" foreign buyer

First, when it comes to people from overseas looking to purchase New York real estate, the word "average" doesn't really apply. "By definition, if they're able to buy an apartment in NYC, they're not average," says Keren Ringler, a broker for CORE, referring to the fact that being able to afford a part-time home in New York is hardly within the purchasing power of the average person. 


That said, she adds that the typical foreign buyer tends to be using their NYC real estate as a second home or an investment property rather than a permanent residence. "There are usually three scenarios," Ringler explains. "The foreign buyer who wants to purchase something for their child who's studying in NYC, the buyer who wants to invest in NYC, and the buyer who wants an apartment in NYC to use as a pied-à-terre."


This seems to spell considerable wealth, but Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, says that foreign buyers don't always represent the top one percent. "There's a sense that the average foreign buyer is buying at the very high end of the market. I see them all over the map and much more spread out across price points and geography," he says.


There isn't data that crunches the numbers for foreign buyers in NYC specifically, due to concerns about Fair Housing laws, but Miller estimates that about 15 percent of all real estate transactions in New York come from people from overseas. A National Association of Realtors survey of international clients who made investments in American real estate offers some insights into who makes up this group. The survey reveals that while they are spending more on homes than Americans, their mean purchase price—$499,600—doesn't represent the peak of luxury.


In terms of country of origin, the NAR survey suggests that buyers from China represent the largest proportion—16 percent—of investors in American real estate, closely followed by buyers from Canada (14 percent). When it comes to Europeans, the largest cohorts of international buyers hail from the U.K., France, and Germany; Indians, Mexicans, and Venezuelans also made significant purchases in 2015.


Miller notes that in 2013 and 2014, there was a major upswing in NYC real estate purchase from foreign buyers. "We were in recovery from the financial crisis and interest rates across the globe were at record laws, so investors were chasing higher returns," he says. Now, with the American dollar stronger, we're seeing a more average amount of interest from international buyers, Miller adds.


According to Adie Kriegstein, a broker with CORE, fluctuations in currency can have a big impact on the amount of foreign investments in U.S. real estate, as can political uncertainty—certainly a factor in these post-election days. "I've had a handful of clients say that things aren't looking good," she says. "But at the same time, other foreign buyers say that because of conditions in their home countries, they still want to invest in the U.S., but they're being extra picky about the product because of the volatility of the real estate market."


What are foreign buyers looking for?


Kriegstein agrees with Ringler that most foreign buyers are often either using NYC real estate as an investment, or purchasing a home for a child who is studying or working in the city. In both cases, she says, "they want the biggest bang for their buck."


Much of what is on a foreign buyer's wishlist, according to Kriegstein, would appeal to most New Yorkers, too: views, great light, a lot of amenities, and the promise of a good return on their investments.


One notable distinction is that foreign buyers may be less drawn to charming, prewar co-ops or historic brownstones. Instead, Kriegstein says, they're interested in condos in relatively new developments in locations where they can expect to get top dollar by the time they're ready to sell. This is not only a matter of taste, but also due to the fact that it's more challenging for foreigners to purchase co-ops, due to strict requirements about finances and the tendency of some boards to not permit pied-à-terres. (More on that below.)


This can mean neighborhoods undergoing some dramatic revamping, where the next few years promise to bring new residential and commercial developments; think areas like Two Bridges and Hudson Yards.


"15 Hudson Yards is the first residential building located in the center of Hudson Yards, and apartments there just started selling," Kriegstein says. "[Foreign buyers] are investing there based on what Hudson Yards will do for the entire city. It's good to get in early."


Another area to keep an eye on? Hudson Square, at the confluence of Soho and Tribeca, which was rezoned in 2013 to make way for higher density development, per DNA Info. "That area is going to take off, so it's a prime spot for investors," says Kriegstein.


Kriegstein cautions, though, that because NYC is still in the midst of a luxury construction boom, there could be a high supply of high-end units once foreign buyers are ready to sell. For some, that risk rules out some of the more burgeoning areas of the city.


