Pre-Civil War Fort Greene Townhouse Finally Sells for $850K

CurbedOctober 24, 2012
The pre-Civil War charmer at 141 Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene needs some work: there are original wide-plank floors, wood beams, and Greek Revival and Italianate details, sure, but the building is also set up as a two one-bedroom apartments. At only 1,324 square feet total, that's not ideal. So the fact that this house took about a year to sell is no surprise. The place was originally asking $849,000, hiked its price to $875,000 in August, and ultimately sold earlier this month for $850,000.

New Listings: 125 West 21st Street, 8B

Brokers WeeklyOctober 24, 2012
Michael Rubin and Reyn Rossington at CORE have just listed Unit 8B at The Indigo in Chelsea for $1.415 million. The south-facing, one-bedroom is a 992 s/f entertainment oasis, according to the brokers. It has high ceilings, two spa-like full baths, a 22-foot wide living room, casement windows, hardwood flooring, a vented washer and dryer, and an open chef’s Poggenpohl kitchen with a Viking range and 24-bottle wine cooler. The master bedroom has a spa bathroom with a separate Steammist steam shower, double sinks, radiant heated floors, and marble and limestone tile. The Indigo has a common roof, backyard, live-in super, doorman, and a 421A tax abatement.

A Helpful Guide for People Looking to Climb Walker Tower

CurbedOctober 21, 2012
New Chelsea luxury conversion Walker Tower is big on the helpful amenities—automatic shades, wall-mounted iPad docks, etc. It has even gone so far as to provide a helpful diagram for any international spies or urban climbers looking to rappel down the building and enter the Cabana Room or Open Air Bar & Grill via awesome rope swinging. Seriously, this looks like something they would, and possibly did, consult in Mission Impossible. "There's only one entry point to the Trellised Allee. We're going to have to do it from the roof." Walker Tower's sponsor unit was listed a few days ago for $13,500,000, and it is still extremely impressive. Check out a whole mess of pictures of it here.

Steel Executive Buys Rothschild Mansion for $25M

BloombergOctober 19, 2012
Leroy Schecter, a metalworks executive who is seeking to sell an apartment at New York’s 15 Central Park West for $95 million, has purchased the Rothschild Mansion on the Upper East Side.

Schecter paid $25 million for the 11,300-square-foot (1,050-square-meter) property in a deal that closed yesterday, according to his broker, Emily Beare of New York City-based CORE. The seller is the Century Foundation, which had been using the building for office space since acquiring it in 1958.

Schecter, the chairman of steel-framing company Marino/Ware Industries Inc., splits his time between Miami and New York and collects trophy properties, according to Beare. He intends to renovate the 83-year-old Rothschild Mansion and convert it back to a residence, she said.

“He’s somebody that has an eye for premier properties,” Beare said. “When he sees an opportunity he just goes for it.”

Schecter, 85, put his 35th-floor condo at 15 Central Park West up for sale before deciding to buy the Rothschild Mansion, said Beare, who is marketing the property. The five-bedroom home is tied for the second-most-expensive listing in Manhattan right now, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and the musician Sting also own apartments at the dual limestone towers.

The Rothschild Mansion, at 41 E. 70th St. between Park and Madison avenues, is “a diamond in the rough in the perfect location with the perfect garden,” according to the sales listing by Paula Del Nunzio, a broker at New York-based Brown Harris Stevens. She declined to comment on the sale.

Home Conversion

Schecter’s residential conversion would take about two years, and will include configuring bedrooms, adding bathrooms and a kitchen, as well as removing a second staircase that was added for office use, Beare said.

The townhouse was listed for $25 million in November 2005, according to StreetEasy. It was withdrawn then returned to the market with an asking price of $35 million in July 2007, as Manhattan apartment values were approaching their peak. The mansion had been for sale since then, with the price decreasing three times over two years to $25.5 million. In December 2010, as values of luxury properties were climbing, the owners raised the price to $30 million, according to StreetEasy.

The median price of Manhattan luxury properties, defined as the top 10 percent of all deals by price, was $4.07 million in the third quarter, a 2.6 percent drop from a year earlier, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report this month.

Steel Magnate Leroy Schecter Out as Buyer of $25M UES Rothschild Mansion

The Real DealOctober 19, 2012
After trading hands in an anonymous $25 million deal early this month, the buyer of the Upper East Side’s Rothschild mansion has been revealed. According to the New York Post, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, 85, was the buyer and he is already planning a multimillion–dollar renovation of the building to convert it back into a single-family residence.

The property, which is located at 41 E 70th Street, between Park and Madison avenues, had sat on the market for seven years and changed its asking prices many times. Its most recent owner was the Century Foundation, a think tank that analyzes U.S. public policy.
Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio, represented the seller in the deal for the six-story, 11,300-square-foot townhouse. Emily Beare of Core represented Schecter.

Its price was then lowered for its former $35 million asking price three different times over the last two years, until it reached its $25.5 million. Finally the property closed for an even $25 million.

