The Real.Est List
- by Theresa Braine | 12/20/10 - 6:37 AM
A bed bug infestation means turning your home, and your life, completely upside down as you prepare your stuff for extermination.
But this being New York City--home perhaps to as many overscheduled adults as overfed bed bugs--several companies have sprung up around town that will swoop in and do the detailed preparation that many exterminators require.
Companies range from a personal organizer who employs out-of-work actors to high-tech firms that send in hazmat-suit-clad technicians to prepare your pad (and sometimes you) for the extermination process.
- by Veronica X. | 12/17/10 - 1:59 PM
So your apartment is getting a facelift? Hear this:
- Plumber: "There is some water damage to the apartment below the master bathroom.” Translation: "Changing out the fixtures and retiling ain’t gonna do it, lady. This is a total gut job--$25-30k, which should just about cover the new roof at my beach house.”
- Contractor: "We can do central air, but we'll have to drop the ceiling..." Translation: "Your husband might develop a hunchback but you'll be cool as cucumber."
- Electrician: "I'll be there to install the fixtures tomorrow." Translation: "It will cost more to have the light put in than to actually buy the lights."
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/17/10 - 12:33 PM
Among the biggest joys of vertical living is a fairly hassle-free lifestyle, at least compared to being shackled to a house. But the livin’ can be so easy that it's also easy to become blasé about security and other safety issues. That bubbleboy mentality can be a problem during the holidays, when everything from a tsunami of deliveries to a winter-vacation-exodus can compromise the delicate ecosystem of your safety zone.
For some tips on having a healthy, happy vertical holiday, read on...
- by A. Ready | 12/17/10 - 11:38 AM
Down in the Financial District, 2 Gold Street (at Maiden Lane) is offering 2 months free rent on apartments in this full-service luxury high-rise. StreetEasy.com shows twelve available apartments, with net effective rents starting at $2,421 for one-bedrooms, $3,995 for two bedrooms, and $4,457 for three-bedrooms. This pet-friendly building has many bells and whistles, from an indoor swimming pool to a rooftop solarium with a fireplace to a children's playroom.
- by Kelly Kreth | 12/17/10 - 9:30 AM
Kelly Cutrone is the founder and CEO of People’s Revolution, a full service public relations firm and 360-degree branding agency with offices in New York, L.A. and Paris; the author of a New York Times best-selling memoir, If You Have To Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You; a TV correspondent on the Dr. Phil Show and the adoring single mother of an eight-year old daughter, Ava. In addition, her own MTV show will debut next year.
These days ensconced in a 32,000-square-foot live/work Soho rental that used to be an African drum studio, Cutrone tells BrickUnderground about her first place in NYC, her “Tower of Terror” elevator, as well as her views on food delivery and raising kids in the city.
- by Theresa Braine | 12/17/10 - 7:35 AM
Bedbugged! is a weekly column by journalist and bed bug survivor Theresa Braine. For more, click here.
By fall 2009, I was sick of sleeping on the air mattress that had been my bed since shortly after my June bedbug discovery. Essentially I was sleeping on the floor. Besides literally bringing me down, it was hard on my knees every time I had to heave myself up.
I had been virtually bite free since around mid-July, except for a couple of mosquito-type welts, and I did not see any evidence of infestation, so I decided to get on with my life. I slowly started unpacking from the plastic bags, and I went about the business of procuring a new bed.
- by A. Ready | 12/16/10 - 1:06 PM
At 1,118 square feet, this three-bedroom, two-bath unit at 45 Wall Street is not overflowing with space. But with one month free rent, the net rent for the place--$4,611--is right in line, and lower than its initial ask in October for $5,305--perhaps reflecting the realities of the winter market. The downtown building offers high ceilings, a 24-hour concierge, complimentary fitness center, landscaped roof terrace, and a golf center. Not a bad option for a few friends looking to share.
- How do you tip staff you rarely see?
