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Manhattan Loft Guy

Mar. 19, 2013 - another day (another year), another Manhattan Loft Guy milestone

didn’t we just do this?
I will have to wrestle with my social media conscience (oxymoron?) to see if I will beg for ReTweets from the Twitterverse, as I did for my March 7, just another wordy day for a wordy Manhattan Loft Guy, but a milestone post. That occasion was the number of posts; this one is the number of days (years). Seven years ago today i offered my first post as Manhattan Loft Guy, and 7 is pretty darn old in Blog Years.

I probably can’t say it better than I did two years ago, so take it away (younger) Manhattan Loft Guy:

how would Lorne Green count?

Five years is a long time in the blogosphere. The Miller’s copyright dates start in 2005, so even he is not much older than MLG. Ditto Brownstowner. Curbed, of course, is ancient, having started way back in 2004; but they pay people to do stuff over there ;-)  If there is a local Manhattan real estate blog by an individual older than Noah’s Urban Digs (August 2005), I don’t know it.

shy? who knew??
I don’t think I have told this story via keyboard before: I didn’t tell anyone about that first post, or about any post for at least the first month or so, until I had made blogging enough of a habit that I could confidently predict there would be more (and more) content. In those days, there were a lot of real estate agents who announced they were blogging, but if you ever stumbled across their work you’d see two posts in the first month, and maybe another 3 in the next 6 months, then perhaps one or two more before their Google juice completely dried up.

After 7 years and (now) 2,012 posts, the one thing we can agree upon is that I have a strong blogging habit. Still working on additional social media (other than the Twitterverse, where I frequently appear as @ManhattnLoftGuy) as I noted in that Post 2,000. Note to self … put different kinds of relevant (shorter!) content more consistently on the Manhattan Loft Guy business page on Facebook (Timeline here, Welcome page here; you can get from one page to the other via the pull-down triangle up top, and you can “Like” MLG-FB from either page, if you do like it).

Apparently I have no problem begging for FB Likes, so I will probably do some RT begging on Twitter the next time I get to a WiFi spot in N’Awlins....

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Mar. 7, 2013 - just another wordy day for a wordy Manhattan Loft Guy, but a milestone post

if you keep doing this long enough you will do a lot of these
I wonder if any readers who noted the Countdown thing at the bottom of the last ten posts were readers back in August 2009, the last time I put that kind of counter on a series of posts. As you would see in two posts (August 24, 2009, three zeroes / flipping the odometer on a major Manhattan Loft Guy milestone, and August 23, 2009, master list of Manhattan loft closings since November) I screwed up the Countdown to 1,000 posts then, finally noting in that August 24 post that August 23 had been #1,000. This time I was more careful.

By now you realize that this is post #2,000. Regular and patient readers will agree that the typical post (other than weekend “diversions”) is long, but I was surprised to do a word count recently on what felt like a typical post and find more than 1,300 words. Zounds!

That suggests (without getting too precise about it) that there are something like 2,000,000 Manhattan Loft Guy words out there. I am not saying I am proud of each of them, but I am proud of a lot of them, and especially proud of just showing up, day after day, loft sale after loft sale, trying to offer something of value to folks interested in lofts in Manhattan.

As it happens I will do some kind of milestone post again soon, as the 7th anniversary of this blog comes up later this month. The 2,000 posts took something less than 2,200 days.

I will have more to say (probably in that coming anniversary post) about my resolve to be more refined on this blog, and about my ideas about using other social media to offer much more concise thoughts. I know that the simple process of writing posts the day before, then re-reading and editing the day of, will help these Manhattan Loft Guy posts.

I know that if you follow me on The Twitter I can’t use more than 140 characters @ManhattnLoftGuy

I know that if I learn some simple html I can put on each post here a Tweet button and a link to my Manhattan Loft Guy Business Facebook Page, which you would be invited to “Like”, and where I intend to do much shorter real estate pieces, not all of which will be based on long posts here.

I know that LinkedIn and Google+ platforms provide opportunities for different kinds of commentary, beyond the long-form transaction-based piece typical of this blog, potentially reaching different audiences.

I know that trying to run a full plate of real estate agent business while running a growing set of social media platforms is … er … challenging.

I don’t know if this blog will remain the principal outlet for my writing about Manhattan lofts, or what changes are in store even over the next year, let alone whether Manhattan Loft Guy will trip another set of zeroes on the blog odometer.

But I have too much to say to not find an outlet for it somewhere. And I do keep in mind the aphorism if I had more time I would have written less (check the various iterations and sources for that here). So many lofts … so little time.

… 10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6 … 5 … 4 ... 3 … 2 … 1 … 0 !!!

T W O  T H O U S A N D posts, but tomorrow is another day.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Dec. 31, 2012 - the end of the year, as we know it

how did this creep up on me??
I was thinking about doing a kind of 2012 In Review post, but started thinking about it too late to actually (you know) do anything serious about it. The I was thinking about doing a Top Ten (or twelve, or whatever) recap, measured by number of hits. In scrolling back to see where the cut-off would be, I realized a few interesting (to me) things about this blog.

The big one: The Google must love Manhattan Loft Guy, as the number of times a blog post gets clicked on is much more a function of time than anything else. I learned that 29 posts were hit more than a thousand times and that every one of them was posted in the first part of the year. And that just going back to December 2011, nearly every post in that month was hit at least a thousand times. Go back to early 2010 and about 20% of the posts have 2,000 or more hits.

In other words, relatively few people find Manhattan Loft Guy posts when they are fresh. These babies have very long tails. So if it takes you until December 31, 2013 to read this post, Happy New Year 2014. For you current readers, Happy 2013!