The home was orginally built for Walter and Carola Warburg-Rothschild in 1929, and boasts two 33 foot deep gardens facing one another, according to Brown Harris Stevens’ listing.

Schechter is also the man behind a $95 million listing at 15 CPW. Schechter is combining his two units on the 35th floor of the building, for which he paid a combined $18.9 million. If his units at 15 CPW sell at that ask, it would be a record for the building. That listing is with Emily Beare of Core. [NYP] – Christopher Cameron

One Museum Mile Hosts Harlem Blues & Jazz Band

Brokers WeeklyOctober 19, 2012
On Sept. 27, private equity real estate firm Brickman and real estate sales and marketing firm CORE hosted a special rooftop concert at One Museum Mile featuring the legendary Harlem Blues & Jazz Band.

The band’s members have a combined 500 years of performing experience, have toured all over the world and won renown for upholding classic and swing jazz and blues tradition.

Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue, the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Museum Mile is a premier luxury residential development in the Upper Carnegie Hill neighborhood along Upper Fifth Avenue.

Guests included One Museum Mile residents, real estate brokers, real estate and music media, and executive members of the Duke Ellington Society and National Jazz Museum in Harlem—all of whom gathered 21 stories aloft to enjoy a evening immersed in music, and surrounded by panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline at sunset Central Park.

Jazz aficionado, band founder and curator Al Vollmer introduced the band, which was formed in 1973 and has included dozens of jazz musicians throughout its storied past, all of which played Classic Jazz and Blues alongside legends including Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr., and Duke Ellington.

Current members and the night’s performers included Joey Morant (vocals and trumpet), Art Barron (trombone), Michael Max Fleming (bass), Fred Wurtzel (guitar), “Zeke” Mullins (keyboard), Jackie Williams (drums), and Fred Staton (tenor saxophone), who is the group’s reigning elder at ninety-seven years old. With One Museum Mile adjacent to Duke Ellington Circle and amphitheater, it was only fitting that Master of Ceremonies Morant led the group through Ellington classics including “Take the A Train” and “C Jam Blues”.

“We are a rapt audience today, and are thrilled to be hosting this esteemed group as we celebrate the fall season,” said Tom Postilio, founding member and managing director of CORE, the building’s exclusive sales and marketing team.
“The building, now at 40% sold and in contract, is feeling more and more like a community and we are glad to see so many of our happy residents here.”

Vollmer added, “It was such a special evening to get the whole band together, and the rooftop’s backdrop was incredible. We would definitely like to do another show at One Musem Mile in the future.”

One Museum Mile is located at 1280 Fifth Avenue and offers studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, some with outdoor terraces, as well as penthouses ranging up to 2,118-square feet, which are available for immediate occupancy. The property offers a full range of amenities including fitness center, dining room and catering kitchen, lounge, children’s playroom, and rooftop pool and BBQ. The building will house the future Museum of African Art.

The Perfect New York Closet

GothamOctober 18, 2012
“What I hear all too often from clients, particularly if they’re from out of town, is that there is rarely enough storage space in apartments in New York,” says Brown Harris Stevens vice president and director Jeffrey Shannon. His clients have a point: In the long history of the city’s co-ops and condos, the utilitarian closet often has gotten short shrift. “You do find the existence of sizable walk-in closets in some of the 1920s and Art Deco-period buildings,” Shannon says. “But as wardrobes were more common for clothing storage in that period and certainly prior, there does tend to be less closet space on the whole as compared to post-war buildings.”

Things didn’t get much better after the war, either. In the spare, modernist buildings of midcentury, closet space was an amenity that was “generally overlooked,” according to senior vice president Michael Graves of Core. Early loft conversions were about open space—not storage. “Industrial lofts were obviously not designed as residences, so it was up to the homeowners to renovate the space,” says Shannon.

In recent years, architects and interior designers have acknowledged a basic fact of city life: New Yorkers have too much stuff, and not everyone wants to store their precious holdings off-site. Smart builders are planning accordingly. “Those with experience know that closet space has such a value these days,” says closet designer Melanie Fascitelli of Clos-ette Custom Closets. So much so that many interior architects consider the closet the new frontier of urban dwelling design.

“People want to spend, and to design details into their closets, the way they did with kitchens not long ago,” says Lee Stahl of The Renovated Home. “The amount of detail often rivals what goes into a library.” Stahl says clients demand luxurious finishes, like cerused oak, walnut, and exotic European laminates. They ask for all the bells and whistles, too, including the carousels you see at a dry cleaner’s, space for exercise and media equipment, even wine coolers. “I’d say 30 percent take a bedroom or some other consequential space and turn it into a monster walk-in closet.”

Lisa Jacobs of Imagine It Done says such amenities as pull-out shoe storage, electronic tie carousels, custom cabinets for safes, and lit cabinets are in demand, as well as chandeliers and other items to decorate storage spaces. But regardless of budget, Jacobs is a strong advocate for rigorously editing down your life’s contents. “Eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak,” she says.

