Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...
1) History Lessons
A few months ago, Sutton Place's River House made news by closing down the longstanding and posh River Club to make way for a $130 million apartment. But did you know that its neighbor, the pre-war Campanile at 450 East 52nd Street, once housed a private yacht club?
The Campanile opened in 1926, before the construction of the FDR Drive made mooring a boat outside the building impossible. It offered eight duplex apartments of 12 to 15 rooms each, with prices ranging from $50,000 to $72,000 (adjusted for inflation, that's still ridiculously inexpensive, coming in at well under a million bucks). The yacht club itself allowed Campanile residents "to wake up in their Long Island country houses, step onto their yachts in their dressing gowns and arrive in New York, showered, dressed and breakfasted." However, the good times didn't last and the club closed in 1935, only to be converted into apartments. ["East River Views, Boat Parking, Bar on Premises"]
2) Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality
The Hunters: a couple looking to buy a brownstone in Brooklyn
Reality: Crown Heights
Dream: Brownstone, original details, near A/C train, fixer-upper
Reality: fixer-upper, bay windows, high ceilings, near A/C
This young couple decided it was time to buy a brownstone in Bed-Stuy, refusing to even consider an apartment. After looking around the neighborhood and doing a ton of research and coming up empty handed, they decided to expand their search to include other parts of Brooklyn. They eventually found a real fixer-upper in Crown Heights classified as an SRO dwelling. They ended up paying $950,000 for it, well over their initial $600,000 budget, but given the changing neighborhood and the fact that they've apparently been fielding constant solicitations from developers interested in buying, it seems like they're pretty happy with their investment. [The Hunt/"In Crown Heights, a Victory Over Sharp Elbows"]