All posts by Michelle Cohen

Michelle is a New York-based writer and content strategist who has worked extensively with lifestyle brands like Seventeen, Country Living, Harper’s Bazaar and iVillage. In addition to being a copywriter for a digital media agency she writes about culture, New York City neighborhoods, real estate, style, design and technology among other topics. She has lived in a number of major US cities on both coasts and in between and loves all things relating to urbanism and culture.

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Cool Listings, Gowanus, Park Slope

629 President Street, Cool Listings, Townhouses, Park Slope, Gowanus

At a mere 15 feet wide and two stories high, this compact townhouse at 629 President Street is priced to compete with–and beat–many a smaller condo at $1.825 million. Hiding in plain sight on a street of similarly cute and compact brick townhomes at the spot where Park Slope meets Gowanus (making it also home to just about every amazing amenity in Brooklyn) this otherwise nondescript 1900s home becomes a surprise of a sweet, spacious and bright farmhouse once you step inside. It’s a pretty neat trick.

Have a look

Cool Listings, Park Slope

163 Prospect Park West, Park Slope, Co-ops, Cool listings

You don’t hear much about the “townhouse alternative,” as homeowners are more focused on the space and freedom of having a house, even if it’s a small “condo alternative.” But this high-floor, graciously arranged and elegantly detailed pre-war condominium at the park’s edge in prime Park Slope asking $1.895 million has as much living space as a small house, without the stairs and expensive repairs. The three-bedroom home at 163 Prospect Park West also boasts a collection of subtle, sophisticated renovations–like concrete sinks in the master bath and dark, elegant walls in the den.

Tour this most satisfying apartment

Featured Story

Events, Features, More Top Stories

With spring weather in full effect, the city’s flea and food markets roll out the red carpet and the irresistible edibles, and it’s pretty likely there’s one happening near you. The shop-and-snack mecca Brooklyn Flea has changed locations yet again, a night market returns in Queens and antiquing, arts and local maker standbys in all corners of Manhattan offer more of what you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. The goods may be odd, but they’re out there, and the list below rounds up 20 of the city’s top food and flea picks. Just don’t blame us for the tchotchke overload—or the calories.

Find a market this weekend

Cool Listings, Williamsburg

119 North 11th Street, lofts, gentrification, williamsburg, cool listings

The 1,800-square-foot pre-war loft in the Northside Arts Industries Condominium is as classic as it gets, with impossibly high ceilings, exposed brick, wood beams and pipes and a flexible layout. The New York Times tells us that the building was developed back in 1983, when the neighborhood’s north side was a burned-out jumble of factories, ethnic enclaves and a smattering of artists. The latter had come to escape Soho rents, taking over abandoned factories and warehouses and paying rents that averaged around $550 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. In 1986, a loft space in the building could be rented for $5 a square foot. Today, a sprawling home at 119 North 11th Street asks $8,500 a month ($57 a foot) and the trendy and amenity-packed neighborhood’s artists have (mostly) escaped eastward once again.

Find out more about this totally 21st century loft

City Living, Policy

Image: Jazz Guy via flickr

Though it’s not too hard to understand the logic behind a mansion tax, a bagel tax…oy vey! Next time you hit your local bagel shop, know that if you get your breakfast sliced–or heaven forbid, with schmear–you’ll get smacked with an 8.875 percent sales tax. If you eat it in the store, (even if it’s still whole), boom, more tax.

The folks at Turbotax explain that, “the state adds an eight-cent tax to any altered bagels,” which includes, “bagel sandwiches (served buttered or with spreads, or otherwise as a sandwich)” or even just sliced for you. According to the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance, “Generally, food and food products sold by food stores are exempt from sales tax.” That bagel loses its exemption when it is “sold heated; it is sold for consumption on the premises; or it has been prepared by the seller and is ready to be eaten, whether for on premises or off premises consumption.”

In honor of Tax Day, we ask: What’s with this bagel tax?

