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.”

Hiding a Celebrity Home Buyer

The Wall Street JournalJanuary 19, 2017

Code names. Clandestine meetings. Camouflage. High-end real-estate agents are increasingly turning to devices found in Hollywood thrillers to shield the identities of big-name clients.


When he’s taking a well-known client to a showing, Tony Sargent of Manhattan-based brokerage Core said he won’t tell the listing agent who the prospective buyer is—or he’ll offer a different name. In Hawaii, Matt Beall of Hawai`i Life Real Estate Brokers, whose firm has worked with Julia Roberts and Neil Young, will borrow his wife’s car for select showings, as paparazzi can recognize the autos of real-estate agents. During house tours, some agents impose a no-cellphone rule, or have the homeowner’s staff vacate the property. And in other cases, home inspectors, listing photographers and other vendors sign confidentiality agreements.


In the age of social media, camera phones, online property records and hyper-focused news outlets, real-estate agents are finding that maintaining a high-profile client’s privacy is an essential—though sometimes futile—service.


For many years, buyers have purchased homes through limited-liability corporations to hide their identities. Some put their business managers’ or attorneys’ names in the LLC and presumably have a separate, private agreement establishing ownership. “Really private celebrities will not even be the partner on the LLC,” said Alexa Lambert, an agent with Manhattan-based Stribling & Associates.


In recent years, however, that hasn’t been enough. Given that some news outlets pay for tips, anyone who knows about a transaction can be a spy. Veteran agents suggest that the fewer people who see a notable buyer’s paperwork, the better. Mr. Sargent said he would have his team focus on other deals while he handles celebrity documents himself. “Nobody gets to know who I was working with and they don’t get to see any of the details,” he said.


A Douglas Elliman agent based in Los Angeles, Josh Altman appears on “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” and said he has worked with Kim Kardashian West, actress Mila Kunis and others. Mr. Altman said he would ask the listing agent to leave the home with the gate unlocked and the garage door open to give his buyers unfettered access. Disguises aren't unheard of. “Sometimes my client will wear a hat and sunglasses,” Mr. Altman said. In other cases, a celebrity can slip under a doorman’s nose flanked by an assistant and nanny or, alternatively, show up on foot without staff and blend in on the sidewalk.


Despite such efforts, however, keeping the client’s name hidden can be almost impossible. “It’s become this cat-and-mouse game of doing everything that you can to try to hide [celebrity sales],” Mr. Altman said. “And then three weeks later, a Google alert comes up” and someone has identified his client.


Some prominent sellers throw in the towel from the get-go and decide to use their fame to bring attention to a listing. That can potentially lead to a quicker sale and a higher price.


Best-selling novelist Candace Bushnell recently listed her Roxbury, Conn., farmhouse for $1.365 million. “We didn’t list it saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to go and get publicity for this house,’” she said. But after local newspapers, and then New York-based journalists, expressed interest in the property, she decided to talk about her home to The Wall Street Journal. The “Sex and the City” author, 58, said she wasn't worried about her privacy, given her level of fame—“Believe me, nobody’s driving by my door,” she said—and because the association would become public knowledge anyway. “Somehow even if you don’t use your name, people find out,” she said.


As a celebrity link often leaks out, some agents try to convince sellers to go to a media outlet first, both to better control the story and to publicize the property to buyers outside the local market.


Best-selling author of “The Good House,” Ann Leary is married to actor, writer and producer Denis Leary, who is known for his acerbic comedy and the television series “Rescue Me.” She said the publicity attracted by their names was worth it to give them a better shot at finding a buyer for their atypical property, a 50-acre Connecticut estate with a farmhouse, horse barn and sport court that doubles as an ice rink, asking $4.9 million. “We didn’t have any reason not to do it,” Ms. Leary, 54, said. “We felt like we needed maybe a broader audience for people to see it.”


One small scare: After a brokers’ open house Ms. Leary noticed her husband had left a book about having a loved one with Alzheimer’s on his bedside table. “We all missed putting it away,” said Mr. Leary, 59. The book is research for a television script, but the couple worried that neighbors would conclude that one of them was ill. “People started asking if everything was OK shortly thereafter,” Mr. Leary said. The house is still on the market.


Mr. Young, the singer, sold his estate on Hawaii’s Big Island in 2015 for $20 million. It was common knowledge that the musician owned the home, said Mr. Beall, whose firm had the listing, so he spoke to Mr. Young’s representatives early on to map out a media strategy. “You’re using the star power to broaden the reach of the listing,” Mr. Beall said. After receiving coverage in the international press, the property, listed for $24.5 million, sold in about two months—a fraction of the time as comparable sales, Mr. Beall said.