For those whose clothing collections are too precious to part with but too extensive to keep at home, there is off-site wardrobe storage and management. Linda Rothschild of the lifestyle management service Cross It Off Your List is launching such a service, called Keep It, Store It, Find It. There’s also Garde Robe, which creates a digital photographic inventory of your wardrobe, so you can retrieve any garment when you want it. Think cloud computing for your closet: Everything is there, somewhere you never see, and accessible with a click.

Inside Nicole Kidman’s Building- Where You Can Drive Up To Your Living Room

NY Daily NewsOctober 18, 2012
200 Eleventh in Chelsea has one apartment left: a $12.95 million duplex penthouse with stunning views.

Light, air, the river, two floors covered in teak, giant windows encased in black aluminum, and a car lift that takes you right to your private garage in the sky, in your apartment.

It’s no wonder Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban bought at 200 Eleventh, the still-stunning development by architect Annabelle Selldorf and developers Young Woo & Associates and Italian Glauco Lolli-Ghetti.
With black granite and Venetian plaster climbing the wall, the lobby is so stylized the condo board put a sign on the door: “This is a residence. Please do not enter.”

“Everyone thinks it’s an art gallery,” says listing broker and Douglas Elliman managing director Leonard Steinberg, who lives in the building that he helped sell when it came to market in 2008.

The last unit left is the 3,248-square-foot duplex penthouse, on the market now for $12.95 million, or $3,987 per square foot.
It is astonishing. Even the outdoor space, which New York-based Selldorf faced away from the windy Hudson River, feels like an additional room, perfectly squared and roofed off facing northeast with views of Chelsea and the midtown skyline.

The lines everywhere in this building are classical. It’s all symmetry and clean lines. The views give the building its curves. When you look west to the river, you gaze over a green Astroturf soccer field and sunken park next to Chelsea Piers. Sunsets over the Hudson are all pink.

“These are totally unobstructed and will remain so,” says the South African-born Steinberg, an accomplished pianist known in broker circles as a market maker who gets higher prices for new developments in emerging neighborhoods. “This apartment is one of a kind. We’ve had solid offers and are negotiating now.”

Steinberg sees a market resurgence in Chelsea, where Walker Towers is setting price records on 18th St. off Seventh Ave. fetching more than $4,000 per square foot.

“I don’t know if people want to hear this or not, but everything in New York City is terribly underpriced right now,” he says. “The projects that are coming are going to set all kinds of records. West Chelsea has drastically changed in the past six months. The Avenues school has brought families with children who want their children to receive the best education in the country. Everything here is different now. Avenues is the game-changer.”

Started by Chris Whittle, Avenues is a private school that educates children to understand the global world we live in today. Math, science, languages and core values are taught in a conducive setting. Katie ¬Holmes enrolled daughter Suri Cruise in the school. She moved to Chelsea to be close.

The immediate vicinity, once known solely for art galleries and studios, has seen an uptick in nightlife. The Americano Hotel by architect Enrique Norten has a rooftop pool/bar that during the winter months gives off steam like a hot tub at a ski chalet. Restaurants have popped up along the High Line, just down the street from 200 Eleventh. Still, Steinberg points to the apartment views.

“There is nowhere else in Manhattan with 80 feet of frontage that has protected views of park, water, skyline with your own private garage,” he says. “This building became an instant landmark the day it opened. Architecture tours in the neighborhood make this their last stop.”

Yes, but does Mick Jagger rent here?

“We don’t comment on celebrities or any buyers,” Steinberg says. “You know that. The identity of potential buyers for this apartment, though, would shock anyone.”

We’re sure. Thanks for nothing. Then what about the garage?

“That’s funny,” he says. “One of our buyers estimated that not waiting for your car saves you 20 minutes per day. That’s an extra two weeks you have for ¬vacation per year.”

Coming: As you drive up, a sensor in your car opens the garage door. The door closes behind you. Drive to a waiting car elevator which whisks you to your apartment. Back into your private sky garage.

How the Sky Garage Works

Going: Call the elevator. Drive in head first. At street level, drive onto 24th St. head first through a preexisting curb cut-out left from the previous site, a garage.

Rules: Since New York City does not allow creation of new curb cutouts, without preexisting ones the sky garage could not have been built.

New Listings: 240 West 23rd, 3B4B

Brokers WeeklyOctober 17, 2012

Two bedroom, 2-bath 1,600-SF duplex loft. Chef’s kitchen with Poggenpohl cabinets, a Subzero refrigerator, a Viking gas range and a Miele dishwasher. Balconies on each level, high ceilings, hardwood floors and ample storage. The two levels are connected by a wide wood and metal staircase. The lower level features an entrance foyer, renovated full bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The second level has the master bedroom with a balcony, a wall of custom built-ins, and an interior room with a closet currently used as a guest bedroom. The master bathroom has a walk-in shower, double sink and custom built-in closet. Central A/C, home office, washer/dryer and storage unit. Listing Agent: Lawrence V. Treglia,CORE.

