Events, Historic Homes, History, Queens

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , October 30, 2014

In a world where you can virtually tour real estate listings, it’s nice to know that the good, old-fashioned house tour hasn’t gone out of style. And this Saturday, one of the oldest homes in Queens is opening its doors for a tour of its refurbished interior, exceptional gardens, and historic cemetery.

The Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead in East Elmhurst was built circa 1656 by Abraham Riker, an early settler of New Amsterdam. Its current owner Marion Duckworth Smith still lives in the home, which makes the property the oldest private residence in the borough. She and her late husband Michael Smith began restoring the home in 1980, and since then Smith has offered the occasional tour, giving guests a glimpse into the Riker burial ground, which holds the remains of 132 descendants, the interior living areas, and the picturesque gardens, which include a gazebo and workshop designed to look like a gingerbread house.

More on the house’s history and the upcoming tour

Celebrities, Interiors, Recent Sales, Upstate

  • By Annie Doge
  • , October 30, 2014

Lots of Hollywood celebrities are making waves in Bedford, New York this week. Just after it was reported that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones sold their home in the woodsy Westchester town for $7.5 million, in turn closing on a nearby property for $11 million, it’s now making headlines that Bruce Willis has dropped $12 million on two Bedford parcels totaling 22.32 acres. The actor has been very busy with real estate lately. He recently listed his Sun Valley ski house and Beverly Hills estate and bought a Central Park West apartment.

Willis and his wife Emma Heming will now get to enjoy the 8,000-square-foot, shingle-style home, as well as the adjoining property’s antique house and two renovated guest cottages.

Take a look at Bruce’s Bedford digs here

real estate trends, Technology

  • By Diane Pham
  • , October 29, 2014

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

Real Estate Wire

  • 3 World Trade Center is back on track and is slated to open in 2018. Larry Silverstein sold $1.6B in unrated debt to fund the tower. [NYP]
  • Jackson Pollock’s former Greenwich Village apartment has sold for $1.46M. The home hit the market just over a month ago for $1.25M. [NYDN]
  • A handy guide on how to turn your block into a historic district. [DNA Info]
  • The lost decorations that once adorned the city’s most prominent buildings are being restored and recreated. [NYT]
  • Red Hook’s cool vibe is attracting the super-luxury crowd. A fancy new building at 160 Imlay is selling off condos like hotcakes. [Brownstoner]
  • Co-op prices in the Bronx are on the rise but remain the city’s most affordable. [DNA Info]
  • Ridgewood could be getting another new residential development. [Curbed]

Images: 3 WTC (left); Jackson Pollock’s former apartment (right)

City Living, Transportation

  • By Rebecca Paul
  • , October 29, 2014

In New York, where a parking spot can cost up to $1 million, it’s important to realize just how much space one single car really takes up. As part of the 2014 edition of European Mobility Week, a group of Latvian activists got this message across with some truly out-of-the-box methods.

The activists are part of the advocacy group Let’s Bike It, and the goal for their recent project was to create a visual commentary about the space taken up by cars on a typical road. In doing so, the group fabricated bamboo structures that resembled the shape of a car and mounted them to their bicycle frames. They then road their cycle-monstrosities through the streets to demonstrate the absurdity of operating large cars to transport a single person.

More on the activism here

Products, Technology

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , October 29, 2014

That line about New Yorkers using their ovens as shoe storage is getting pretty old (thanks Sex and the City), but a new smart microwave may just make it viable to ditch the stove for good. Called MAID (Make All Incredible Dishes), the product is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter by creator SectorQube, and not only can it perfectly nuke your meals, but it can suggest what dishes you’ll like based on your cooking habits and fitness.

MAID is 1.3 cubic feet and provides access to a crowdsourced recipe store, gesture and voice commands, and a smartphone app that will alert you when dinner’s up. The recommendation feature, definitely the highlight of the product, will offer meal options to complement your diet as well as suggest a run if you just indulged in a 2,000-calorie, carb-loaded pizza.

More details on the smart microwave

Architecture, Greenwich Village, Interiors

  • By Rebecca Paul
  • , October 29, 2014

Simply put, this historic Greenwich Village property, designed by BW Architects, is amazing. A sophisticated balance of design elements that blend the old with the new are incorporated throughout the 4000-square-foot home. And not only is it beautiful, but the 1840s townhome underwent an extensive reconstruction project, completed in 2012, that made it the first townhouse in downtown Manhattan to earn a LEED for Homes Gold rating. And have we mentioned its incredible rooftop office?

Check out the home

Daily Link Fix

  • Pix11 has rounded up memorial events in New York and New Jersey to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
  • It’s National Cat Day! And in honor of the occasion Uber’s UberKITTENS will deliver an ASPCA cat to your office for 15 minutes. More on Business Insider.
  • In today’s Daily News, Jeremiah Moss, of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, has a modest proposal for NYC’s new ambassador Taylor Swift– control the spread of chains, advocate for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, and encourage tourists to respect those of us who live here.
  • In a rather morbid yet Halloween-appropriate list, Brokelyn finds out how much it costs to be buried in various Brooklyn cemeteries.
  • Architects behaving badly…following Frank Gehry’s now-infamous middle finger show last week, there’s an entire Tumblr devoted to famous architects flipping the bird. See the pics on Archinect.
  • And you thought your office was bad. Wired has found THE saddest office cubicles.

Images: Manasquan, NJ after Hurricane Sandy via 6sqft (L); Taylor Swift via Getty Images (R)

Financial District, Major Developments, Starchitecture

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , October 29, 2014

On Monday we learned that tourism is predicted to bring in one quarter, roughly $53 million, of the One World Trade Center’s annual revenue by 2019. And now the much-talked-about ticket price to visit the three-floor observation deck of the tower, known as One World Observatory, has been revealed. It will cost $32 for an adult to visit the observatory when it opens in the spring of 2015.

More details and renderings of the observatory ahead

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Upper East Side

  • By Aisha Carter
  • , October 29, 2014

The penthouse of one of Manhattan’s most prestigious and unique landmark apartment houses has just hit the market, asking $7.25 million. The one-of-a-kind pad was formerly the squash-tennis court of Kingdon Gould, grandson of the infamous multimillionaire financier Jay Gould, who notably fell from grace for manipulating gold and railroad stocks. Kingdon’s custom-built quarters consisted of a triplex penthouse with a fourth-level painting studio for his mother, and 20 rooms, including a double-height music room.

Take a look inside, here


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