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It’s Free to Look: This Is What Ditmas Park Is All About

Ditmas Park, New York's answer to suburbia. The place where all the cool kids go when they want to show that growing up in Montclair or White Plains or Brookline wasn't actually half-bad. The place where you can still walk to the subway or down to Cortelyou for killer coffee and the farmers market.

The place where a seven-bedroom Victorian wonder would once run you under $100,000. Now they're all well over a million, at least the nice ones, but it's still bliss.

See floor plan and photos at Observer.com >

Victorian quietude. High culture and low. Wood galore adorns the inner rooms...really, there's wood everywhere. It's like living in a secluded forest in Brooklyn.

Big City living with spacious rooms. A fine kitchen for a food-obsessed borough. How about this deck?

All flanked by a lush, landscaped back yard. There's even a koi pond! (Of course there's a koi pond.)

SLIDESHOW: This Is What Ditmas Park Is All About. >>

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Stunning Glass Houses on the Water

Living with water views is a coveted luxury, but living in one of these five mansions takes the pleasure of waterfront living to a new high.


Such aquatic vistas don’t come cheap, though, particularly in the deluxe locations these houses occupy — one is even located on a stretch of road known as “Millionaire’s Mile.” But one million dollars just isn’t going to cut it: the "bargain" in this company is a rental asking $175,000 per month and, for truly big spenders, there’s a $60M spec house.

What they all have in common is a contempt for walls spoiling the view. The solution? Floor-to-ceiling glass to make the most of that location, location, location.

Here's five transparently beautiful homes near the water that are appealing to us:

This $34 million Incline Village, NV home is near Lake Tahoe.

Location: Incline Village, Nev.
593 Lakeshore Boulevard, Incline Village, Nevada, 89451
Price: $34,000,000
The Skinny: The $100M estate Tranquility casts a long shadow over Lake Tahoe real estate, but, if this compound is any indication, it doesn't exactly hurt to be second best. Sited on eight acres, Osprey was built in a more contemporary style than its mega-mansion neighbor, but the results are no less luxurious.

The 7,100-square-foot eight-bedroom main house rests comfortably among towering old growth trees, but it's the 1,000-square-foot guest house (above) that really takes the cake. Paneled in mahogany, the guest house features floor-to-ceiling glass facing a sculpture garden and glorious views of the lake. Unfortunately, to get that little slice of lakefront heaven, you'll have to cough up for the whole estate. The $34M price might not be $100M, but its no drop in the bucket.


This $25 million LaJolla, CA home overlooks the Pacific.

Location: La Jolla, Calif.
9826 La Jolla Farms Road, La Jolla, California, 92037
Price: $25,000,000
The Skinny: Set above the pristine Torrey Pines State Reserve, this modern glass house known as The Razor occupies one of the premier locations on the Pacific coast. On the crowded SoCal coastline, where new construction is usually stuffed into a cramped lot, this sort of space borders on unique. Instead of a park ranger's rustic cabin, this is a sprawling 11,000-square-foot mansion, replete with seven bedrooms, eight baths, a subterranean parking garage, a home theater, and an infinity pool.

This house impressed us with its jaw-dropping bedroom, but it turns out that was just for the guests. So while this place might be all about location, location, location, the house sure doesn't hurt. Know what does? The price. All $25M of it.


This $40 million Hillsboro, FL home has a stunning ocean view

Location: Hillsboro Beach, Fla.
927 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, Fla., 33062
Price: $39,950,000
The Skinny: Set on aptly-named "Millionaires Mile," this 20,000-square-foot seaside sanctuary might be the pick of the lot. Hillsboro Beach might not be the first name in pricey Florida real estate, but with a population of less than 2,500, this sleepy strip of sand offers a true escape compared to the snowbird crowds of nearby Boca Raton and Palm Beach. Boasting 2.8 acres—and fronting on both the Atlantic and Intracoastal Waterway—this property comes equipped with a deep-water yacht dock, infinity swimming pool, seven bedrooms, three elevators, and a nine-bay underground garage.

And while the stark interiors might not be for everyone, they're a soothing respite from the overwrought Italianate standard in South Florida. All those clean lines don't come cheap, though; a $40M price tag makes this one of Florida's most expensive.


This $60 million Miami, FL home has a record price and a compelling vista

Location: Miami, Fla.
3 Indian Creek Island Road, Indian Creek, Fla., 33154
Price: $60,000,000
The Skinny: The WSJ covered this massive spec house back in January, but when broker Julian Cohen, the property's exclusive broker who works with Prudential Douglas Elliman, sent us some brand-new snapshots, we couldn't help but take another look. This brand-new megamansion on Miami's exclusive Indian Creek Island was completed last fall to great fanfare and a whopping $60M price tag, which, if realized, would make this the most expensive home in Miami history.

Thus, it's not surprising that the place is stocked with the ritziest of features: a 3D projection movie theater, fingerprint-secured wine cave, and hidden art vault. That vault will come in handy, too, considering the 30-foot sliding doors probably take a mighty long time to close. More accurately considered a personal resort, the modernist manse stretches over 30,000 square feet, with 10 bedrooms and 14 baths. It all impressed A-Rod so much when he toured it that he convinced Cohen to bump the price to its current ask.


If you like mother nature, this is your $1.3 million place.

Location: Sitka, Alaska
2323 Halibut Point Road, Sitka, Alaska, 99835
Price: $1,285,000
The Skinny: Thanks to the warming effect of the Pacific Ocean, Sitka enjoys a more mild climate than one would expect. The expected high on Christmas Day? Forty degrees fahrenheit, and on average, the temps dip below freezing just 13 days a year. That might make this the perfect place to pretend to flex your macho while catching up on Deadliest Catch from the couch. For $1.29M, this glass-walled waterfront retreat offers up Carrara marble and walnut flooring in a contemporary style rare in Sarah Palin's home state. And no, there's no private dock, but come now, this is a far cry from Into The Wild. Still, we want to know: can you see Russia from there?

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Chinatown, Little Italy Too Tough for Tourists to Navigate

Chinatown and Little Italy need to do a better job of helping tourists navigate their neighborhoods if they want to become more successful tourist destinations and drive up economic growth, a coalition of local business groups announced Tuesday.

A recent survey by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, conducted late last year at an informational kiosk at Canal and Baxter streets, showed that the majority of those using the kiosk were confused by a map of the area and weren't able to locate the historic neighborhoods' main shopping corridors.

The survey, which drew the data from 100 interviews, found that visitors often got turned around after viewing the kiosk's large map because it is oriented in a different direction from where the person is standing on the street.

The data also showed that fewer than a quarter of tourists could name Little Italy's main street (Mulberry Street) and that only 12 percent could name Chinatown's main street (Mott Street), where most of the neighborhoods' shops and restaurants are located.

"You're missing a great opportunity to inform people," said Robert Weber, and urban planner who designed the survey.

The effort to educate visitors about both neighborhoods — which were designated as a single historic district by the state in 2009 — comes as part of push to secure funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which was established to help revitalize downtown following 9/11.

