Translation from English

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Spiderman" apartment --Tudor City Penthouse for Sale; Other News for Murray Hill

 Just out of curiosity, I started googling up real estate news for the Murray Hill neighborhood (of which I live on the edge of)....some of these stories are actually pretty funny, and anyway give you an idea of what is going on here in terms of prices and projects etc.

Green Goblin's Penthouse from 'Spider-Man' Listed for $1.6M

The Windsor Tower penthouse that served as a backdrop for much of Willem Dafoe's evil cackling (as the Green Goblin) during the Tobey Maguire 'Spider-Man' franchise hit the market yesterday. The price tag for the 1BR, 1.5BA duplex is a mere $1.595 million, maybe a bit pricey for a 1BR Midtown East co-op, but surprisingly cheap once you consider the 18-foot-ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows, working fireplace, beautiful floors, and private terrace, not to mention the bragging rights that inevitably come with the apartment. In fact, we're not ashamed to admit it—if we were the evil, mutated president of a multi-national weapons manufacturing corporation, we'd totally buy the place.
Floorplan, after the jump >>
Construction Watch

31-Story Apartment Tower Rising at 325 Lexington Avenue

A tipster sends word that the once-stalled construction site at 325 Lexington Avenue is moving full steam ahead. Last we heard anything about the site was way back in 2006, when rumors were circulating that a 25-story tower was being built there. According to DOB records, this building started construction, but then stalled in 2008. Permits were renewed in July 2011, and work has been moving steadily forward since then, with the latest permits being issued just yesterday. Here's what we know from filings with the DOB: it will be 31 stories, plus a celler, the ground floor will have a restaurant/bar, and the residential portion will have 103 apartments (two full-floor penthouses), a club room, and a fitness center.
What about the design? >>

Claustrophobic, Beautiful Murray Hill Townhouse Now Only $4M

There's a lot to like about 115 East 35th Street, from the ornate fireplaces to the bay windows to the "four seasons room" leading to a private garden. But if one were to try and identify the thing that's kept it on the market for almost two years—some might call it "the skinny"—it would probably have to be the fact that house is really, really skinny. Not the skinniest, certainly, but especially considering its depth and height, it's a very narrow house. Still, it's hard not to admire what oil painter Patricia Nix, who bought the place for $950,000 in 1998 and embarked on a gut renovation, according to this old Observer post, did with it. She re-listed the house last March for $4,995,000 and has since lowered the ask thrice, switching brokerages each time. The current listing is for $3,995,000. Hopefully the new brokers aren't already on thin ice. Get it? Thin ice? Sorry.
This way for the very thin floorplan >>
Gentrification Watch

Luxury Brand Wants to 'Transform' 30th and Lexington

Luxury brand Comme des Garcons announced its intention earlier this year to set up shop in New York somewhere "where there are no other fashion stores so that we can give a totally new identity and hence transform the area." The area that Comme des Garcons has chosen to gentrify "transform"? 30th and Lexington, where Racked reports the brand will open at 160 Lexington Avenue. The Comme des Garcons business people are certainly right that this isn't a neighborhood known for its high-end retail—but do Curry Hill and its environs really need the transformation that the store hopes to bring?
· Comme des Garcons Signed a Lease on 30th and Lexington [Racked]

Confusing Murray Hill Carriage House Slices Price to $8.25M

The George S. Bowdoin Stable is a classy, distinguished-sounding name for a building that, inside, looks neither classy nor distinguished. The house has Miami vibes (pink neon lights) and what a 2007 Habitats piece called "James Bond" touches, like a remote-controlled box in the master bedroom that operates curtains, lights, and music. With such mixed-up interior decor and a rather varied history of uses—most recently, it's been a non-profit arts center and an event space—it's no wonder the sales history has been…troubled. The place has just returned to market for $8.25 million.
Which is a discount! >>