To that end, Ringler has found that some of her clients are drawn to the more tried-and-true, covetable corners of NYC, like the Upper West Side, or the neighborhoods around Columbia and NYU, if their children are college students.


And in terms of the amount of space foreign buyers are looking for, "two-bedrooms are the sweet spot," Kriegstein says. "It optimizes their investment return when they sell or rent it out, because it appeals to the widest number of would-be purchasers or tenants."


What are some of the challenges foreign buyers face?


One of the main reasons that foreign buyers are more inclined toward condos is that it's much more difficult for them to get co-op board approval. Ringler notes that boards are hesitant for financial reasons: Would-be homeowners from abroad lack social security numbers, have their money in foreign accounts, and present challenges when it comes to running credit checks. (Some co-ops also have policies forbidding pied-à-terres, narrowing the field of options for investors who won't be living there full-time.)


Nevertheless, Ringler works with international clients who do want that old-school, co-op charm. In these cases, she says, "the challenge is how to present the buyer so that the board can feel confident they're making the right decision. That comes from providing excellent letters of references, having good bank balances, and choosing a co-op that understands this buyer will be a good shareholder because they'll look after the apartment."


And according to a Nest Seekers International guide for foreign buyers, opening a bank account in the U.S., or transferring the necessary funds to an escrow account, will help ease the financing process.


She says that many co-op boards appear to be reconizing the need to loosen some of their stricter requirements. "I do think co-ops are realizing that the market has changed and foreign buyers are going to be an important part of the buying portfolio," she says.


Taxes can pose another major obstacle: Barron's offers a rundown of some of the levies foreign buyers might face here, like the 40 percent inheritance tax that the heirs of foreign investor could end up paying here when the property is passed down to them.


Many buyers opt to use an LLC for their purchase, because it helps to minimize such tax burdens: Barron's explains that if it's technically a foreign company rather than an individual that owns the U.S. property, the U.S. government is unable to charge an inheritance tax. Such companies are also occasionally used for more unscrupulous reasons. It's enough of a problem, Housing Wire reports, that the Treasury Department launched an investigation of international investors using American real estate to launder money.


For her average clients, though, the concerns are far more mundane: Foreign buyers need a little extra help navigating the very complex world of NYC real estate, so it comes down to providing in-depth explanations, Kriegstein says, and occasionally when there are language barriers, a translator's help.

Renovated Options in Bed-Stuy

MetroFebruary 08, 2017

Bed-Stuy has turned from “do or die” to gentrified. Those looking to benefit from rising real estate prices or earn some cool points are moving into the Brooklyn neighborhood at a rapid pace. And with these buyers and renters come renovations. Here are two Bed-Stuy properties — one rental and one brownstone for sale — that show the transformation.


752 Jefferson Ave., 1



This renovated rental promises modern luxuries with charm dating back to the 1900s. The garden level apartment features a private entrance that opens up to a large living space. There is also a separate dining with an arched feature dividing the two.


Modern finishes include stainless steel appliances and Caesarstone countertops in the kitchen; and the bathroom has beautiful touches, including subway tiles and brushed bronze fixtures. The massive bedroom has two windows, with views of the backyard, and access to the shared basement, which includes storage, a full sized washer/dryer and a half bath.

155 Attorney Street Launches

CurbedFebruary 08, 2017

Name/Address: 155 Attorney Street

Developer: Midtown Equities

Architect: Studio V

Interiors: GRADE Architects

Size: Seven stories, 37 apartments

Prices: from $3,400/month to $5,700/month

Sales and Marketing: CORE


It’s been a while since we last checked on the boxy new development at 155 Attorney Street. But four years after plans for the building were announced, the Midtown Equities-developed project is complete and ready to accept its new tenants. This seven-story rental building may not look like the home of high-end luxury, judging from its unassuming facade, but if there’s any confirmation, it’s definitely the high rent prices.


The low-rise building has 37 one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in configurations and price tags. The cheapest unit is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom for $3,400/month while a two-bedroom, two-bathroom can go for as much as $5,700/month. There are also two penthouses with private terraces, though those homes don’t appear to be available just yet.


