City Living, real estate trends

  • By Diane Pham
  • , February 3, 2015

Living in New York City you without doubt run into more than a handful of construction workers every day. But next time instead of scurrying past a construction site one of these days, maybe shoot the hard-hatted folks a smile. As it turns out, the building industry ranks #1 in happiest employees.

Find out why here

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Park Slope

  • By Aisha Carter
  • , February 3, 2015

This five-story brownstone at 920 President Street has been home to the same family for decades. Consequently, it’s maintained a lot of its original details like stained glass windows, pier mirrors, pocket doors, and wainscoting. And a location right on Prospect Park makes this the perfect canvas for creating your dream home, all with an asking price just $5 under $5 million.

Take a look inside

Cool Listings, Interiors, Upper East Side

  • By Stephanie Hoina
  • , February 2, 2015

It’s Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil promises six more weeks of winter–not necessarily a bad thing if you’re viewing the latest snowfall through a picturesque wall of windows while cozying up to a roaring fire. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in this gorgeous townhouse at 343 East 84th Street in Yorkville.

More of this stunning home this way

Policy, Transportation

  • By Diane Pham
  • , February 2, 2015

With the MTA fare hike just over the horizon, the question of whether or not all of New York has fair access to affordable public transportation comes into play. The hike, effective March 22nd, will push the cost to $2.75 per ride and $116.50 for a 30-day MetroCard, an increase of a quarter and $4.50, respectively. Like New York, cities across the globe are struggling with the same issue, but there are more than a handful of rogue riders in each taking matters into their own hands. About 500 riders in Stockholm have banded together to create (translation: “Dodge the fare now”), a scheme that has members pay $12 in monthly dues (an unlimited ride pass for 30 days costs about $120) which results in a cash reserve that can more than cover any fines that a member may occur. While illegal, the actions of these few scamps shed light on one important policy that’s already being taken on by cities across the U.S.: subsidies.

As noted in a recent article by The Atlantic, in the U.S., where government subsidies cover between 57 and 89 percent of operating costs for buses and 29 to 89 percent of those for rail, many public transit systems are quite affordable, costing in most cases less than $2, on average. So they ask, why not make the whole system free?

Is free transportation in New York unthinkable?

Policy, real estate trends

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 2, 2015

Image via Jason Farrar

It would be nice to think that developers added affordable housing to their projects out of the goodness of their hearts, but it probably has more to do with the construction bonuses and tax incentives afforded for up to 25 years to developers when they reserve at least 20 percent of a building’s units for poor and moderate-income tenants.

But this real estate tax break, known as the 421a abatement, is set to expire on June 15, lighting a fire under developers to break ground on new projects. The concern, though, is that some development sites receive 421a benefits as of right (meaning solely for putting up a new building), while others are required to include affordable housing. The difference is based on geographic location. For example, Manhattan between 14th and 96th Streets and the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens must include affordable housing. According to Crain’s, some housing advocates “want projects to get abatements only if they create affordable units—which are priced for renters who earn 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.”

What does this mean for the future of affordable housing?

Real Estate Wire

  • By now you’ve probably heard about the fire raging on in Williamsburg, but you probably haven’t seen these unbelievable images of the neighborhood frozen in ice. [NYDN]
  • The American Bible Society has sold its Lincoln Square headquarters for $300 million. [WSJ]
  • 10 of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, have been nominated the the UNESCO World Heritage list. [Archinect]
  • After 40 years, Park Avenue is about ready to get a new 893-foot skyscraper designed by Norman Foster + Partners. Interestingly, the tower is being built entirely on spec with no tenants lined up. [Bloomberg]
  • 98 contracts were signed for $4 million or more in January. [TRD]
  • New renderings give us a first look inside the Toll Brothers’ new Midtown East condo tower. [Curbed]

Images: The scene down near the 7-alarm warehouse fire in Williamsburg © Todd-Maisel for the NY Daily News (L); The American Bible Society’s Lincoln Square headquarters © Religion News (R)

Architecture, Green Design

A 1960s Woodland Residence Gets a Modern Extension Set on Stilts

By Ana Lisa Alperovich, Mon, February 2, 2015

  • By Ana Lisa Alperovich
  • , February 2, 2015

Updating an old home comes with its challenges, but when you’re faced with an unconventional site like the one seen above, adding a room isn’t as easy as pouring some foundation. When approaching this project in Pound Ridge, Method Design wasn’t afraid of thinking outside the box, and they applied a clever, eco-friendly design solution to the challenging renovation: a new room set on stilts. This beautiful addition is not only functional, but it also perfectly mirrors and melds with its sloped and wooded locale.

Learn more about this striking eco-extension

adaptive reuse, Downtown Brooklyn, History

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 2, 2015


Back in the summer we uncovered the history of the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, which has been home to Long Island University’s gymnasium since 1963. But now, the day before the Loew’s Kings Theatre, a fellow historic movie house in Brooklyn, is set to reopen to the public, we’ve learned that the Paramount will follow suite.

Brooklyn Daily reports that the Flushing Avenue theatre in Downtown Brooklyn will once again show live performances to the public, thanks to a deal between LIU and an affiliate of the Barclays Center, which will bring 1,500 seats back to the venue (down from the original 4,000) and showcase musical and comedy performances and boxing matches, all with an emphasis on emerging artists. The remainder of the space will still serve as a practice gym for LIU athletics.

More details ahead

City Living

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 2, 2015

After our commute this morning we couldn’t help dreaming of getting out of this city for a couple of weeks (or months, who’s counting), but 56.4 million people had the exact opposite idea in 2014. That’s how many tourists visited the big apple this past year, smashing the previous record of 54.3 million visitors in 2013. One country that helped with the increase was China, not surprising considering the growing trend of wealthy Chinese investing in the NYC real estate market. According to the Times, “City officials estimate that more than 740,000 visitors came from China in 2014, almost five times as many as in 2009.”

More on the record-breaking tourism trend

Daily Link Fix

  • Gentrification battles can be traced back to the 1850s when Midtown West’s many piggeries were set to be replaced with apartments. [NYP]
  • Vote for building of the year in 14 categories featuring thousands of projects from all corners of the globe. [ArchDaily]
  • Tour a cozy Carroll Gardens apartment that was six years in the making. [Apartment Therapy]
  • Here’s what the Williamsburg waterfront looked like in 1992, long before Smorgasburg. [Free Williamsburg]
  • Scott Wiener, who runs Scott’s Pizza Tours, has the largest collection of pizza boxes in the world —  750 cartons from 50 different countries. [NYDN]
  • The secrets behind Shake Shack’s $1.6 billion branding. [Fast Co. Design]

Images: Piggery War (L); Pizza box via joshbousel via photopin cc (R)


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