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OpenHouse NYC: Artists And Upscale Condos in Symbiosis?

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In the most recent edition of New York's collaboration with OpenHouse NYC, S. Jhoanna Robledo reports on the growing partnerships between artists and the owners of residential buildings hoping to nurture creativity and awareness. "Hopefully the artists will sell some work and the owners will sell some condos," explains curator Danny Simmons. Click above to see the video, and witness how once again, your building isn't as cool as the ones on TV. OpenHouse NYC: Artists and Condos [NYM Video]

Video: Take a Walk Through 40 Bond

40 Bond
Ian Schrager’s 40 Bond has barely opened, and already someone wants to sell. New York’s S. Jhoanna Robledo takes you inside a $3.6 million apartment at 40 Bond that’s on the market. Prospective buyers, keep in mind that most other owners at 40 Bond have their own plane. However, you will have access to common spaces clad in cedar and the graffiti-inspired façade that is both beloved and loathed. And if you need dinner, you can get room service from the Gramercy Park Hotel. This apartment is actually starting to sound like a steal. Video: Inside 40 Bond

Open House Video: A Two-Bedroom in Hell's Kitchen

Open House
An open house is not only a chance to tour your potential new home, it’s also an opportunity to be nosy without consequence. You can judge others’ decorating schemes and feel out your competition by eavesdropping on other wannabe buyers. Last weekend, New York real-estate writer S. Jhoanna Robledo attended an open house at 400 West 58th Street, and our camera went along. The two-bedroom co-op was listed at $999,000, and several hopefuls checked it out. Meet the Greenwich newlyweds who “want a footprint in the city”; the dog owners who’ve been looking for a year; and the young couple somewhat suspicious of a two-bedroom under the $1 million mark. So did anyone buy? Corcoran broker Jeffery Sholeen tells us that the owners have “accepted a bid” but declined to I.D. the buyer or the price. What would you offer? Watch the video and start calculating. Open House Log: Hell's Kitchen [Video]

Savor Old Chelsea's Past, If Not the Prices

Cheap Chelsea apartments pretty much have gone extinct, with developers churning out new buildings and turning warehouses into condos. (The High Line's arrival will likely zoom prices further into the stratosphere.) But the newly arrived glitz and gloss — even the Chelsea Hotel's being fancified — and the long-established retail rows (Container Store, anyone?) can sometimes obscure the neighborhood's charms. That includes a historic center with townhouses rivaling other neighborhoods' brownstones and one of the world's biggest — at the time it was built, anyway — mega-apartment buildings, London Terrace. And don't forget a gallery scene that continues to thrive. To get a better feel for Chelsea, stop by this weekend's open houses, listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Look Past Retail on the Upper West Side

Haters will complain that this neighborhood has turned into a mall, and they're not that wrong. Broadway's dominated by Circuit City, P.C. Richards, Victoria's Secret, and Gap, among other chain retailers. But no matter how shopped out the main thoroughfare has become, there's no denying the singularly New York charm of this section of the Upper West Side. Sandwiched between Central Park and Riverside Park, it doesn't lack in green space and playgrounds. Columbus Avenue still retains that mom-and-pop flair (fossil store Maxilla & Mandible survives against all retail odds), the public schools are excellent, and of course, there's the enviable (and expensive!) housing stock: blocks of magnificent brownstones and prewar co-ops with canopied entrances. Traipse through them at open houses in the coming week, listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Williamsburg, Somehow, Still in Demand

Williamsburg may be a punch line for numerous hipster jokes, but there's no denying how popular it is. And who can blame the hordes, given the genuinely artsy vibe, amazing views — though there's more development coming to the waterfront — and proximity to the city? Gentrification has left its mark here, mostly in the form of new construction condos and upscale boîtes and boutiques, ironic considering the area once was a haven for artists who'd escaped here from fancified Manhattan neighborhoods. (In an odd twist, Galapagos, a premier art space, recently announced that it's moving to Dumbo, of all places, because it "simply can't afford to remain in Williamsburg.") Now apartments are commanding Manhattan prices, anti-development locals are seething, and Williamsburg converts keep on a-coming. See for yourself what's luring them at this weekend's open houses, listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

South Harlem Still Attainable, For Now

The rumors of a Donald Trump condo in South Harlem have been quashed for now, but that doesn't mean prices will relax. There's already enough going on here to keep the market thriving: parks that hug the southern and western perimeters, handsome with spiffed-up conversions (and yes, condos, too), and jazz joints like Minton's still nurturing the soul. Plus, restaurants and stores have sprouted everywhere, many on Frederick Douglass Boulevard (a.k.a. Eighth Avenue), so it's no longer the service-starved Siberia it once was. Because of the changes, asking prices have spiked — according to appraiser Jonathan Miller's data, Harlem (and East Harlem) saw the biggest jump in price per square foot from 2005 to 2006. But with apartments still available for much less than what you'd pay fifteen blocks south, it's still a viable option for anyone edged out of the Upper East or Upper West Side. How long will that last? It may be only a matter of time — Trump or no Trump — before prices turn ridiculous. After the jump, a list of open houses in the neighborhood. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