Just Sold: 425 East 13th St, PH-FG

New York PostOctober 17, 2012

EAST VILLAGE $3,300,000

425 E. 13th St.

Two-bedroom, two-bath penthouse duplex condo, 2,500 square feet, with metal slide, media/game room, home office and terraces; building features doorman, keyed elevator, gym and pool. Common charges $4,081, taxes $600. Asking price $3,690,000, on market for 32 weeks. Brokers: Elizabeth Kee and Lindsee Silverstein, Core and Anna Moy, Halstead Property

Homestilo - One Museum Mile, NYC - 2012-10-12

HomestiloOctober 12, 2012
Friday, at last. I wanted to leave you for the weekend with a look at One Museum Mile. It’s where I and fellow blogger Nina (of No. 40) were assigned to volunteer during Open House NY last weekend.

Museum Mile refers to a section of 5th Avenue that holds quite a few museums including The Met, El Museo del Barrio and the Guggenheim Museum. The idea behind the One Museum Mile building, is that it will house The Museum for African Art at the uptown end of Museum Mile.

Visitors to the building got to see the roof top deck, the amenities floor (themed game rooms and a gym) and several model units which have been staged fabulously. Nina and I were assigned several kinds of monitoring duties. But, we also had plenty of time to do a little exploring on our own (and take way too many pictures as usual).

Done Deals: 99 Bank Street, 6Q

Brokers WeeklyOctober 10, 2012
West Village

One bedroom in pre-war, loft building near Hudson River Park. Situated on the southwest corner of the building, six windows. Currently set up as a one bedroom with den/ office. Building has a part time door- man, live in super and laundry. Ask- ing price: $815,000. Time on market: 4 weeks. Brokers: Nancy Friedman, Prudential Douglas Elliman; Tony Sargeant, CORE.

Featured Listing

ModernnycOctober 05, 2012
Crowning the exquisite new conversion at 211 East 51st Street, this spectacular duplex
penthouse is a feast for the senses and is the epitome of New York living. Panoramic
views of the glittering Manhattan skyline dominate this sprawling 3,175-square foot
space, which includes three bedrooms, three en suite bathrooms and two half-baths
among its capacious 7-room layout. The interior spaces are an elegant synthesis of
innovation and imagination. Double-height ceilings and walls of glass endow the
expansive second level with drama and light, and a soaring fireplace evokes a
sense of comfort. Jewel-like finishes adorn the luxurious bathrooms and kitchen,
accentuating clean lines and fluid entertaining. Wrapping the perimeter of each
level are private terraces totaling 1,641-square feet, with several points of access
to indulge a rare brand of seamless indoor-outdoor living. Tranquilly located next
to Greenacre Park, the acclaimed conversion of 211 East 51st Street was
designed by renowned architect Shamir Shah, and the penthouses interiors
have been customized by Mojo Stumer.

Houses of the Week: 115 Central Park West PH32E

New York PostOctober 04, 2012
Lincoln Square
$2.25 million
Bedrooms: 1 Bathrooms: 1
Square feet: 950 Maintenance: $2,773

This isn’t just any old penthouse loft. Atop the “famed” Majestic on Central Park West, the co-op has been “skillfully designed” by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien with “museum-quality lighting,” lots of open space, a soaking tub with a park view and oversized windows that also offer “panoramic views” of Fifth Avenue. Agent: Michael Graves, Core, 212-932-2222

Poker Player Finally Sells a Building Penthouse With Slide

CurbedOctober 04, 2012
Buying two penthouses in a luxury condo building and connecting them with a slide is the kind of move that makes a home hard to resell (though it makes day-to-day living way more fun). Even in the East Village's A Building, which is basically party central, it took pro poker player Phil Galfond months to find a buyer for his combo penthouse play place with slide, which he listed in February for $3.99 million. (He paid $3.2 million for the uncombined units, each a 2BR, in 2008.) An in-building tipster tells us, and reps for the listing confirm, that the sale closed yesterday. The rumor among residents is that the final sale price was $3.2 million. We've reached out to the broker and we'll update when we know more. UPDATE: The broker tells us the final sale price was actually $3.3 million.

The new owner purchased the apartment under an LLC, but broker Elizabeth Kee tells us he is a young guy who recently sold his software company and decided to relocate to the East Village. He's promised many friends a chance to use the slide, but once they've had their turns, he plans to renovate the apartment and donate the slide, which was custom-designed by Turrett Collaborative Architects, to a good home. Anyone want?