Each of the Studio V-designed rentals has floor-to-ceiling windows, relatively high ceilings with recessed lighting, a practical kitchen space with stainless steel appliances, and a washer/dryer setup. There’s a decent amenity package in place for the building as well (there should be, if you’re paying that much in rent), offering a virtual doorman, bicycle storage, a landscaped yard, and a rooftop terrace.


At least 15 of the building’s apartments are available for leasing and move-ins are set to begin on March 1.

Cool Comfort

New York PostFebruary 08, 2017

A subdued quality especially inspires architect Thomas Hickey, whose Manhattan firm GRADE is popular with financiers and entertainers like Oprah Winfrey.


“Our work is restrained and understated so it makes the cacophony of everyday life disappear,” says Hickey, who works a lot in highly saturated grays. Hickey and his firm design their own furniture and finishes, and GRADE’s homes feature lots of rift cut wide-plank oak and walnut, and metal finishes like polished nickel and blackened alloys.


“We’re creating opportunities for comfort, but it doesn’t have to look like a big teddy bear,” says Hickey. “Our clients tend to be 35- to 50-year-olds who don’t want to go from bachelor pad to Martha Stewart. They want to raise a young family without feeling like they’ve thrown in the towel and lost all sense of style.”

Architect Thomas Hickey, of New York-based GRADE, carefully designed this subdued interior for this apartment at 87 Leonard St. in Tribeca to stave off the stresses of the city.


On the Market

The New York TimesFebruary 05, 2017

Jasmin Abrol and Patrick Lilly's listing at 171 West 73rd Street, 2 was featured in The New York Times' "On the Market" section.

On the Market in NYC

The New York TimesFebruary 03, 2017

Upper West Side Co-op • $979,000 • MANHATTAN • 171 West 73rd Street, No. 2

A two-bedroom, two-bath duplex with a washer-dryer and a large patio shared with five neighboring units in a townhouse.


MAINTENANCE $1,824 a month


PROS The apartment, which is less than two blocks from Central Park, has brick walls, wood floors and a renovated kitchen.


CONS The lower level, used as a master bedroom suite, is below ground and does not get much light.


Bespoke Residences Designed by Taylor Spellman New York

House MagazineFebruary 02, 2017

This bold yet chic living space lends comfortability and access to anyone who enters. The Tribeca mom, the kids, the bachelor, the family friends and the new neighbors – there’s a sense of commonality to everyone when the use of neutral tones comes into play and everyone can find comfort on the beige couches next to a cozy fireplace.


87 Leonard blends historic authenticity with contemporary luxury in the heart of Tribeca. Units range from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet… so there is a lot of room to play with. There is also a lot of space that can easily be misused, so it is crucial to make different focal points and different sitting places within the room. “My aim was to create a space that has something for everyone,” explains Taylor Spellman, designer, staging expert and owner of Taylor Spellman New York. “A little bit of everything, but cohesive.”


Not doing a lot of color can still be bold and chic and not look too staged. As an example, the goal in the great room was to let the eyes fall upon the industrial aspects, from the beautiful wooden beam to the tall columns, but still insert soft furniture and an elegant fireplace for a fully-rounded composition.


“For me, New York is everything. I'll walk down the street for half a block and I'm immediately rejuvenated and inspired,” expressed Spellman. “The electric energy is my fuel!”


Layering a variety of textures throughout the bedscape elevates the use of natural, neutral tones; creating a calm vibe for the end of the day and a fresh start in the morning.


As much as she loves the energy of the city, Spellman gets a great deal of inspiration from the quiet. “It’s hard to find it, but I love to settle in late at night with a glass of wine and create.During that uninterrupted time, I always come up with my best ideas.”


This room brings the outdoors inside for the NYC kid, harnessing different textures and bold colors to bring out the fun and adventure for the up-and-coming city dweller.