Still, Mr. Altman in Los Angeles said he discourages his clients from giving interviews or promoting their homes on social media. Their names alone are enough to get press, and sellers are typically not experts in marketing luxury homes. “We really don’t want the celebrity to be involved. The name does enough.”


Real-estate developer Doug Steiner is used to keeping mum about celebrities thanks to Steiner Studios, the Brooklyn film-production facility he owns. “People who work for me won’t stay employed if they leak anything,” said Mr. Steiner, who is currently developing Steiner East Village, an 82-unit building in Manhattan where prices for listed condos range from $1.395 million to $5.25 million. “That’s a pretty heavy sword over their heads.”

Places to Live in NYC This Year

ObserverJanuary 18, 2017

Shaun Osher, founder and CEO, CORE:


“Hudson Square is one of the best-located neighborhoods downtown. Wedged between Tribeca, the West Village and Soho and adjacent to Hudson River Park, it is still a quiet enclave—which is what makes it appealing. There are also a number of developable sites remaining—some of which will be bought and developed this coming year.”


Doug Heddings, executive vice president of sales, CORE:


“Despite the efforts of so many real estate agents in marketing the [Second Avenue subway] corridor prior to the subway’s completion, most are only now considering the convenience of the Q line now that it is receiving rave reviews…the actual operation of the new Q line extension has received such rave reviews that people who may have once been opposed to living East of 3rd Avenue are seriously considering the area for their home.


“There are a multitude of condos between First and Third Avenues directly impacted by this, and the area remains a bargain relative to other neighborhoods in the city, including the Upper East Side west of Lexington Avenue.”


Double Vanity Moment

Brick UndergroundJanuary 13, 2017

The trouble with most New York City bathrooms (besides their typically small size) is the single sink that all but forces those sharing the space to wrestle for a spot at which to wash, brush, primp and preen. To the rescue: the double vanity, a brilliant addition to any bathroom and one fixture that may just pave the way to a more peaceful start to the day. Here, five prime examples. 


The master bathroom of this three-bedroom penthouse at 87 Leonard Street (listed for $10.75 million) includes two custom vanities with nickel-plated hardware, plus a freestanding soaking tub and separate glass-enclosed toilet. 

Inside a Glitzy Flatiron Loft

ObserverJanuary 12, 2017

“Everything has been customized,” CORE broker Adie Kriegstein told the Observer, stepping into the foyer of 650 Sixth Avenue.


“They like a lot of texture in their design, and you’ll see that throughout the space,” added fellow CORE broker Michael Rosser, noting the feel of the wallpaper in the entry.


The master suite is steps from the entry, with two closets “done by California closets,” said Kriegstein, “not a secondary company.” The aforementioned love of texture is apparent in the wallpapered en-suite bath, which is equipped with a marble counter and custom vanity.


The adjacent secondary bedroom faces north, though the full bath, with its rain shower, Jonathan Adler sparkling light fixtures and porcelain-tiled floors and walls, is not en-suite.


The entertaining spaces begin with the open kitchen, which is done by Poggenpohl, with Corian countertops and Miele, Sub-Zero and Thermador appliances. “It’s a chef’s kitchen—there’s one side for cooking and the other side more for entertaining,” said Kriegstein, noting the wine refrigerator, custom cabinetry and light fixtures.


Perhaps the most eye-catching piece of lighting in the 1,954-square-foot home is suspended over the dining room table—a glass pineapple chandelier, dangling over a stingray dining table. “It’s attention grabbing,” Rosser stated matter-of-factly. “It’s the focal point.”


Past the open living space, from which one can take in northern and western views made all the more impressive by the oversized windows and 12-foot ceilings, is a room currently in use as a “den-slash-office,” said Rosser, which is accessed by way of a wall of sliding glass doors. It could also be a third bedroom, if needed, he said.


“The apartment is so user-friendly,” said Kreigstein of her $3.88 million listing. “I’m going to be quite honest, it appeals to everyone—pied-à-terre buyers, families, really anybody. I’ve had bachelors come in, because they can use the space to entertain.”


“It’s just a very versatile apartment, that essentially gives you loft living in the heart of Flatiron,” she continued. “You get everything—space, location and privacy.”