Here's how the architects described their work on the slide:

The half-tube stainless steel slide starts on the top floor near the office, and lands below near both the living and dining areas. The sculptural slide is housed in a newly created 18' tall double-height space, which includes custom designed glass railings. The image of the stainless steel curves in front of the oversized window to the city beyond, to say nothing of the irrepressible glee of grown adults on the slide, is surprisingly poetic; with careful detailing, the playground element is an unexpectedly elegant addition to the space.
Seller Phil Galfond—who is giving up the apartment because he had to leave the country due to the Justice Department's online poker crackdown—included a number of other fun goodies in the apartment, like a rooftop putting green. But it turns out, Kee says, that Galfond didn't actually own the rooftop, and used it only thanks to an agreement with the developer. Confusion over rooftop rights led to some price negotiations during the sale, so the final price was a bit lower than the most recent $3.699 million ask.

Done Deals: 125 West 21st Street #5B

Brokers WeeklyOctober 03, 2012

One bedroom, 992 s/f home with high ceilings and two spa-style baths, 22 ft. wide liv¬ing room, casement windows, hardwood flooring and washer/dryer. Open chef’s kitchen with 12-bot¬tle wine cooler. The Indigo Condominium’s amenities include a common roof, backyard, live-in super, doorman. 421A tax abate¬ment. CC: $914. Asking Price: $1,335,000. On mar¬ket for 1 month. Brokers: Michael Rubin, CORE (pictured); Doug Crowell, Corcoran.

Our Definition of "Done" - Colin Cowie's NY Penthouse

BungaluxOctober 02, 2012
According to Webster's Dictionary, "Done" can be defined as:

1: past particle of "do"
2: arrived at or brought to an end (one more question and we're done)
3: doomed to failure, defeat, or death
4: gone by : over (the day of the circus big top is done)
5: physically exhausted
6: cooked sufficiently (check to see if the meat is done)
7: conformable to social convention (not the done thing)

According to Bungalux, "Done" can be defined as:

1: an amazing combined penthouse in one of the hottest parts of New York which has been flawlessly crafted in every last detail by author, events producer, television personality, and consultant Colin Cowie (aka: the KING of entertaining and good taste)

2: see 1

But those kinds of "done" never come on the market, do they?

No. Wait, yes?

We stumbled upon Colin Cowie's magnificent New York penthouse recently and felt that we had had had to feature it because it's exactly what we're about around here: Good taste meets good design meets real estate.

The stunning unit speaks for itself, but here are the Cliffs Notes. The approximately 3,000 square foot residence has key-locked elevator access and two bedrooms and two and half baths. The private rooftop terrace offers approximately 900-square feet of entertaining space, expansive views of Manhattan including the Empire State Building, and dumbwaiter service from the first floor kitchen. (Would you expect anything less from Mr. Cowie?) Every last detail - and when we say "detail" we mean "detail" - of the unit is personally designed by Colin with entertaining and comfortable luxury lifestyle in mind. From the hidden storage to the to-die-for-bar to the expansive outdoor space, this is one of the best homes we've seen for all types of gatherings. In addition, the building itself offers white glove service with a 24-hour concierge, private spa and state-of-the-art fitness center.

We would write more, but why bother with one of the best video tours of a unit we've ever seen available online. If you're going to do one thing today, we recommend you CLICK HERE TO HAVE COLIN COWIE AND CORE AGENT EMILY BEARE GIVE YOU A VIDEO TOUR OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PROPERTY.

One other quick note: Check out the dining room chairs. They fit right into our Lucite story from last week. Hmmm. Some may say Colin's learned everything he knows from us. Okay, maybe it's the other way around. Semantics.

For more information on the property or to schedule a viewing, please contact Emily Beare at (212) 726-0786. All photos courtesy of CORE. Asking price is $6,850,000.

The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band plays atop the Harlem Skyline

Notes on JazzOctober 01, 2012
This past Thursday September 27, 2012, I was invited to attend a roof top party at one of Harlem's most prestigious new buildings One Museum Mile. Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue, this large, luxury apartment building occupies the corner between 109th street and Tito Puente Way( 110th Street), and the edge of Central Park North, right off the Duke Ellington Circle. In keeping with the jazz history of the area, there is Robert Graham's imposing, twenty-five foot tall bronze sculpture of Duke Ellington and his piano perched atop nine caryatids, adorning a small park within the circle. The recently opened Museum of African Art, with its sixteen thousand square feet of exhibit space, calls the ground level of this ninety thousand square foot building home.

On this balmy evening, the view from atop the penthouse was spectacular. Despite the large cumulus clouds that lingered above threatening the outdoor proceedings with the possibility of showers, the evening was unscathed by any rain. The mostly gentrified crowd of invitees was treated to good food, drink, a soft sales pitch (the luxury apartments are for sale with presently 40% occupied) and great music. Like a lush Persian rug being unrolled before your eyes, the great green expanse of Frederick Law Olmsted's masterpiece, Central Park, and its hidden Lake, Harlem Meer, are majestically viewed from this unique vantage point .

