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The Top 10 Most Talked About Real Estate Stories of 2015

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It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 12th Annual Curbed Awards!

It's that time of year when we take a look back at all of the diatribes, short and pithy observations, infighting, and trolling that characterizes the Curbed NY comments section. The year in Curbed NY comments alleged a few things, amongst them that climate change is fake, 57th Street's towers are to be exalted, the city's wealth gap is intolerable, and Bjarke Ingels's World Trade Center tower is...just alright. Needless to say, it's been a strange year. Here now, the ten most commented posts of the 2015Tanay Warekar and Zoe Rosenberg

10) Future of New York City Will Be Hotter, Partially Underwater

With the city still on the mend from Hurricane Sandy, climate change has become a hot topic of conversation. The New York City Panel on Climate Change graphed some projections this year about what New York City might be like in 2050, and needless to say, they're alarming (or alarmist, according to majority of the post's 64 comments.) With temperatures expected to rise between 4.1 and 5.7 degrees, and sea levels that are expected to rise 11 to 21 inches, things just might get truly hotter and wetter in the decades to come (or not, if, you know, you don't believe in that stuff.)

9) There Aren't Enough Rich People to Fill NYC's Luxury Condos

Nothing really riles New Yorkers like the city's division of wealth. A report issued by a fellow real estate blog found that there are too many uber-pricey pads on or coming to the market in NYC in relation to those in the world who can afford them. For developers to sell all of the $30 million-plus apartments they're building in New York, 1.18 percent of the world's demi-billionaires would have to own one of these apartments. A caveat: just because someone's wealthy doesn't mean they want to buy real estate in New York. "I don't think I have ever in my career seen such a disconnect between what is desperately needed built and what is being built," real estate consultant and Curbed contributor Jonathan Miller opined. Or, as commenter Views4Days put it, "HOUSTON, we have a PROBLEM!!"

8) It's Official: NYC's Tallest Residential Tower Will Look Like This

What was once official is official no more (thanks, Extell), but that doesn't mean the interiors that have been unveiled for the city's forthcoming tallest tower are completely useless. One rendering depicts a double-height living area with expansive views of the city, but commenters weren't taken with it, "The interior rendering is mysteriously dull. For a double-height space in the stratosphere, it sure lacks any drama whatsoever..." commenter grumps writes.

7) 10 Reasons You Can't Afford To Live in New York City
The cost of living in New York City is double the national average, owing to, oh, just about everything. Parking is expensive. Groceries are expensive. A monthly Metrocard is 75-percent more expensive than the national average for public transit. Oh, and clothes, movie tickets, and gas are also more expensive here than elsewhere. Did we mention rent? Yeah, that too. "Could have just written 'everything' and called it a day." commenter TotalFecal jokes of the round-up. Touché.

6) Deadline Looms for Historic Ocean Liner's Move to Brooklyn

As the deadline approached for an iconic ocean liner to be sold for scrap, most commenters expressed nostalgia and fond memories of traveling aboard the SS United States during its active years between 1952 and 1969. "I sailed across the Atlantic on this magnificent vessel in 1953," one commenter said. "It was an adventure I will never forget.
It would be so sad to see this piece of history go to the scrap yard." But not everyone was teary eyed over plans move the ship away from its dock on the Delaware river. "Enough with the sentimental bullshit," an agitated commenter said. "There are homeless and hungry everywhere. Why do we need to spend millions to restore another nicknack?"

5) 6 Sprawling Staten Island Homes For Less Than $710,000
Staten Island always gets people riled up one way or another. And things proved to be the same when comments on a post highlighting for-sale properties on the island's north shore turned into a personal attack of sorts between pro-Staten Islanders and those against. Most commenters seemed to ignored the homes and the increasing costs in the areas, and instead made comments like "STOP PUSHING STATEN ISLAND. It's not the new Williamsburg..." but some were quick to defend their borough, and were equally acerbic in their vitriol towards other commenters. "I bet you haven't even set foot in my home borough yet you continue to bash it as you type from your rent controlled NYCHA slum and I sit back in my pool sipping my drink in my Todt Hill mansion," one resident wrote.

4) De Blasio Says New York 'Can't Be a City of Just Penthouses'
Affordable housing provisions in the city always lead to debates, but in the case of this post, commenters really got into the meat of the issue. They really zoomed in on each of the issues at stake, namely the contentious 421a tax abatement program, changing rent stabilization laws, and the mansion tax. "421-a has been an absolute disaster and the city never saw its consequences coming," one commenter said. Others criticized the plan for only feeding into the desires of developers and ignoring the middle class. "BDB wants to make it a city for people who make below $50K or above $5MM ONLY. Sounds perfect for voting blocks, but terrible for reality," one commenter opined.

3) 100-Square-Foot Upper West Side Rental Is So Sad It Hurts

Commenters chimed in 88 times to lambast this sad Upper West Side rental seeking a tenant willing to dole out $1,100/month. "It's so small, I have to go out in the hallway to change my mind," commenter adrastos jokes. " The brokerbabble was in on the fun, too. "[This apartment] is so small there's a bumper on the front door to keep it from hitting the back wall," the listing read. The shock and awe stirred up by the listing itself can only be matched by the shock and awe felt when someone actually moved into this place, then gave us all a, er, tour.

2) How Much Is the Rent For Your New York City Apartment?
There are four bits of informations New Yorkers exchange upon meeting each other: name, job, neighborhood they live in, and inevitably, their rent. It is a phenomenon unique to New York City, and one people love to talk about. This year's second most-commented post concerned just that. Over 100 people turned out to share their rent in a Friday Open Thread. Some boasted ("$675 for my bedroom in a 4-bedroom apt in East Harlem. Rent-stabilized unicorn!"), others cowered ("$3,000 (not rounded) in FiDi for a 585 sq. ft 1 BR in a "luxury" bldg. Went up $250 last yr...ugghh. Gotta get looking for rent stabilized..."), and a few called it like they see it ("To state the obvious, most of these rents are wildly unrealistic for anyone signing a new lease today.")

1) The Final World Trade Center Tower's New Design, Revealed!

When Bjarke Ingels's design for 2 World Trade Center was revealed in June, New York had been waiting 14 years to see what the final piece of the redevelopment's puzzle would look like. Coupled with the emotional attachment New Yorkers, and the rest of the world, have to this project, strong reactions to it were a given. Actually, strong is an understatement. Bjarke Ingels's design was clobbered by most commenters, who largely favored the site's original Norman Foster design. "I am hoping this a joke. If it is not, it is a nightmare," one commenter rued. The best anyone could say about it was, "It's OK, but the cantilevers are one gimmick too many."

· Curbed Awards 2015 [Curbed]
· The 10 Most Controversial Real Estate Stories of 2014 [Curbed]
· The Top 10 Most Talked About Real Estate Stories of 2013 [Curbed]

2 World Trade Center

200 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007