20th Century Details

CurbedJanuary 31, 2017

When it comes to Park Avenue, one thing is for certain: there will always be pricey prewar apartments for sale at any given moment. This elegant two-bedroom, two-bathroom, asking a cool $1.55 million, is one of the latest to hit the market.


Within 1060 Park Avenue, an early 20th century building touting “white glove service,” this sunny abode is a medley of modern convenience and subtle period charm. The open living room has 10-foot beamed ceilings, crown molding, and fancy arched doorways. In the modest windowed kitchen, simple white cabinets and appliances decorate the space.


The master room is simple in its design with more beamed ceilings, large built-in closets, and oversized windows. Though it lacks the sunlight received throughout the rest of the apartment, the second bedroom is still a lovely space and would make a suitable home office, or whatever else one sees fit.


Unfortunately, a washer/dryer unit doesn’t come with apartment and must receive approval from the co-op board before installation. However, the building does have a laundry room and full-time doorman. Monthly maintenance fees run you an additional $2,570.


On the Market

The New York TimesJanuary 29, 2017

Henry Hershkowitz and Heather McDonough's listing at 170 Second Avenue, 3D was featured in The New York Times in the "On the Market" section. 

East Village Open House

CurbedJanuary 27, 2017

A one-bedroom co-op on St. Marks Place is going for $985,000. The duplex apartment has gotten plenty of modern upgrades, though the living room’s exposed brick wall adds some character. Aside from the main bedroom there’s a sleeping loft on the upper level, an office/study, two bathrooms, and an eat-in kitchen.


When: Sunday, January 29th (1 p.m. to 2 p.m.)


Hugh Dancy at 15 Renwick

ObserverJanuary 25, 2017

There are a few actors who can make an entire career of being handsome. Upon looking at him, you might assume that Hugh Dancy is among them. At the risk of this turning into a something akin to a Margot Robbie profile, I’ll restrain myself to saying that Hugh Dancy basically always looks like he should be in a cologne ad. When he mentioned that he and his wife (Claire Danes) helped each other practice lines, I imagined the scene, inexplicably, as the two of them in a kitchen but in full evening wear, a photo shoot for a Vogue spread meant to point out that by virtue of their jawlines, some people look born to wear glittering black tie, even when they’re surrounded by dishes.


Early in his career, Dancy did play the boyfriend. In Ella Enchanted, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Jane Austen Book Club, Dancy was a charming prop at which the clumsy mischievous heroine could fall in love.


But over the past ten years, Dancy has been making the stealth transition into one of the most versatile and ambitious actors working on screen. In 2013, Dancy starred as in NBC’s Hannibal opposite Mads Mikkelsen, a show that despite a limited viewership, catapulted to cult-status due in part to its sumptuous visuals, macabre subject matter, and the masterful portrayal of the relationship between its two leading men, sharp and balanced as a steak knife. The character of FBI special investigator Will Graham, is about as far from dashing princes and eager boyfriends as it’s possible to be: the FBI investigator is driven mad in his pursuit of a serial killer and by his relationship with the psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter who, unbeknownst to Graham, is trying to turn him into a fellow killer.


“I could offer up some half-baked theory, but I don’t know,” Dancy responded when I asked why he believed Hannibal ignited such devotion in its fan base. “It’s a show about obsessive friendship and love of incredible style, I think that’s fair to say. And it’s about death, really at its heart. Death and obsession. It’s easy to take a deep dive into all of that. Especially when it’s dressed so well.”


More shallow appreciations of the show are easy to understand so well. Although it was never explicit, the chemistry between the two main actors was passionate, if not implied to be romantic. On Tumblr, Dancy and Mikkelsen were faces that launched a thousand “ships.”


“Have I ever seen fan art that freaked the crap out of me? Yes, absolutely,” Dancy said. “Only once or twice, but occasionally you want to avert your eyes. But like 95 percent of the time, and I’m not just saying this, being in that show has been the gift that keeps on giving.”


