All posts by Cait Etherington

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City Living, Features, NYC Guides

Beekeeping finds a home throughout NYC’s five boroughs

By Cait Etherington, Mon, July 17, 2017

On June 1, the United Nations joined a growing local trend—they installed three apiary yards, better known as beehives, on their grounds in midtown Manhattan. The UN is hopeful that by summer’s end, their 150 bees will turn into a thriving colony of 250,000 bees. If this happens, the UN bees will not be alone. There are millions of bees buzzing around the five boroughs and not only in the backyards of earthy residents in neighborhoods like Park Slope and Greenpoint. From the rooftops of high-rises in Manhattan to community gardens stretching from the Bronx to Staten Island, New York City is home to thousands of active beehives, but this wasn’t always the case

Prior to a 2010 ruling, beekeeping existed in the five boroughs but only under the radar. At the time, the city deemed beekeeping to be as dangerous as keeping cobras, tarantulas, or hyenas on one’s property. Indeed, if caught, underground beekeepers faced hefty fines of up to $2000. Since the 2010 ruling that legalized beekeeping, both bees and beekeepers have been on the rise citywide and so have organizations and services designed to help residents explore apiculture.

learn more about beekeeping in the city

Featured Story

Features, More Top Stories, Neighborhoods, real estate trends

New York is home to dozens of distinct neighborhoods with their own names, identities, and histories. Some of these neighborhoods acquired their names by misfortune (Hell’s Kitchen gained its moniker due to its tough reputation), others by function (the Battery was once home to a series of artillery batteries), and some were coined by local artists playing with abbreviated combinations (SoHo is likely the most well-known example). However, at least some New York City neighborhoods, including the East Village and NoLita, were created by real estate agents in an attempt to “rebrand” areas that historically had a reputation for being either undesirable or simply boring places to live. Increasingly, this now well-established practice is coming under attack and if one local state senator is successful, the practice may even soon be illegal.

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Featured Story

Alphabet City, East Village, Features, History, Top Stories

summer of love 1967

Hippies singing and playing music in Washington Square Park in the late 1960s. Photo: Peter Keegan

It has been 50 years since 1967’s “Summer of Love” when young people from around the world flocked to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and to other urban neighborhoods, including New York’s East Village, to trip out at psychedelic dance parties, sleep in city parks, and live and do whatever they pleased. While the hippie subculture was already flourishing prior to the Summer of Love, by mid 1967, hippies and their music, style, and communal way of life had caught the attention of the mainstream media and as a result, reached a critical mass of young people who were now eager to ditch their suburban homes to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

Reactions to the Summer of Love in New York were predictably mixed. An estimated 50,000 young people descended on the city to join the movement, but many New Yorkers, including longstanding residents, police officers, and politicians, had little interest in spending the Summer of Love soaking up the good vibes. In the end, the city’s Summer of Love saw as much conflict and violence as peace and love, and debates about rental prices, real estate values, and the gentrification of the Lower East Side were all part of the conflict.

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Featured Story

City Living, Features, History

Sauna-hot apartments: How to cope without stripping down

By Cait Etherington, Wed, February 15, 2017

From a distance, one may wonder why television characters living in New York City apartments so often appear to wear little at all in the privacy of their own homes. From Archie Bunker’s white undershirts on “All in the Family” to Carrie Bradshaw’s lingerie on “Sex in the City” to Hannah Horvath’s practical skivvies on “Girls,” fictional New Yorkers always seem to be stripping down to the bare essentials regardless of the season. To any real New Yorker, there is an obvious reason why these fictional New Yorkers are so often shown partially clad July or January: New York apartments have a tendency to be sauna hot. But in a city where tenants frequently have to fight for even the most basic amenities, how did heat become overly abundant, even in the dead of winter?

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Featured Story

Features, History

Excavating the city: A look at urban archaeology in New York

By Cait Etherington, Tue, February 7, 2017

When most people think about archaeologists, they imagine outdoorsy adventurers—perhaps, modeled on the fictional Indiana Jones—uncovering ancient artifacts in remote locations. They probably don’t imagine archaeologists riding the MTA to excavation sites.