To make their case, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council joined with the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation and the Little Italy Merchants Association Tuesday to unveil the survey and press for more recognition of the area as a destination.

"Culturally, we want our children and our grandchildren to have a Little Italy and Chinatown to walk through," said Ralph Tramontana, president of the Little Italy Merchants Association. "This is going to ensure that both neighborhoods survive."

The survey showed that nearly double the number the respondents found their way to the kiosk from SoHo as they did from lower Manhattan, despite Ground Zero's popularity as a tourist destination.

The 9/11 Memorial will likely be one of the most-visited tourist destinations when it opens in September, meaning that nearby Chinatown and Little Italy could stand to capitalize on that traffic, said Chinatown Partnership executive director Wellington Chen.

But encouraging that tourism requires creating better "way-finding" information, advocates noted, starting with the kiosk.

For example, the survey found that about three-quarters of visitors to the kiosk — nearly half of whom hailed from foreign countries — didn't know it was open and staffed with workers.

In response, the group has recommended creating a less-confusing map that is more closely focused in on the neighborhoods, lists more points of interests, and highlights Mulberry and Mott streets.

The group also suggested highlighting the points where both streets intersect with Canal Street by adding signage, lighting, public art and more kiosks.

"Way-finding is not about one point," Chen said. "It's about connecting all the dots."

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4 Renovations That Will Devalue Your Home

Most homeowners think that all renovations or home improvement project ideas will increase the value of their property. After all, who wouldn't love a super-deluxe kitchen, or a bathroom fancy enough to be in a five-star spa? Sure, we'd all love that. But the problem is that most people don't want to pay extra for someone else's pet project when it comes to buying a home.


Homeowners should of course invest in renovations that are going to make them happy and improve quality of life. It is "home" after all! But if you're going to be putting your home on the market any time soon or are in the business of flipping houses, certain upgrades could end up doing you more harm than good.

If you think you might be selling your home sooner than later, here are four improvements to avoid:

1. Over-the-Top Kitchen Renovations

You may love gourmet cooking, so a $30,000 kitchen upgrade might be just to your liking. But this could be a turnoff for potential buyers who aren't crazy about cooking. To them, the restaurant-sized stainless-steel stove, kitchen island and fridge just seem excessive, and they're not going to want to pay for them. Instead, they'll pass on your home and end up buying one with a regular kitchen.


Take a look at some kitchen remodeling ideas on a budget. You can still enjoy an upgraded kitchen without going overboard and compromising the value of your home. In fact, remodeling a kitchen for less than $1,000 is definitely a possibility.

2. Over-the-Top Bathroom Renovations

That ultra-deep jacuzzi tub and custom Kohler 360-degree shower you just installed might make your mornings a blast. But to budget or eco-minded buyers, all that water use is going to be a serious drawback. As with your kitchen, keep your bathroom remodeling ideas modest if you think you'll be putting your home on the market any time soon.

3. A Pool or Hot Tub

Yes, a pool addition can add significant value to your home (11 percent on average in the Southwest, but only 6 percent in the Midwest where the swimming season is much shorter). If it's above-ground, though, then knock 2 percent of your home's purchase price, since they're less appealing than in-ground pools. The problem is that pools are polarizing. There are constant swimming pool costs ($1,500 on average per year) and they require a lot of maintenance.

They're also a liability, especially for families with young children, and could affect your homeowners insurance coverage. Pools will limit how many people want to buy your home, so keep that in mind before you have one installed (or consider buying a home with an existing pool).


4. Overly Specialized Rooms

So, you just tore down the garage (which you never used) and built a four-season sunroom which resembles an English manor conservatory. You're thrilled, but your potential buyers are going to be rolling their eyes. Where are they going to park the car and store the lawn mower and all their kids' sport equipment? Installing nontraditional customized rooms (like indoor basketball courts or a basement music studio) is great if you're going to be in your home for awhile. But potential buyers are likely to see this as a waste of space, and a project (and expense) they'll have to deal with if they buy your home.

Final Word

We all want to live in a home that reflects our tastes and interests, and our homes should be exactly how we want them to be. Just keep in mind that if you plan to sell your home in the near future, those upgrades and expensive renovations might end up devaluing the home you're trying to sell for top dollar.

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The Most Affordable Cities in America

Billionaire Warren Buffett has made Omaha, Neb., synonymous with savvy stock investing, but the city is also highly attractive for those seeking an affordable lifestyle. In fact, the Midwestern metro ranks No. 1 on our Best Bargain Cities list.

What do we mean by a bargain? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as an "advantageous deal." On that score Omaha qualifies, thanks to a list-leading combination of affordable real estate and a healthy ratio of income to living costs.

To compile our bargain city list, we started with the 50 largest U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and then compiled a mix of data aimed at handicapping the overall affordability of living in each.


We looked at the current median asking price of homes on the market in each city, using data from Altos Research, a San Francisco-based real estate research firm. We got the median salaries of workers with bachelor's degrees or higher from PayScale.com and compared it to a cost-of-living index from Moody's Economy.com (the cost-of-living index factors in transportation, insurance, food, utilities and other factors). Finally, we factored in the latest unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to reflect the relative strength of local economies.

The result is a list of the top 15 urban affordability hot spots.

Omaha Stakes

As the home of major corporations like Union Pacific, ConAgra Foods and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Omaha boasts inexpensive real estate, a low cost of living and an unemployment rate little more than half the national average.

Most Affordable Cities: Omaha, Neb.
No. 1 Omaha, Neb.

Omaha's job market will actually grow by 1.6% in 2011, according to Moody's Economy. In fact, the Nebraskan hub will be a "city that thrives in 2011," adds online real estate database Trulia.com.

"Its home prices have stayed steady through the recession, owing to the fact that they never saw the inflation of the bubble era," explains Tara-Nicholle Nelson, consumer educator for Trulia.com. "In Omaha, it seems to be steady as she goes."

The Midwest dominated our bargain city list. Other heartland metropolises offering good deals include Indianapolis, Ind. (No.4); Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. (No. 7); Oklahoma's namesake city (No. 9) and Tulsa (No. 15); and Ohio's three largest metros, Cincinnati (No. 5), Cleveland (No.8) and Columbus (No. 13).

Most Affordable Cities: Buffalo, N.Y.
No. 2 Buffalo, N.Y.

Indianapolis, Kansas City and Ohio's three enclaves have real estate deals available at low price points. Although Oklahoma City and Tulsa offer some of the lowest median salaries among the 50 MSAs ranked, their home costs are also near the bottom, making both cities highly affordable.

At $249,000, the current median asking price for homes in Minneapolis-St. Paul remains higher than those of its neighbors on our list. The Twin Cities make up for it in quality of life, touting low unemployment rates and a healthy cost of living vs. salary.

"Minneapolis-St. Paul has very strong institutions of medical research and higher education, a highly educated population and a desirable amenity base," says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for real estate at the University of California Los Angeles.