Small Wonder

Brick UndergroundJanuary 10, 2017

With the new Second Avenue subway line finally up and running, now's the time to jump in the Yorkville market before the new transit options push prices any higher. And with a recent $15,000 price chop pushing down the asking price to $375,000, this spacious studio at 332 East 77th Street might just fit the bill.


The main living area is spacious enough to divide into separate bedroom and entertaining areas. That would make sense: The listing notes that the apartment was formerly configured as a one-bedroom, but has been converted into an open studio, including hardwood floors and a decorative fireplace.


The open kitchen includes breakfast bar seating, a decent amount of cabinet space, and a dishwasher as well as a built-in microwave, which gives you more culinary leeway than you'll typically find in a studio.


The bathroom has a soaking tub as well as a window, adding natural light—always a welcome extra touch in an apartment's W.C. But you'll have to investigate in person to check out the apartment's closet space and washer and dryer, as neither are pictured.


As for the building itself, besides its location just five blocks from the new 72nd Street station, the hallway, lobby, and exterior brick masonry have all undergone recent upgrades, while the maintenance is 64 percent tax deductible, and the apartment's buyer will be eligible for STAR property tax credits.


The apartment could also work if you're simply looking for an investment near the newly advantageous transit options; the listing notes that pied-a-terres are allowed.

Exposed Brick Duplex

6sqftJanuary 09, 2017

This two-bedroom apartment occupies two floors of an Upper West Side brownstone at 171 West 73rd Street. Renovated by an architect, the interior is chock full of exposed brick and hardwood floors while rooms were smartly laid out to maximize space. After last selling in 2010 for $750,000, it’s now on the market for $979,900.


The apartment’s main level holds an open living area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom. (The kitchen recently got an upgrade with new stainless steel appliances.) Through sliding glass doors there awaits a large common garden that is shared by five of the building’s units.


The second bedroom–which can also be used as a den–opens to the common living area by a pair of sliding doors.


The lower level of the apartment is below grade and holds the master bedroom, a roomy dressing area, and plenty of built-in storage. It’s connected to its own bathroom with a large soaking tub, separate shower stall, and a full sized washer/dryer.


Overall it is a nice amount of space with some unique interior details. The location is sure to appeal, as well, right outside the 72nd Street/Broadway subway station and a short walk from the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park.

Surviving an Unplanned Move

Brick UndergroundJanuary 03, 2017

In an ideal world, every move would be a move on up—to a bigger apartment, a better neighborhood, to an overall better living situation. But in reality, some moves aren't planned or preferred. In the spirit of starting over in the new year, we asked experts for advice on how to transition to a new space even when you'd rather not (whether you're splitting up from someone, have had a career setback and can't afford to stay put in your old hom, or any other less-than-ideal reason to move).


Try to differentiate between the home and your disappointment


Remember that your new home isn't the reason you're upset or your life has taken a temporary setback; on the contrary it's bailing you out when you need it, says Gail Sinai, a licensed clinical social worker. "Even if it's not a perfect match, remember that it's not a punishment," she says.


"One of the things I'd want someone to do is get back to the brass tacks of the sorrow, and not invest the new place with the cause of disappointment," Sinai advises. "You need to grieve and process your loss, but you also need to separate it from your new home."


Remember that this is temporary


"It's important to keep things in perspective, says Sinai. "Nothing will last forever—either good or bad," says Sinai.


"A lot of times it feels like this new place will represent the lifestyle you’ll have for the rest of your life, but it's important to remember this is a for a year or two," says Lynn Saladino, a clinical psychologist who acts as a health and wellness consultant for Mirador Real Estate. "Put a time limit on how long it’s going to be, and realize you can revisit it next year."


Figure out your priorities


"Consider the location very carefully," says Saladino. "If you’re breaking up with someone, you may want to prioritize being near friends and not getting a huge apartment." If you're moving away from an ex, make sure you have the distance you need and want.


Don't be afraid to ask for help


It's all part of the "treat yo' self" mentality, but Saladino suggest you consider hiring movers to pack or unpack your stuff, so that's one more thing you don't have to worry about. Plus, if you know the act of packing and unpacking is going to be very trying for you, it might help to save yourself the grief.


Make the new place as inviting as possible


"Sometimes when we resist change, we resist settling into the new place," says Saladino. She recommends trying to make it a comfortable space even if it’s not the same as you had before. "Find simple ways to make it more comfortable for yourself," she reminds. For some people who are going through a break-up, a new apartment offers the first opportunity in a long time to decorate just as they please (without taking into account a partner or spouse). Use that as an excuse to buy things you really love, says Saladino.


