Photo of Beacon, NY via Wikimedia Commons
There was a time when New Yorkers, even those with the means to live in some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, willingly packed up their homes and fled to the suburbs. While it may be difficult to imagine now, at different points in history, moving to the suburbs has been considered desirable and even a sign of one’s upward mobility. After all, why cram into a walkup with your family of six when you could spread out in a rambling suburban bungalow with a two-car garage? Today, many aging members of Gen-X and their younger millennial counterparts—who often came of age in the suburbs—are stubbornly toughing it out in the small urban apartments for the entire life cycle, but this doesn’t mean that the suburbs don’t have a lot to offer.
Photo © Daxiao Productions – Fotolio
6sqft’s ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week, we’ve put together the top five reasons it makes sense to move in the winter.
Until the end of WWII, moving day in New York City was May 1. Today, many people continue to move on this date and in the four months following, but if you’re a renter looking for great value, more options, and lower stress, the very best move dates fall in the winter months. In this article, we outline why a winter move makes sense and how to prepare for one.
The top five reasons you should move in the winter
New York may be known around the world as a city where anything goes, but in fact, the NYC is home to a long list of unusual, and in some cases, archaic laws that suggest the opposite may hold true. Most of these laws—with the exception of those concerning postering—are not readily enforced, but they are technically still on the books. As for the consequences of breaking some of the city’s more peculiar laws, they run the gamut from small fines of $25 to jail time up to thirty days.
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Photo via LMCC
When the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) was founded in 1973, it set out to bring the arts to Lower Manhattan, a neighborhood that already had an established reputation for being first and foremost a site of business, not pleasure. What the organization’s founder, Flory Barnett, could not have foreseen at the time of the LMCC’s founding is that over the coming four decades, Lower Manhattan would face more challenges than nearly any other New York City neighborhood.
From the attacks on 9/11 to the devastating fallout of the 2008 economic crisis to the occupation of Zuccotti Park in 2011, in recent years, Lower Manhattan has been at the epicenter of some of the city’s and nation’s most historic moments. Throughout these events, the LMCC has persisted and in many respects, played a pivotal role in helping the neighborhood transition into the vibrant and diverse neighborhood it is today: a place where people not only work but also live and spend their leisure time.
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Williamsburg, where the L train shutdown will soon take effect, via Wiki Commons
In a city with fewer car owners than nearly any other location in North America, it should come as no surprise that subway access is a key factor for most New Yorkers when they go on the housing market. In fact, many New Yorkers won’t even consider renting or buying if the address is more than a 10-minute walk from the nearest subway. This explains why some neighborhoods, including Greenpoint, which has a subway but not one that leads to Manhattan, and Alphabet City, which doesn’t have a subway at all, have long reported lower real estate values and rental prices that their nearest neighbors. However, there are growing signs that subway access may no longer matter as much as it once did.
While subway access remains important, it is increasingly no longer a deal breaker for developers or prospective tenants. In today’s real estate market, a growing number of developers are pouring money into developments located off the subway line, and many tenants don’t seem to mind. This may also explain why not all developers with projects located along the L line are worried about the pending shutdown, which is now slated to begin in April 2019.
, Mon, September 24, 2018
Via Jeffrey Zeldman on Flickr
Unlike many New York City neighborhoods that have reputations that travel far beyond their borders, for many years, Murray Hill has remained low key. If Murray Hill hasn’t always been quick to flaunt its assets, it may have something to do with its Quaker origins. After all, the “Murray” in Murray Hill points back to the Murray family—the clan of Quaker merchants who first settled the area in the mid-18th century.
Since the days of the Murray family, much has changed in the neighborhood. The “hill” has been leveled, the neighborhood is no longer considered uptown, and since the early 2000s, the neighborhood’s reputation as a quiet and staid residential enclave has also been shattered as a younger crowd has moved in. In fact, for much of the past two decades, at least some parts of Murray Hill have become synonymous with the bar scene along Third Avenue, which is primarily known as a playground for young professionals. More recently, the neighborhood is undergoing another shift as a new era of higher-end rentals and condo developments attract a somewhat more mature demographic.
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, Fri, September 21, 2018
NYC Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach watching agents pour liquor into a sewer following a raid; via Wikimedia
One hundred years ago, the United States Congress passed a temporary Wartime Prohibition Act banning the sale of beverages with an alcohol content of over 1.28 percent. The 1918 amendment later led to full-blown Prohibition, which wouldn’t officially end until the early 1930s.
Find it difficult to imagine a spirit-less New York? In 1918, many New Yorkers, including city officials, also had a difficult time imagining a New York without alcohol. After all, with alcohol banned, the future remained uncertain for an estimated 9,000 hotel and saloon properties. The city itself stood to lose roughly $18 million in tax revenues related to the sale of liquor. In the end, however, New York not only survived the Prohibition Era but, indirectly, had its architecture altered.
Booze and bootlegging this way
, Mon, September 17, 2018
Photo via Flickr cc
For over a decade, a large swath of the Upper East Side was under construction, but for many residents, it felt more like being under attack. As the Q Line was being built—after a century-long wait—the neighborhood not only had to tolerate restricted traffic along Second Avenue above ground but also more dramatic interruptions. Indeed, at one point in the subway line’s construction, underground explosions even shattered the windows of several local businesses. But with the noise, traffic, and disarray of the Second Avenue Subway in the past, the surrounding neighborhood has already quickly bounced back. As per predictions, since the completion of the line, real estate values, volume of sales, and rental prices in Yorkville have experienced an upswing.
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, Tue, September 11, 2018
Image courtesy of Michael Vadon’s Flickr
In 2010, Lower Manhattan was still deeply scarred by the attacks of 9-11. With much of the neighborhood under construction, a high vacancy rate, and few full-time residents, walking around the area, especially outside business hours, often felt like walking through a ghost town. It was, in many respects, a neighborhood in waiting.
Since 2011, which marked the opening of the 9/11 Memorial—and the symbolic end of the neighborhood’s long period of recovery from the 9/11 attacks—Lower Manhattan has undergone a transformation that is difficult to ignore. New businesses have opened, new residential developments have launched, the vacancy rate has drastically declined, and in many respects, an entirely new neighborhood has taken shape.
The dawn of a new Downtown
In 1971, New York City launched a new program designed to encourage developers to build on vacant land. The program known as the 421-a tax abatement gave developers a ten-year exemption on paying taxes if they agreed to develop the underused land. At the time, the program made a lot of sense. In the 1970s, urban decay was rampant, even in many areas of Manhattan. But the program not only benefited developers. Owners who bought units in a 421-a tax abatement building also benefited since the bill effectively enabled developers to pass along their tax break to buyers who in turn could avoid paying taxes on their units for the first decade.
While the original 421-a tax abatement is essentially dead, there are still a few 421-a deals left for buyers. This reflects the fact that several of the condo projects that secured a 421-a exemption before the program was phased out are only now coming to completion. To help buyers looking to take advantage of this final round of 421-a benefits, 6sqft has compiled a list of some of the best deals left on the market.