By the way, this will be post number 293 for 2012, of 1,944 total posts since March 2006. And for my last Note to Self … of 2012: remember to change the small font copyright date.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Sep. 16, 2012 - on its best days, Manhattan Loft Guy meets this (lofty!) standard of criticism

this is not really a diversion from lofts (sorry if this disturbs your Sunday routine)
But it will be short .... Polymath Andrew Sullivan gets the hat tip for flagging a piece about written criticism that I take to heart. The Sully money quote:

Darryl Campell names "the four classical elements of literary criticism," which are: "Reaction. Summary. Aesthetic and historical appraisal." He argues the first of these, the brute fact of liking a book or not, is inescapably what drives the reviewer

In my case, I think the brutal fact that usually drives my Manhattan loft “reviews” is either that I love the loft or that it fits or fractures a historical context. Not to go spraining my arm patting my snobby back or anything ….

Note to self … try to live up to this (loft-y!) notion of “criticism” more fully and more often.

Shameless self promotion: did I mention (today) that you can follow me on Twitter if you note the intentional misspelling to stay within Twitter limits? @ManhattnLoftGuy

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Mar. 20, 2012 - 2,193 days, 1,723 posts, 1 anniversary overlooked

how embarrassing is that?
Sometimes you get distracted. Sometimes Manhattan Loft Guy gets distracted. After not having blogged a jot on Sunday (1st day ‘silent’ since March 1) I scanned my draft topic list for something yesterday to blog about. Hence, the magnificent Crosby Street views were introduced to my part of the inter-tubes (March 19, a question of views for gut renovated 29 Howard Street loft at $1,383/ft). I overlooked a quick post, closer to home: yesterday was the 6th birthday (blogday) of Manhattan Loft Guy. How many “years” is that in internet time?

I assume that I was the only person who overlooked the anniversary, as I assume I am the only person even aware that the thing was coming up.

Long-time readers will remember that I took an unannounced and unplanned sorta-just-happened sabbatical from blogging following surgery in September 2009 that extended into 2010. Since then, however, The Archives tell me that the lightest blogging month has been 22 posts, with an average of 28 posts per month since February 2010. I will leave it to you to judge quality, but that is a lot of quantity, with the majority of posts about individual loft sales.

This blog, in platform, content and format, remains one of the dinosaurs of the web, though I do have some ideas about changing that, in a perpetual-To-Do-list-maybe kind of way. One thing I have not invested any effort or learning in is traffic analytics. My simple Admin function tells me how many times a post has been clicked on, with my Admin page showing the last 20 posts. In the 20+ days reflected on the ‘top’ page, several posts will typically have been hit 200 times, with several more many more times than that. All but (perhaps) the most current few will be in 3 digits.

I just went back 4 pages, to the content posted from December 21 through January 14. The average hits for those 20 posts is 497. This stuff has legs! (Or, a long tail.) That’s gratifying. Going back another 12 months, the average number of hits per post is now 1,032. Going back yet another (almost) year, the page has 2 posts with over 2,000 hits, another with over 8,000, and 2 more with over 20,000 hits. That is a really long tail.

Life is good. Blogging is good. I started tweeting in 2011 (follow @ManhattnLoftGuy; note the missing letter) and am playing with other forms of social media. Nothing stays the same, right?

THANKS for clicking along, these many years.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Mar. 19, 2011 - cake, candles & balloons, as Manhattan Loft Guy is 5 today

personally, I will have a beer (or 2) (later)
I can’t be the only one parent who has consistently been surprised when a child reaches another birthday, which was as true for me with a 28-year-old as it was when I had a 4-year-old, and a 13-year-old …. Today my blog, my little guy, my Manhattan Loft Guy, is five years old. Makes me feel old!

how would Lorne Green count?
Five years is a long time in the blogosphere. The Miller’s copyright dates start in 2005, so even he is not much older than MLG. Ditto Brownstowner. Curbed, of course, is ancient, having started way back in 2004; but they pay people to do stuff over there ;-)  If there is a local Manhattan real estate blog by an individual older than Noah’s Urban Digs (August 2005), I don’t know it.

no need to fret
… about the ideal gift for a 5 year anniversary, but linkage is always appreciated!

careful readers know
Manhattan Loft Guy being among the lowest-of-low-tech things on the inter-tubes, I have never been much into metrics or analytics, and have never surveyed the readership so I have no idea how many readers have been reading for as long as a year, let alone many years. But if you have been reading for two weeks, this anniversary will not be a surprise. In my March 8, what is the opposite of Soho?, there was a natural call to mention a blog post that was both pertinent to that post and ancient … so ancient, in fact, that it was my very first post, on March 19, 2006.

I don’t expect any one to remember this, but my 3rd birthday post is fun, revealing (again) that I am a big Jabberwocky fan: Mar. 19, 2009, milestone alert / Manhattan Loft Guy is 3. If I read that post right, that was Manhattan Loft Guy Post #874; this will be #1,388. even with that unfortunate 4-month hiatus that intervened, that’s 514 posts in the last two years. Remove those four months, and the average is about 26 posts per month.

bigger and better things ahead
I have always had ideas about changing (improving?) Manhattan Loft Guy, and occasionally even make plans to do so. Some of that will actually come about soon. Stay tuned and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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Dec. 31, 2010 - Manhattan Loft Guy year in review: 2010 personal favorites

it has been a good year, no?
Yes, it is That Time Of Year (so soon!), so I will finish the year as I said yesterday, with two sets of Manhattan Loft Guy 12-month retrospectives. Reader faves were yesterday (Manhattan Loft Guy year in review: 2010 reader favorites); I use my blogger’s privilege to make my personal choices as the final word on 2010, in post #294 in a year of 365 days, which also happens to be Manhattan Loft Guy post #1,307, all time.

Picking personal faves out of a year’s worth of 294 posts is like picking your favorite children in a really big family. Imagine telling less than 5% of your kids that they are your favorites. (Of course I love you, dear, but didn’t you think that your sister’s performance in Peter Pan showed great depth and maturity??)

Three of my favorites (sorry, dear) dealt with how Manhattan real estate works, in one way or another. One contained my (probable) favorite locution of 2010, The Loft Law of Eventual Lament:

One of my favorites built on the treasure trove of knowledge that The Miller has acquired up over many, many years, and on his generosity in sharing it with the rest of us. (For some reason, he tries to use actual data to support an opinion about The Market.) I cite it often.