Architecture, condos, New Developments, Starchitecture, Upper East Side

520 Park Avenue, Zeckendorf, Robert A.M. Stern, Upper East Side, tallest building, skyscraper, condos

520 Park Avenue, well on its way to being the tallest skyscraper on the Upper East Side, is putting its final crowning members in place, CityRealty reports. The developer of the 54-story tower just off Park Avenue at East 60th Street is the multi-generational Zeckendorf real estate dynasty who brought us 50 U.N. Plaza, 15 Central Park West and the neighborhood-transforming Worldwide Plaza and Union Square’s Zeckendorf Towers.

Find out more

Cool Listings, East Village, Interiors, Quirky Homes

$625K boho duplex is a cave-like East Village hideaway

By Michelle Cohen, Fri, April 14, 2017

The listing for this quirky little bohemian bolthole at 121 East 10th Street, near the iconic St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery, uses words like “special,” “handpicked” and “salvaged,” and there’s a reason beyond salesmanship. Looking at this enchanted mini-loft does, in fact, make us feel “transported to another time and place.” Another time, at least: The place is the old East Village of legend. Who knows, this could even be the apartment that invented exposed brick.

Have a look around this creative little pad

Transportation

Following the recent Penn Station train derailment and subsequent delays during the busy weekday commute, NY Waterway launched an extra ferry route running from Hoboken to Midtown Manhattan. Now, NJ.com reports, that ferry service will become permanent starting in September of this year. The new ferry will run between between West 39th Street and Hoboken terminal according to NY Waterway president and founder Arthur Imperatore Sr.

Find out more about the new commuting option

Cool Listings, Interiors, Midtown East, Turtle Bay

340 East 42nd Street, cool listings, turtle bay, co-ops

On the eastern fringe of bustling Midtown, the (mostly) pre-war Tudor City complex was built as rentals by Fred French in the 1920s to give office workers easy access to their jobs while enjoying efficient and elegant living conditions. The buildings were converted to co-ops in the 1980s, and they’ve retained their elegance and compact efficiency. Woodstock Tower at 320 East 42nd Street is one of the most charming buildings among them, and this cheerful studio with city views, asking a pied-a-terre-friendly $375,000, is a fine example.

Lots of photos, this way

Cool Listings, Quirky Homes, Staten Island

298 lighthouse avenue, staten island, gingerbread cottage, cottages, quirky homes, cool listings

This single-family home in a storybook hillside setting with some of Staten Island‘s most attractive property below and Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Highlands beyond is a testament to the island’s diversity of places. Built by an artist who made sure the home’s windows were positioned to take advantage of the natural light, the crimson cottage at 298 Lighthouse Avenue, whose listing calls it a “Hansel & Gretel gingerbread home,” sits on a half-acre lot, sharing Lighthouse Hill with the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (h/t Curbed). So much uniqueness comes at the relatively surprising price of $739,500.

Check it out

Policy, Transportation

Hudson River Tunnel, NYC Infrastructure, Grant Program

As 6sqft reported recently, President Trump may include two major New York transportation projects in his proposed budget cuts, including the Gateway Program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem. The Gateway Program, which would add a much-needed second rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and upgrade aging rail infrastructure in New York and New Jersey, has been relying on the federal government for half of its estimated $24 billion cost. WNYC reports that even if the funding is pulled, the agency may look to funding from a public-private partnership.

Find out what the options are

Cool Listings, Soho

458 Broadway, Soho, lofts, rentals, cool listings

This 2,500 square-foot full-floor space at 458 Broadway definitely captures the essence of the timeless Soho artists’ loft, from the enormous window-lined studio to the sleek loft kitchen and colorful bath. It’s available for rent from June through August for $7,300 a month; furnished and in the midst of non-stop Soho, it could be the perfect way to step into the loft life for the summer.

