Due Diligence

Classical Theatre of Harlem's Ty Jones on slumlords, subway love, and why you should 'bite' this city

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In this new feature, we check in with accomplished longtime New Yorkers and get them to talk about two things locals are obsessed about: real estate and neighborhoods.

This week, we check in with actor Ty Jones, who recently starred on NBC's "The Blacklist" and is now gearing up for a busy summer at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. He's CTH's producing artistic director and is helping ready its production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, slated from July 3 through July 26 at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Washington Heights (bordering Harlem).

Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?

LOL! A dream neighborhood for me is beyond the borders of any U.S. city. However, I am happy to say that my neighborhood is still a neighborhood. You know your neighbors, you know the local business people, you know the families at the playground.

Do you own or rent?


How’d you find it?

I have a wife who was determined to not move to Jersey.

What’s the one thing you love most about it?

Relatively speaking, we have a decent amount of space. I do like that I know my neighbors [and] they know my kids.

If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?

I have an obnoxious, entitled downtown transplant living next door who, when around, makes life miserable for the entire building. But that is the tradeoff of living in a concrete jungle.  People live on top of one another for the chance to say, 'I've made it in NYC!'

In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.

East New York (where I was born...)

Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?

New York is timeless. 

Tell us about your favorite apartment you’ve ever had.

I would say that the first apartment I bought is most memorable, for the simple fact that it was the first.  In terms of favorite, I'm satisfied with the one we're currently in.  

And the worst?

I had a roommate in the late 90's in an apartment in Brooklyn.  Owner was a Slumlord. (Yes, with a capital "S.")  Taking advantage of section 8 candidates.  Enough said.  I got the city on him.

Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.

Subway.  Fastest way above ground is below ground—most of the time.

What's your favorite spot in the city?
 Fort Tryon.  I will take it over Central Park any day.

Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?

Brownstone. That was an easy question. For the most part, brownstones were constructed by craftsmen, people who had pride in their work. The new condos? Unfortunately, many of them are constructed with profit being the driving motive.

If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?

Overseas. I'm a military brat and spent a chunk of my life in Germany. I love the idea of my kids having an international education / experience. For my second choice, NYC isn't so bad.  :-)  ( I do love Minneapolis though. The women—I mean, that's where I met my wife! )

Any advice for a recent New York transplant?

New York can be an unforgiving city. Whatever is missing in Nebraska, you may find here, but you better take a bite out of this city, because before you know it, it may take a bite out of you.


Judy Gold loves the Upper West Side but could use a little more space in her apartment

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