In three of my favorites I looked at specific sales of specific lofts in the context of other specific loft sales, in one case probing one of the Eight Million Stories In The Naked City about what leads people to buy and sell lofts in Manhattan (and mis-spelling renovators in the process).

This favorite involves a little bit of boasting, given that I took on the Lame Stream Media about something obviously wrong about a major data citation (obvious to anyone who understands The Market, as well as obvious to anyone who checked the primary source), resulting in a (somewhat bizarre) Amplification & Correction (whoopee!).

Two favorites addressed topics that everyone concerned about the Manhattan Real Estate Industrial Complex complains about, in one case suggesting a better way to protect consumers (if that had been a goal) and in the other case explaining (and explaining, and explaining) a complex regulation about an important topic about which consumers have long been confused (whose fault was that, do ya think?).

I picked two favorites out of many posts about the way things just don’t stay the same.

Because I remain thankful (note to self: re-read this post at least weekly in 2011):

That’s it for Manhattan Loft Guy for 2010! Pretty soon (but not this year) I need to figure out how to improve this blog ... and then (soon thereafter?) do it. Now I must be off to New Year’s Eve chores: buying ingredients and making Dum Ghobi and Mutter Mushroom Bhaji for a pot-luck tonight and (I hope, I hope …) getting to the gym. A nap before The Festivities is not out of the question.

Happy new year to all! Be careful out there....

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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Dec. 30, 2010 - Manhattan Loft Guy year in review: 2010 reader favorites

it has been a good year, no?
It seems to be That Time Of Year (so soon??), so I will finish the year with two sets of Manhattan Loft Guy 12-month retrospectives. Reader faves are today; my personal choices will be tomorrow, to take the year out with a loud noise (I am hoping for a bang, but may have to settle for a big thud). I, for one, think that there has been a lot of quality this year, but there is no doubt that there has been a lot of quantity.

Today’s post will be the 293rd of 2010, tomorrow will be 294. That will make an average of 24.5 posts per month for the year, which I think is pretty good for a single writer blogger with a Day Job. (Even with the holidays at the end of the year, I did not blog on only ten days in the last quarter of 2010, so I hope I am getting into an even better rhythm.)

Enough about what I think of Manhattan Loft Guy; let’s talk about you, my faithful readers … what do you think about Manhattan Loft Guy?? Here are the 8 most read Manhattan Loft Guy posts and the (so far) 4-part series that are measurable reader favorites.

These three posts are of the classic MLG here is a specific data point variety. In two cases, they probably had a link from Curbed (again, my thanks to Joey and Sara!) to juice up the hits, but that January 4 post was the first one after That Long Sabattical:

This one comes in at #3 overall, and is by far the most popular of the MLG musings about the Manhattan real estate business variety post. It was helped by links from all sorts of places on the inter-tubes:

I never did figure out why this one was so popular, but it was also a personal favorite of mine because I learned that something basic about Manhattan that I ‘knew’ turned out to be wrong:

This one was classic Curbed-bait: a late-breaking celebrity real estate gone wrong story, one that bounced around the blogosphere for two days because (the trail suggests) of a Manhattan Loft Guy post:

This pair include my #2 and the by-far #1. They remind me (yet again) of the power of the loft sales data I have been collecting for two years … a resource about Manhattan lofts unique on the web to this blog … and remind me (yet again!) that I need to (a) exploit that data set more often, and (b) do more frequent quantitative look-back posts (note to self …):

None of these four quite make The List on the basis of number-of-hits (though one is close), but they are my first intentional and focused explicit series. The series earns a place on the reader favorite list because it has generated far more comments than any MLG posts, ever. (I have come to think of you readers as … shy.) Look for more in this series in 2011, as I will continue the experiment of taking A Big Issue and probing or prodding it over time.

The odd thing about this issue is that it is not clear if it is an ‘issue’ or if it is just a seasonal bout of local Soho hysteria generated by a media empire recycling an old issue for another round of circulation-boosting. Without further ado, I off you the Soho A.I.R. series:

At the risk of (once again) anticipating tomorrow’s post, thanks to all for reading this year. Tomorrow I will close 2010 with a list of personal favorites.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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Nov. 25, 2010 - things that Manhattan Loft Guy is thankful for, 2010 edition

(UPDATE: a list I keep adding to...)
(not to be confused with the personal thanks for the guy who is the Guy)

  1. clients: past, present (and future!) who remind me that my job is to provide real estate services to people interested in buying or selling
  2. those wonderful people who are quick to say out loud three magic words ("Manhattan Loft Guy") when someone within earshot is talking about real estate
  3. regular sources for news, ideas, inspiration (such as The Miller, Curbed, The Real Deal, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, UrbanDigs [who else am I forgetting??] in the real estate world, and giants like Andrew Sullivan and Rob Neyer for general and thoughtful stuff)
  4. link-ers, who push this blog out to a broader audience from time to time (I am looking most specifically at you, Joey and Sara!)
  5. the quirky, detailed and appealing ‘little’ blogs (‘little’ only in my interaction with them), such as Tom Fletcher’s NYC Architecture, Architakes, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Scouting New York, and Forgotten NY
  6. the expanding and developing community of real estate writers and bloggers for support, collegiality and generosity, too numerous to mention (see you at our Nov 30 meet-up!)
  7. my coaches, role play partners and other real estate agents around the country who help keep me focused and sane
  8. the loft owners, board presidents, lawyers, managing agents, community leaders and other miscellaneous Manhattan loft professionals and fans who have shared ideas and information over the years, only some of which is directly acknowledged at the time
  9. the folks at Internet Crusade (much more than The Three Amigos!) who host this thing for free, who do so much for the real estate agent community nationally, and without whom I never would have started this thing 4.5 years ago while perfecting a website (where is that website?, I wonder)
  10. you readers, some of whom stumble here from god-knows-where, some of whom come back regularly, all of whom are welcome to stay as long as you like and to return as often as possible
  11. and last, but not least, clients: past, present (and future!) who remind me that my job is to provide real estate services to people interested in buying or selling

Happy day, to all you turkeys out there!