After Hannibal’s disappointing cancellation, Dancy signed on to The Path on Hulu. “I was making a little wish list, in my mind, of what it might look like if I was going to make another TV show because it’s quite a big commitment,” said Dancy. “And The Path came along and just ticked all the boxes. I felt like it was a very different tone to Hannibal—even though it’s dark, it tries to be much more naturalistic. I felt it was a different sort of character work; Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan were already involved; and it was filming in New York—that being on the very end of the list.”


In The Path, Dancy plays Cal, the charismatic unofficial leader of Meyerism dealing with the expansion and maintenance of the movement as its original leader declines in health.


“I read about the moment in any small little movement or religion, or cult, when the leader—because there’s always a leader—dies—because they always die—and ninety-nine percent of them just vanish, they can’t sustain,” Dancy said, about researching to prepare for the show. “And that one percent tends to last because of quite specific circumstances, and usually there’s a specific individual who’s present who’s very pragmatic, who is a believer, maybe even dogmatic, but also knows how to go into the world and proselytize and expand.”


Someone, one could point out, like Cal.


“Someone like Cal,” Dancy agrees. “Or someone like Saint Paul, or Brigham Young, or David Miscavige of Scientology, the second generation leader. So putting aside any value judgments—because it’s uncomfortable saying “David Miscavage” and Paul in the same sentence, perhaps—they have the same requirements, and that’s where the show opened, essentially, at that moment. Another interesting thing is if these people are believers, it’s possible then they have never envisioned having to do this because they’ve really accepted that the original leader is going to be around forever. And suddenly, oh no, sorry, you’re going to have to step into the Messiah position, and nobody wants that job. Or at least, nobody should want that job.”


Crucially, The Path never condescends to its characters who believe in the system of Meyerism to varying degrees, nor does it make them seem naive or stupid. In a country in which it has become more and more tempting to dismiss a large group of people who seem to have faith in something or someone that seems unjustifiable, it’s worth noting when a show is able to show believers as vulnerable, complicated people seeking community rather than gullible sheep.


“A thing is, these groups always come about in periods of uncertainty. I remember reading about one particular group in England in the ’50s, during the Cold War when nuclear annihilation was in the air. You have all these groups inventing actual machines that were going to help. So there was this one that collected prayers. Everybody would come up and pray really fervently at this machine and then they’d be like, ‘We’ve got 950 man-hours of prayer, collected in this machine, and now we’re going to go to this lay line or this mountain that’s of particular significance, and we’re going to read all these prayers in one blast, and also the world’s going to end in two years.’ And then when the world didn’t end, they said, ‘Wow, our prayers worked.’


Like any group that believes they’re counting down to a doomsday that inevitably fails to arrive, or supporters of a politician who can dismiss whatever incriminating evidence emerges from, say, a live mic on an Access Hollywood bus, belief is a fundamentally powerful force for which logical justification is its byproduct and not its foundation.


Dancy seems to have a particular proclivity to projects that lean into big issues: obsession, death, faith, power. And yet, in the best possible way, in person he’s neither affected nor self-serious. It’s almost enough to be able to imagine him at home with Claire Danes not wearing evening wear while they do the dishes and practice lines, and watch Homeland together (yes, Dancy says, of course he watches Homeland).


“It’s actually interesting,” Dancy said. “Having a four-year-old child, we’re both coming from the same place of explaining to him this ridiculous thing that we do for a living, which we’ve totally failed at so far. He’s too little at this point to grasp that. I don’t think he’s seen us on TV—nothing we’ve done, at least recently, is quite suitable—but he’s come to set. It’s one of the real bonuses of our job is he can come and hang out. And sometimes shout action. But beyond that, I don’t know what he thinks.”


Unlike his 4-year-old, Dancy does try to watch his own work. “You never stop being a little self-conscious. Or at least I don’t. And I don’t do it religiously; sometimes the moment passes—I think there’s still some episodes of Hannibal I haven’t watched, because, you were there. But most of Hannibal, and The Path, I really wanted to watch, because in each case there are such specific tones that you’re going for, and I felt like the opportunity for failure was quite high because, with anything that’s aiming for a particular pitch, you can step off that fine line quite easily in any direction.


