Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...
1) Rich people. What are they spending millions of dollars on? What are they complaining about? This is What's Up With Rich People?
Real estate people have long twisted words to their own devices, but this is getting a little ridiculous: developers are now taking expensive (but otherwise, mostly unremarkable) lower-level apartments in luxury condos and calling them mansions. New York City, everybody.
An extensive article in the Times details the trend, and it's full of phrases like "enhanced lifestyle component" and funny/exhausting arguments over mansion semantics. Traditionalists turn their noses up at such gaucherie, while developers leap through hoops trying to claim that the whole campaign isn't just a cheap marketing ploy, but a practical necessity. In other words, the condos are just too luxurious and there's literally no other word in the English language that can effectively convey how luxurious they really are. Seriously, you guys, stop laughing!
There's also this gem of a quote from art collector/putz, Alberto Mugrabi: "When I think of mansions . . . I think of the Frick, or a humongous house on the Upper East Side. I guess I'm going to have one of my own downtown, but I probably won't call it my mansion. I'll call it home. Or my pied-à-terre, ha-ha." Ha-ha, indeed. ["Call Me 'Mansion'"]
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 Hunter: a lady and her dog
Dream: up to $1 million
Dream: Upper West Side
Reality: Carnegie Hill
Dream: prewar, space, pet-friendly
Reality: prewar, space, pet-friendly, boring neighborhood, needs heavy reno
This week, the Hunters are a lady named Christina Giannini and her amazing dog, Louis, looking to buy. For a while, she rented in New York by Gehry, living in a 700-square-foot one-bedroom for $5,000 a month, but she decided to move after Hurricane Sandy (she lived on the 42nd floor—yikes). After looking at a bunch of prewar apartments on the Upper West Side, she moved on the Upper East Side, finally settling on a two-bedroom in Carnegie Hill for $980,000 ($1,900 in monthly fees). That price, coupled with the terrible state of the apartment (it needs heavy renovation), and various neighborhood problems she's started to notice, suggests that she isn't very happy with her purchase. But, like most Hunters dealing with an implicit case of buyers' remorse, Christina is forcing a smile. "I need to work on all this stuff," she says. "It is always an adjustment — you get a little bit of anxiety. I am living in the mess right now. I am trying to be patient, because I know my apartment is going to be really nice. But it takes some time." Good luck, Christina! [The Hunt/"In Carnegie Hill, a Not-So-New Low-Rise"]