Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway) and 114th Street in 1895
Today, it’s hard to imagine Morningside Heights without the flurry of students hurrying to class at Columbia University. It may be even harder to imagine it without some of its signature architecture: the gothic Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world, Riverside Church, with its former bowling alley, or Grant’s Tomb along the Hudson River. But Morningside Heights got an exciting start in the history of New York City (and America, as it turns out)!
The incredible story of Morningside Heights, from past to present, this way
Great neighborhood? Check. Great apartment? Check. Curb appeal?
Killer first impressions can be long lasting — and whether it’s a newly advertised flavor of Ben & Jerry’s, an ad for Tory Burch’s latest shoe collection —or finding new digs, “love at first sight” spot-on marketing moments play a sizeable role in how we make our decisions.
Industry experts note that a large percentage of a house hunter’s decision to explore a property further than the curb is based the project’s “wow” factor. Truth is, it sets the “perception” stage of what’s to come beyond a grand entrance or swanky lobby that was designed to provide a sense of arrival and belonging. Obviously, at the end of the day, a building’s outside will only persuade potential buyers to see more, and first impressions can vary from one individual to the next, but the “I was meant to live here” moment is fairly universal.
How a building’s design tugs at your desire to ‘be someone’
You won’t find any Staten Island jokes or snarky references to secession here. No, we’re celebrating the borough that so easily gets forgotten amid the shiny new towers of Manhattan and trendy culture waves of Brooklyn. But just because it might not make daily headlines, doesn’t mean that Staten Island isn’t in the middle of some pretty amazing developments. From the Staten Island Ferris Wheel to the borough becoming the next great tech hub, we’ve rounded up the cultural, economic, and architectural projects that are going to make you want to board the Staten Island Ferry in pursuit of your new home.
Check out our list and get ready to start packing
Years ago, shoemaking was a family business handed down from one generation to the next. And while there may not be as many old school shoemakers practicing their craft in the city today, there is the Wasserman family and their Upper West Side shoe store. Tip Top Shoes, located on 72nd between Amsterdam and Columbus, has been taking care of New York’s footwear needs since it first opened in 1940. Although the Wassermans are not the original owners, it’s been in the family since Danny Wasserman’s father purchased the store fifty years ago, continuing a family tradition that began in Europe.
When Danny began working alongside his father, he was the third generation in the shoe business. His son and daughter are now the fourth. Together, Danny and his children are making sure customers have access to both classic shoes and the latest trends. Wearing a pair of Birkenstocks I purchased at Tip Top Shoes, I met with Danny to learn more about the family business.
Read our full interview with Danny
In the 1970s, after obtaining landmark status in 1969, three 19th century houses were actually towed by truck from a no-longer-existing stretch of Washington Street to avoid demolition in the Washington Market Urban Renewal area (a 38-acre site planned by the city’s Housing and Development Administration during the 1960s and 1970s, 10 blocks north of what would become the World Trade Center). Their final destination? Next to three already existing townhouses on Harrison Street, a quiet site that was once the well-known farm of alleged skirt lifter, and one of NYC’s first settlers, Annetje Jans. In 1976, New York City put them up for sale (from $35,000 to $75,000) following a restoration by Oppenheimer, Brady & Vogelstein the year before. And more recently, nearly four decades after the sale, CORE brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon exclusively listed 37 Harrison Street with surprising results.
Fast forward to present day to find out what happened to The Wilson Hunt House
Radiant Orchid may be Pantone’s color of the year, but here in New York City we think green is the hot hue of the moment. Eco-friendly design features and sustainable buildings are sprouting up faster than ever, and buyers are seeking out the next best green amenity, from Vitamin C-filtered showers to electric vehicle charging stations. And thanks to some A-list support from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, environmentally friendly design is being embraced by developers and real estate professionals alike.
Last week, we took a look at Battery Park City, the largest green neighborhood in the world, which is often credited with launching New York City’s modern sustainable movement. And now we’re exploring some of the latest eco-friendly buildings to follow in its footsteps and take advantage of contemporary environmental technologies.
Read about these green developments here
There’s been lots of chatter on the street and in the media on the subject of “poor doors” in new developments for those who have qualified for affordable housing. And though this subject has created quite a bit of controversy, it’s actually not quite what it seems. Rather than being outraged that our city allows real estate developers to “discriminate” against those who could never consider paying for the privilege of residing in their latest and greatest luxury building, naysayers should think about reading up on exactly what affordable housing is and isn’t—“rich” home seekers having an edge over the so-called “poor.”
We look at 80/20 and the ‘poor door’ controversy here
As New Yorkers, we learn to be resourceful. We can turn a tiny patch of grass into a full-on park, double the space of our 400-square-foot apartment with lofted rooms and suspended shelving, and get all of our reading in on the commute to work. But for some, this sacrificial lifestyle becomes too much, and daydreams of suburbia set in.
Not ready to pack your bags for Jersey or Westchester just yet? Look to Battery Park City, a suburban-like enclave that’s just a five-minute walk from Wall Street. The 92-acre planned residential community is the largest “green” neighborhood in the world, with more than one third of its total acreage covered in parks and gardens. Additionally, the area boasts spectacular waterfront views, large apartments, slightly more affordable prices than its Financial District neighbors, and an impressive collection of public art.
Okay, we know homes are more often than not sold through real estate agents, but did you know that more than a few are sold under the radar? That somehow, there are always a handful of residences “secretly” up for sale, and try as he/she may, your broker will never come across them on an MLS—a place where just about everybody on earth can search for a specific building or neighborhood any day of the week. Here’s the lowdown: These homes are known as “pocket listings” and though there is a signed and perfectly legal agreement between the agent and seller, the listing is never entered into an MLS for the world to see. There’s no big open house shindig; no advertising—and obviously no press splash.
So, why would a seller risk more unsold days on the market instead of opting for an open listing, you ask?
Find out more here
One of the things that eventually becomes obvious to an American urban dweller residing in a European city is the lack of diversity. As a New Yorker in Rome, it’s particularly obvious. Rome is full of Romans, and Romans are, essentially, of similar stripe. There are inhabitants of this city from foreign lands and of different hues, but they are not Romans. They are Bangladeshi, Senegalese, Romanian, Albanian, and more. Anything but Roman. And that will never change. While the myriad of ethnic and racial backgrounds that comprise New York’s population might be a hyphenated-American something-or-other, we are all, for the most part, fellow New Yorkers. It’s a beautiful thing, a fact many residents proudly proclaim when they speak of what makes New York so special. Diversity informs nearly every aspect of New York’s identity, and it is not exclusive. But as I look from abroad at New York’s diversity, it clearly spreads far and wide, but how deep does it go? I don’t need to look any farther than myself for a quick study.
Andrew reflects on New York’s diversity