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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Oct. 31, 2010 - why would bully developer sucker punch a fact-based blogger about Chelsea rowhouse renovation?

no punches thrown in a while; is the bully tired? or satisfied?
I saw this kerfluffle reported on Curbed way back in August, but I was on vacation in California then and the story looked to be still developing. Since then it has developed a bit, and seems to have reached a steady state, and I have been remiss in not dealing with it before. Not because it is one of those glam Manhattan real estate stories that involves psychics, butler, Courtney Love and French (political) royalty, but because it involves a blogger who has made very specific factual assertions that a development violates various very specific rules (with pictures!) who has been threatened with legal action as a result.

Scary stuff for a blogger like Manhattan Loft Guy, who has (so far) relied on the fact that I try to be very fact-based to keep me out of trouble. Much like seeing a portrait of Rudy Ghoul-iani just before Halloween, this scares the crap out of me. In the spirit of embrace your fears!, let’s explore what is at stake.

where is the lawsuit claiming the blogger is wrong?
Unlike that blogger was, Manhattan Loft Guy is not anonymous. So the first step in the legal process was for The Developer to take the blogger’s web hosting company to court to force it to identify the Anon, as reported in the New York Post on July 18, as explicit prelude to the second step (a lawsuit for defamation). By then, the Post had already identified the Anonymous Architect and noted in the article that The Developer in fact intended to sue the Anonymous Architect, noting that an agent claimed that the Anonymous Architect’s blogging caused a customer to back away from the development, that the Buildings Department was prompted to investigate, and that

It was a lot of headache and hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain for a developer who said the anonymous claims were dead wrong and misinformed.

Not being anonymous, Manhattan Loft Guy finds that piece only mildly interesting, from a legal perspective. But being a fact-based blogger, I found the link of “hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain” and a blogger being said to be “dead wrong and misinformed” rather disturbing. I wonder why I have not seen anywhere a specific instance in which the Anonymous Architect is wrong....

is it over or just on hiatus?
The Developer succeeded in getting at least one web hosting company to take down the Anonymous Architect’s blog, but the Anonymous Architect has found another. The original post was on March 18, 436 West 20th Street Rises Above the Law; the legal stuff followed, then the second post was on August 12, Chelsea Mansion: The Art of Fiction; as of the most recent post (October 7, The Seamy Side of 436 West 20th Street) The Developer has not been heard from again, despite his lawyer’s public claim as of August 30 that he “is prepared to vigorously preserve and protect his stellar reputation” by filing suit against the Anonymous Architect.

Indeed, the New York Post article about the dispute notes that The Developer is “known in the trade as a control freak — [and, therefore] wasn’t going to let his reputation go without a fight”.

That is a long time between being “prepared” to sue and actually suing. If The Developer hasn’t sued yet, will he ever? What does it say about his reputation that he hasn’t continued the fight?

look at the claims
I am not an architect, I have never played one on television, and I don’t think I have ever stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but ... it seems to be a simple matter whether the Anonymous Architect is right or dead wrong about a whole litany of factual assertions. For example, the Anonymous Architect is either right or wrong about:
  • the skylight (the Anonymous Architect claims the Landmarks Commission Rowhouse Manual prohibits this without approval, and that there is no public record of an approval)
  • the present chimney height being higher than before, and permitted (or not)
  • renderings presented to Landmarks showed that front fire escapes wold be removed; pictures from the Anonymous Architect show the fire escapes remaining in place
  • the Anonymous Architect claims that Landmarks permit was explicitly predicated on ”maintaining the historic profile of the roofline” yet he has many pictures showing the roof has been raised
  • the Anonymous Architect claims that “drawings submitted to the Department of Buildings likewise fail to mention any increase in the height of the roof or side-wall”
  • the Anonymous Architect claims that “new window openings have been created in this wall just above the neighboring roof.  The Building Code doesn’t allow such windows in party walls.”
  • the Anonymous Architect claims that “the new party wall windows are not shown in amended drawings filed through May of last year, but suddenly appeared in amendment drawings filed in December, not proposed as new construction, but shown as existing, and thus rewritten into history.”
The Anonymous Architect has also claimed that “[c]racked and displaced bricks and window lintels are now features of its façade”, and posted photos showing what look like cracked and displaced bricks and window lintels. Maybe The Developer is also mad about these claims, and photos.

interesting reporting: are the claims true?
That New York Post article says that The Developer’s “chances of having the final word look promising”, but for some reason the article never considers whether the Anonymous Architect is right or wrong about any of the things he said.

I don’t know anything about the website CityFeet.com, but it describes itself as “CityfeetLocal is the leading online New York commercial real estate network, connecting New York commercial real estate property owners and brokers to tenants, brokers and investors.” It posted a piece about the dispute on August 30 that asserted “that [the Anonymous Architect has] falsely accused [The Developer] of infringing landmark laws and decimating historical framework in order to turn a profit” (my bold) as if that were a fact.

Maybe people familiar with that site would not be surprised to know that the author has the same name of a vice president at the major public relations firm in the city, one that represents many, many, many real estate developers and other players. Such people might also assume that such a piece is a work of pure PR, paid for by a PR client, even though that is not made explicit in the post and would not be known to someone who found it through a simple Google search.

As a piece of pure PR (presumably paid for by The Developer), it is especially odd that the August 30 assertion the The Developer “‘is prepared to vigorously preserve and protect his stellar reputation’ by filing suit against the blogger” has not yet come to pass.

to sue or not to sue, that is the question
I am not privy to The Developer’s strategic discussions here, but it seems to me that The Developer has already accomplished a few things. He has seeded the inter-tubes with Proclamations that the Anonymous Architect is “100% wrong” and that he is working with the Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Commission, and he has shown that someone taking a shot at him will be punched back ... to some extent.