For a more symbolic way to hit the reset button, Lisa Graham, a broker with CORE, who is also a holistic health coach, offers clients looking for new starts an opportunity to "smudge" in their new apartment. For those who are open to it, she takes a bit of smoking sage and goes from room to room and corner to corner in a process that's supposed to get rid of any lingering negative spirits. "The idea is that sage smoke attaches itself to the negative or stuck energy and takes that energy with it," she explains. (Smudging can also be done in both and old and new space, she says.)


Graham says it's also helpful to stage and set intentions for a new home. "It's about deciding, and naming, what you want to do with that new space. You want to bring in positivity and release anything negative. Both of these things help people feel more rooted in the apartment."


Graham also works with essential oils to cleanse a space. "Aromatically diffusing them into your home, can shift the energy," she says. "It also helps to cleanse the air from pathogens, bacteria and viruses."


Every different kind of oil "has an emotional component, and also a scientific component in terms of how it works on a cellular level with the body," explains Graham. "Even if you’re not moving, it’s something I always do in the new year to start fresh."

Kitchens That Will Encourage You to Cook in the New Year

GothamJanuary 02, 2017

Your goals for the new year likely involve eating more healthfully. These kitchens offer plenty of inspiration for you to cook at home, whether you’re looking to keep your resolutions to eat well or expand your culinary horizons.


38 Prince St.


This former church space is converted into a unique condo with views of the former Cathedral. The smart layout means you’ll find a spacious kitchen lined with handsome marble countertops, upscale cabinetry, and a precious La Cornue stove. And if you want to grow your own herbs in the warmer months, a bi-level garden with an outdoor kitchen is just steps away. 

WeWork Exec Lets Go of Greenwich Village Co-op

The Real DealDecember 31, 2016

 Will Potter, the Director of Organizational Development at WeWork, and Julie Hunt have sold their Greenwich Village apartment.

Co-Ops Fall Out of Favor

Bloomberg PursuitsDecember 28, 2016

The luxury Manhattan co-op, a longtime sign of real estate prestige and exclusivity in New York, may be losing its appeal. Blame a glut of newly built high-end condos.


Contracts for co-op apartments priced at $4 million or more fell 25 percent this year from 2015, as buyers with means opted for newer homes with more amenities and fewer restrictive rules, according to a report published by luxury brokerage Olshan Realty Inc. It was the biggest annual decline since the firm started tracking luxury co-op contracts a decade ago.


“The data right now has a big, red circle on it that says this sector is in trouble,” Donna Olshan, president of the firm that bears her name, said in an interview. Many buyers see co-ops “as completely outdated and they reject the notion that their equity is tied up at basically the vagaries of a co-op board.”


Buyers at co-ops, usually older properties with fewer amenities, get shares in a corporation that owns the building and don’t hold deeds to their units. The boards can approve or reject buyers, and have a say on everything from how much cash purchasers must have in the bank, to how much their dogs can weigh. Newly built luxury condos -- with gyms, pet spas and yoga rooms -- are proliferating in Manhattan and giving home shoppers more choices.


Buyer Pedigree


Some of Manhattan’s priciest co-ops achieved mythic status over the decades for their exclusivity and the pedigree of their buyers, such as Oaktree Capital Group’s Howard Marks and Millennium Management founder Israel Englander, both owners at 740 Park Ave., a 1931 limestone tower on the Upper East Side. Now there’s competition from new condo skyscrapers including One57 and 432 Park Ave. in Midtown, where Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman and Lewis Sanders, former chief executive officer of AllianceBernstein Holding LP, respectively, have bought penthouses.


“Things are changing and now people have different options,” said Jacky Teplitzky, a luxury broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “It used to be, if you were a partner at Goldman Sachs or a partner in a major law firm, what did you need? You needed a Park Avenue address, end of story. It’s not like that anymore.”


Among all apartment contracts signed this year for $4 million or more in Manhattan, 76 percent, or 751 deals, were for condos, according to the Olshan Realty report.


Luxury transactions across all property types have fallen sharply in Manhattan, where pricey new condos are piling up after a post-recession development boom. While condos outshone co-ops this year, contracts to buy them declined 17 percent, Olshan Realty said. Deals for townhouses fell 14 percent.


Condos still got more expensive, with the average asking price in the luxury category climbing 4.6 percent to $8.1 million. For high-end co-ops, the average asking price fell 3 percent to $7.06 million, according to Olshan’s report.


Neighbors Vetted


Emily Beare, a luxury agent with brokerage CORE, said that while some clients outright reject looking at co-ops, others still seek them out.