It’s a compliment to Dancy’s acting, in part, that the lush baroque Hannibal never descended into campiness and that The Path has thus far avoided the fate of becoming melodrama. It’s also a testament to Dancy’s ability to pick projects that don’t merely appear to his vanity. “I used to reassure myself by counting up the money I could have made from movies I turned down that I knew I shouldn’t have done, sort of imagining some alternative universe version of myself who was richer but less satisfied.”


One such movie might just be Fifty Shades Darker, the next film in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Although it was widely reported last April that Dancy would be playing the role of Christian Grey’s psychiatrist, Dr. John Flynn (does everyone in that movie have a name that sounds like a porn star?), Dancy assured me that he would not, in fact, be appearing in the film. “I guess,” he said, grinning, “I’m a living contradiction of the internet.”

Zac Posen Buys Penthouse

Luxury Listings NYCJanuary 25, 2017

We wouldn’t have expected fashion designer Zac Posen to buy on the stuffy Upper East Side, but according to city records, the “Project Runway” judge is indeed the buyer of a duplex penthouse at 210 East 73rd Street.


To be fair, this particular penthouse has a lot of beautiful artistic details we could see the designer appreciating. The classic six home has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, hand-painted ceilings, an iron staircase, a Chesney marble mantle, an 1,800-square-foot terrace, seven custom closets (we imagine Posen owns a lot of clothes) and really lovely turquoise wallpaper.


Posen made headlines earlier this year when he dressed Claire Danes in a glow-in-the-dark ball gown for the technology-themed Met Gala last May. He announced in October that he would be designing all of the flight attendants uniforms for Delta Airlines. He is a native New Yorker and has been a judge on “Project Runway” since 2012.



Zac Posen Nabs Duplex

CurbedJanuary 25, 2017

One of Hollywood’s favorite fashion designers, Zac Posen, has nabbed himself a sprawling Upper East Side duplex penthouse atop an Emory Roth-designed building, Luxury Listings has learned.


Most recently listed for $3.995 million, the Project Runway judge spent $3.5 million on the two-bedroom co-op, according to property records. Posen could now probably host some of the best outdoor parties at his new digs considering his apartment comes with a massive 1,800-square-foot terrace that wraps around almost the entire apartment.


Posen is no stranger to NYC’s real estate world. Back in 2010, he teamed up with architect Morris Adjmi to design a condo building in the Flatiron district. The building was largely in the news for its odd marketing campaign, and its somewhat flashy design sensibility. But keeping in that mind, some of the design elements in this penthouse might actually be to Posen’s liking.


The apartment features hand-painted beamed ceilings, a handcrafted iron staircase, and a wood-burning fireplace that comes with a Chesney marble mantle. Now check out the interiors Posen has to look forward to.

East Harlem On the Rise

MetroJanuary 25, 2017

Things are changing in "El Barrio.”


Over the past two years, East Harlem — also known as Spanish Harlem with a predominantly Puerto Rican, Dominican and Mexican diaspora — has slowly become more gentrified.


According to a plan put forward by the city late last year, the area might potentially be undergoing rezoning that would bring more retail stores and restaurants.


And with that comes new residents. Agents have noted that a number of first-time buyers are purchasing properties in the neighborhood because it is relatively affordable compared to the rest of Manhattan, and the presence of the 4,5 and 6 train service make connectivity to downtown Manhattan, and the Bronx easy.


"I’ve had doctors, fashion designers, bankers, and educators as clients. The one thing they have in common is they are seeking good value and a great location,” says Juan Rosado, a real estate agent with Citi Habitats. “In East Harlem you are never too far from the action.”


Rechelle Balanzat, a 31-year-old entrepreneur, who owns Juliette Laundry, an on-demand mobile app for laundry services, will be moving into the neighborhood in March. "It’s much more affordable,” says the current Nolita resident, adding, "Unlike the hustle and bustle of downtown, it's very quiet here and I love visiting the bodegas and local restaurants.”