Murray Hill Co-op Hit With $1 Million Discrimination Suit

29981346.jpgIt looks like co-op board of 210 E. 36th Street in Murray Hill has taken a page from the Dakota's discriminatory playbook. The board has been slapped with a $1 million lawsuit from a wealthy African man who wanted to buy a studio apartment in the building. Goldwyn Thandrayen, a 25-year-old business student at Berkeley College in New Jersey, was turned down without so much as an interview, even after complying with the board's every bizarre request, which included translating documents from British to English. The Daily news reports that Thandrayen put the entire cost of the unit into a bank account for the board, and he handed over more than a year's worth of maintenance fees.
Thandrayen says the board's behavior was "weird" from the start, and one member even made fun of his financial portfolio because it is entirely in "some tiny little unknown country," aka the Republic of Mauritius, the island nation where Thandrayen is from. He is suing for $1 million in damages because, according to his lawyer, he's now "blacklisted" from ever buying a co-op in the city since he was rejected. Additionally, Thandrayen is out thousands of dollars from fees and interest, and he'll probably have a tough time getting back the $445,000 he put away for the unit, as it would likely be flagged for money laundering.
Will co-op boards ever start to play nice?
· Wealthy African Man files $1 Million Lawsuit After Co-op Board Turns Him Down [NYDN]
· Dakota Co-op Board Accused of Being a Bunch of Racists [Curbed]
That's Rather Morbid

The Top Five Residential Listings That You Can't Live In

[99 Bank Street #2A, via Streeteasy]
When you spend a lot of time perusing real estate listings, there are few things more depressing than coming across one that loudly boasts, "INVESTORS ONLY" or "VERY LOW PRICE, RENT CONTROLLED TENANT IN PLACE" (it is a well-established scientific fact that, in these cases, brokers almost always revert to all-caps, although the reason for this is unclear.) What these listings are telling you, in so many words, is: "Great apartment! Very cheap! One catch, though. Once you buy it, you have to wait for a human being to die before seeing a return on your investment." Somewhat hearteningly, these listings never seem to sell. The apartment pictured above (which we've featured before, because it's great), for example, has been on the market for 1,137 days and the brokerbabble just reads "rent controlled tenant not moving." Keep on keepin' on, theatre shower curtain lady. Listing agent, think it might be time for a pricechop?
The top five >>

Just What Americans Need, More Personal Debt

GE Capital dangles lure of financing in front of would be furniture buyers...

We all know how much trouble we have with public debt in the United States...but what has happened with private consumer debt?  

As with most topics, different people see it differently...this woman writer is not that bothered about private debt right now at all...

Consumer Debt Statistics

The Role Debt Plays in the U.S. Economy

By , Guide
Consumer Debt Statistics
Many consumers cut credit cards during the recession. (Photo:Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Updated June 13, 2013
Consumer debt drives the American way of life. The statistics on average consumer debt show how debt increased greatly between 2002-2008. However, during the Great Recession, banks cut back on consumer lending. Then the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act increased regulations over credit cards, so they tightened credit standards.

How does consumer debt drive economic growth? Debt allows you to buy your home, education, and car without having to save for it. As long as the economy grows, you can pay off this debt more easily in the future. That's because your house grows in value, your education allows you a better-paying job and your car...sorry, your car is just an expense. But at least auto loans create jobs for autoworkers!

There are two main types of consumer debt: revolving debt, like credit cards, and non-revolving debt, like auto loans and mortgages. Both stimulate economic growth.

Credit Card Debt

Consumer debt that's meant to be paid off every month is credit card debt, also known as revolving debt. Credit card debt reached a peak of $1.028 billion in July 2008, an average of $8,640 per household. (Source: Federal Reserve Revised Credit Card Debt Chart)

The recession curtailed credit card debt. It fell more than 10% in each of the first three months of 2009. By April 2011, credit card debt had dropped to a low of $839.6 billion. That's an average of $7,055 of credit card debt per household. (Note: The per household estimate is based on 119 million households, or 308.7 million/2.59 persons per household. Source: U.S. Census, 2010 Data; Average Household Size)


Loans, such as auto loans, mortgages, or school loans, are a form of consumer debt called non-revolving debt. These loans are usually held for the life of the underlying asset. For a car, it's three to five years, and a home mortgage is usually 15-30 years. These loans can be paid back with fixed interest rates, or variable rates. If the borrower fails to make payments, the bank will usually reclaim the underlying asset.

Of course, the bank can't claim any asset on school loans. For that reason, most school loans are guaranteed by the Federal government. These loans have very low interest rates, to encourage higher education.That's because a more educated workforce leads to a healthier economy, in the long run.