“They actually like the fact that their neighbors are vetted, that if you’re living there, you’re the end user and that it’s not going to be a building where you’re investing and renting out the units,” Beare said. “You’ll know your neighbors.”


With options increasing in Manhattan, buyers are no longer tied to a specific neighborhood, according to Teplitzky. Apartment hunters who start their search on the Upper East Side, for example, may end up buying downtown in Tribeca, a reality that Teplitzky said is guiding how she advises sellers of co-op units. Next week, she plans to list an Upper East Side co-op with an asking price that’s slightly below its market value -- a way to stand out in a sea of other co-op apartments competing against the wave of shiny new condos.


“The good news,” Teplitzky said, “is that you can get a very good deal in a co-op now.”

Top Stories of 2016

CurbedDecember 27, 2016

What did Curbed's readers love in 2016? If the biggest stories of the year are anything to go by, then tiny apartments, celebrity news, and exclusive peeks inside normally off-limits spaces ruled—as did Pokemon Go. Here now, the 10 most read stories of 2016.


10. Petite West Village studio on a charming, hidden street wants $675,000


Never underestimate the power of privacy and a good location: That combination made this itty-bitty West Village studio irresistible to readers. The studio in is located on the top floor of a 19th-century "back house," which has its own private courtyard and is accessed via its own little walkway from the street.



Celebrity Moves 2016

CurbedDecember 22, 2016

It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 13th Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: the biggest celebrity real estate moves of the year.


This year wasn't different from previous years in that celebrities spent millions of dollars on glamorous apartments in Manhattan, but some celebrities sure did make bank in 2016 selling their existing homes like Uma Thurman who sold her Gramercy Park duplex for a small profit, and Rupert Murdoch who made a $2.5 million profit on a West Village mansion. Most chose to buy and sell in Manhattan, but others were adventurous like Emily Blunt and John Krasinski with their purchase of a $6 million Park Slope house (Michelle Williams and Norah Jones continued to update their Brooklyn homes too). Things took a political turn this year with commentator Keith Olbermann quitting his Trump Palace condo due to his disdain for the president-elect. All things considered though, celebrities had a great year trading pricey apartments, indicating more of the same for 2017.


5) Kelsey Grammar—$19.6M


Frasier star Kelsey Grammar was not having any luck selling his $9.75 million West Chelsea pad, so instead of slashing the ask, he decided to join forces with his neighbor who was also trying to unload a pad on the same floor for $9.85 million. Together the duo now wants $19.6 million for what would be a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom apartment that spans 5,750 square feet. Located in Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue building, these apartments offer 360 degree views of the city among many other features.


100 11th Ave

New York, NY 10011

Live in Italianate Splendor

Brick UndergroundDecember 20, 2016

If you want the experience of living in a rambling, historic West Village home—complete with high ceilings, marble fireplaces, and ornate crown moldings—without the commitment of ownership, this rental is for you. The 1856 townhouse also comes with a studio apartment on the top floor, which could be subletted for rental income. It can't hurt: This five-bedroom is listed by CORE for $26,000 per month.


This townhouse retains many of its original details, including the staircase that leads you to the front door and onto the parlor level. There, you'll find a large living room, complete with a working marble fireplace, eye-catching crown moldings along the ceiling, and plenty of sunlight through the oversize windows. The dining room sits adjacent to a sun room, a cozy spot even in the winter; the renovated kitchen features exposed brick walls and updated appliances.


One level up, you'll find two bedrooms, including the spacious master, which boasts its own fireplace, two walk-in closets, and an en-suite bath. The second bedroom also comes with a fireplace—you'll have no trouble keeping warm anywhere in this home—and an adjacent office. There's also a laundry room and a washer and dryer on this floor.


The fourth floor features a similar layout to the third, with two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and office space, while the fifth boasts a family room brightened by a huge skylight. Here, you'll also find the studio apartment, complete with another kitchen and bathroom. Other highlights of the home include a roof deck, terrace, and garden, though note that the ground floor is a separate apartment currently occupied by a tenant.

Living Near 2nd Ave Subway

MetroDecember 14, 2016

The Second Avenue subway is (supposedly) opening early next year, bringing three new stops — 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street to the “Far Upper East Side” in its first phase.


Since the long-awaited MTA project got underway, there was talk of what it could do to real estate prices in the area. Some snatched up existing places as a good investment, while new luxury buildings went up in what was once a less desirable area of the Upper East Side.


