Buy Curious

Wanted: Apartments with park views—without Central Park prices

Morningside Heights three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath co-op, $1,425,000: The view of Morningside Park from this recently renovated fifth-floor co-op at 54 Morningside Drive, between West 115th and West 116th Streets. The apartment has 10-foot ceilings, oak floors, new windows, a large chef’s kitchen, a dining area, and a Juliet balcony. Building amenities include a live-in super, a laundry room, storage, and a bike room.

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Always dreamt of owning a place with park views, but don’t have the funds to get anything remotely close to Central Park (or even Prospect Park)? In this week’s Buy Curious, Douglas Elliman’s Tracie Hamersley and Jesse King, and Citi Habitats’ Santiago Steele tell you where you need to go get a lovely landscape right outside your window at a price you can afford.

The proposition:

I’d love to get a place with park views, but anything overlooking Central Park or Prospect Park is out of my price range. Where should I look instead?

The reality:

"Park views are park views—even if they’re not marquee parks," says Douglas Elliman’s Hamersley, who has sold a number of units along Morningside Park. Hamersley believes that it's more or less universal for people to want to wake up to something beautiful every morning. 

But, according to Steele of Citi Habitats, while “it’s definitely a perk to have a park view… it’s not [usually] the main driving factor in choosing an apartment.” Such factors, he says, tend to be location, proximity to transportation, apartment condition, space, light, and safety. In his experience, having a great view of a park is often just a happy accident.

How much do park views impact price?
“Iconic view premiums" can add 20 to 50 percent to a unit's price, real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller tells us. But that’s for a place with views of, say, Central Park.

A lesser-known park isn’t going to have quite the same influence on price, but could still tack on as much as 10 to 20 percent, Miller says.

Steele of Citi Habitats says that in his experience, run-of-the-mill park views “could add as much as six percent to a sale price, but other factors—mainly the size and condition of the apartment, will either add or take away from that."

Where should you look?
That really depends on where you want to live (and how much you have to spend), according to our experts. If, for example, your goal is grass-gazing in Manhattan on a budget, Steele says there are lots of options, especially uptown.

Morningside Park stretches from West 110th Street to West 123rd Street in Harlem and Morningside Heights, and offers multiple playgrounds and winding paths. Marcus Garvey Park, on Madison Avenue between East 120th and East 124th Streets in Harlem, has two playgrounds and an outdoor pool. Riverside Park runs between the Hudson River and Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, stretching from West 72nd Street to St. Clair Place. And Fort Tryon Park, in Washington Heights and Inwood, extends from Riverside Drive to Broadway, and West 192nd Street to Dyckman Street. It contains two playgrounds, volleyball courts and Manhattan’s largest dog run.

Hamersley is also a big fan of Sakura Park, near the northern end of Morningside Heights, between Riverside Drive and Claremont Avenue, north of West 122nd Street. She describes it as "a pretty little green space—not large, but verdant and pretty."

King of Douglas Elliman is partial to Inwood Hill Park. Located on Dyckman Street, the park includes a hiking trail, a bike trail, athletic fields, playgrounds, a dog run and a barbecue area. King says he finds the green space particularly "rejuvenating."

In the Bronx, King likes Van Corlandt Park the 1,146-acre Bronx park between Broadway and Jerome Avenue that has playing fields and playgrounds and is home to the oldest house in the Bronx.

In a city with nearly 30,000 acres of parkland, the list, of course, goes on and on.

Also, despite Park Slope's pricey reputation and the rapidly increasing rents in Prospect Lefferts Gardens on the opposite side of Prospect Park, listings in the latter neighborhood are still giving Morningside Heights a run for its money.

What are some pros of living park-side?
The most important is that it’ll probably be relatively quiet. "It’s protected," Hamersley says, “so you know you’re not going to have to deal with construction—the noise, the dust.”

King adds, "It’s just peaceful [to look out over a park]. It’s relaxing."

Are there any cons?
“There’s always the question of safety,” says Hamersley. In other words, you never know who might be lurking in the bushes. "But in our post-Bloomberg, post-Giuliani era, [most parks] are safe." 

That may be so, but it's small consolation if you're the victim of a violent crime, and while crime in New York remains at record lows, crime in parks crept up somewhat from the last quarter of 2014 to the last quarter of 2016, according to NYPD data. So, not to make you all paranoid, but when researching how safe a neighborhood is as a prospective renter or buyer, it's also wise to take a look at the crime statistics for the nearest park.

Raccoons could also be an issue. The critters live on trash and tend to thrive in parks. Some park neighbors experiencing problems with the masked bandits stock up on predator urine (yes, predator urine, like this bottle of 100 percent coyote pee, $23 on Amazon.com) to ward them off.

Leaf-peeping still piquing your interest? Check out these park-adjacent listings:

 
South Harlem three-bedroom, two-bath condo, $1,650,000: Located at 250 Manhattan Avenue, between West 110th and West 111th Streets, this 1,100-square-foot penthouse sponsor unit has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and overlooks Morningside Park. The pet-friendly elevator building has on-site laundry and a live-in super.


Gramercy Park studio, one-bath co-op, $670,000: This alcove studio overlooking Gramercy Park at 32 Gramercy Park South (between Irving Place and 3rd Avenue) has a large closet/dressing area, and the bathroom and kitchen look to be in great condition. The co-op building has a full-time doorman, a garage, a laundry room, bike storage, a live-in super, and a newly renovated roof deck.

 
Yorkville four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath co-op, $8,500,000: This renovated unit at 120 East End Avenue—between East 85th and East 86th Streets—has a private elevator, a formal living room with a working fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows, a banquet-sized dining room, a paneled library, a full wet bar, an eat-in chef’s kitchen, views of Carl Schurz Park, and prewar details including 10-foot ceilings and moldings. Amenities of the white-glove building include a fitness center, a bike room and individual storage units.

 
Spuyten Duyvil one-bedroom, one-bath co-op, $270,000: This one-bedroom at 2400 Johnson Avenue, near Kappock Street, offers a renovated kitchen and a converted dining area. Building amenities include an indoor pool, parking, a large shared terrace, and, across Sputyen Duyvil Creek, views of Inwood Park.

 

 

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