For the Classic Loft, Try Noho

Sandwiched between the West and East Village (at least according to the Noho NY Business Improvement District, though it's been creeping south into Chinatown), this neighborhood, especially its historic heart, grows more coveted everyday. Translation: It's expensive. To live in any of the cast-iron, brick, and limestone buildings on streets serviced by funky and increasingly upscale purveyors, you'll easily pay $1,000 per square foot. (More to set foot in Ian Schrager's 40 Bond.) Still, newcomers continue to make the real-estate pilgrimage, especially those seeking a classic loft (though new-construction condominiums have made their presence felt, especially on Bond Street). For more information, visit Noho Manhattan, a Website run by loyal locals, or stop in at open houses this weekend. You'll find a list after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

No Trust Fund Required in Bed-Stuy

Townhouse types searching for the Holy Grail — anything with period details intact for less than a million — long ago crossed Harlem off their list. In many parts of Brooklyn, like Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights, they're virtually extinct. Fortunately, there's still Bed-Stuy, where row upon row of brownstone beauties still exist, many still decently priced (i.e., not requiring trust funds). Decades ago, this neighborhood, the former stomping grounds of Chris Rock, Jay-Z, and Richie Havens, was blighted by violent crime, poverty, and drugs. Like everywhere else in the borough, gentrification swept through, driving some old-timers away. But many locals remained, working to keep interloping developers and their condo fever at bay and pledging to retain Bed-Stuy's architectural magnificence and cultural diversity. (Landmarking saved swaths of homes from the wrecking ball.) See for yourself at this weekend's open houses, listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

The Upper East Side by Any Other Name...

This chunk of the 70s east of Third Avenue doesn't have a moniker like other parts of the Upper East Side. It's not close-knit Yorkville due north, nor exclusive Carnegie Hill to the northwest. Since it's east of Lexington, it doesn't get the ultra-exclusive Gold Coast label, and even the eastern border of Lenox Hill is still disputed. But who needs a nickname, anyway? Convenient to transportation (buses on Second Avenue, subway on Lex), but not so expensive as to be unreachable, this area has everything from prewar co-ops to postwar condos to new construction, along with all the retail establishments you'll need, from grocery stores to nail salons and the ubiquitous bank branches. See for yourself this weekend. After the jump, a list of properties hosting open houses. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Staten Island: Look to the Harbor for Value and Space

An honest-to-goodness Colonial with clapboard siding isn't something you see every day in Manhattan or Brooklyn. But Staten Island isn't like the other boroughs. Perhaps by virtue of its isolation, it has managed to retain a decidedly suburban vibe. Working Girl notwithstanding, Hollywood production companies eager to replicate a small-town feel without having to invade one have been known to shoot there instead. (See Richard Dreyfus's The Education of Max Bickford) Critics belittle Staten Island for being so different — too different? — from the city, but fans of the hushed streets and verdant corners say that's precisely why they love it. Prodigal-borough status aside (the name of a local blog of course), Staten Island has much to offer buyers. First, many of the spaces are huge, as in four to six bedrooms. Plus, they're shockingly affordable; with one exception, all the properties listed below are priced at under a million. The open houses listed after the jump are in the northwest neighborhood of Mariners Harbor or the North Shore itself, which means you won't be too far deep in the heart of the island. Not that there's anything wrong with that. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Treat Mom to an Apartment Near Stuyvesant Square

Sunday is Mother's Day, which means restaurants teeming with brunching families and, yes, fewer open houses. But if a new home is on your gift list, what better way to spend the day than being on the hunt? (Anyway, who needs another brooch or — shudder — lotion set?) These apartments are all within walking distance of historic Stuyvesant Square Park on 15th Street near Rutherford Place, a patch of green that's fenced, like Gramercy Park due north, only you don't need that infernally hard-to-get key to gain entry. The area, named after Peter Stuyvesant, has stellar schools (private and public) and an easygoing flair that recalls the Village pre-fancification. Lately, though, it has seen its profile rise alongside that of nearby Union Square and the East Village. Still, Stuyvesant Square retains a glimmer of its underappreciated and, consequently, still neighborhood-y vibe. Some would say the real estate's still affordable, too, though it's far from cheap. But then again, maybe you should decide for yourself. After the jump, a list of open houses scheduled for Sunday, mothers be darned. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Find a Home for Life in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Even in Brooklyn, finding a house for around a million or — dare you dream? — less is a near impossible feat, especially a house near a park that may even have a backyard. But in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and nearby Prospect Lefferts, it's still a possibility. These still-underestimated and, some would say, undervalued neighborhoods are a treasure trove of houses (and some co-ops) that run the gamut from graciously renovated Georgian townhouses to noble Tudors to sturdy brick two-families needing some love. Some have details like turned banisters and butler's pantries intact, and nearly all are an easy stroll away from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, and, hence the name, Prospect Park. Homeowners, once bitten, tend to be smitten for life, so there aren't always that many properties on the market (though this hasn't prevented Manhattanites from invading the territory, a phenomenon we've covered before). For a peek at what life would be like in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, check out the requisite neighborhood blog Planet PLG or, better yet, stop by this weekend and hit the open houses listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Tribeca: Go for the Movies, Stay for the Lofts