Read more

City Living, Transportation, Union Square, Urban Design

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has been trying to stay focused on grounded solutions–literally, as opposed to the tunnel and skyway ideas that are also being discussed–to mitigate the anticipated possible chaos when the dreaded 15-month L train shutdown hits. The organization is aiming for the ear of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA which control street design and bus expansion, respectively. The group recently held an “L-ternative” contest seeking pedestrian-centered proposals for main transit corridors along the L line, such as 14th street, Gothamist reports. The winning proposal, called 14TH ST.OPS, imagines a (car) traffic-free 14th Street with a six-stop shuttle bus using dedicated lanes, plus protected bike lanes.

Check out the winning post-L-Train vision

Art, Long Island City, New Developments, Policy

5Pointz, graffiti museum, Long Island City developments, aerosol art

Starting with the news that the iconic graffiti-covered warehouse known as 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens, visible from passing trains since its beginnings the 1990s as an artists’ studio and exhibition space, was being razed and replaced by rental apartments, the building has been the subject of heated controversy. As 6sqft previously reported, in 2013 the complex was whitewashed of its colorful exterior murals under cover of night, and renderings surfaced for the rental towers that would replace it; as if to add insult to injury, the building’s owner, Jerry Wolkoff of G&M Realty, revealed plans to use the name 5Pointz as a marketing angle for the new development. Several attempts were made at intervention–and prevention of a similar fate for artists’ spaces since then. Now, the New York Times reports, a federal lawsuit filed by 23 5Pointz artists against Wolkoff, who ordered the art destroyed, is getting its day in court. On March 31, Judge Frederic Block of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled that the federal lawsuit against Wolkoff, who ordered the artwork destroyed–could have a jury trial, an incremental legal victory for the artists and a chance to confront Wolkoff in court to seek redress.

Find out more

Celebrities, Cool Listings, West Village 

Last June, 6sqft reported that pop siren Taylor Swift was renting a carriage house at 23 Cornelia Street in the West Village for $40,000 a month while the Tribeca penthouse she’d purchased was undergoing a $535,000 renovation. The 1912 brick carriage house, which features a swimming pool, an elevator and a private garage, is now on the market for $24.5 million. The renovated home, owned by Soho House executive David Aldea who purchased it for $5.3 million in 2005, also boasts five bedrooms and several terraces in addition to its idyllic location and historic charm.

Take the tour

Cool Listings, Greenwich Village, Interiors

$2.4M Village co-op is townhouse charming and loft cool

By Michelle Cohen, Sun, April 9, 2017

68 West 11th Street, cool listings, Greenwich Village, co-ops

Situated on a gorgeous tree-lined Village block, this full-floor co-op at 68 West 11th Street has the charm of an historic townhouse and the cool factor of a spacious downtown loft. A stylish and space-conscious renovation adds to the good looks of this third-floor walk-up, and a big skylight brings in plenty of light.

Take a look around

Cool Listings, Hell's Kitchen, Midtown West

This two-bedroom duplex co-op at 357 West 55th Street in West Midtown has a lot going for it considering its $999,000 ask. With a double-height, exposed-brick wall and wood details such as the spiral stair that connects its two floors, there’s a warmth that makes this apartment unique. Two full baths make the space guest-friendly, in addition to the fact that you can enter from either floor.

See more of both floors

Chelsea, Cool Listings

333 West 21st street, cool listings, chelsea, lofts, studios, co-ops

On the top floor of a classic walk-up co-op building in the Chelsea Historic District, which happens to possess one of the loveliest roof decks in the neighborhood, this compact studio apartment at 333 West 21st Street offers old-world charm and some smart ways to make the small space work. For the first, high beamed ceilings, a wall of exposed brick, a decorative fireplace and large windows work their magic. For the second, a sleeping loft adds to the floor space. At $492,000 it’s less than you’d expect to pay for any size Chelsea apartment that’s well-appointed and ideally located.