In reality, archaeologists frequently do work in New York City and the surrounding region and play an essential yet often under-recognized role in the city’s building industry. While many new developments go ahead without major archaeological studies, most developments only get the green light to move forward after archaeologists have completed at least a preliminary investigation.

how archaeologist work in urban environments like NYC

Featured Story

Features, Policy, real estate trends

Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and failed Republican nominee, has now been cleared to serve as Secretary of Housing for the next four years. For many, his appointment remains perplexing. Carson has no political experience and no obvious knowledge of housing and development issues. At least some concerns about Carson’s fitness for the job were put to rest during his Senate hearing on January 12. Beyond a contentious exchange with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Carson dodged any major attacks. Still, there is no question that under Carson’s direction, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will roll out a series of changes over the coming four years. While some changes will impact housing and development in New York City, Carson’s influence is expected to be minor.

READ THE FULL STORY AT CITYREALTY…

Featured Story

Features, real estate trends

Health and high-rise living: Is higher healthier?

By Cait Etherington, Tue, January 24, 2017

manhattan at night, manhattan at night aerial view

In 2017, new high-rise developments will continue to define the city’s skyline. There are currently more than 30 high-rise developments under construction and proposed for the waterfront in Queens. In Manhattan, rezoning initiatives promise to bring more high-rise developments to neighborhoods from East Harlem, Two Bridges and Midtown East. And in Downtown Brooklyn, with the 2016 approval of the borough’s tallest tower and a slew of other skyscrapers wrapping construction, the height trend is also well underway. If high-rise developments are on the rise citywide, it is not a surprise. By building up, the City of New York is able to maximize available space and even diversify certain neighborhoods by creating mixed-income housing communities. At their best, high-rise developments can drive economic and social change, but are these buildings also good for our health?

more on high-rise living and health this way

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, Technology

At the start of every new year, futurologists inform us of what the next 12 months might have in store. For 2017, there is widespread speculation that the Internet of Things will continue to reshape our lives and homes in profound and lasting ways.

If you haven’t already familiarized yourself with the Internet of Things (also known simply as the IoT) the concept is generally used to talk about the networking of objects. Increasingly, sensors are being embedded in physical objects of all kinds from refrigerators to running shoes to pacemakers. These objects are then linked through wireless networks to the Internet. When objects are networked, however, their potential changes. When you network a pair of shoes, for example, data can flow from the shoes to a computer for analysis. In turn, a shoemaker can start producing shoes not simply in your size but shoes that are made-to-order to better respond to your specific way of walking or running. The bottom line is that when objects can both sense what is happening in an environment and communicate this information back to us and to other objects, they are no longer simply innate objects but rather responsive tools that can be used in new and potentially revolutionary—and scary— ways.

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Featured Story

apartment living 101, Features, NYC Guides, stuff you should know

A guide to tipping building staff during the holidays

By Cait Etherington, Mon, December 5, 2016

Doorman at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel. Image Steven Pisano/flickr

Every December, building staff across the city leave seasonal cards under residents’ doors. If you’re new to life in a full-service building, don’t be fooled—this card is not simply a chance for staff to extend holiday cheer to you and your family. These cards, which usually arrive in the first week of December and list the names and years of seniority of all building staff, are the first reminder that it is tipping season. While no one is obliged to tip, whether you’re a renter or owner, choosing not to tip is discouraged.

Ahead we go over everything you need to know about tipping, including the economics of it all, when to leave it, how much to give, protocols for renters versus owners, how to present your tip, and what not to give.

A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR TIPPING AT CITYREALTY….

Featured Story

Features, NYC Guides, Policy, real estate trends, stuff you should know

How 100 years of zoning has shaped New York City

By Cait Etherington, Fri, December 2, 2016

historic midtown empire state building view

In October, city officials unveiled plans to rezone a large swath of East Harlem. The major thrust of the rezoning initiative is to bring more high-rise buildings to a corridor running several blocks along Park, Second, and Third avenues. By building up, city officials hope the neighborhood will increase its housing stock, including its affordable housing stock. In the long term, the proposed rezoning will also radically reshape the East Harlem’s appearance and street life, turning it from a mostly low-rise to high-rise neighborhood. What is about to happen to East Harlem, however, is a familiar story. Since 1916, when New York passed its first zoning resolution, the city has been profoundly shaped by zoning regulations.

MORE ON THE HISTORY OF ZONING AT CITYREALTY…