"Minneapolis has weathered the downturn better than most places and its prospects continue to look relatively bright," says Gabriel, who has researched the quality of life as it relates to real estate economics.

Motor City ... Rocks?

Surprising but true, Detroit, the Michigan metro known best for cars, crime and urban decay, took third place on our list.

Most Affordable Cities: Detroit, Mich.
No. 3 Detroit, Mich.

Detroit is a rough place with a staggering 13.3% unemployment rate and a high per capita crime rate, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. Its foreclosure rate is among the 10 highest in the U.S. There were 45,000 Real Estate Owned (REO) residences in the Motor City as of last November, according to online foreclosure site RealtyTrac.

That said, if you have a college degree under your belt and a steady job to show up to, your money gets great mileage in Detroit. The median salary for degree-toting workers is $60,600 (15th out of the 50 cities) while the cost of living remains super cheap (second out of 50).

With a median asking price of $132,635, Detroit homes are dirt-cheap. Gabriel warns that "the low house prices in Detroit are no accident. They're a reflection of depressed land values, depressed amenities, depressed employment."

In other words, don't expect this overall housing market's value to rise anytime soon. Some experts believe it may even depreciate further in 2011. Detroit is a deal only for stably employed residents looking to buy a long-term home.

Most Affordable Cities: Indianapolis
No. 4 Indianapolis

Couple that with a blossoming arts community and the tentative hope that Detroit's auto industry is resurrecting itself, and this city is a haven for pioneering bargain-hunters.

Other metros ripe for a homemade deal? The Northeast blue-collar hubs of Buffalo, N.Y. (No. 2) and Pittsburgh, Pa., (No. 6); southern belle, Raleigh, N.C., (No. 11); and two Lone Star cities, Houston (No. 10) and Dallas (No. 14).

Most Affordable Cities: Cincinnati
No. 5 Cincinnati











Five of America's Most Affordable Cities

Omaha, Neb.
Asking Price Rank: 9
Salary Rank: 43
Cost-of-Living Rank: 5
Unemployment Rank: 1

Buffalo, N.Y.
Asking Price Rank: 2
Salary Rank: 47
Cost-of-Living Rank: 1
Unemployment Rank: 12

Detroit, Mich.
Asking Price Rank: 1
Salary Rank: 15
Cost-of-Living Rank: 2
Unemployment Rank: 48

Indianapolis, Ind.
Asking Price Rank: 7
Salary Rank: 31
Cost-of-Living Rank: 4
Unemployment Rank: 24

Cincinnati, Ohio
Asking Price Rank: 4
Salary Rank: 25
Cost-of-Living Rank: 6
Unemployment Rank: 32

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NYC doormen, building service people don’t expect big holiday tips or get them either


More than half of city apartment dwellers plan to dish out $500 or less in holiday tips in their buildings, according to an online survey.

That may sound like plenty of cheer, but fully staffed properties have 20 to 30 workers, all of whom count on the extra cash to brighten their holiday seasons.

"People tip the staff they see," said Teri Rogers, of BrickUnderground.com, which did the unscientific poll. "The people who mostly get burned are porters and handymen. They're not as visible to residents, but they do the hardest work."

Doormen on late-night shifts will likely wind up with fewer fat tip envelopes, too.

"You can pay your bills . . . get a little extra cash in your pocket," said Richard Figueroa, 28, of Brooklyn, who's expecting about $2,000 in tips from a 35-unit building in Chelsea. "I don't ask for too much, I don't expect too much."

Doorman Rick Cintron says he's thankful tips keep getting better at his building on Seventh Ave. in Manhattan, despite the economic downturn.

"It hasn't changed that much, even in the bad economy," said Cintron, 48, who lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, adding that he doesn't care when people tip. "It doesn't matter as long as they come."

The holidays haven't been so cheery the past two years for Richard Boakye, who works at a building on W. 21st St.

"Sometimes you get presents. Sometimes you don't get anything," said Boakye, 66, of the Bronx. "It doesn't look good, but when it comes, I'll appreciate it."

Rogers did extensive interviews with doormen on the upper West Side, the upper East Side and Greenwich Village to generate a holiday tipping guide.

Most are happy with the tips they're expecting to get this season, except for those in buildings with high vacancy rates or lots of subletters, who are typically low tippers because they feel like transients.

The doormen know not to expect too much from elderly tenants on fixed incomes but may balk at doing extra work in their apartments for free, Rogers said.

Some cheapskates say they resent having to tip, while others are clueless new arrivals to New York City apartment living or are making a statement about poor service.

Photo caption: Joseph Boakye, who works as a doorman, doesn't expect big holiday tips, but appreciates it.

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Beijing architect lives in egg-shaped house on sidewalk

Dai Haifei, a 24-year-old architect in Beijing, China, found an ingenious solution to live rent-free. He built himself a mobile egg-shaped house that is powered by the sun. 

The 6-foot-high structure, which is small enough to fit on a sidewalk, is made of bamboo strips, wood chippings, sack bags, and grass seed that’s expected to grow in the spring.

The pod features a solar panel on the roof that powers a lamp in the cozy space. The house cost around $1,000 to build (6427 yen), according to China Daily.










It seems Haifei has taken the trend of living in tiny spaces to a whole new level.

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Turn Key Business for Sale - Northern NJ 16,000 SQFT Storage Facility - Great ROI

Northern NJ Business for Sale - Great ROI and Entrepreneurial Opportunity - Be Your Own Boss!

Wayne Storage & UHaul located in Wayne, NJ (Passaic County)

16,000 square foot storage and warehouse facility, tenants in place, video security system, on site manager and office, three loading docks, climate controlled, high ceilings, great location...





Showing by appointment only - JAD Realty Group 610.781.8417

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Tiny house movement thrives amid real estate bust

GRATON, Calif. – As Americans downsize in the aftermath of a colossal real estate bust, at least one tiny corner of the housing market appears to be thriving. To save money or simplify their lives, a small but growing number of Americans are buying or building homes that could fit inside many people's living rooms, according to entrepreneurs in the small house industry.

Some put these wheeled homes in their backyards to use as offices, studios or extra bedrooms. Others use them as mobile vacation homes they can park in the woods. But the most intrepid of the tiny house owners live in them full-time, paring down their possessions and often living off the grid.

"It's very un-American in the sense that living small means consuming less," said Jay Shafer, 46, co-founder of the Small House Society, sitting on the porch of his wooden cabin in California wine country. "Living in a small house like this really entails knowing what you need to be happy and getting rid of everything else."

Shafer, author of "The Small House Book," built the 89-square-foot house himself a decade ago and lived in it full-time until his son was born last year. Inside a space the size of an ice cream truck, he has a kitchen with gas stove and sink, bathroom with shower, two-seater porch, bedroom loft and a "great room" where he can work and entertain — as long as he doesn't invite more than a couple guests.

He and his family now live in relatively sprawling 500-square foot home next to the tiny one.