What The Developer has not done is to sue. Yet. If he were to sue for defamation, he would have to prove that stuff the Anonymous Architect says are not true.

Maybe there is a lot more uncertainty about what the Building Code and the Landmarks rules actually require than the Anonymous Architect asserts, but he has been very specific and very explicit about how he thinks things fall. In a lawsuit, The Developer would have to be equally specific and equally explicit.

Not suing, to me, is a pretty clear statement in its own right, especially from someone described in the Post as “known in the trade as a control freak — [and, therefore, who] wasn’t going to let his reputation go without a fight”. So far, The Developer has thrown only one legal punch (with the threat to throw more), and launched a PR offensive. Maybe he has accomplished what he set out to do already.

Stay tuned....

© Sandy Mattingly 2010
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Aug. 5, 2010 - real estate blogosphere just got smaller

that did not take long
Back only on May 14, I posted sad news about a giant in a small world, www is big / RE blogosphere is small. That giant, Joe Ferrara, would be a giant in most worlds, and I am sad to say that he lost his battle with a brain tumor. Sad, sad, sad.

I doubt that many Manhattan Loft Guy readers were aware of Joe, but he was A Good Guy. Funny, passionate, dedicated, ambitious, resourceful, idealistic ... I could go on and on.

I don't read Inman News much anymore, but I tracked down this piece last night, after seeing some comments elsewhere that hinted at the sad fact of Joe's death. I assume the link will break, so I am going to cheat, by posting this entire thing that will probably be behind their paywall soon (they can sue me):

Joe Ferrara, blogging and social media pioneer, dies

Many real estate professionals around the country are in mourning today after Joseph Ferrara, a trailblazer for blogging and social media in the industry, died from a malignant brain tumor. He was 55.

Ferrara, known to his friends as "Joe," passed away last night in a Pennsylvania hospice with his wife, Sandra, at his side. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in mid-March and had been fighting the disease through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, according to Scott Forcino, Ferrara's friend and business partner at Real Estate Advocates Inc., a lawyer-based brokerage company they founded last year.

Ferrara was also the publisher of the Sellsius real estate marketing and technology blog, an Inman News technology columnist, a real estate broker and attorney, and founder of TheClozing.com, which aggregates real estate news from mainstream media and social media.

Ferrara and his wife both grew up in Staten Island, N.Y. He graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island in 1973 and earned a degree in accounting and financial management at Pace University in 1978.


See related article:

Thank you, Joe Ferrara


Shortly thereafter, he received a law degree at the University of Houston. He worked as a real estate and intellectual law attorney and was a partner at Posner & Ferrara for more than 22 years, until December 2005. He launched Sellsius in January 2006.

Ferrara is survived by his wife of 30 years, Sandra, and his son, Joseph Ferrara Jr. A wake will be held for him on Friday, Aug. 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fitzgerald Sommer Funeral Home: 17 South Delaware Ave., Yardley, Pa. 10967. The burial ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Ann Catholic Church in Bristol, Pa.

Jay Thompson, a Phoenix real estate blogger and a friend of Ferrara's, began a fundraising campaign for Ferrara's medical expenses a couple of months ago.

"Joe Ferrara was one of the most gifted men I've ever known. Not just intellectually, but morally as well. He was truly a world-class human being with a heart second to none. The world is an emptier place without him -- but a better place because of him. I miss him already," Thompson said.

The fundraising campaign collected $6,875; donations are still being accepted at joe-ferrara.com. In a statement relayed by Forcino, Mrs. Ferrara thanked well-wishers and donors to the fund.

"Thanks for all the outpouring of concern and feelings. The money raised and contributed by the members of the real estate world actually paid for Joe's nursing. It went for nothing else and it was basically in the appropriate amount that he needed."

Some friends of Ferrara remembered him on a blogtalkradio session this morning. Many brought up his pioneering 2007 Blog Tour USA, when Ferrara and his then-business partner Rudy Bachraty drove across the country meeting with real estate bloggers. Ferrara was instrumental in bringing bloggers together in person for the first time, speakers said.

"When Joe and Rudy took that coast-to-coast tour in 2007 they helped us all get to know each other. Joe was a natural leader," fellow Inman News columnist Teresa Boardman told Inman News.

"I knew Joe well. He was smart and had a wicked sense of humor. He had a passion for truth, transparency and justice, and always helped the underdog. He was always there for advice, and I loved arguing with him, too," she added.

While a formidable opponent in a debate, he was kind-hearted and loved people, his friends and colleagues told blogtalk listeners.

"He always made people feel like they were the most important person in the world no matter who they are," Boardman said.

Kris Berg, also a fellow Inman News columnist, met Ferrara online first through their respective blogs, around 2006.

"Joe was one of the finest people I have ever been privileged to know and call a friend. He was unconditionally supportive and quick to give positive feedback and encouragement, yet just as quick to call me to the carpet when he felt my tone or message was straying. To all of us in the online real estate community, he was giving of his time, of his intellect and of himself," Berg said.

"A breath of fresh air in our uber-competitive industry, he did not have an arrogant or self-righteous bone in his body but only wanted to inspire us all to be better and do better. And he did. His honesty, wit, passion and compassion will be missed."

Amy Chorew, a real estate technology strategy trainer, met Ferrara at a Real Estate Connect conference in New York three years ago and, as many people who met him said, had an instant connection.

"We have sat on panels together, and best of all, Joe and I had discussions offline on issues that I was addressing in my classes about the ethical and moral content of being 'in the space.' A lawyer who gave me free advice. A beautiful soul. I am crying today," Chorew said.

Dozens of industry colleagues also remembered him on Twitter and Facebook, sharing memories and photos.

"Joe, my law partner, was like a brother to me. This tiny planet of ours will be a much poorer place without his incredible sense of humor, endless kindness, and eclectic creativity. Taken by cancer much too young," wrote Gerald Posner on the Friends of Joe Ferrara Facebook page.

"Never would have thought I could feel so much for someone I never met. Condolences to his family and friends," said Daniel Hunter, a Florida Realtor.