But on this evening it was the music that I came for and I was not disappointed. The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is a now venerable institution. Originally founded in 1973 by King Oliver's trombonist /blues singer Clyde Bernhardt and the jazz aficionado Al Volmer, it is dedicated to keeping the significant side-men of the Classic Jazz period working and not forgotten. Since those early beginnings, an impressive number of musicians from the classic era have moved through this group's ranks, often until attrition forces the band to replace them. Through it all the band's authenticity to the music is retained while providing these journeymen musicians a reason to still play and giving the listeners an important link to the music's heritage.

Predominantly a blues and swing era band, Vollmer is still managing the latest edition of the group. On this evening the band consisted of the trumpeter and singer Joey Morant , Fred Staton on tenor saxophone, Art Barron in the trombone chair and Fred Wurtzel, the guitarist. The rhythm section included pianist Reynold "Zeke" Mullins, bassist Michael Max Fleming and drummer Jackie Williams.

All veterans of an era gone by, Fred Staton logged in as the elder statesman at ninety-seven and still going strong. The group exhibited grace and vitality as it went through a repertoire that included Ellington standards like "Take the A Train" , "In a Mellow Tone" and "C Jam Blues." Trumpet player and de facto master of ceremonies Joey Morant, sang the Armstrong classics "What a Wonderful World" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" , punctuating the music with poignant trumpet solos complete with plunger mute in the tradition of Ellington mainstay "Cootie" Williams.

Art Barron, who was a one time member of the Ellington Orchestra, did a fine job resurrecting the spirit of Ellington trombonist "Tricky" Sam Nanton, as he slurred and muted his instrument to create a plethora of unusual sounds. He would often team up with tenorist Fred Staton in a tag team of call and response. Staton's hushed tenor sound was smokey and warm; somewhere between Lester Young and Ben Webster. Staton is the brother of the late singer Dakota Staton and has played with Earl Hines among others. Reynold "Zeke" Mullins was holding down the piano duties on the electric keyboards. You could barely see his eyes under his NY Yankees cap. Mullins was a frequent collaborator with the great Lionel Hampton's band. The stately Michael Max Fleming, whose tall lean appearance was the human embodiment of his instrument the upright bass, stabilized the bottom and kept the groove on track. Fleming made his bones playing with childhood friend and multi-reed player Rahsaan Roland Kirk as well as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vincent and backed up the singer Sammy Davis Jr.

The drummer Jackie Williams kept impeccable time on the traps. Williams has anchored groups with Milt Hinton, Buddy Tate and Illinois Jacquet to name just a few.Guitarist Ed Wurtzel was heard on his hollow bodied guitar deftly comping behind the band and soloing with gusto especially on "C Jam Blues."

With showmanship and joy that belies their age, the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is a living tribute to classic jazz from the swing era and a treasure to anyone who appreciates the fine tradition they are keeping alive. As a working band that has done tours all over the United States, Europe and Scandinavia this group shows no signs of letting age get in the way of their love of this music. Catch them if you can.

16 New Developments Hitting the NYC Market This Fall

CurbedOctober 01, 2012
The fall is traditionally a busy time for new developments to hit the market, as sales pick up and people go condo shopping. There are a few new rental projects headed for the open market, too. To keep track of it all, we've compiled a map of projects set to hit the market (or rumored to do so) before the end of 2012, complete with current photos or renderings of each site. (There are also—bonus—a few where units are available already.) Know of one we've missed? Please share in the comments or with the tipline.

Changing His Tune: How a Classical Guitarist Became Core’s Top Producer

The Real DealOctober 01, 2012
Michael Graves on writing depressing music, his father's congressional race — against Michele Bachmann! — and selling $80M of NYC real estate

Many New York sales agents have come to the business of real estate from a wide range of other professions. In an ongoing series, will profile brokers for whom selling properties represents a major career transition.

Michael Graves — Core’s top producer last year — is a classical musician, who had planned to be a composer and write film scores. Then two years ago, he found out his wife was pregnant with twins, and transitioned into real estate “to feed my family.” He recently sat down with The Real Deal to discuss the future of the Upper East Side residential market, what he listens to with his fellow musician friends, and his father’s run for Congress — against Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

I sometimes get the sense you are disappointed with your choice to be in real estate.
I was supposed to be composing music and traveling the world, but I ended up having a wife and two kids and needing to make a few bucks.

Which Core office do you work in?
I will probably be moving to the new Core office [next spring]. That will be on 61st and Madison. I kind of see the Upper East Side as a new frontier for downtown brokers. I think the old guard is changing; families in FiDi and Tribeca want to move uptown, while the empty nesters want to move downtown. So there is a crack opening up in the glass ceiling of how business is done, on the Upper East Side particularly.

Where did you grow up?
A small town called St. Cloud, Minn., just outside of Minneapolis. While my brothers were very young my parents made a living as folk singers in bars. My father then left and started teaching grade school and… [eventually] became a hotel developer.