Shafer, co-owner of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, designs and builds miniature homes with a minimalist style that prizes quality over quantity and makes sure no cubic inch goes to waste. Most can be hooked up to public utilities. The houses, which pack a range of amenities in spaces smaller than some people's closets, are sold for $40,000 to $50,000 ready-made, but cost half as much if you build it yourself.

Tumbleweed's business has grown significantly since the housing crisis began, Shafer said. He now sells about 50 blueprints, which cost $400 to $1,000 each, a year, up from 10 five years ago. The eight workshops he teaches around the country each year attract 40 participants on average, he said.

"People's reasons for living small vary a lot, but there seems to be a common thread of sustainability," Shafer said. "A lot of people don't want to use many more resources or put out more emissions than they have to."

Compared to trailers, these little houses are built with higher-quality materials, better insulation and eye-catching design. But they still have wheels that make them portable — and allow owners to get around housing regulations for stationary homes.

Since the housing crisis and recession began, interest in tiny homes has grown dramatically among young people and retiring Baby Boomers, said Kent Griswold, who runs the Tiny House Blog, which attracts 5,000 to 7,000 visitors a day.

"In the last couple years, the idea's really taken off," Griswold said. "There's been a huge interest in people downsizing and there are a lot of young people who don't want to be tied down with a huge mortgage and want to build their own space."

Gregory Johnson, who co-founded the Small House Society with Shafer, said the online community now has about 1,800 subscribers, up from about 300 five years ago. Most of them live in their small houses full-time and swap tips on living simple and small.

Johnson, 46, who works as a computer consultant at the University of Iowa, said dozens of companies specializing small houses have popped up around the country over the past few years.

Before he got married, Johnson lived for six years in a small cabin he built himself and he wrote a book called "Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 Square Feet."

"You start to peel away the things that are unnecessary," said Johnson, who now lives in a studio apartment with his wife. "It helps you define your priorities with regard to your material things."

Northern California's Sonoma County has become a mini-mecca for the tiny house industry, with an assortment of new businesses launching over the last few years.

Stephen Marshall, 63, worked as a building contractor for three decades before the real estate market tanked three years ago. That's when he jumped into the tiny house business, starting Petaluma-based Little House On The Trailer.

His company builds and sells small houses that can serve as stand-alone homes equipped with bathrooms and kitchens, and others he calls "A Room of One's Own" that can be used as a home office or extra bedroom. Many of his customers are looking for extra space to accommodate an aging parent or adult children who are returning home, he said.

He said his small houses, which sell for $20,000 to $50,000, are much cheaper than building a home addition and can be resold when the extra space is no longer needed. His company has sold 16 houses this year and aims to sell 20 next year.

"The business is growing as the public becomes aware of this possibility," Marshall said. "A lot of families are moving in with one another. A lot of young people can't afford to move out. There's just a lot of economic pressure to find an alternative way to provide for people's housing needs."

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**Video Tour/New Listing** Upper East Side One Bedroom Rental - East 90S & 3rd Avenue

Upper East Side One Bedroom Apartment Rental - New Listing featuring a Video Tour!



Well maintained walk up building, original pre war detail and feel,  separate eat in kitchen including appliances, tiled bathroom, large  living room featuring a southern exposure view, bright apartment corner  unit, large bedroom – can fit a queen size bed and extra furniture,  southern and western exposure views, new hardwood floors, video intercom  system, excellent Upper East Side location – 2 blocks away from the 6  line!

Shown by appointment only - JAD Realty Group 610.781.8417

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Famous Homes On Sale


The Ben Rose Auto Museum Home, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

The Ben Rose Auto Museum Home

Address: 370 Beach Street, Highland Park, IL
Asking Price: $1,650,000

To children of the '80s and other John Hughes aficionados, 370 Beach Street will always be Cameron's house from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". It was from this distinctive midcentury modern home's glass-walled garage that the rascally Ferris and the reluctant Cameron liberated Mr. Freye's 1961 Ferrari, and the ravine this home is perched over is where the classic car later met its demise.

"The Ferrari that went through the window was of course a mock-up of the real car," says the property's realtor, Meladee Hughes (no relation to John). "They could not have an explosion in the ravine so smoke bombs were put in the shattered car for effect. The window was Hollywood glass and the original window was replaced after the shoot."

Followers of modern architecture know the home for a different reason. Acclaimed architect James Speyer, who was Mies Van Der Rohe's first graduate student and protege, designed this 4- bedroom, 4-bath in 1953.

The former owners since the house was built were the famous textile designer Ben Rose and his wife. "Later in their lives [they] were European race car drivers and traveled the world collecting objects of art," notes Meladee. The Beach Street address is also known as Ben Rose Auto Museum. In addition, "His work and the architectural works of James Speyer are at the Art Institute in Chicago."

Meladee is currently negotiating with a buyer who is intrigued by the movie background but even more so by the architectural significance, and who is also interested in the art contents of the home and the European sports car collections.

Lost House, Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps

The House That 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 32 Built

Address: 4637 Farmer's Road, Honolulu HI
Selling Price: $3,550,000

This 5-bedroom, 6-bath mansion was featured in Season 3 of "LOST" as Hugo "Hurley" Reyes' nouveau riche digs in the episode "Tricia Tanaka is Dead."

Although it was set in Los Angeles, the actual location of the home is in the Kahala neighborhood of Honolulu, Hawaii, where Lost was shot. The house of another main character, Kate, was in the same Honolulu neighborhood, as was the "LOST" headquarters.

So what's this place like? Dude. Hurley's new home was a long way from Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, at almost 7500 square feet with a gourmet kitchen, numerous balconies, a sound system, a pool, a whirlpool, and a dolphin fountain.

It sold in August for nearly $400,000 less than the former asking price of 3.9 million. The selling price worked out to about 3% of Hurley's $114 million lottery winnings.

Elrod House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

The Elrod House

Address: 2175 Southridge Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Asking Price: $13,890,000

Although you may have seen this dazzling and distinctive midcentury modern dwelling before, you may not remember it so much as the beautiful women it housed. The 5-bedroom, 6-bath Palm Springs home has been the setting for the James Bond film "Diamonds are Forever", as well as numerous Playboy shoots.

Architect John Lautner, who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright as a young man, and created the once-maligned Googie style of the 1950s and '60s, built the distinctive Elrod House in 1968.

In addition to the singular look, the design pedigree, and the pop-cultural cachet, the Elrod House is set on between 5-10 acres in a gated community, and it has a rooftop deck with panoramic views, a pool, and a four-car carport.

How much does all that cost? To break it down, the monthly payment on this would be about $55,840. Let's hope the buyer has enough diamonds.

Amestoy Estates House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Amestoy Estates House

Address: 5266 Amestoy Avenue, Encino, CA
Asking Price: $5,493,600

This 7-bedroom, 10-bath single-level Tuscan style villa is only two years old, but it's already famous for playing the role of Vincent Chase's house during Season 7 of the HBO series "Entourage".