Here are two affordable Manhattan apartments in a co-op just blocks away from the 72nd Street and Second Avenue stop that could still be a good investment as the area and the line grow.


Apartment 14 in 332 E. 77th St. is described as a large, sunny studio. There are 9-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and an open kitchen with an island. A decorative fireplace and tree-top views also add charm to the home and a washer/dryer adds convenience. Priced at $375,000.


For $399,000, apartment 7 is a renovated, one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit, where a washer/dryer can be installed. There are also 9-foot ceilings and hardwood floors, as well as a kitchen with granite countertops and custom wood cabinets. The living room is large enough for a separate dining area and the bedroom can fit a queen sized bed.


Studio with Rare Amenity

Brick UndergroundDecember 13, 2016

This week's "small wonder" pick is a studio in name only, given its duplex layout, as well as extra square footage in the form of a private terrace. Located on the second floor of a Chelsea townhouse at 221 West 14th Street, the condo features exposed brick throughout, as well as 13.5-foot ceilings, a fireplace, and a walk-in closet (not pictured).


The sleeping area is lofted, but has reasonable space to move around, and is accessed by a real staircase, not the claustrophobic circular ones, or rickety ladders so often seen in loft-like setups:


As for the kitchen, the old-school exposed brick is offset by new appliances, including a dishwasher. The floorplan indicates that the bathroom is located off the kitchen, but it's not pictured, so you'll want to investigate in person to make sure it's in decent condition.


Unsurprisingly, none of this comes cheap: The asking price is $845,000, already quite steep for a studio, plus an additional $797/per month assessment for facade work, stairway shoring, and new windows, running through December 2018, on top of the regular mortgage, common charge, and tax payments.


That said, while this is a stark difference from its initial $97,000 purchase price back in 1997 (per the StreetEasy sales records), recent transactions show that the apartment has been on and off the market at a variety of price points in the last year or so, meaning you may have some room to negotiate.

The First Look at 42 Crosby

ObserverDecember 13, 2016

Annabelle Selldorf’s luxe 42 Crosby launched sales back in September, and now the team is revealing a set of exclusive photos of the Soho building’s model unit, which the Observer has the first look at.


The seven-story condominium is comprised of just ten sleek apartments. Five are currently on the market, with the least expensive starting at $8.2 million, and two already in contract, including the $25 million penthouse. CORE is handling sales at the Atlas Capital Group-developed building, where expected occupancy is slated for around March or April 2017.


The interiors are designed by Selldorf Architects to complement the cast iron aesthetic of the building’s exterior, as well as the surrounding Soho neighborhood. The unit features a custom stainless steel Boffi kitchen, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and direct private elevator access. There’s a gas fireplace, as well as ash planked wood floors and Thassos marble and Terrazzo finishes throughout. The model unit was staged by Selldorf Architects, using some furniture from Selldorf’s own line, Vica (available for sale, of course).


“The apartment was furnished with a sophisticated client in mind who appreciates elegant finishes, proportions and scale in furnishings as well as architecture,” Lauren Sanford, the interior designer at Selldorf Architects, told the Observer. “There is a combination of pieces from Selldorf’s Vica furniture line as well as found classics such as the dining chairs by Mart Stam and a credenza by George Nakashima.”


The three-bedroom, three-bathroom model unit is located on the third floor of the Soho building, and it’s not yet on the market—keep your eyes out for the $8.25 million listing, though. If the apartment is a tad out of your price range, you can see click through the slideshow above for a first look into the model unit and some décor inspo.


Aside from the fashionable interiors and architectural design, the building also gained a whole lot of attention back in 2014, when it was reported that buyers in the building have the option to also purchase a 200-square-foot underground parking space, on a first-come-first serve basis. The price tag for such automobile convenience? A staggering $1 million per spot.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37 / 38 / 39 / 40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44 / 45 / 46 / 47 / 48 / 49 / 50 / 51 / 52 / 53 / 54 / 55 / 56 / 57 / 58 / 59 / 60 / 61 / 62 / 63 / 64 / 65 / 66 / 67 / 68 / 69 / 70 / 71 / 72 / 73 / 74 / 75 / 76 / 77 / 78 / 79 / 80 / 81 / 82 / 83 / 84 / 85 / 86 / 87 / 88 / 89 / 90 / 91 / 92 / 93 / 94 / 95 / 96 / 97 / 98 / 99 / 100 / 101 / 102 / 103 / 104 / 105 / 106 / 107 / 108 / 109 / 110 / 111 / 112 / 113 / 114 / 115 / 116 / 117