Good question. BrickUnderground has previously recommended (1) not giving cash tips to the super or resident manager to hand out, as some staff say they distrust this method, and (2) putting a family photo into the envelope to help connect your face to your generosity. But what’s the best way to actually hand out tips? Though cash is preferred, you could combat the temptation by writing a check and leave it with the super. Or consider one of these suggestions offered on StreetEasy.>>
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/16/10 - 10:21 AM
From a seasonal perspective, the New York City rental market tends to heat up with the mercury and hibernate in the cold.
“The summer and fall are times of new beginnings, with people starting jobs, starting school, and getting their kids into school moving in the summer,” observes Gus Waite, a managing director and rental broker at BondNY fond of referring to the rental market as "a business of dealing with people hookin' up, movin' up or breakin' up."
“Not many people have the time or energy to find an apartment in the colder months or around the holidays," he observes. "This time of year is mainly made up of people who are breakin’ up"--which is why it’s an excellent time to negotiate a deal on rents that may already be wafting down from their summer highs.
“Depending on the landlord, 5 to 10% off is not out of the question,” says Waite. “Each landlord has their own sweet spot.”
- by David Katz, Architect | 12/16/10 - 6:49 AM
A common complaint among architects is that instead of doing the fun stuff we went to school for--like drawing pictures and designing wacky, gravity-defying buildings--we spend a lot of time on the phone putting out fires.
While frustrating, given the amount of information to be coordinated in a short period of time, not to mention the various less-than-cooperative parties with jurisdiction over a project, it is never surprising.
- Cranky old ladies in "stand off" with young families
As we have noted here before, few demographic combinations polarize a building as intensely as a mix of primarily the elderly and families. Even grandparents who may be fond of their own grandchildren (from a distance, of course) can experience nearer-by children as nuisances. On UrbanBaby.com, one vertical dweller says her building is locked in a stand-off between "cranky old ladies" and families. "I think the developed world is largely in this situation," cracks one responder. Another explains, "This happens a lot. Is it a co-op? are the cranky old ladies hold overs still in rent controlled/stabilized apartments paying next to nothing and complaining about the noise the children make?...." More>>
- by Jamie Lauren Sutton | 12/15/10 - 1:54 PM
Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I am a diehard New Yorker - nothing about living here fazes me, not even bed bugs. Until NOW.
My kids share a room and that room shares a wall with a porn fanatic. We frequently hear the bass beat and the moaning, screaming, and limited but cheesey dialogue. While my kids were in the bath the other day, my 3-year-old daughter starting screaming, "OH GOD OH YES OH GOD OH YES..." over and over.
- by A. Ready | 12/15/10 - 1:26 PM
This attractive pre-war two-bedroom-plus-maid's-room co-op in a Sutton Place doorman building has some definite pluses. The spacious layout includes a dining alcove, two bathrooms and generously sized bedrooms. The kitchen, while not newly renovated, is updated and functional. There's a washer/dryer, storage, hardwood floors and beamed ceilings. In the minus column, the maintenance ($2,334 for a 1,369 square foot apartment) is on the high side, likely reflecting the costs associated with running a smaller full-service building (in this case, 62 units). Another drawback: Like many buildings in the neighborhood, this co-op requires 50% down.
- by Kelly Kreth | 12/15/10 - 11:18 AM
I love to cook and do it often even though I lack adequate counter space, having created a makeshift one by putting a butcher’s block on top of my washing machine. I have even taken a five-day, 25-hour cooking course to learn all the basic techniques in cooking as well as several ethnic cooking classes.
But the more I know about how to cook, the less I seem to know about what to cook, as far as what constitutes “healthy eating” beyond elementary-school basics like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
So when I heard about a kitchen ‘detox’ session taught by personal chef Gilda Mulero, I was intrigued. The 2 1/2 hour program—about one hour and 45 minutes in the kitchen, plus 45 minutes pounding the aisles of your local grocery store--costs $350. (Mulero waived her fee for BrickUnderground). Mulero’s worthy if somewhat vague promise: To set people up for culinary success in their kitchen.
- Are condos worth it?
Condos typically cost more than co-ops, but does paying up make sense? “Condos are like divorce. They cost more because they’re worth it,” quips a StreetEasy.com commenter, alluding to ease of disposing of one's property without approval by a co-op board. Read on for some more opinions. More>>