And rightly so: The 9,000 square-foot Amestoy Estates residence offers features that seem tailor-made for movie stars (and those who aspire to the Hollywood lifestyle, hopefully sans the coke binges featured this season on Entourage).

It features a media room for screening dailies (or Netflix), 20-foot ceilings, three covered patios, an Italian-tiled pool with waterfall, several fountains, a four-car garage, and an attached casita with fireplace for that special entourage member (or in-law) requiring private quarters.

Rodriguez House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Rodriguez House

Address: 1845 Niodrara Drive, Glendale, CA
Selling Price: $1,995,000

The esteemed Modernist architect R.M. Schindler, who developed "Space Architecture", built this pre-WWII home for writer/composer Jose Rodriguez in 1941.

But the kids today might recognize Schindler's creation due to a different type of space architecture: the Seth Rogen/James Franco stoner comedy "Pineapple Express". In it, the Rodriguez House was used for the home of the drug lord Ted Jones.

The structure is made from wood, stucco, and stone, with exposed beams, large clerestory windows, two modernist fireplaces, a balcony, two screened-in patios, as well as built-in furniture separating the living room from the dining room, and in most other rooms.

It's surprising that it listed last year at $2,475,000 but sold for much less and is now valued at $918,046, one million-plus below its sale price last December. This unique standout property is on the Glendale registry of historic places and is considered one of the best-preserved examples of Schindler's work.

Malibu Beach House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Malibu Beach House

Address: 24826 Malibu Road, Malibu, CA
Rent: $55,000

Remember in the first "Sex and the City" movie when one of the sexers was no longer living in the city? This premium Malibu beach house is where Samantha Jones and Smith Jerrod made their home.

This furnished beachfront rental has 5 bedrooms and 6 baths and features four decks, an enormous glass wall facing the ocean for breathtaking ocean views, stone flooring, a bar, a pool table, closed circuit TV, as well as fireplaces in the library, living room, and master bedroom. The film location website Iamnotastalker.com notes that it appears the same furniture provided in the rental was used in the movie.

The same website reports that when the movie filmed in 2008 the house was on the market for $17 million, which later dropped to $14.5 million. It's now renting for $55,000, down from $75,000 in 2009. No word on whether the swarthy showering hunk Dante from next door is included in the package.

Ennis House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Ennis House

Address: 2607 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, L.A., CA
Asking Price: $7,495,000

This dramatic Mayan-inspired residence embodies architectural and celluloid history. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the hilltop home known as Ennis House in 1924, and it features Wright hallmarks like prairie-style leaded mitered glass. Another distinguishing factor is its glass mosaic fireplace-one of only four of its kind, and the best-preserved example.

Built in 1924, this 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom, 6000 square-foot temple-like home is situated atop a hill in a gated community in Los Feliz. It features cavernous ceilings with exposed beams, marble floors, a guest house, a pool framed by a window-lined loggia, and unhindered views of the ocean, canyon, and city lights.

Classic film buffs will recognize it as the home where Vincent Price's character offered $10,000 to anyone who could last the night there in the 1959 thriller, the original "House on Haunted Hill". It also served as the home to Angel the vampire in seasons 2 and 3 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and made appearances in "Blade Runner", the TV series "Twin Peaks", and too many others to list. Visit the home's website for more of its history.

Malibu Colony House, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Malibu Colony House

Address: 23360 Malibu Colony Road
Selling Price: $14,950, 000

This early-'90s era 4-bedroom, 4-bath mansion in the exclusive gated community Malibu Colony once belonged to Lawrence and Linda Elins, victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, who lost the home to foreclosure. To add insult to injury, Wells Fargo bank senior VP Cheronda Guyton, who worked with foreclosed properties, was then caught hosting lavish parties there in September of 2009. Guyton's jig was up when neighbors noticed her taking long weekends at the home and decided to investigate.

At one point the home was listed for $18 million, but it sold in August for $3 million less. What's included with a price tag like that? An airy floor plan opening out to the Pacific Ocean, chef's kitchen with high-end appliances, master bath with steam shower and spa tub, walk-in closet, neighbors like Tom Hanks, and hopefully no more partying squatters.

Valley Oak Two, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Valley Oak Two

Address: 5731 Valley Oak Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Selling Price: $2,325,000

This 4-bedroom, 4-bath midcentury home in L.A.'s Los Feliz neighborhood is known from seasons 2, 3 and the recently concluded Season 4 of Bravo's real estate reality show "Flippin' Out". It's actually the second house on Valley Oak Drive that was lived in and revamped by host Jeff Lewis and his entourage of humans and pets on the house-flipping program.

The previous owner of the house refused to leave the property, even after demolition had begun. Fortunately this makes for good reality TV, but not wanting to leave is understandable. With open terraces offering city, mountain, and ocean views, and a pool with whirlpool, this home is an inspiration for California dreaming.

Lewis bought the house in 2007 for just over $1,700,000 million. After he and his crew worked their magic, his original asking price in 2008 was $3,195,000, which went down to $2,595,000. It sold in October for $2,325,000.

Beverly Hills, 90254, Photo: Realtor.com
Photo: Realtor.com

Beverly Hills, 90254

Address: 3500 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA
Asking Price: $10.5 million

This charming 3-story Cape Cod built in 1915 boasts 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, hardwood floors, a wrap-around patio, and decks on the top two floors.

But what really makes this home special is its past role as the college apartment for some of the characters on "Beverly Hills, 90210" during seasons 3 and 4. This site was the stage for many a dramatic plot twist from our shared cultural heritage: the time Kelly Taylor's stalker went all Single White Female on her, and that other time that Donna Martin was assaulted by a different stalker before David Silver saved her... Ah, memories.

Bonus pop culture points: This beauty of a property also makes a cameo in the background of a beach scene in the 1989 Jeff Goldblum/ Geena Davis movie Earth Girls Are Easy.

Oh-there's also the slight matter of the house being directly on Hermosa Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That could also account for the $10.5 million price tag.

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East Village Two Bedroom Share - VIDEO TOUR - Available for November 1st

East 12th Street & Avenue A Two Bedroom Share. The apartment features an open layout with southern exposure views. The kitchen and bathroom are going to be completely gut renovated! Enjoy…




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Manhattan Rental Market Heating Up...

Manhattan rental units in the third quarter moved faster and were less negotiable than last year at the same time, while studios and one-bedrooms outperformed larger apartments, according to quarterly market reports released today.

The listing discount -- the difference between the asking rent and the rent the tenant pays -- shrank to 1.7 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level since 2006, according to a market report from Prudential Douglas Elliman. Meanwhile, the average number of days a listing sat on the market was 38, down from 77 in the third quarter of 2009, the report says.

That means landlords were less willing to lower their rents, while apartments were rented faster, explained real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel and the preparer of the Elliman report.

"You saw the lowest listing discount in four years, and you saw properties moving a lot faster than last year," Miller said, attributing the changes to an improvement in consumer confidence. While both renters and landlords "are still not comfortable with the economic climate, they certainly feel better about it than a year and a half ago," he said.