"(Rest in peace) Joe - thank you for all you have done for us," said Tom Ferry, a real estate coach.

"I will remember Joe Ferrara with love and gratitude for his legacy to the real estate industry. Heartfelt condolences to his family," tweeted Realtor and blogger Frances Flynn Thorsen.

"Joe will be sorely missed. Long live the king!" said Laurie Manny, a California Realtor.

Inman News invites you to contribute your thoughts and memories in the comments section below or send us an e-mail. We will compile the comments to share in a later article.

same problem, different text

Here is what Glenn Roberts had to say in the related article on Inman:

The real estate industry will miss you, Joe Ferrara.

When the creators of Sellsius -- Joseph "Joe" G. Ferrara and Rudolph "Rudy" D. Bachraty III -- first approached Inman News back in 2005 about their plans for yet another property listing site, there were skeptics of the proposed business plan -- and the name itself.

But the duo proved visionary -- in perhaps unexpected ways -- in the conversation, engagement and buzz that they created around their idea and around real estate as a whole. Their Sellsius blog, which preceded the launch of their listings portal, firmly established the pair among the pioneers in the real estate blogosphere, social Web and RE.net as we know it today.

I was a beat reporter at Inman News when I first wrote about their plans in 2005, and would later turn to Ferrara as a source on a range of topics. He could be counted on to deliver educated and thoughtful insights about online ethics issues, the sharing of property data, creative marketing techniques ... you name it.


See related article:

Joe Ferrara, blogging and social media pioneer, dies


He was a thought leader who helped the industry grapple with -- and sort out -- a myriad of issues as it found its way online. He was a provocateur of sorts, in a positive, progressive sense of the word. He didn't mind stirring things up in order to prod the discussion, and the industry, in a forward march. Ferrara died Tuesday after a battle with brain cancer.

In response to the Federal Trade Commission's call for comments on the topic of real estate competition in 2005, Ferrara weighed in on the "ownership" of property listings information, which has been a historically hot topic for the industry.

"Brokers 'own' listings only by virtue of their relationship with sellers, who give them authority to advertise/promote for the purpose of selling. And that authority may be revoked by the seller at any time. Their so-called ownership is merely a temporary right; ultimate ownership of the listing abides with the seller," Ferrara wrote.

"Since the brokers are agents of the seller, it seems that the seller, as principal, should be heard on this issue. As a seller, I would want my property disseminated to the widest possible audience of potential buyers. I am not a party to the broker/(multiple listing service) contract and should not be bound by it. The MLS does not speak for me. If the MLS restricts my listings dissemination, it is not acting in my best interest."

He viewed technology as an asset and ally. He tested new technologies, shared his discoveries with others, and generally embraced innovation. He coined the phrase: "Unzillowable," which he defined as a property that could not be adequately valued by Zillow.com or other automated valuation models.

An attorney for 25 years, and a real estate broker and technology consultant, Ferrara was himself an innovator who worked to launch TheClozing.com, a real estate news aggregator he launched last year with partner Anthony Barba.

He loved writing and had a natural knack for it. He often mixed in humor and quirky tidbits to his real estate posts at the Sellsius blog that offered comic relief for readers and sometimes went viral across other real estate blogs and websites.

Last year, Ferrara began writing a tech column, "Tech Tool Shed," for Inman.com, and it quickly became one of the most popular columns among our readers. He shared information about new technologies and trends that he viewed as relevant to the real estate industry.

In the summer of 2007, Ferrara and Bachraty toured the country together in an RV -- the journey was dubbed Blog Tour USA.

They met with several other prominent real estate bloggers during their cross-country trip, which encompassed 30 cities and 10,000 miles in 31 days, and in the process forged strong and lasting bonds among a core of tech-savvy real estate professionals while promoting the need for more online engagement and interaction by all real estate professionals. (Inman News was a sponsor of their memorable road trip.)

In an interview with Inman News Publisher Bradley J. Inman prior to embarking on the tour (see video below), Inman and Ferrara discussed a post at the Sellsius blog, titled, "The Real Estate King Takes a Gabby Queen."

That post, featuring a royal portrait, begins, "The fortunes of online real estate sites were based on the notion that property listings were king -- the more listings, the more traffic, the more success. Every real estate website chased the almighty listing."

Ferrara said in the interview, "We've all heard the term that the listings are king of the real estate sites, and everyone's racing to get as many listings as they can.

"But, you know what? There's a queen ... showing up on the scene and we think it's conversation, it's user-generated content, it's interactivity. So we think the queen has entered the stage and (we're going to see) if her conversation is interesting enough."

While there have always been real estate discussions occurring offline, Ferrara noted that the Internet has been a game-changer. "Those (offline) conversations -- we say it's like words written on water. They come and they go. But once you put them on the Internet, it's permanent. It's like now I'm carving it in my newly laid concrete sidewalk so it's there for everyone."

Such concepts seem old hat for the real estate industry because of forward-thinkers like Ferrara and the movement that he drove home.

The real estate industry will miss Joe Ferrara. Let's remember him with a smile.

Sad, sad, sad. Joe's wife Sandra has my thoughts and prayers today.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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Aug. 1, 2010 - Tek Nickel Difew Culties

(or: Technical Difficulties)

If you tried to access Manhattan Loft Guy late Friday or into Saturday, you probably got the same message I got, more or less this:

website not found; if you are sure you have typed the URL correctly, please try again later

Arrrrggghhhh. As they say,

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Turns out that some malicious SOBs evaded spam controls at the MLG blog host and flooded many blogs with spam comments, which generated emails from the host to bloggers like me that a comment had been posted. I got 1,500+ such emails between about 11PM Friday and 1 PM Saturday, before the blog host got the spam shields back up.

So ... I am sure it was a pain for you if you failed to reach MLG. It certainly was a pain for me to delete 1,500 emails (manually, individually; darn that Outlook Web Access!). I look forward (not!) to deleting the comments (later).