Explore this small but smart apartment

Cool Listings, Greenwich Village, Historic Homes, Interiors

Lichtenstein, 118 West 12th Street, cool listings, townhouses, greenwich village, interiors

In the heart of the beautiful Greenwich Village Historic District, this 24-foot-wide 1847 Greek Revival townhouse at 118 West 12th Street is on the public market for the first time in 170 years, asking $25 million. In addition to rare and perfectly restored historic details, the home has been renovated with a collector’s eye for the eclectic and unique, incorporating the best in contemporary comforts, adding even more character to its already magical rooms. While we wish we could say the dizzying collection of Roy Lichtenstein works and other art that adorns the walls of this amazing home were part of the deal, we’d imagine the current owner, filmmaker Mitchell Lichtenstein–the Pop artist’s son–and his husband Vincent Sanchez, will be holding on to those treasures.

View the rooms and collections of this remarkable home

affordable housing, Architecture, Design, Top Stories, Urban Design

The first place winners of the New York Affordable Housing Challenge, an architectural competition run by Bee Breeders, have been announced. Kwong Von Glinow Design Office received first prize for their entry “The Table Top,” a modular system that aggregates and stacks to provide density and diversity in a city as varied as New York. Designed as a prototype for affordable housing in New York City, the flexible system could accommodate the city’s wide range of lot sizes and is adaptable to a variety of unit combinations for diverse types of residents. With an affordable housing crisis abetting an increasingly socially divided city with the majority of its residents spending over half of their annual income on rent, the project speaks to Mayor de Blasio’s emphasis on the dire need to create more affordable housing at both new and redeveloped existing sites.

Find out more about this flexible, scalable design for living

Bronx, Quirky Homes, Recent Sales

Atop the city’s second-highest peak, in Riverdale, the Bronx, this opulent mansion has been beckoning the heavens–and seeking a buyer–since 2009 when it hit the market with an ask of $14 million; As 6sqft previously reported, the 17-room 1home was built in 1928 for an eccentric owner who never actually lived there herself, but rather constructed it for Jesus’ second coming. The house was asking $11 million in 2013 and re-listed with a $10 million price tag in 2015. Welcome2TheBronx reports that the home finally sold for $6,250,000 on January 9th of this year.

Tour this unusual home

Recent Sales, Upper East Side

6sqft reported in November that the 25,000-square-foot, 41-foot-wide townhouse at 19 East 64th Street belonging to art heir David Wildenstein had gone into contract for $81 million. The sale has closed for $79.5 million–$3,180 a foot–according to public records, setting a new record for Manhattan’s priciest townhouse sale; the previous record was held by the Harkness mansion at 4 East 75th Street, which sold for $53 million in 2006. According to The Real Deal, the buyer, listed as 19-21 East 64th Holding LLC, is affiliated with HNA Holdings Group CEO Roy Liao. HNA Holdings Group is also behind the $2.2 billion deal to purchase 245 Park Avenue. The 1930s townhouse is the former home of the Wildenstein gallery.

Find out more

Architecture, Downtown Brooklyn, New Developments

Tishman Speyer has released plans for the 422 Fulton Street Macy’s renovation that will turn a new 10-story space above the department store into a 620,000 square foot creative office hub called The Wheeler. Reflecting a recent trend in snazzy work spaces that attract TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information) clients, the space will comprise “620,000 square feet of opportunity in the center of downtown Brooklyn,” according to the developer. On offer will be the largest floor plates in Brooklyn with 15+ foot ceilings that “leave plenty of room for huge ideas,” and a sprawling rooftop terrace, part of an acre of outdoor space that “provides fresh air for fresher thinking.” There will also be 130 subterranean bike stations with lockers and showers for workers who bike to work.

Find out more

adaptive reuse, Top Stories, Transportation

On Friday 6sqft reported Mayor Bill De Blasio’s announcement that the Rikers Island jail complex will be closed, following a report by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. “New York City has always been better than Rikers Island,” said the mayor when he announced the decision. The report also included ideas for the future of a post-jail Rikers. One such idea suggests that the island be used for the expansion of nearby LaGuardia Airport, raising the possibility of a new runway and additional terminal space, according to USA Today. “The Island is uniquely positioned to accommodate an expanded LaGuardia Airport that would reduce delays and could serve as many as 12 million more passengers annually,” the report states.

