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.

Featured Story

Features, Goldilocks Blocks, Historic Homes, Neighborhoods

Goldilocks Blocks: Vanderbilt Avenue in Wallabout, Brooklyn

By Michelle Cohen, Mon, September 29, 2014

Wallabout, Fort Greene, historic homes, wood frame house, Vanderbilt Avenue

Between hyper-developed hotspots, main drags in up-and-comers, and those genuinely avoidable areas, there can often be found a city’s “just-right” zones. They aren’t commonly known, but these micro-neighborhoods often hide within them real estate gems coupled with perfectly offbeat vibes. Continuing our Goldilocks Blocks series, this week we turn to Brooklyn.

The culturally rich, architecturally stunning Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill need little introduction. The Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north is busily growing as a start-up business incubator and creative and commercial hub. An “in-between” zone—the sort of area that engenders a question mark and a furrowed brow when perusing neighborhood maps—lies just north of Myrtle Avenue and south of the Navy Yard.

Known as Wallabout, the area was named for Wallabout Bay to the north, much of which was filled in to create the Navy Yard in the 19th century. Unique among its neighbors, a block-long stretch of this border district feels more like a small-town side street than a growing urban crossroads.

Find out what makes this historic block so special, and why it’s likely to stay that way.

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, Celebrities, Cool Listings

Boerum Hill Townhouse, 126 Hoyt Street, Michelle Williams, For Sale

Michelle Williams’s gorgeous ivy-covered Boerum Hill townhouse just hit the market. And it comes with a three-car garage.

The listing calls it “the one and only,” and for someone looking for a huge single-family home in this coveted South Brooklyn neighborhood, it just might be–assuming they can cover the steep asking price. First, the size factor: The corner townhouse is 22 feet wide, offering four stories, four and a half baths, at least six bedrooms, 12-foot-ceilings and a three-car garage that currently includes a rec room.

Find out what else makes this home so exceptional

Featured Story

City Living, Features, People

City Kids: Why Parents Pick City Living Over the Suburbs

By Michelle Cohen, Tue, September 23, 2014

city kids, brooklyn kids, nyc neighborhoods,

The ‘American Dream’ may have dominated the last few decades, causing a mass exodus to the suburbs, but today’s families are reversing the trend and turning their attention back to the city. The reasons are many: An appreciation for cultural offerings, the camaraderie and creative cross-pollination of networks of colleagues, friends and family, the convenience of being able to walk or bike to school, work or child care without a long commute—just to name a few. New York City has always been a haven for the forward-thinking, albeit a challenging one. And its newly-”discovered” outer boroughs as well as an unprecedentedly low crime rate have made the city a prime choice for family living.

But what is it about those city kids—the ones with parents who planned from the start to raise their kids in a non-stop urban environment? We interrupted the busy schedules of five families currently raising school-age (or soon-to-be) children in New York City’s many diverse and multifaceted neighborhoods to get some insight about why they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hear what five parents of city kids have to say

Featured Story

City Living, Features, Goldilocks Blocks, Landscape Architecture, Neighborhoods

Goldilocks Blocks: (Far) East 7th Street in Alphabet City

By Michelle Cohen, Mon, September 22, 2014

Flowerbox, New Development, Condo, East Village, NYC

Between hyper-developed hotspots, main drags in up-and-comers, big-ticket townhouse enclaves, and those genuinely avoidable areas, there can often be found a city’s “just-right” zones. Free from corner menace, sticker shock and boom-time developer schlock, these special spots often span only a few blocks in each direction and are close enough to the center of their ‘cool destination’ nabes to legitimately bear their names. They aren’t commonly known, and are best found by pounding the pavement, but these micro-neighborhoods often hide within them real estate gems coupled with perfectly offbeat vibes—you just have to be willing to do a little legwork. But when you do find them, don’t sleep on them… Winners like the Columbia Street Waterfront District were once Goldilocks blocks.

Today we’ll look at a unique 7th Street stretch hidden in Alphabet City.

Find out what makes this Alphabet City block so special.