I am told that won't happen again, which we know means it won't happen again until it happens again.

but seriously, folks
Sorry for the inconvenience.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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May. 14, 2010 - www is big / RE blogosphere is small

bummer (no irony ... sadness)
I was catching up on my Matrix reading this afternoon, when I saw The Miller's post about Joe Ferrara of Sellsius being in ICU with a malignant brain tumor and the effort by Jay Thompson (the Phoenix RE Guy, so a Guy after my own heart) to raise money to offset some of Joe's expenses.

I expect that there are no Manhattan Loft Guy readers who would be inclined to contribute something who don't already know about this from The Miller or from another source, but it does not hurt to ask. Information about donations is on the site that Jay set up, here.

I first met Joe the night before his madcap adventure in 2007, when he and Rudy Bachraty blogged across America, taking 30 days in an RV from NYC en route to Inman Connect in San Francisco. I vaguely recall that we spoke by phone or (more likely) email a bit before then. Since, we've shared a few meals as he has explained one or another idea about Making Real Estate A Better Experience, For Consumers Most Of All. I was particularly struck at some lunch conversation with his passion and insistence that real estate agents 'give back', through pro bono or other work. What an idealist!

Good guy, having some tough luck.

Anyone so inclined can get more info on that link up there. (Here it is again.)

Best of luck to Joe and Sandra. Nice to see the Blogosphere rally around one of the people who put the SOCIAL in Social Media.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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Mar. 19, 2010 - today's the day

rather: it was the day
My first post on Manhattan Loft Guy (as Manhattan Loft Guy?) was March 19, 2006. Yikes!

Happy Blog-day to me!!

If you click on Archives on the lower right you can easily get back to those thrilling days of yesteryear. Some quotes from March 2006:

But the data in beta has some *serious* limitations for Manhattan lofts and apartments. The key numbers Zillow reports in Manhattan are 13% for Error Percentage and 41% for 10% Range, meaning that half of the time they will "Zestimate" a value that is off by 13%, higher or lower, and that the Zestimate will be off by 10% only 41% of the time. So: half the time they will get the value of a hypothetical $1,000,000 apartment as within the range of $870,000 to $1,130,000 and half the time they will Zestimate that $1,000,000 as either worth less than $870,000 or more than $1,130,000.

Mar. 19, 2006: 

Zillow - what it is and what it says about how it does Manhattan

(I like that "data in beta")

The Corcoran report is based on a large but unknown number of transactions, as it uses sales data reported by Corcoran and by one of the major appraisal firms in Manhattan, Mitchell, Maxwell & Jackson. Unlike the reports issued by Miller Samuel -- which should be released soon -- Corcoran and MMJ do not break out their raw data in any way. But given the size of the Corcoran firm and the access to data that MMJ enjoys as a top appraiser, the raw data should certainly accurately represent the market.

Mar. 20, 2006:

Manhattan Loft Prices / lofts kept pace with market, per Corcoran year over year report

(goodbye, MMJ; hello, Property Shark)

An artist's son who grew up in SoHo in the 1970s remembered it this way:


"SoHo smelled like a beautiful cigar."

Mar. 23, 2006:

What did SoHo smell like back in the day?

The clear lower boundary of SoHo is Canal Street, but almost nothing about Canal Street feels like SoHo -- except possibly during those scattered minutes in any day when Canal is deserted by people and cars, and the electronics and plumbing suppliers and the 'designer' stalls close up. As crowded as West Broadway gets with foot traffic, there is no comparison with the shoppers and pedestrians across Canal's wide sidewalk, and the 24/7 vehicle traffic going east to the Manhattan Bridge or west to the Holland Tunnel make Canal one of the grittiest, sootiest, busiest streets in a busy, sooty, gritty city.

Mar. 28, 2006:

SoHo pushes down to its southern border / the Arnold Constable building conversion (NY Times 3.26.06)

(love this: "

one of the grittiest, sootiest, busiest streets in a busy, sooty, gritty city


You know “lofts” have moved way beyond trendy when The National Association of Realtors magazine talks about loft developments around the country, in cities and in suburbs.  The Loft Goes Upscale and Suburban 


Authentic lofts — with their high ceilings, open spaces, and expansive windows — are fetching prime prices in former warehouse districts, while developers churn out new variations of the popular style in cities and suburbs across the country.

Mar. 31, 2006:

Creeping loft-ism / nationally

(3 posts in one day? didn't I have any work to do?)

That was fun ... Happy Blog-day to all!!


© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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Jan. 7, 2010 - housekeeping (and I hate housekeeping)


spam = evil
Regular readers will note one heavy price that I have paid for neglecting this blog ... thousands upon thousands of commercial spam that worked its way through the host spam filters. I am starting to delete, but there are complicated (and bug-gy) reasons this will take time. In the meantime, there is a new rule ....

comments must be OK'd to be OK
I have changed my Admin settings to require pre-approval for comments to be posted, which will be more of a pain for me than for you when you want to comment, but still ... unfortunate.

With luck, the host will get the spam filters under control, so i can reverse that, But until then, there is a Moderator in town. Guide your behavior accordingly ....


© Sandy Mattingly 2010



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Aug. 24, 2009 - three zeroes / flipping the odometer on a major Manhattan Loft Guy milestone

the rundown on the Countdown
That Countdown thing that has appeared on the last ten posts was pointed to the 1000th post since Manhattan Loft Guy launched three and a half years ago. O N E  T H O U S A N D posts, as of yesterday.

It occurred to me as I was counting down that the post that got the Three Zeroes should be 'special' in some way, rather than being a 'regular' post. I think that hitting number 1,000 with my master list of (essentially) all Manhattan lofts that have sold since early November, resales and new developments, qualifies. I can already see many data points on the spreadsheet that deserve a post, as well as lines for 'big picture' (interesting) analysis. If the MLG readership helps to really exploit the potential in the spreadsheet, who knows where it may lead?

you can't make this stuff up
I mentioned in yesterday's post my limited spreadsheet skills. As if to prove my lack of ability in math generally, I counted wrong in starting the countdown, hence the "oops". If I can't even count backwards from tenautomatically (and correctly), you know I need a great deal of help to make the closings spreadsheet more usable!