What is his company called?
Graves Hospitality. I’m not wearing my “I dig Graves” pin, which I was wearing earlier today, because my dad is running for Congress. The sixth district of Minnesota. The congressperson from that district is quite notorious: She’s Michele Bachmann.
Your dad is running against Michele Bachmann?
Yes. He’s a free-market guy, successful businessman. Bachmann has become such an eyesore for Minnesota.

Are you a Democrat?
Well, I’m an independent thinker. But when I watched the conventions, it’s like, good people and bad people — that’s all I see. There are people … who are only caring about protecting their bank accounts, and then on the other side, a bunch of people who … want to help the little guy.

Do you ever find people in real estate too conservative?
At the end of the day you have to have a separation between … business and state. There are things the government does not do well: The government does not do free market well. I’m not for big government or small government; I’m for efficient government.

Did you want to follow your dad into the hospitality business?
My real passion, which I discovered when I was about ten years old, was always music. … My mother was a pianist. I also grow up in the Catholic Church, and of course you are exposed to all the music that goes along with that environment. By the time I was 11, I was writing music.
I’ve dabbled in piano and bass and the fiddle. But the only instrument I ever had serious formal training in was classical guitar. I studied at the Mannes College of Music. And I was a junior there when the economic ramifications of 9/11 started to deeply affect my father’s business. He was opening a four-star hotel in downtown Minneapolis. My wife was just completing her master’s degree.

Where did you meet your wife?
In college. We were engaged within five months and married within nine. But anyway, at the time, the writing on the wall was that it made sense to move back to Minneapolis, and go home and help my dad open his hotel. I had also developed a horrible case of tendonitis.

Given your father’s business, in some sense you’ve been in real estate forever?
Yeah, people sometimes say, “wait, you’ve been in real estate two years and you have sold $80 million worth of real estate? Something doesn’t add up.” But really I’ve been in real estate my whole life.

So you came back to New York?
I did, with a … plan to continue with music. So about the time I was finishing my undergraduate degree [at 27], my wife wanted to have kids. I had left dad’s company and completed a degree in music theory and composition. [I tell myself] “I’m a realistic person. I want to have a family. I’m not going to be a classical guitarist — I’ll be a composer.” But that’s about the stupidest thing I ever thought of. So my wife suggested film scoring. So I did a double master’s in music composition and film scoring.
Did you ever write a film score that was used?
Sure. It was called “Brothers in Arms.” It was not a big Hollywood production, but it was internationally distributed at a lot of festivals and stuff. [The film was] very… depressing.

Do you write depressing music?
I do. What I consider depressing and what other people consider depressing are two completely different things. The audience for classical music is something like 3 percent of the world’s population. For contemporary classical music, it’s what? .2 percent? It’s a very small audience. My concert music is quite intense. It’s not the kind of thing where you sit around and drink a glass of wine. So what’s heavy to most people isn’t heavy to someone who listens to this kind of stuff. I have friends where we stay up and listen to [Dmitri] Shostakovich until 3 a.m. These people live in the grimiest circumstances. I spend hours in $20 million apartments, and then I go see my friends in a $600 studio apartment that’s a rental.

What does your wife do now?
My wife is a concert violinist. She is also a mother of twins.

So when did you make the final call to transition to real estate?
So, I’m finishing my master’s degree, and I’ve written what I consider one of the best works I’ve ever composed. Some of this sounds narcissistic, by the way [laughs].

What was the piece called?
“Currency.” It was my sort of dissertation. I write this piece of music that gets its premiere at Carnegie Hall. And it is going to be played by Alexander Moutouzkine — one of the greatest living pianists. I am there at the concert for the world premiere, and this is happening on January 15, 2009. We found out we were pregnant on December 25, 2008. But, it was two days before the concert that we found out we weren’t just pregnant, she had twins.

So I was sitting at this concert, losing my mind. It’s a packed house, sold out. I crossed every finger and toe hoping that somehow this piece of music is going to create such a stir that my phone will ring off the hook, commissions will come in and somehow I will be able to support my family of four as a composer. So my music is presented. Thunderous applause, standing ovation. Everybody is raving about this piece, and I’m thinking, “we’ve done it.” I leave hoping I get a commission for $150,000 the next day to write something for an orchestra. And the phone doesn’t ring. [I was a] dreamy-eyed composer, thinking I had a shot at something.

Well, does that ever happen? Are their composers who aren’t writing film scores who get huge paydays?
It doesn’t happen. The most successful living American composer is Philip Glass, financially speaking. But other than him, most serious composers working today have to teach to get by and most of them don’t get by very well. And most of them don’t have kids. And if they do, they live in near-poverty conditions. But I was getting calls from world-class musicians, people are asking me to write music for them. But if I amortize what they are paying me for the amount of time I’ll spend, I’m making like, $0.37 per hour. You can’t live in this city with kids — in a way that is healthy for them — without making at least $100,000 per year.

Where do you live now?
Williamsburg. That was strategic because I had a relationship with a developer, and I got a steal.

