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It Happened One Weekend: Broker Freebies Getting Cheaper, Another UES 'Madoff Mansion,' More!

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1) Back in 2005, developers handed out goodies like free Vespas to brokers and buyers and no one batted an eyelash. Nowadays, brokers can only hope to score free iPod nanos, but that's good enough to get some serious publicity. Oh, and if your broker is bugging you to check out BellTel Lofts in Downtown Brooklyn, perhaps now you know why. [Big Deal/'Why Did the Broker Cross the Bridge']

2) It was an Upper East Side dream come true: long-toiling i-banker accepts plum hedge fund gig and immediately plunks down a record amount of cash for a limestone mansion by the park. Only, the hedge fund had $7 billion invested with Bernie Madoff, which means the story does not have a happy ending. [Big Deal/'Every Man for Himself']

3) The dirty little secret about real estate blogs is finally out: they are owned and operated by tiny little floating heads affixed to computer hardware, relying on electrical current to survive. ['And the Blog Goes On']

4) Carroll Gardens got the "Living In" treatment this weekend, and it's painted as a quaint little neighborhood where the old timers mix well with the moneyed newcomers. Be prepared to stay a while. Says one broker: "Most of the homes that I sell in Carroll Gardens are estate sales. That'll tell you what it takes to get someone to leave the community." [Living In/Carroll Gardens]

5) Community boards often deal with matters of land-use, planning and design, so why aren't more architects representing their 'hoods? Probably because they're scared of the pitchfork-wielding villagers. Still, the American Institute of Architects is trying to convince its members to man up and apply for the boards. [The City/'Architects Push for Space at the Table']

6) Why is this Long Island couple shopping for teeny-tiny dirt cheap one-bedroom apartments in Bayside when they have a perfectly awesome house in East Northport complete with koi pond? Downsizing, property taxes, wanting a change?all the classic excuses are given, but the real reason comes at the end: their 25-year-old son is still living at home. [The Hunt/'The City Experiment for Long Island Hunters']