Average Consumer Debt Statistics

Here's the month-by-month blog roll of average consumer debt statistics back to 2006. (Note: These are the figures as released. The Federal Reserve continually revises these figures. See Revisions.)


  • April - Households Shun Credit Cards in Favor of Loans
  • March - Consumer Credit Up 3.4%
  • February - Consumer Credit Jumps 7.9%
  • January - Consumer Debt Now $22,720 Per Household


  • December - Holiday Shoppers Relied Less on Credit Cards
  • November - Americans Took Advantage of Low-Interest Loans
  • October - Shoppers Resume Love Affair With Credit Cards
  • September - Credit Card Debt Down 4.1%
  • August - Consumer Debt Hits New All-time High
  • July - Consumers Said "Back Away from the Credit Card"
  • June - Credit Card Debt Shrank as Gas Prices Dropped
  • May - Why Credit Card Debt Rose 11.2%
  • April - Credit Card Debt Dropped
  • March - Credit Card, School Debt Up, Signaling Consumer Confidence
  • February - School Loans Up, Credit Card Debt Down
  • January - Americans Set New Record in School Loans

My Note: I have stopped here because I think you can see what is happening recently...

For the rest of this article, go to

More on Public Housing,,,and new City schemes to try and rent out some of it at market rates

Abocve: Washington Houses, which stands like a sentinel of gangs and drugs just North of Yorkville and forms in effect a wall against gentrification moving further North ( but it is skipping over the project anyway and still moving uptown).

Here is another article on the City's latest, somewhat desperate plans to try and salvage public housing..

NYCHA Wants Luxury Apartments On Parking Lots, Playgrounds

47273_421876671052_5383191_n.jpgThe struggling New York City Housing Authority unveiled a new money-making plan: build 3 million-square-feet of market rate apartments on the parking lots, playgrounds, and community centers of public housing developments. The Daily News reports that NYCHA chose eight developments in popular neighborhoods—the Upper West Side, Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan near City Hall—where they propose to build 4,330 luxury apartments to generate $50 million in lease revenue to pay for repairs to aging buildings and erase a $60 million budget gap.
The new buildings would follow the 80/20 split, with twenty percent of units reserved for families that make less than $50,000 a year. The rest would be market rate, a first for the agency, which has developed middle income buildings on NYCHA property, like the Chelsea Houses where there is an income cap of $167,000/year for families of four. At the Smith Street Houses near City Hall, NYCHA calls for building 1 million-square-feet of new apartments on top of parking lots and baseball diamonds. The tower would face away from the public housing, and it would have its own entrance on Smith Street.

Tenant groups are worried about the dynamic the new luxury housing could create in their neighborhoods, with one person going so far as to call it "a war." Councilwoman Chin said that reserving only 20 percent of the new apartments for affordable is "definitely not enough," but NYCHA maintains that they need to do this to generate as much revenue as possible. The plan already has the mayor's support. A mayoral spokesperson called it an "innovative plan to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of value will allow us to reinvest in NYCHA."
· NYCHA Set to Lease Playgrounds, Community Centers for Luxury High-Rises [NYDN]
· NYCHA coverage [Curbed]
Photo via Alfred E. Smith Houses Facebook

NYC Public Housing...So Recognizable to the Native New Yorker, and what a history--but is there a future?

When I was on the Upper East Side and In "Lenox Hill" the other day, I looked over my shoulder and realized right away I was looking at some form of public housing...just some combination of factors, they stand out to a native New Yorker ( which I am, pretty much, having lived here since 1963)...they stand out so obviously, though there are BIG differences between them and certain projects for instance.

The first one shown here is the Lenox Hill Apartments, which is next door to the very nice Lenox Hill Community House with its gym and swimming pool and other facilities. 

New York is kind of unique in the United States in the way it TRIED to build public housing on a big scale to make housing affordable to  vast numbers of people.

It has been a rough ride. This writer for New York magazine is not very optimistic about what is happening to NYCHA Housing ( acronym you will see again in this story)...

His take on it all is pretty astringent-- and here is the first part:

Asked if he’d heard of Lloyd Blankfein, the man in the Yankees cap standing by 295 Cozine Avenue in East New York muttered, “What he do?”

