Image: rutlo cc
It’s not a shocker that some Brooklyn neighborhoods are outselling their Manhattan counterparts. What’s a bit of a surprise is that the Columbia Street Waterfront District, a quirky 22-block enclave wedged between Red Hook and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, is one of them.
Until recently, Columbia Street was known as a far-flung and largely forgotten strip that fell victim to Robert Moses’s highway expansion project—the BQE—which, when built on a below-ground slice of Hicks Street in 1957, severed the area from the rest of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, breaking up what was then “South Brooklyn” into distinct neighborhoods.
More on Columbia Street’s Comeback
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Not so surprisingly, Manhattan has a slew of cemeteries, graveyards and built-over potter’s fields (for unclaimed bodies). Madison Square Park was originally used as a potter’s field, as was Bryant Park. And though these swaths of land served many purposes over the years, it took an eternity before they were lovely public parks. From the late 1600s, burial grounds were generally confined to what would now be just south of City Hall, but more began popping up further uptown during the 1800s as the city’s population grew in leaps and bounds.
With Halloween upon us, tis’ the season for checking out if living near one might give a buyer a bit of a ghostly scare or whether it takes an eternity to sell when the living room window overlooks tombstones marking coffins buried six feet under.
Hear what experts say, and then learn about the city’s most notable graveyards.
Do homes near cemeteries sell at a discount in NYC?
In the spirit of Halloween, yesterday we took a look at whether or not living near a cemetery affects real estate prices in New York. Apparently, on average, homes close to cemeteries were slightly smaller, but sold for more due to a higher cost per square foot. And though this is what the research suggests, we want to know your thoughts. Would it totally spook you to look out your window and see tombstones instead of tenements or would you not bat an eye if your dream apartment just happened to be steps away from coffins?
Images: New York Marble Cemetery via ShellyS via photopin cc (L); Calgary Cemetery in Queens (R)
Though more and more house hunters are back to buying off of blueprint in this hot real estate market, that hasn’t stopped developers from tricking out their sales offices with hopes of trumping the competition. Ultra-detailed scaled models line spaces, and the priciest of couches and countertops fill life-sized mockups blocks away from the actual address. More recently, buildings like 50 West have built out entire theaters wrapped with screens intent on showing buyers the panoramic city views their shelling out millions for. Clearly, cost is not a concern. But watch out, there’s a new group on the scene ready to really shake things up.
Architecture visualization firm ArX Solutions has turned to a piece of virtual reality tech that everyone seems to be talking about: Oculus Rift. With their specially designed virtual reality tours, clients can see exactly what its like to walk through a home with all their sensations engaged. Cool? Absolutely. But this tour doesn’t come cheap. Like the lofty homes it features, a trip with Oculus Rift rings in at a jaw-dropping $95,000.
Find out more about taking an Oculus Rift real estate tour
One57 and the view from the $90 million penthouse
It’s true that One57′s first flip saw a $3.5 million profit in just five months, but that unit sold for $34 million the second time around. A selling price of more than $90 million is a different story–and that’s exactly what hedge fund manager William (Bill) Ackman is hoping to achieve.
In a profile in the Times on Sunday, Ackman was revealed as the buyer of the $90 million penthouse at the luxury building, which is sure to see its share of flips. But he also shared that he has no intention of ever living in the apartment. He’ll stay with his wife and daughters at their current home in the Beresford and use the penthouse as a “fun” investment opportunity for himself and some good friends, perhaps hosting a few parties there in the meantime.
More on the planned flip here
In the face of financial pressures, dozens of churches across Brooklyn are looking sell of their holy land in hopes of banking on the conversion trend that’s taken the city by storm. According to DNA Info, more than 50 Brooklyn clergy members are looking to develop their land and air rights to offer more affordable housing and other community services.
Hundreds of religious leaders attended a recent meeting hosted by Borough President Eric Adams detailing how they could raise money as their shrinking congregations give way to fundraising and budgetary constraints.
“You are land-rich but cash-poor. The largest amount of housing potential in Brooklyn lies with you,” Reverend Gilford Monrose, director of the Borough President’s faith-based initiatives, said at the event.
Find out more
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Brooklyn is changing fast and at the forefront of this is Bedford-Stuyvesant—or as it’s more commonly known, Bed-Stuy. Like most New York neighborhoods, Bed-Stuy has had its ups and downs, its most notable down being the 80s and 90s when crime and drugs were at a record high. But as hard as the times may have gotten, the neighborhood has maintained itself as one of the city’s most culturally significant. Bed-Stuy has long been home to one of the largest concentrations of African-Americans in New York, it boasts beautiful well-preserved architecture spanning countless styles and centuries, and of course, there is the neighborhood’s central role in the hip-hop movement.
More on the history and future of Bed-Stuy
The Anshei Meseritz
Temple soon to be turned into condos © LuciaM via Panoramio
New Yorkers know it often takes some divine intervention to land a great apartment. Luckily, with dozens of churches and synagogues now being partially or totally converted into luxury residential buildings, high-end apartment hunters can go straight to the source.
As congregations grapple with changing demographics, shrinking memberships, and costly upkeep of historic buildings, many religious institutions are concluding that it makes better financial sense to sell off a portion of their development rights, relocate to a more affordable site, or even close their doors for good.
Here’s a look at New York’s hottest and holiest developments
The Upper East Side isn’t just for your grandparents anymore. Photo by Ed Yourdon cc
There’s been so much talk lately about how the Upper East Side is the next cool ‘hood–this guy even says it’s cooler than Brooklyn–and while that may be true (the neighborhood’s got a Meatball Shop; is there really any use denying it anymore?), we have our sights set slightly farther north.
The high 80’s and 90’s, clustered between Park and 1st Avenues, is a hot spot for young professionals who are looking for little more culture and a little less of the bro-tastic bar scene, as well as for just-starting-out families who want a community feel, but not the sky-high rents of Park Avenue and Museum Mile. A slew of new residential developments are popping up in the area, as are fun, independent restaurants and bars. And this piece of Manhattan offers almost just the same transportation convenience as the Upper East Side proper, but with lower rents and a calmer feel.
More on the new Upper East Side
, Tue, September 30, 2014
For Manhattan’s jet-set crowd, the 2010s are starting to look an awful lot like the 1900s.
New York’s upper crust are embracing a return to the Gilded Age, moving out of their fancy penthouses, co-ops and lofts and into opulent single-family mansions. From Aby Rosen’s quest to build the largest private mansion on Park Avenue to Jared Kushner’s conversion of three former Brooklyn Law School buildings into single-family townhouses—the most affluent buyers are now on the hunt for New York’s ultimate trophy prize.
More on makeshift mansions