Find out more

affordable housing, Downtown Brooklyn, Major Developments, New Developments, Top Stories

View south down Flatbush Avenue

Alloy Development announced plans to build a pair of towers at 80 Flatbush Avenue, a 61,000-square-foot parcel of land between Flatbush Avenue, Schermerhorn Street, Third Avenue and State Street. The developer–who, with the Department of Education, owns the land–has been selected by the city’s Educational Construction Fund to build the mixed-use complex as part of the redevelopment of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, which will move into one of the two new school buildings that will be part of the project. The second of the two will be a 350-seat elementary school. The project will also offer 900 apartments (200 of which will be affordable), a 15,000-square-foot cultural facility, 200,000 square feet of office space and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Find out more about what’s coming to the neighborhood

Alphabet City, Cool Listings, East Village, Top Stories

633 East 11th Street,cool listings, east village, co-ops

Though it shares a neighborhood with celebrities and models, this charming East Village flat at 633 East 11th Street may not break the bank at $499,000. The sunny one-bedroom home boasts historic details like stained glass pocket doors, exposed brick, original moldings and high ceilings, with custom contemporary updates in the kitchen and bath. Its classic railroad layout—the bath is at one end of the apartment, behind the bedroom—is definitely best for one or a cozy couple.

C’mon in

affordable housing, Astoria, New Developments

Image courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

A 2.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development site known as Astoria Cove, on nearly nine acres along the East River in Astoria, is seeking a buyer, asking $350 million, Crain’s reports. The site hit the market in mid-March in anticipation of the reinstatement of the 421-a affordable housing tax credit program that had languished since its expiration over a year ago amid debates between the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and unions on whether to require higher wages in certain cases. Alma Realty Corp. hired Cushman & Wakefield investment company to market the site; according to sales executive Bob Knakal, “We wouldn’t have hit the market with Astoria Cove in the past 16 months because of the uncertainty around 421-a, but there’s been a sense of optimism in recent weeks that 421-a will be back and with it, the land market will strengthen.”

Find out more

Cool Listings, Interiors, Soho

138 Grand Street, cool listings, lofts, soho

This $4.75 million Soho loft at 138 Grand Street–in one of the neighborhood’s original artists’ co-op buildings–is an authentic 1977 conversion that’s completely updated for today’s live/work demands. The Ironclad Artists’ loft building is a six-story icon with a rich architectural history that’s significant to the neighborhood, distinguishable by features like a cast iron facade and a mansard roof. Within, this fifth-floor home is quiet and serene while also surrounded by the heart of Soho.

Tour the loft

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Queens

The Cornelius Van Wyck House in Douglaston, Queens, built in 1735 and both a New York City landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, is now for sale asking $3.25 million (h/t Curbed). The home has been called New York City’s “most impressive architectural remnant of the early Dutch Culture.” In addition to its historic and architectural significance, it’s located on Little Neck Bay and is one of the largest true waterfront properties in Queens. The home at 126 West Drive has been well-tended over the years, with many “interesting details of the Dutch period” still intact according to the property’s 1966 landmark designation report.

Get a closer look at this unique piece of New York history

Policy

Photo: Seth Wenig (AP) courtesy of Van Alen Institute.

A blue-ribbon commission has recommended that Rikers Island be closed and replaced with several smaller facilities based on a study of the storied jail’s future according to the Daily News. The panel, led by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, has been studying the the troubled 10-jail facility for more than a year. Mr. Lippman and the Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, will officially announce the findings on Sunday. A member of the commission said that recommendations include supervised release of some detainees, new smaller jails across the city and an overhaul of the bail system as part of a transition that would take 10 years to complete. According to a recent New York Times report, Mayor de Blasio has shifted his position on the issue and will be announcing his support for a closure plan, possibly at a news conference Friday.

Find out more

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