All posts by Michelle Colman

Michelle writes children’s books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle’s first children’s book, “Urban Babies Wear Black.” Michelle has a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics. Whenever possible, Michelle and her family love exploring cities all over the world together. Follow her on twitter @MichelleSColman


Art, Celebrities, East Village, Lower East Side, Top Stories

Photos courtesy of Goldman Properties

The provocative and still anonymous artist Banksy has come back to New York after a five-year hiatus (he was last seen in New York selling his work for $60 a piece in Central Park). After a tease yesterday, his 70-foot mural on the Houston Bowery Wall, made famous by Keith Haring in 1982, depicts 365 hash marks and an image of the Turkish artist Zehra Dogan behind prison bars and the final prison bar transforms into a pencil. The image represents the amount of time Dogan has spent in jail for painting a picture of a war-torn town in Turkey.

Get the whole story and see more photos

Design, Interiors, Tribeca

Stairs can be purely functional and totally uninspiring or they can be the stuff dreams are made of (just ask MC Escher). Dash Marshall, a multi-disciplinary architecture and design studio based on the Lower East Side, designed a stunning staircase made of brass and stainless and blackened steel, which rises from its brick foundation and is suspended from the second-floor ceiling in order to join two units in Tribeca (h/t Dezeen). By suspending the stairs from the second floor, that freed up a lot of space below in the living room, giving the firm even more space to work their renovation magic.

See the whole place and hear from the architects

City Living

In gross news for the day, the New York Times ran a story highlighting the city’s Department of Environmental Protection “Wait …” campaign, which asks residents in parts of Brooklyn and Queens to “Wait…to use water during a heavy rainstorm.” Unbeknownst to many, rainwater runoff and household sewage flow in the same underground pipes. When there is a lot of rain, the overflow runs off into nearby rivers, bays, and creeks instead of to the intended water treatment plant destinations. The four things the site suggests you wait on are: laundry, shower, wash dishes, and/or flush the toilet.

See if your neighborhood needs to

CityRealty, real estate trends

Trump’s NYC properties no longer considered ‘luxury’

By Michelle Colman, Tue, March 13, 2018

Trump International via Wiki Commons; Donald Trump via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

According to a new CityRealty report, President Trump is spreading fake news. Trump claims his branded luxury residential condominium and towers are more valuable than his competitors. In fact, the numbers tell a different story. In the past 10 years (2007-2017), Trumps’ properties’ average price per square foot has only risen 15% (from $1,529 to $1,741) compared to Manhattan luxury condominiums which have risen 56% (from $1,994 to $3,105) and all Manhattan properties which have risen 51% (from $1,237 to $1,864).

What might be even more upsetting to the Trump Organization is that based on the prices condos in his buildings sell for, they are no longer categorized as luxury properties but as “middle-of-the-road investments in the wider world of the Manhattan condo market.”

Find out more

Featured Story

Features, real estate trends, Top Stories

27 East 79th Street townhouse, courtesy of Adellco

Space in New York City always comes at a premium–even Manhattan air rights cost more per square foot than the nation’s average home prices. Townhomes have long been seen as status symbols in NYC real estate. But despite being coveted properties, traditional townhomes require upkeep and maintenance that condominium owners do not have to deal with. In an effort to attract buyers and eliminate the hassles associated with traditional townhouse living, many NYC developers are building the “townhouse 2.0,” fully modernized new construction townhomes with access to all the services and amenities of a condominium building–the best of both worlds. Ahead, 6sqft has rounded up some of the best examples of townhomes 2.0 in New York City.

See them all here

hudson yards, real estate trends

55 Hudson Yards, KPF, Manhattan Offices, Related, Oxford

55 Hudson Yards

Developers have long tried to lure buyers and renters with lists of spectacular amenities and high-end art collections, but Hudson Yards developers’ Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group have something no other New York City developer is offering– a medical clinic for people who live and work in their buildings. According to the New York Times, Related asked buyers what they considered an “ideal” place to live. Jeff T. Blau, Related’s chief executive and a board member at Mount Sinai, said, “They were saying they like having their doctors around the corner, and when we thought about it we realized there were no doctors around the corner because this neighborhood didn’t exist before.”

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New Developments, Upper East Side

Can giant zoo animals sell a luxury condo in NYC?

By Michelle Colman, Fri, March 9, 2018

After watching 200 East 59th Street’s most recent promotional video, the 35-story midtown building seems insanely voluminous and sturdy— with a whiff of hay? Developer Macklowe Properties just released this DBOX video showing giraffes, elephants, and rhinos (oh my!) galavanting around the city and in their new building. This video builds on the fiberglass 18-foot giraffes, elephants, and rhinos Macklowe found in Southampton and installed at the property last year.

Watch the whole video

maps, Transportation

Screenshot from at approximately 3pm on Wednesday, March 7th (during the impending nor’easter)

There’s been a lot of recent attention about the deterioration of the New York City subway, both in ridership and service. And, in the past, the subway map has done little more than inspire some cool art. Real-time information that could be very useful to riders, like a major delay or line shutdown, is only accessible “live” once you have already swiped your card and arrived on the subway platform. What good is it then? Now, thanks to web developer Eric Markfield, from Unfounded Labs, the Real MTA map, “a realistic subway map,” provides an up-to-the-minute, visual representation of any delays, service changes or planned work (h/t Curbed).

Get the scoop

Featured Story

Art, Features, real estate trends

180 East 88th Street living room, via March Made for DDG

The architect Morris Adjmi looks to trends in art, more than in architecture, to inspire his work. “Art is more stimulating to me than the latest trends in architecture. Art is visceral and topical, it is much more immediate and it allows you to get into the zeitgeist of the time. In art, we see what is happening now, in architecture it takes a few years to show up.” More and more architects, developers, designers, and brokers believe in the powerful relationship between art and real estate. So much so, it is now understood that art sells real estate and real estate sells art.

James Cavello, owner of Westwood Gallery, curated an art exhibit at 212 Fifth Avenue’s $73.8 million “Crown” penthouse with a multimillion-dollar collection of art, with works by Warhol, Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Robert Indiana, Charles Hinman, and Douglas Kirkland. On the relationship between art and real estate, Cavello says, “We share the same similar high net worth clients so developers and brokers look to individuals like me and my company to propose alternatives to staging the areas with furniture and drapes and, instead, work with the light and space and utilize the art as staging.”

The Sotheby’s team behind 212 Fifth added that having Westwood Gallery stage art in the three-story, 10,000-square-foot unit, “Helped generate powerful awareness for Westwood Gallery with a level of visibility that is often unattainable for a stand-alone gallery.” Clearly, art and real estate have a very symbiotic relationship.

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Featured Story

Features, real estate trends, Technology

Image via Pixabay

In a refreshingly non-“Black Mirror” way, many NYC residential developments are taking advantage of new technologies, like keyless door entry systems and digital concierges, not to replace humans but rather enhance them. These building technologies are making residents’ lives easier while prioritizing the importance of face-to-face interaction.

According to a joint cnet/Coldwell Banker survey, “81 percent of current smart-home device owners say they would be more willing to buy a home with connected tech in place.” Clearly, developers got that message. Many new buildings in NYC are incorporating technology into their developments to enhance service as well as increase residents’ personal security and privacy.

Get the scoop on all the latest tech


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