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In Which Park Avenue Below 59th Street Isn't "Really" Park Avenue

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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.

Lee Zegar really took her time when deciding renting was behind her and it was time to buy. In fact, she had been renting a studio at Park Avenue and 37th Street for 45 years. At the ripe age of 80, she decided she was done with the cramped studio and needed more space. The hunt for a one-bedroom was on and nothing could stop her! Except for location, which had to be pretty close to where she was living. Also, not below 34th Street. It's just too commercial down there. You can guess the rest of this happy little hunt, and she found a place on Madison Avenue, picking it up for $675,000 and she couldn't be happier (except for minor renovations, that is).

Now we want to get to something that stood out to us. When talking about where she lives, Lee said “when people asked me where I lived, I would say 37th Street..I felt funny saying Park Avenue, I don’t know why. ” Is the status gap between north and south of 59th Street so great that uttering a Park Avenue address should elicit such guilt? Or is it just Lee being sensitive to what could be seen as a boast? Locals care to opine?

Ms. Zegar guessed a one-bedroom would cost around $700,000. She had been socking her money away all her life, and now was the time to spend it. At 80 Park Avenue, a postwar condominium, two one-bedrooms were for sale in the $700,000 range. But Ms. Zegar was not keen on the small, windowless kitchens.

A co-op on Park Avenue South, near 30th Street, was “the big trip out of the neighborhood,” Ms. Davis said. But Ms. Zegar found Park below 34th Street to be too commercial

The apartment she liked best was at John Murray House at 220 Madison Avenue, a 15-story doorman co-op that opened in 1941 a block from her old place. A one-bedroom in excellent condition, it had a large bedroom, a large living room and an extra, windowless room. The listing price was $685,000. By afternoon, she had decided to make an offer.
She bought the apartment last December for $675,000.
Her old studio was renovated and listed for $525,000. Ms. Zegar couldn’t resist attending the open house. Empty, it looked especially small. (The price dropped, and it is now in contract for $395,000

· The Now-or-Never Apartment [NYT]