Meanwhile, it became far less common for landlords to offer concessions, like a month's free rent or payment of a broker's fee. A quarterly report released by real estate brokerage Citi Habitats stated that only 23 percent of the company's rental transactions in the third quarter included a concession, compared to 52 percent in the same period of last year.

"There was very little use of concessions," Miller said. "They're still there, but they weren't as predominant as they were last year."

Gary Malin, the president of Citi Habitats, noted that concessions may start to creep back into the market as it enters the traditionally slow winter season, along with increases in vacancy.

"These months that we're heading into, we historically see the vacancy rate creep up a little," he said. "Pricing becomes more flexible."

According to Citi Habitats' report, the vacancy rate in the third quarter was 0.99 percent, down from 1.71 percent during the same period in 2009.

The reports also show a surge in new rental activity from last year. Elliman's report, which includes all firm's deals, tracked 8,593 new rentals in the third quarter, up from only 2,549 in the same period of last year. Citi Habitats said it did over 4,250 transactions in the third quarter, about 15 percent more than in the prior-year quarter.

But since hiring is still stagnant, experts said this likely wasn't the result of an overall increase in rental activity. Rather, a bevy of tenants decided to leave their current apartments rather than renew their leases, many in search of cheaper rents now that their landlords stopped giving rent breaks and other concessions that became common during the recession.

"People in existing rentals that did not get concessions said, 'I'm going to find something new,'" said Stephen Kotler, director of residential leasing for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Rents, meanwhile, were generally stable, inching up in some categories and falling slightly in others. Elliman's report found that the average rent for a Manhattan apartment in the third quarter was $3,460, down 8 percent from $3,759 in the same quarter of 2009. The median rental price, however, was $3,000, up 1.7 percent from the prior-year quarter. The average rent per square was $47.22, down 1.3 percent from last year.

Both reports show rent increases for studios and one-bedrooms. According to Citi Habitats, the average rent for a studio jumped 3.9 percent to $1,828 from $1,760 in the prior year quarter, while one-bedrooms increased 3.2 percent to $2,501. Elliman's report found that the median rent for a studio grew 9.8 percent to $2,195, while the average rent for a one-bedroom grew 1.9 percent to $2,950.

Larger apartments did not fare as well. Elliman's report found that the median rent for two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments fell from the same quarter of last year, while Citi Habitats found that rents for larger apartments increased, but not as much as studios and one-bedrooms.

Kotler noted that one reason for the strength in smaller apartments is an increase in relocations to New York City from abroad. He said Elliman, which works with large firms to relocate their employees, is seeing about 25 percent more transfers of international workers to New York City. That's common during a down market, he said, because large companies tend to reshuffle their employees rather than hire new people. "Companies will move people around instead of hiring new people," he said, noting that it's a way for firms to "redeploy the resources they have."

These workers from abroad often rent, rather than buy, since they are often on temporary assignments, he said. They are also more likely to be single people or young married couples rather than families with children, he said, so they are apt to rent studios or one-bedrooms.

Miller also noted that there has been a surge in purchases of larger apartments, causing corresponding weakness in the rental market. "If you have an increase in rental activity you might have a decrease in the same segment on the sales side, and vice versa," he said.

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The Fall of Temporary Apartment Walls

AFTER graduating from Duke University this spring, Karan Sabharwal landed a job in finance in New York City. He had a plan to make Manhattan living affordable.

Danny Moreno of All Week Walls puts the frame up for a temporary wall that will create a bedroom in a New York apartment.

He would lease a nice one-bedroom apartment, convert it to a two-bedroom space with a temporary wall and split the rent with a friend.

But when he went to check out the Rivergate, a high-rise apartment building in Kips Bay, he was told by the property manager that partitions were no longer allowed.

“I told her I had friends in nearby buildings that had put up the walls,” he said. “She said, ‘We have adopted the policy, like many other buildings in the neighborhood, that you will not be able to put up the full wall anymore.’ ”

As the city aggressively enforces a long existent but widely ignored code, walls are falling across Manhattan, radically altering the housing landscape for scores of young professionals. Thousands of renters are being told that the walls that have been put up over the years without approval from the Department of Buildings must come down. And new renters are being informed that if they wish to divide a space, they will need to rely on bookshelves or partial walls that don’t reach the ceiling.

“The impact has already been dramatic,” said Gordon Golub, the senior managing director for rentals at Citi Habitats. “Landlords are all trying to come to some sort of conclusion as to what they are going to do in allowing any walls or a different sort of wall that might go up, and it is affecting brokers and customers.”

Manhattan apartments are as varied as the roommates who decide to share a place. Because of this, there are no rules that apply universally. But in all cases, temporary walls must not block exit routes or interfere with the ventilation and sprinkler systems. And there are minimum requirements for room size.

The current focus on temporary walls is driven by two developments: prosecutors’ decision to level manslaughter charges at the owners of a building where a fatal fire occurred in 2005 and, more recently, the city’s drive to eliminate illegally installed temporary walls in Stuyvesant Town, the sprawling complex between 14th and 23rd Streets on the East Side.

After tenants’ complaints and subsequent inspections by both the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings, Tishman Speyer, the owner of Stuyvesant Town, embarked this spring on a review of all its apartments and moved swiftly to eliminate all walls that were not up to city code.

“It was determined that partition walls previously installed in some apartments were not in compliance with the New York City Building Code,” the company said in a statement. It declined to go into the extent of the complaints or who had lodged them.

Tishman Speyer is paying for the removal of the walls. It is also footing the bill for the installation of approved replacement walls for those tenants who had the landlord’s permission to build temporary walls.

City officials note that it has long been illegal to install a floor-to-ceiling wall without a permit from the Department of Buildings, even though landlords as well as tenants have often disregarded this requirement. But the strict enforcement at Stuyvesant Town has prompted many landlords to get into compliance.

The Manhattan Skyline Management Corporation, which manages thousands of luxury apartments across Manhattan, including the Rivergate, has been examining its entire portfolio to establish where walls were erected. The company has already informed hundreds of residents that even if they installed walls with the building’s approval, or moved into an apartment that already had such walls, they will have to rip them out if they are not up to code.

In a statement, the company said that because the Department of Buildings had “greatly restricted” the use of walls to subdivide rooms, “previously installed walls which were believed to be legally installed have to be removed.”

The company is offering tenants who erected walls with its approval $700 to help defray the cost of erecting new dividers, like bookshelves.

But for many residents, a bookshelf or a partial wall is no substitute.

“It’s not only inconvenient, but heartbreaking, since we love our apartment just the way it is,” said Daniela Zakarya, 25, and a broker at the Real Estate Group of New York.

Ms. Zakarya, who moved with her college roommate into a Gramercy-area apartment a year ago, said the wall had been in place at the time. She was informed in April by her landlord — whom she did not want to identify since she is still negotiating a solution — that the wall had to come down.


Karan Sabharwal, right, apartment-hunting with his mother, Rachna, tries to envision a partial wall in a place downtown.

