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3BR, Riv Vu, Dirt-Cheap, Scary . . .

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It's like they're taunting us. After enduring unconscionable rents and broker fees, Manhattanites are now forced -- via a TV commercial debuting this week on Fox -- to see how the other half lives. "Welcome to Co-op City, New York's most affordable residential community," the announcer coos, as a 30-second spot showcases tranquil shots of an immaculate basketball court, two women jogging through a pasture, a shopping center, and a tan-on-tan living room straight out of The Jeffersons. The price of a three-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot abode? Just $12,675. "Considering the real-estate market and housing shortage, we should have 100 percent occupancy," insists Steven Gold, the sales director who commissioned the ads to eliminate his 485-apartment surplus. "I'm convinced there are a lot of people who just don't look at the newspaper." The neighborhood might have something to do with it, too: Co-op City has its own gang, and in May a 65-year-old woman was beaten into a coma. "We have our own security," Gold notes, "but things happen. We're still the Bronx." Which might explain why all the ad's images -- even the skyline -- are in daylight.


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