In the projects, when someone who looks like me comes up to you, it almost has to be bad news: a cop, a process server, a guy from the Housing Authority. But no, I explained. Blankfein was the head of Goldman Sachs. They ruled Wall Street, the Trilateral Commission too, sat at the table with the Illuminati.

“He used to live in this building,” I said.

It was so. Son of a postal clerk and a receptionist at a burglar-alarm factory, Blankfein had grown up right there, at 295 Cozine Avenue, a redbrick building more or less exactly like the other eighteen redbrick buildings at the Linden Houses. That was in the fifties and sixties, before the white people moved out of the projects and East New York became one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Still, the Goldman CEO apparently retained affection for his childhood home, once sending a post to the East New York Project, a website for people nostalgic for the days of egg creams and spaldeens. It said: “Graduate of Jefferson (’71), Gershwin (’68), P.S. 306 (’65) and the Linden Projects. Currently reside in Manhattan with wife Laura and three kids. Lloyd Blankfein”

“King of the world, right here?” the man declared. “No shit.”

My visit to the Linden Houses was part of a self-guided tour of what I’d come to call “Nychaland.” As in NYCHA, the New York City Housing Authority, a.k.a. the projects.

New York might be a city of neighborhoods, but Nychaland is a zone of its own. It is almost unthinkably huge: 334 “developments” spread from Staten Island’s Berry Houses to Throgs Neck in the Bronx—178,895 apartments in 2,602 buildings situated on an aggregate 2,486 acres, an area three times the size of Central Park. The population of Nychaland is usually cited at 400,000, but this number is universally regarded as too low, since most everyone knows someone living “off lease.” One NYCHA employee says that “600,000 is more like it.” That’s about 8 percent of New York—with 160,000 families on the waiting list. If Nychaland was a city unto itself, it would be the 21st most populous in the U.S., bigger than Boston or Seattle, twice the size of Cincinnati.
Despite these prodigious stats, the projects remain a mystery to most New Yorkers, a shadow city within the city, out of sight and mind, except when someone gets shot or falls down an elevator shaft—just these bad-news redbrick piles to whiz by on the BQE.

Indeed, perhaps Nychaland’s most compelling attribute is the fact that it exists at all. Across the U.S., public housing, condemned as a tax-draining vector of institutionalized mayhem and poverty, whipping-boy symbol of supposedly foolhardy urban policy, has largely disappeared. Chicago knocked down Cabrini-Green, St. Louis imploded Pruitt-Igoe, New Orleans flattened Lafitte after Katrina. Only in New York does public housing remain on a large scale, remnants of the days when the developments were considered a bulwark of social liberalism, a way to move up.

Not that the passage has been smooth. The eighties and early nineties were the crack era. In the South Bronx, whole families at the Mott Haven houses were addicted, parents copping behind the developments, kids in front, hiding their stash so mom and dad wouldn’t steal it. Then came the gangs, bands of territorial youths calling themselves the 40 Wolves, Gun Clapping Goonies, Broad Day Shooters, and Fuck Shit Up (FSU). Over at the Polo Grounds Towers on Coogan’s Bluff, where the Say Hey Kid once ran free, Bloods and Crips marched by windows in full colors. This was followed by the crash, a greater economic disaster at the Edenwald Houses in the Bronx than on Wall Street. Currently, 26 percent of working-age project residents are unemployed, a nearly threefold rise since 2008.

Earlier this year, after a decade of chronic underfunding from the Feds, John Rhea, NYCHA chairman, told the City Council what it already knew: Public housing was in dire straits. For years, NYCHA was considered the most successful public-housing organization in the country, a vast, unwieldy, often-complained-about bureaucracy that somehow managed to maintain at least the illusion of acceptable marginality. But now, the daily operating budget was millions in the red. With older developments like the Red Hook Houses, built in 1939 and sinking into the loam like a Mayan ruin, the capital budget shortfall—the money needed to repair the aging housing stock—exceeded $6 billion and was likely to balloon to a mind-boggling $14 billion by 2016. In the current climate, the prospect of more money from the Feds seemed remote...

There is simply too much the author goes into to post here...continue at