© Sandy Mattingly 2009

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Mar. 18, 2009 - milestone alert / Manhattan Loft Guy is 3

oh frabjous day, calloo, callay
(no idea how that chortling is spelled, and I am not going to look it up)

The first Manhattan Loft Guy post was on March 19, 2006; it has been followed by 872 others (and counting). Speaking of counting, that's 1,096 days (last year lept), or 5.6 posts per week.

Light some candles! Blow out some candles! Raise a glass! Down a glass! Flog a blog! etc, etc, etc

out of The Terrible Twos?
Year Three began (more or less) with the beginning of anonymous-listing posting, to the extent there were any posts about listings. Year Three included the quick turn from The Bull Market to whatever mess we are now in now.

Year Four will bring peace and prosperity (sorry ... wrong card). Year Four will bring more and better posts! Or, at least, more better posts. Right after this one....


© Sandy Mattingly 2009  




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Jan. 1, 2008 - top 10 clicked Manhattan Loft Guy posts of 2007

My Ohio blog-buddy Maureen McCabe showed me a way to check for the blog posts that have been viewed the most times (THX, Maureen).

Turns out I should have sent Lockhart Steele at Curbed a Christmas present, as at least 4 of the top ten for 2007 got some link love from Curbed, one other was itself linked in a post that Curbed linked to, and one was published the same day as one that Curbed linked to.

1.      IRS rules for coops / beware the 80/20 rule January 16, 2007
the glory days for this one are over, now that there are easy and legal ways to deal with rental income; see yesterday’s
holy coop Batman! 80/20 hurdle falls down)

2.      the website is coming, the website is coming (so is Christmas) December 6, 2006
So this is the second Christmas without a real website, other than this blog; maybe next year….

3.      so THAT’s what an 8-figure loft looks like / 6 lofts = $65mm September 11, 2007
(evidence of Curbed’s drawing power) somebody please remind me to check to see what happened to these babies

4.      lofts recently in contract March 16, 2007
no idea why this was so popular

5.      please don’t bite the blogger January 16, 2007
(evidence of Curbed’s drawing power) fortunately I have not run into this Angry Agent again

6.      fascinating new listing at 106 Spring / low maintenance and cash back March 7, 2007
(thx again, Lock)

7.      more non-news: well-priced lofts sell quickly at 55 Greene + 55 E 11 December 5, 2006
near in time to #2, but I don’t see why this was so popular

8.      and the answer is … timing the market doesn’t work in real estate September 8, 2006
a brilliant analysis, yes; a fascinating topic, yes; presumably, it earned its clicks the old-fashioned way

9.      American Thread new to market / why so soon? August 27, 2007
funny that this one is like #10 in that it features a not-lofty-loft, but this one is linked in #10, which got some Curbed help
10.  the unloftiest loft ever – 28 W 38 is over-the-top October 1, 2007
a big boost when Curbed featured this one; I should check if it has sold

I guess I will have to do my favorite posts from 2007 soon. (Pardon the navel gazing, but it seems to be endemic to the season)

© Sandy Mattingly 2008

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Dec. 31, 2007 - enough about me / what do YOU want from me for 2008?

what do readers want from
Manhattan Loft Guy?
This blog has grown organically since its quiet launch in March 2006. I write mostly about things that interest me about
Manhattan lofts, or NYC, or (sometimes) whatever. It seems that enough people are interested to keep clicking, but I wonder what else I can do to engage or serve you readers better.

Feel free to tell me here, or by private email [
Sandy (dot) Mattingly (at) CBHK (dot) com].

open house reviews, up or down?
The one repeating topic that takes a lot of time but is not 'worth it' to me if it is not 'worth it' to you is the Sunday open house thread. I have had time to do something about open houses most weeks, on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but sometimes it is a strain. Please weigh in on whether this is a useful use of time or something you can easily replicate on NYTimes.com or elsewhere.

I have a to-do list of posts I mean to do, but my history is that many to-dos never get done. I expect I will post a Year in Review soon, and possibly a look ahead. I have been cogitating for weeks about a post (or series) on who should be buying or selling now, and who should be waiting. Perhaps that will be birthed soon.

Happy 2008
Personally and professionally, 2007 was a pretty terrific year. I am very optimistic about my personal and professional prospects for 2008.

I wish for you all the best that 2008 can offer you.

As always, THANKS FOR STOPPING BY. One of you became on Monday afternoon my 50,000th visitor for the month of December -- my first month with that many visitors. Onward and upward!

©  Sandy Mattingly 2008

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Dec. 16, 2007 - AWOL / reporting back for duty

I did not plan to be away from the blog
When I left the office on Thursday afternoon for an appointment and 2 holiday parties, I intended to be back Friday morning, ready to blog a bit before driving 5 hours Friday afternoon for a 7 PM dinner to celebrate the graduation of our youngest at Cornell. Indeed, I left a 95% compete open house review on my office PC.

But I never made it in Friday, as we decided to head north immediately early Friday because (a) weather was iffy, even after the anti-climax of Thursday's 'wintry mix', and (b) The Youngest was (ahem) not quite packed and ready to end her college career smoothly. So I never posted that open house review, and have been away from a computer since.

Look for a 7 day update of new listings and closed loft sales, either late tonight or Monday morning. And, yes, the graduation was wonderful and we made it home despite The Youngest being nowhere near ready to leave.

©  Sandy Mattingly 2007

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Sandy Mattingly is Manhattan Loft Guy; now with The Corcoran Group (http://corcoran.com/ ; but see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page), he can be reached most easily at Sandy@ManhattanLoftGuy.com or 917.902.2491, and followed on Twitter @ManhattnLoftGuy (note "mis-spelling"). After 7+ years, the blog has moved. Links here on RealTown will work for the foreseeable future, but new posts (and all the old content) has migrated to ManhattanLoftGuy.com.

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