On the Market in New York City: 90 William Street

The New York TimesOctober 01, 2012

Reality TV Kicks Things up a Notch for Star Brokers

Brokers WeeklySeptember 26, 2012
Building relationships with clients is a part of every broker’s life.

But reality television allows those brave enough to step in front of the camera a chance to take that personal touch a step further, as television audiences around the world get to feel like they know the stars personally.

“Potential clients recognize us, we’re familiar to them,” said Tom Postilio of CORE, who appeared in the first season of HGTV’s Selling New York. “We show up in their living room and we’ve already been in their living room because of the TV show.”

What’s more, adds fellow CORE broker Mickey Conlon, the show allows potential clients to see them in action.

“In your average listing presentation, someone will spend maybe 15 minutes or half an hour with a broker, and maybe they think they have a nice personality, but the show really shows us out on the street, making plans — they get to know how we sell,” he said. “It’s amazing the number of people who watch the show who don’t necessarily want to be on it but who use it as a part of your resume.”

Some brokers who appear regularly on television report an almost overwhelming spike in business.

Ryan Serhant of Nestseekers, one of the trio of brokers featured in the New York edition of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, said his business has quadrupled since the show hit the air, and he’s working as much as 18 hours a day.

“I went from being a broker with an assistant working with different brokers to having a team of seven agents and two full-time assistants and my own storefront office in Tribeca where I manage 17 agents,” he said.

Both shows are syndicated around the world, and Serhant can sense a new season airing from thousands of miles away. When the first season of Million Dollar Listing recently aired in Australia, he said, “phone calls and email from brokers in Australia went through the roof.”

Serhant’s Million Dollar Listing co-star Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman declined to quantify the boost his business has taken as a result of the show, but he said he is contacted two of three times a week about serious potential listings or purchases from people who have seen him on the show.

And then there’s the less-than-serious queries, and calls from fans.

“I don’t answer my own phone anymore,” Eklund said. “I can’t.”

At the start, of course, there was no way for these brokers-turned-TV-personalities to know that allowing a camera crew into their dealmaking and — particularly in the case of Million Dollar Listing — their lives was going to be worth the exposure.

“It was very nerve-wracking for me to sign on for something like that,” admitted Eklund, who had already spent 10 years establishing his business as a broker in the city and in his native Sweden when Million Dollar Listing started filming.

“I had no control over how I was going to be portrayed … I was hoping, or thought it would help, but it was scary. Bravo as a network has only one goal, which is to make good, fun, dramatic TV, and that’s my goal, too, but I also have to keep my integrity as a good, responsible professional in the real estate business.”

Those early fears have been allayed, however, by the response to the show.

While online comments on certain real estate blogs may come down hard on the reality stars, the brokers say, they’re comfortable with the way they and their deals come across on screen.

“There are people that stop me on the street all the time, every day, and say, ‘Can I take a picture? I really love you.’ It’s a lot of love,” he said.

CORE’s offices get regular drop-ins from fans looking for autographed photos of their favorite brokers, Postilio said. And it’s not just brokers who appreciate the exposure these shows offer.

“The producers are out there to make people feel good about pretty properties,” Conlon said. “And as the word has gotten out we’ve been very successful with getting celebrity clients” who can see the show as a way to connect with their own fans.

Postilio and Conlon are currently marketing the actress Joan Collins’ $2.35 million, three-bedroom, three-bath apartment in the Dorchester on East 57th Street.

Apparently, even stars in other industries enjoy watching star brokers at work.

“We’ve had ‘celebrity sightings’ where celebrities recognize us from the show,” Postilio said.

Open House New York Announces 300+ Sites for 2012

CurbedSeptember 26, 2012
On October 6 and 7, more than 300 sites around New York City—from new hotels and private residence to in-progress parks and historic buildings—will open to the public for the annual fall highlight Open House New York. Some of the sites and events require reservations, which will open at 10 a.m. Thursday morning (that's tomorrow), and OHNY will release the full list of sites this evening. To whet your appetite, they sent over a press release detailing a few dozen of the sites. There are nine new sites this year, and, as always, there are a bunch of Curbed obsessions.

Treehugger's Graham Hill will be welcoming visitors into his foldable 420-square-foot apartment, and designer Apryl Miller is opening her fantastically whimsical Upper East Side home. Interior Design magazine curated a collection of 15 private homes of contemporary architects living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there are a few new residential developments on the agenda, including One Museum Mile, Via Verde in the Bronx, and Tribeca's 93 Worth Street.

Two non-residential but new, and bound to be popular, sites are the Wythe Hotel and 40/40 Club. In the realm of under-construction/renovation projects, there's a lot to see: Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5, the Park Avenue Armory, the New School's University Center, Prospect Park's Lakeside development, and more.

Popular sites like the TWA Flight Center at JFK, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the High Line Rail Yards, and 7 World Trade Center will be returning, but of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg, so do head over to the official OHNY site.
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