A week later it was removed, and now the living room has become the second bedroom while the roommates decide what to do next.

“It is a cataclysmic change and is the future of Manhattan share situations,” she said.

Ms. Zakarya quickly realized she was not alone. Many of her clients are young professionals looking to share places in doorman buildings where the average rent for a one-bedroom ranges from $3,000 to $3,500. As she has shown apartments in recent weeks, she said some potential renters have been surprised to find that the cost-saving room-splitting arrangements their friends made just a year ago are no longer an option.

And the bookshelves, screens and partitions replacing walls inevitably result in a loss of privacy.

“Everyone who wishes to save money on rent and convert their apartments may need to get used to this,” Ms. Zakarya said.

Tony Sclafani, a spokesman for the Department of Buildings, said the city’s regulations had not changed. He emphasized that a work permit had always been required to add a wall.

“The addition of a partition, pressurized wall, or other floor-to-ceiling divider, even if intended as a temporary installation, results in a change to the layout of an apartment,” he said.

To get a work permit, one must hire an architect or engineer to prepare plans of the proposed layout and other construction details as well as to apply for plan approval, Mr. Sclafani said. After the plan is approved, the contractor must get a work permit. After the work is complete, the architect or engineer must inspect it and then sign off on the job at the Department of Buildings.

Certainly, thousands of renters have skirted these rules in the past without penalty. The Department of Buildings does not randomly inspect residences, and mostly acts in response to complaints.

But ever since a deadly fire in a Bronx apartment building in 2005 in which two firefighters died after leaping from a window, the city has had illegal room dividers in its sights. Prosecutors charged the building’s former and current landlords, as well as two tenants, with manslaughter. The city’s position was that illegal partitions erected by the tenants to subdivide the apartments had disoriented the firefighters and led to their deaths.

The tenants, who were said to have installed the partitions to create small, windowless rooms that they then rented out for $75 to $100 a week, were acquitted.

The owner and former owner were convicted of criminally negligent homicide by a separate jury. But that verdict was overturned in February by the State Supreme Court, which found the prosecution had failed to prove the defendants had known about the illegal partitions.

Since that fire, the Department of Buildings has cracked down on the most dangerous situations, issuing 1,200 vacate orders in 2009 for people living in illegally subdivided apartments, the majority in Queens. Manhattan shares drew little attention until recently, when landlords and real estate agents could not help hearing the rumble of walls falling in Stuyvesant Town.

Because apartment layouts vary widely, it is difficult to generalize about what types of walls meet with city approval, but officials at the Department of Buildings said the major considerations had to do with “egress routes” to ensure “maximum travel distances in the building code are not impeded, sprinkler coverage areas (where sprinklers are provided) are not obstructed, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are relocated or supplemented if necessary to comply with the building code.”

Any electricity work must also meet guidelines.

“Keep in mind that the elimination of a common living room to create a three-bedroom, zero living room apartment may result in a rooming-unit situation that is not permitted by the Housing Maintenance Code,” Mr. Sclafani said. “In addition, since each apartment is generally required to have at least one room of at least 150 square feet, the installation of a partition may run afoul of this requirement in certain cases.”

He said anyone with questions about whether an apartment is up to code can call 311 and request an inspection by the Department of Buildings.

In any case, despite the firm stance taken by some major property owners, thousands of renters are still using pressurized walls, which are relatively inexpensive, easily installed and easily removed.

Donny Zanger, the project manager at All Week Walls, which specializes in installing and removing pressurized walls, said his business was so far unaffected.

“We are growing like crazy,” he said.

“If these walls did not exist in New York,” Mr. Zanger said, “it would be a very difficult situation for students and young professionals and even professionals who make more money.”

He says he follows all the city codes and regulations when installing a wall. He also says he does not understand how erecting large bookshelves to divide a space is any safer than properly installing a pressurized wall.

In practice, it has not been the responsibility of the installation companies to obtain the necessary building permits; it has been the landlord’s or the owner’s. But many companies use their Web sites to advise potential customers to secure approval from building management.

The cost of a wall starts around $700, and Mr. Zanger said his company had put up 300 to 400 walls in the past year. There are dozens of similar companies — a testament to just how common the practice of dividing rooms in Manhattan has become over the years.

It remains to be seen whether many landlords will follow the lead of Stuyvesant Town and other major property owners in Manhattan, but during a June meeting of landlords and brokers hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York, it was the hot topic.

Meanwhile, many renters new to the city find themselves in a position similar to that of Mr. Sabharwal, the Duke graduate.

“I heard that if you have a month, that is plenty of time to find something,” he said. But in light of the crackdown on temporary walls, his options seem more limited and he might have to reassess his $1,600 budget.

“It is a whole different experience than my friends had,” he said.

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East Village Three Bedroom Rental Apartment - Brand New - August 1st - Roof Deck - NYC

East Village/Union Square Three Bedroom Apartment Rental 8/1

Recently renovated throughout, separate kitchen including stainless steel appliances, marble bathroom, living room featuring access to a private roof deck, each bedroom can fit a queen size bed, new hardwood floors, excellent location, steps to Union Square, the Lower East Side, the West Village, SoHo, downtown, Gramercy, Astor Place, and NYU

Contact JAD Realty Group for further detail and to schedule an appointment:



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Gramercy Park Rent Stabilized - Exposed Brick Wall - Below Market - July 1st

Union Square One Bedroom Apartment - Rent Stabilized - Exposed Brick - July 1st

Contact JAD Reatly Group for showing times:




Gramercy / Union Square / Irving Place


Well maintained, walk-up building
Recently renovated throughout
Kitchen including appliances and new cabinetry
Marble bathroom, new fixtures
Large living room featuring an exposed brick wall
11' X 10' bedroom, can fit a queen size bed and extra furniture
Northern exposure view over looking tree lined street
Bright apartment
New hardwood floors
Live in super
Rent stabilized unit, priced below market value
Excellent Gramercy location; near all transportation, restaurants, Irving Place, the East Village, West Village, Astor Place, Murray Hill, Flatiron, NYU, and Union Square



Name: Jeffrey
Phone: 610.781.8417

Union Square One Bedroom Apartment - Rent Stabilized - Exposed Brick - July 1st

Contact JAD Reatly Group for showing times:


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Need a Renter? Try Giving Away Free iPads and Bicycles

Prospective buyers playing hard-to-get? How about sweetening the deal with an iPad? Some developers and brokers are turning to quirky giveaways, hoping the extra incentives will help fill buildings during this tough economy. The freebies, often tacked on to traditional incentives such as fee eliminations or coverage of certain taxes, are the latest trend in attention-getting promotions.

In one online ad, a broker with Platinum Properties offered to throw in two custom suits worth $2,000 each with the keys to a penthouse apartment. The broker could not be reached to say if the penthouse had been rented.

Last month, Alchemy Properties gave away iPads and 42-inch high-definition televisions to anyone who signed a contract to buy units at the Griffin Court Condominium in Midtown. More than 150 people stopped by the property during the promotion's first two weeks, said the president of Alchemy, Kenneth Horn.