The neighborhood is a mix of residential and commercial properties. Along East 116th street, between 2nd and 3rd avenues, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Dominican eateries, cafes and taco carts line the sidewalks.


Although there are luxury properties like One Museum Mile and 1399 Park Avenue, regular market rate housing and public housing are also available in the neighborhood. Along East 111th Street, between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, a strip of affordable housing is coming up soon and recently, a 400-unit building with affordable housing was approved on Lexington Avenue, between East 107th and 108th.


Still the influx of new development means unwanted change for others.


"The rent prices for stores and homes are going up and people are moving out, to places like the Bronx says Pedro Ramos, who helps fun his family's Mexican grocery store, El Agave, on East 116th street, near 2nd avenue. “We used to own a store across the street for about 11 years. But the rent went up way too high and we had to move out. Now we rent this space for our store."


The cost


"The vast majority of residential buildings in East Harlem are multi-family. It’s a mix between older walk-up buildings and new elevator rental and condo developments," says Rosado. According to him, the further east the apartment is from Lexington Avenue, the lower its costs.


"Prices vary greatly, but resale wise apartments usually sell for around $800-950 per square foot," said Matthew Cohen, a real estate salesperson at CORE.


"In addition, pricing both for rentals and sales is less expensive in East Harlem than it is in the west side of Harlem."


Posen Snags Penthouse

6sqftJanuary 25, 2017

Zac Posen may love taking fashion risks, but when it comes to real estate, it’s all about the classics. The designer and “Project Runway” judge has just poured $3.5 million into an elegant Upper East Side penthouse, LL NYC shares. The duplex spread sits atop an Emory Roth-designed prewar at 210 East 73rd Street and comes steeped in ornate details like hand-painted ceilings, an iron staircase and a Chesney marble mantle. While the current decor is most certainly in need of a modern facelift, Posen will have plenty of space to flex his creative prowess. The penthouse is a classic six with two bedrooms, two and a half baths and a large 1,800-square-foot wrap terrace. And did we mention there are seven custom closets? Four of them are walk-in!


Quarters are generous with 11-foot ceilings. There is also a formal dining room with views onto the terrace and the city.


The kitchen currently features solid rosewood cabinets and new stainless steel appliances, but we imagine that Posen will gut the whole thing for a far more modern aesthetic.


The bedrooms, too, could use Posen’s touch—particularly the wallpaper.


The terrace has been planted in abundance with trees, flowering bushes and other seasonal plantings.


The home was first listed for $4,495,000 in July of 2016, then price-chopped to $3,995,000 a few months before the design star made his purchase.

Hiding a Celebrity Home Buyer

The Wall Street JournalJanuary 20, 2017

Tony Sargent was featured in The Wall Street Journal offering his advice on how to hide a celebrity buyer in order to maintain their privacy.

Turn Those Quirks Into Assets

The New York TimesJanuary 20, 2017

New York City apartments are notorious for their quirks and annoyances, from awkward layouts to windows that face a brick wall. When it’s time to sell, these can be major turnoffs for potential buyers. But, with a little creativity, many of these issues can be minimized, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it.


THE PROBLEM Low ceilings


THE SOLUTION White paint, tall window dressings and low-profile furniture


Using a lighter shade of paint on the ceilings than the walls tends to draw the eye upward and make the ceiling look higher. “Use flat, not semigloss, on the crown molding, in the same shade as the ceiling,” recommends Pat Christodoulou, who stages for-sale homes in Connecticut and New York. “This gives you an uninterrupted perspective, which results in visually raising the ceiling.” If you don’t have moldings, she said, adding a cove molding, which begins on the wall and extends to the ceiling, will create an elongating effect. Minimalist furnishings that sit low to the floor will help increase the impression of height. Floor-to-ceiling sheers will also “give the illusion of larger windows and higher ceilings,” said Elizabeth Kee, a broker at CORE in Manhattan, who recently hung extra-long curtains in a $20,000-a-month rental in Chelsea to “create an optical illusion that the ceilings are soaring.”


