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Getting Chummy With Neighbors; Longing For a Garbage Disposal

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment, figuring out along the way what the subtext of each story tells us about the state of the NYC real estate market using our bona fide Market Point system.

1.) New Yorkers are known to be a somewhat surly bunch, but many of us can agree that such a reputation is hardly deserved. For those of us sociable denizens of our fair city, more and more apartment buildings are housing not only neighbors but friends.

-"A year and a half ago, Ms. Jones bought a condominium at 475 Sterling Place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and to her surprise, she has made good friends of the denizens of three separate apartments. On this particular late summer evening, she was mingling with a few dozen residents at a party on a terrace off the top floor." -"The Corcoran Group recently polled visitors to its Web site about whether they socialize with their apartment-building neighbors. Nearly two-thirds — 65 percent — said they did not.But that leaves the 35 percent of the respondents who said yes, they did socialize with their neighbors."

-"Another luxury rental, Ohm in Chelsea, has open-mic nights, and recently entered into a partnership with the Knitting Factory, a club in Brooklyn, to offer a private concert series with indie artists in the building."

-"Two big ones, says Karin Posvar Picket, a senior vice president of Corcoran, are children and dogs."

-"Of course, not everyone is social, even in a social building. Children and dogs, for instance, are not considered adorable by people who dislike the noise they make. Others might be too busy to add building bashes to their list of things to do."

Even with these sour-pusses, such neighborly love can do nothing but reflect on the often not-so-nice seeming real estate market. +3 MP for the win!

The Social Building

2.) The Hunt featured Stephanie Bierlein, a transplant from the Hollywood Hills who was looking to settle down in Chelsea. Two of her biggest hurdles? Somewhere that would fit her 10 foot long L shaped sofa and her love for garbage disposals.

-"Last fall Ms. Bierlein, who was working in the restaurant field, embarked upon a hunt for a newly built or newly renovated two-bedroom two-bath condominium in a doorman building, preferably somewhere in the Flatiron district or Chelsea. Her budget was up to $1.5 million." -“I told her to give up all hopes and dreams of a garbage disposal”

-“There is always going to be a tradeoff,” she said. “I wrestled with, ‘Do I want a smaller unit and a view, or a bigger unit with no view?’ ”
Her decision: “I preferred to have wall space for my art than walls of windows looking out on the skyline,” she said. “It was an interesting process to prioritize.”

-"She was captivated by the grandeur of the 1887 O’Neill building, once the Hugh O’Neill dry goods store, at 655 Sixth Avenue. During its recent conversion to a condominium, its two golden beehive domes were rebuilt. A unit there, a one-bedroom with a very small office, was listed for $1.295 million, with monthly charges approaching $2,400.
Ms. Bierlein entered the kitchen “and let out a shriek like something terrible happened, like a rat ran across the floor,” Ms. Brownell said. It was a cry of delight: The place had a garbage disposal!
She offered around $1.26 million. But another offer was accepted; the apartment later closed for $1.27 million."

-"By now she had sold her house in California, for about $1.62 million, less than she had hoped. She briefly considered renting until she realized that the rentals she liked cost over $6,000 a month."

-"Prices had fallen at the doorman building amid sluggish sales. A two-bedroom two-bath, with around 1,225 square feet, was listed at $1.495 million. Though the living and dining areas were relatively small, “the master bedroom is quite large by New York standards, though not necessarily large by my standards,” she said. The place looked out upon an interior deck with some potted plants. Monthly charges were just over $2,000.
The storage unit, bright and carpeted, was on her floor. “It’s not a cage in the basement,” she said. “That was a big selling point.”
She listed the pros and cons for the Chelsea Mercantile and the Cammeyer, both of which had garbage disposals. The Cammeyer won."

No mention of Selling New York in her decision to buy at The Cammeyer, but who cares the place has a freaking garbage disposal! Sadly, the sofa had to be left behind. R.I.P Big L. This one is a toughie in regards to the scales of Market Points, but given that all's well that ends well, +2 MP.

A Wish List Honed in a House