"It's definitely generating enthusiasm and helping people come into the building," Horn said.

In March, brokers with aptsandlofts.com gave out the iPod Touch to renters at 60 Monitor Street in Williamsburg. They also offered free Huffy cruiser bicycles to anyone renting an apartment at 150 Johnson Avenue, also in Williamsburg.

"The idea was simply to touch base with our market, to give them something different, something interesting but specific to them," said David Maundrell, the brokerage firm's president. "We didn't just want to give things away for the sake of it."

Innovative incentives can also cut costs for developers with bare-bones advertising budgets, thanks to the word-of-mouth response they generate.

"We paid about $4,000 for the bikes, a fraction of what we might have paid for a one-shot print ad in the major papers," Maundrell said. "We were able to catch people's attention without blowing our budget."

Renters and buyers aren't the only ones taking note -- brokers are also scoring giveaways, a practice that has become an industry norm.

Brokers who brought the buyers to the Griffin Court Condominiums were rewarded with gadgets; one broker went home with three flat-screen TVs, Horn said.

Looking to generate interest in Harlem's 5th on the Park condo, the Griffin Real Estate Group raffled five iPads to brokers during two parties last month. The developer was looking to attract brokers as part of the building's latest marketing push.

But the latest hot item can be tomorrow's cold throwaway, meaning the hunt is on for novel incentives to offer buyers in upcoming promotions.

"I wouldn't offer an iPad in six months," said Carole Griffin, Griffin Real Estate Group's director of sales. "But I'm sure there'll be something that's appealing, that'll give us a little extra 'oomph.'" 

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Gramercy Park One Bedroom Rental - 1 Block from Union Square - Rent Stabilized June 1st

East 17th Street & Irving Place One Bedroom Rental - Rent Stabilized Unit - Exposed Brick Wall - Access to a Shared Garden

Contact JAD Realty Group for showing times:


Gramercy / Union Square / Irving Place


Well maintained, walk-up building
First floor unit
Recently renovated
Kitchen including appliances and new cabinetry
Marble bathroom, new fixtures
11' X 10' bedroom, can fit a queen size bed and extra furniture
Access to a shared garden/patio
Southern exposure view, bright apartment
New hardwood floors
Live in super
Rent stabilized unit, priced below market value
Excellent Gramercy location; near all transportation, restaurants, Irving Place, the East Village, West Village, Astor Place, Murray Hill, Flatiron, NYU, and Union Square



Name: Jeffrey
Phone: 610.781.8417

East 17th Street & Irving Place One Bedroom Rental - Rent Stabilized Unit - Exposed Brick Wall - Access to a Shared Garden

Contact JAD Realty Group for showing times:


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New Yorkers Brace for Doorman Strike

It has been nearly two decades since New Yorkers faced their last doorman strike, but as the deadline for a new contract for building workers approached, the questions being posed throughout the city remained largely unchanged on Sunday.

As the possibility of a strike loomed, a doorman on Park Avenue helped with packages on Sunday.

Who will safeguard my apartment as I sleep? Greet my children when they come home from school? Accept deliveries? Clean the hallways? Sort the mail? Operate the elevator? And who, for goodness sake, will let the cleaning lady in?

Residents, co-op boards and building management companies have been busy planning for the sudden complications that could come at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday with the possible departure of the building workers who, among many other things, hold open the city’s doors.

The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations has distributed a preparedness manual with recommendations for keeping buildings in operation in case of a strike. “A strike is not pleasant, nor should it be taken lightly,” according to the 45-page document. “During a period of work stoppage, pressures and problems develop which make building management very difficult.”

Throughout the city, security guards have already been alerted to arrive at buildings an hour before the negotiating deadline so they can take over for the first overnight shift in the event of a walkout. Many buildings would then adopt a more restrictive policy, with residents being required to use building keys, display identification to the security guards and pick up visitors or deliveries themselves. Some buildings are planning to take service elevators, storage rooms and garages out of operation if there is a strike.

“The whole operation of the building would basically be shut down and we’d rely on residents to pitch in just to get by,” said Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty, one of the largest residential management companies in the New York. “There’s a tremendous amount of preparation we have to undertake. Then, if it doesn’t happen, we can breathe a sign of relief. If it does happen, then we’re prepared to deal with it.”

Many buildings have also posted sign-up sheets for residents to volunteer to watch the front doors, clean hallways and take out garbage, though the forms in the lobbies of a handful of Upper East Side buildings remained mostly blank on Sunday afternoon.

Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, has signed up for volunteer work in her own co-op.

“If there is a positive thing to be pulled out of this, it’s that it is an opportunity to get to know your neighbors,” she said, “and to come together to combat a little bit of adversity, because this is not the end of the world, though it may appear that way if the strike goes on.”

Arriving on Park Avenue on Sunday, Robert Neis, a marketing executive, immediately asked his doorman for assistance with the luggage from a family getaway to Shelter Island, N.Y. “It would be a bummer if they strike,” Mr. Neis said. “It’s a lot nicer when they help with the work.”

Harold Gerber, who runs a real estate business and has lived in his co-op on East 75th Street for more than two decades, said he was already worried about security, and grumbled at the prospect of hauling his own trash. “It will affect us tremendously,” he said.

Some doormen were skeptical that contract workers or volunteers would be able to take up their duties. Salvador Gonzalez, a doorman at a building on the Upper East Side, said that as the deadline approached, he has even added a new responsibility to his usual assortment of tasks: giving inquiring residents tips on how to do his job.

Though many residents on Sunday said they believed that a deal would be reached before the deadline, little progress was made during contract negotiations over the weekend, said Matt Nerzig, chief spokesman for Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

The 30,000 residential doormen, porters, superintendents, elevator operators and handymen now earn an average of $40,500 a year, with benefits raising the total to nearly $70,000, according to the Realty Advisory Board, which represents building owners. The workers are seeking wage increases, while building owners are pushing to reduce benefit costs.

“We’re working hard, we’re talking,” Ms. Rothman said. “There’s a lot of good will on both sides and very different feelings about the current economic situation.”

“I don’t think anyone wants a strike,” she added.

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NEW PRICE - BELOW MARKET RENT...West 3rd Street One Bedroom...1/2 Block from Washington Square Park

West VIllage One Bedroom Rental - Walking distance to NYU and Washington Square Park - Below Market Value...RENTAL REDUCTION

Contact JAD Realty Group for showing times:



Third floor unit in a well maintained walk up building

Separate kitchen including new appliances

Large bedroom - can fit a queen size bed and extra furniture

Walking distance to NYU, Washington Square Park, Soho, the West Village, the East Village, Astor Place, and Union Square

Available for April 15th occupancy

Asking price per month - $1550

West VIllage One Bedroom Rental - Walking distance to NYU and Washington Square Park - Below Market Value...RENTAL REDUCTION

Contact JAD Realty Group for showing times:


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