THE PROBLEM Windows that face a brick wall or let in scant light


THE SOLUTION Pops of bright color, strategically placed high-wattage bulbs or decorative window film


“At a window that faced an alleyway or brick wall, we’ve had success with placing a fixture with a florescent daylight bulb behind the curtain,” said Jeff Schleider, the senior vice president of Business Development for Citi Habitats. “It gives the illusion of natural sunlight.”


In a small one-bedroom on the Upper West Side, where all the windows faced out on an air shaft, Joseph G. Sheehan, a salesman with Bond New York, used “cheery yellow drapes” and sheer white curtains to dress up the windows, and bright throws, pillows and rugs to offer “a nod to sunlight and brightness” in the dark space. The apartment, which had originally been listed by another broker for $399,000, went into contract for $435,000 just two weeks after Mr. Sheehan brightened it up.


Deanna Kory, an associate broker at the Corcoran Group, recommends white shutters or white wooden Venetian blinds with one- to two-inch slats. “Any light that hits the windows will be reflected favorably and create a lighter feeling within the apartment,” she said. Another option: decorative window film, which lets in light while obscuring an unattractive view; it can be found at Home Depot from about $25 for elderberry or etched lace designs. Hanging a framed stained-glass panel in front of the window offers a similar effect.


If you’re willing to splurge, a custom etched-glass window may be the solution. That’s what a client of Madeline A. McKenna, a broker at Stribling & Associates, did more than a decade ago in a Midtown apartment with “a very depressing view” from the living room. It wasn’t a cheap fix, she said, noting that the multipane frosted window with silver-and-blue inlay cost about $10,000. But the investment eventually paid off: In 2005, the client was able to sell the apartment quickly, for about $975,000. “We didn’t have to apologize or make excuses for the ugly window view onto the ugly, dark, dank air shaft. It became a beautiful centerpiece for the living room instead,” Ms. McKenna said, adding that the unit sold again, in 2012, for $1.25 million and was re-listed in 2014, at $1.35 million, with the same frosted window. “Seems everyone likes the aesthetic.”


THE PROBLEM An awkward layout


THE SOLUTION Rework the floor plan


The Yorkville, Manhattan, duplex apartment that Jai Lee, a saleswoman at Mdrn. Residential, listed for $599,000 in July had plenty of assets: “The bathroom was amazing, with heated floor, enormous deep, deep tub and shower heads on both sides,” she said. But to get to it, “you had to walk past the open kitchen into the barely queen-size bedroom.” Down a spiral staircase from the living room was a finished basement area with a half-bath and small adjoining den. “It certainly was not ideal,” said Ms. Lee, who came up with the idea of recasting the downstairs space as an unconventional master bedroom, with the master bathroom upstairs, along with a spacious closet (in what was the old master bedroom). “I started selling the idea of using the ‘master’ as your own dream walk-in closet, with spa bathroom,” she said. To help potential buyers picture her vision, she drafted a new floor plan showing the lower level as a potential bedroom with a half-bath, and adjacent office or hobby room. “I made sure to only show the listing by appointment,” she added. “This way I could control the narrative and envisioning process.” The unit sold within a month for the full asking price.


THE PROBLEM A ground-floor unit with windows facing the street


THE SOLUTION Curtains, decorative film or window boxes


For ground-floor homes, especially those with bars on the windows, Anna Kahn, an associate broker at Halstead Property, recommends installing window boxes. “Live flowers add color and take away from the starkness of the grates,” she said. Another option: “Bottom-up” curtains, which are opaque near the floor and sheer at the top, to “allow sunlight to enter the apartment while still providing a sense of privacy,” suggested Mr. Schleider of Citi Habitats.


Or consider using opaque film: “We sold an apartment with razor wire outside the bedroom windows,” said Vivian Ducat, a saleswoman at Halstead, who had covered part of the window, obscuring the wire. “Even though everyone opened the windows to see what was out there, they seemed satisfied that the apartment had integrity and could look good, from the look we gave it.”

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