Featured Story

City Living, Features, Neighborhoods, Sunset Park

Industry City, Design Week, ICFF, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NYC

With plans in place that call for a public waterfront bustling with creative industry and commerce rather than luxury residential developments, Sunset Park is not on its way to becoming the next hip NYC residential neighborhood–and that’s a good thing.

Located on Brooklyn’s western waterfront flank, there are really two sides to Sunset Park. The neighborhood, generally defined as the area between 65th Street, the Prospect Expressway, Eighth Avenue and the East River, has long been a thriving residential community. Sunset Park is also home to about 15 million square feet of warehouse and light industrial space. The key to the neighborhood’s future may be the point at which the two meet.

Find Out How Fashion May Give Sunset Park a Chance to Shine As the New Garment District

Design, Interiors

Brooklyn Heights loft, Elizabeth Roberts, Ensemble Architecture, Bookshelves, Renovation, Interiors, Kitchens

The owners of this Brooklyn Heights loft on the top two floors of a converted YMCA building wanted to remodel their space to accommodate both of their individual, extensive book and art collections; they also needed a home that would be great for dinner parties and entertaining. Rather than settling on boring built-ins, they turned to Ensemble Architecture to create a solution that would put their most treasured items on show.

Tour the renovated space here

Interiors, Tribeca

Elizabeth Roberts, Ensemble, Architecture, Interiors, Tribeca, Loft, Live work

Many of us entertain fantasies about loft living in a former garage or an old warehouse, but few of us would dare take on the task of turning one into a comfortable space. That’s why when the owner of this Tribeca automotive garage wanted to create a live-work-gallery space, he turned to architect Elizabeth Roberts to take on the task. Roberts, known for her stylish townhouse interiors, managed to not only carve out several beautiful spaces for living, but functional and flexible areas for display and commerce for the owner who wanted to rent out the majority of the ground floor space as a photo studio.

Take a tour inside here

Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, Historic Homes, real estate trends

102 Gates, Brownstone, Townhouse, Renovation, Flip, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Real estate

In January of 2013, in the dead of winter, an 1899 detail-laden Italianate townhouse fixer-upper at 102 Gates Avenue hit an inventory-starved rising market. The listing price of $1.295 million, was a double-take for many, even though it was less than what properties like it were selling for in the area.

Fast forward to September 2014, where renovations, which commenced almost immediately after the sale, are nearing completion (and according to reports, they’ve been done right). Word is that the house is about to head back to the market—at more than twice its winter selling price.

Find out why 375 people waited in the cold for the first open house

Design, Interiors, Williamsburg

Williamsburg Loft, Elizabeth Roberts, Ensemble Architecture, Chef's Kitchen, Live/work

After years of searching for an industrial space to use as a studio and a comfortable home, a married couple—he’s a chef and food writer, she’s a sculptor—transformed this 3,500 square-foot ground-floor Williamsburg Loft into a well-balanced live/work space that includes a top tier kitchen and plenty of light and space for creating art.

See how a creative couple makes use of this versatile, comfortable space

Featured Story

City Living, Features, Neighborhoods, Restaurants

cafe grumpy brooklyn, cafe grumpy, brooklyn coffee shops

Photo: Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint by Premshree Pillai cc

From “coffices” to lab-like minimalist gourmet coffee meccas to cozy neighborhood hangouts, neighborhood cafes are a fine example of the essential “third place” mentioned in discussions of community dynamics: that place, neither work nor home, where regulars gather and everyone’s welcome.

Along with yoga studios, art galleries, community gardens, vintage clothing shops, restaurants with pedigreed owners and adventurous menus and, some say, a change in the offerings on local grocery shelves, cafes are often the earliest sign of neighborhood change. The neighborhood cafe serves as a testing ground for community cohesiveness while adventurous entrepreneurs test the still-unfamiliar waters around them. Beyond the literal gesture of offering sustenance, cafes provide a place where you can actually see who your neighbors are and appreciate the fact that at least some of them are willing to make an investment locally.

Get a fleeting glimpse of old New York City cafe culture in the West Village, meet the future of coffee distribution in Red Hook.

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