Let the cinéastes take over the Tribeca Film Festival. It means less crowded open houses for you this weekend. Not that there won't be enough competition: Tribeca, after all, is one of Manhattan's best-loved — and most expensive — neighborhoods. The quiet remove, great restaurants, stellar public schools, surprisingly family-friendly vibe, and charming local shops are all good reasons to move here. But what attracts buyers most is the housing stock — row upon row of warehouses refashioned into condos and co-ops filled with high-ceilinged lofts. (There's new construction, too.) No wonder Tribeca's the neighborhood of choice for the glitterati (James Gandolfini, Meryl Streep, and, of course, its biggest booster, Robert De Niro, call it home). There's plenty of room for plebes, too, though the good life doesn't come cheap. After the jump, a list of properties to view this weekend. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Take In the Views, If Not the Groceries, in Long Island City

It's been "up-and-coming" for years, but now Long Island City — once too gritty, too industrial — may finally have reached its tipping point. Condos are sprouting every which way, and streams of newcomers are "discovering" it. Not that it doesn't deserve all the attention: Long Island City been undercover and underappreciated despite amazing views, proximity to midtown Manhattan, decent transportation options, galleries (the Space, Art-o-Mat), and cultural entities (P.S. 1, Socrates Sculpture Park, Museum of the Moving Image, Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, and even Silvercup Studios, where The Sopranos and Sex and the City were filmed). What's missing is a convenient big grocery store, leaving pioneers to the whims of FreshDirect. Buzz or not, it's best to check it out yourself. After the jump is a list of open houses scheduled in the next week. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Paying Today's Prices for Yesterday's West Village

Is there a more magical place downtown than the West Village? The brick-fronted townhouses, the canopied stores and bistros, the angular streets — it all makes for a surprisingly serene setting. (Just beware the tourists lined up for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery.) Unlike many others in the city, this neighborhood has managed to cling to its history, despite the additions of luxury condos like One Morton Square and Richard Meier's glass trilogy. (It's landmarked in large swaths, which helps.) More change is in the offing when the High Line redevelopment gets going, but with so many diehards playing guardian to the past, the West Village won't change much more. At least not without a fight. Still, it's hard to argue with old-timers when they mourn for the old days — there's little place for bohemia now that it's become one of the most expensive places in the city. After the jump, a guide to this weekend's open houses. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Inside a West Village Townhouse

727 Washington St.
The West Village townhouse at 727 Washington Street features three bedrooms, a gallery, and its own reflecting pool. Join New York's S. Jhoanna Robledo on a video tour of this $15.9 million home, owned by fashion designer Richard Tyler and his wife, Lisa Trafficante. The couple likes to switch locations every five years, but why abandon a retractable glass roof that almost lets the garden into the house? It's worth sticking around, even when people wander in off the street for a closer look. Watch the video. [NYM]

In Brooklyn Heights, the Muse Will Cost You

Agreed: Williamsburg's hipper, Dumbo's artsier, and Park Slope has better schools (just watch where you park those strollers). But Brooklyn Heights loyalists maintain it's still the most enchanting spot in the borough. So many exquisite townhomes line its streets, the phrase "brownstone Brooklyn" was probably coined specifically for the neighborhood. (Nearly the whole area is protected as a historic district by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.) In the past, writers have descended here seeking their muse — Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, and Norman Mailer all called it home — lured by the quiet and remove. But literary types still seeking glory couldn't afford it now: It's easily one of the priciest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with some houses as expensive as anything you'll find in Manhattan. Apparently, all that beauty and history — the view from the promenade! Those cobblestone streets! — don't come cheap. Still interested? Easter weekend means limited appointments, but plan a walk through the neighborhood after brunch. Find a new home after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Move to Union Square, and Everything's at Your Doorstep

Peace and quiet far from the maddening crowd — who needs that? For some, being right in the heart of everything is precisely the point of living in Manhattan. In Union Square, going shopping — and we mean shopping — requires just walking out your building's front door. You'll never want for great dining (Union Square Café, Eleven Madison Park, Tocqueville), and if you're inspired to cook, the Greenmarket — with its fresh-baked breads, biodynamic yogurt and cheese, and organic greens — is open four days a week. Housing in the immediate vicinity is made up mostly of prewars and tenement-style buildings, but, like everywhere else in the city, new-construction condos are inevitably available, too. After the jump, a list of open houses to squeeze into your schedule this weekend — that is, if there's still time after model-watching at Coffee Shop, kohlrabi-haggling at the market, and denim-shopping at Diesel. —S. Jhoanna Robledo