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Currently sleeping on a mattress with no box spring? Worse yet, a blow-up mattress? Is your night table a repurposed milk crate and are your bookshelves fashioned out of salvaged bricks and found lumber? Although all these features can be surprisingly charming when paired with the right accessories, there comes a time in one’s life when one wants or needs a bit more. But even if you opt to go full-on Ikea, the cost of furnishing a small one-bedroom from the ground up will likely cost well over $3,000 and that is only if you opt for a discount Bråthult over Vallentuna sofa.
For anyone faced with the challenge of furnishing an entire apartment—either for the first time or because you’re only in NYC for a limited amount of time—there is now a solution: “fast interiors.” Rather than buy, you can now rent your furniture for three months or for several years. While the rise of furniture rentals may sound unusual, in fact, it is an obvious extension of the sharing economy that has been growing, especially in highly populated urban areas, for the past decade. An underlying tenant of the sharing economy is that renting often makes more sense the owning. But does it? Ahead, we explore how and where to rent furniture and the relative short- and long-term benefits of renting over buying.
A guide to furniture rentals
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In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, rents in New York City continue to rise, a record number of New Yorkers make up the city’s homeless population and the amount of rent regulated apartments are in danger of vanishing completely. An investigation released Sunday by the New York Times found rent-stabilized apartments have been disappearing since city and state lawmakers first eradicated rent laws in 1993. Since then, the city has lost more than 152,000 regulated apartments as a result of landlords exploiting weak regulations and pushing out rent-regulated tenants, with little or no consequence from city and state agencies. And another 130,000 more apartments have been lost due to expiring tax breaks and co-op and condo conversions.
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If you are a single New Yorker earning $58,450 or less per year, you fall under the low income category, according to 2018 estimates released last month by the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD). These income limits are established by the government to help figure out if residents are eligible for subsidized and affordable housing. Even though the median family income in NYC and its surrounding area slightly increased this year to $70,300 from $66,200 in 2017, the high cost of living continues to place a significant burden on New Yorkers (h/t Curbed NY).
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Shelly Place, an agent with Triplemint, describes Boerum Hill as “the perfect blend of old and new. Geographically, it is smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn, convenient to downtown [Manhattan], and close enough without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle. You can go days or weeks without ever leaving Boerum Hill but, if you want, you have the rest Brooklyn right there.”
Known for tree-lined streets filled with historic brownstones, Boerum Hill is one of those unique neighborhoods that has successfully blended past and present in a way few communities have been able to. There are a ton of great restaurants and creative cocktail lounges and independent specialty stores alongside the big brands, like Apple, Whole Foods’ 365, and Lululemon, lining Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue. And with a slew of new contextual developments springing up, it’s time to turn your attention to the buzz on Boerum Hill.
Everything you need to know about Boerum Hill
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As recently reported on 6sqft, the number of vacant homes in New York City continues to rise. The Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Survey found that the number of unoccupied apartments citywide has grown 35 percent since 2014. While a majority of the city’s 247,977 empty units are empty for a legitimate reason—for example, they are currently awaiting the arrival of a new occupant, being renovated, or are seasonally occupied—among the city’s currently vacant homes are a small percentage of homes known as “zombie homes.” Usually vacant and deteriorating, in some cases, these homes have been abandoned by owners who are behind on their mortgage payments and in other cases, the homes have already been taken over by a lender.
The issue has become so problematic that last April, the city —prompted by the passing of the New York State Zombie Property and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2016, or “Zombie Law”—decided it was time to tackle the zombie home problem head-on.
What’s going on?
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Update 5/8/18: Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. will buy the Plaza Hotel for $600 million, besting a previous offer made less than a week ago, according to the New York Post. While it was reported White City Ventures and the Kamran Organization were in contract to buy the iconic building, the prince and Ashkenazy, as the minority owner, had the option to acquire the hotel if they matched the $600 million offer. The deal is expected to close this summer.
A deal to sell the historic, 111-year-old Plaza Hotel has finally been reached, after the New York City landmark sat on and off the market for years and changed hands numerous times. As the Real Deal reported, a group of investors including Shahal Kahan of White City Ventures and Kamran Hakim of the Hakim Organization, are in contract to buy a majority share of the hotel for $600 million. While reports in March said the group was considering paying for part of the purchase with cryptocurrency, the deal instead is being made up of equity from investors and a $415 million loan from a pair of British billionaires, David and Simon Reuben.
More details here
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A new PEW Research Center study has found that one-in-three adults are now “doubled up.” Some of these shared households are traditional multigenerational households—for example, a married couple with children who have chosen to live in a home belonging to one of their parents. By definition, however, shared households also include any households with at least one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or unmarried partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student. As a result, among the one-and-three adults who are now doubled up are adults sharing households with other adults to whom they are not related, adults sharing with same-generation siblings, and most surprisingly, a growing cohort of elderly parents moving into their adult children’s homes.
What’s the deal?
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Not only do NYC’s temperatures start to heat up in spring, but so does the rental market, particularly with students and recent graduates searching for short-term housing options to come to live and work in the city. Seasonal housing providers, who provide leases of 30 days or more, are finding more demand than normal (h/t amNY). Large apartment buildings feeling the glut of inventory on the market are choosing to rent their units for shorter terms versus yearly leases working under the assumption that any occupancy is better than vacancy.
Photo via Nick Sherman’s Flickr
Brookfield Property Partners announced on Monday it has acquired seven retail storefronts across four properties in the West Village, an attempt to rescue retail in a neighborhood which has had a high rate of vacancies for years. The company hopes to attract e-commerce companies that are interested in testing out brick-and-mortar locations. The properties, found along Bleecker Street between West 10th and West 11th Streets, measure 24,000 square feet. Brookfield paid New York REIT $31.5 million to acquire the properties.
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Photo of Weehawken via Michel G’s Flickr
Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musical phenom Hamilton, tweeted in January that he changed three lyrics for the show’s London opening: John Adams, the Potomac River and Weehawken. According to Miranda, those words were too specific to America. According to Broadway Buzz, “Burr’s proposal of a duel in ‘Your Obedient Servant’ now specifically points to New Jersey rather than the town of Weehawken. The Broadway lyric “Weehawken, dawn, guns drawn” has become ‘New Jersey, dawn, guns drawn.’”
In July 1804, Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded during a duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken and died the following day in New York City. Tragically, Hamilton’s son was killed on the same spot three years earlier. One of the plaques in Alexander Hamilton Park describes many of the other unknown “duelists” who “all came to Weehawken to defend their honor according to the custom of the day. Located on the Hudson River, Weehawken does have a very “American” history but it should be highlighted, not diminished. Ahead, learn the ins and outs of Weehawken, from its historic waterfront parks and duel grounds to its burgeoning real estate scene.