The Open-House Log

(Photographs by Donald Bowers)

Open House No. 1
135 West 70th Street, Apartment 2B.
$1.58 million.
Brokers: Jeffrey Rowe and Ellen Simon, Bellmarc.

Who: Tiffany Matheny, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy broker, and her mother, Joyce, visiting from Virginia.
What are you shopping for?
Joyce: I’m looking for a pied-à-terre, a two-bedroom. We’ll go as high as $2 million. And there’ll be space for my daughter to store her clothes. Tiffany: She’s a nice mom.
What do you think?
Joyce: It feels less like an apartment and more like a house. Tiffany: She won’t consider new construction. Most of the new buildings are way over on First or Ninth Avenue, and she wants to be central.

Who: Tom and Monique Stern, retirees.
What are you shopping for? Tom: We used to have a home in Riverdale. We sold it and went to France, where Monique is from. We want 1,200 square feet and a doorman. And I need an office. Monique: I like a nice kitchen. In New York that’s hard to find.
What do you think?
Monique: This apartment could be priced lower. It’s very nice but it looks onto another apartment—you need to have the lights on all the time. Tom: I’m holding my breath for the real-estate market to crash.

Who: Rick Ho, banker, and Ting-ting Yang.
What are you shopping for? Ting-ting: We want the Upper West Side. [To Rick] Tell them why. Rick: It’s because of You’ve Got Mail. Ting-ting [laughing]: I wasn’t living in New York—it made the area look so romantic.
What do you think?
Ting-ting: It’s a great location, close to Fairway and Whole Foods. Rick: We both grew up in big cities, so we like to be near everything. Ting-ting: You can fit a grand piano in here—we both play.

Open House No. 2
790 Riverside Drive, near 156th Street, Apartment 8C.
Broker: Edward F. Johnston III, Brown Harris Stevens.

Who: Justin Lynch, lawyer.
What are you shopping for? My parents own the apartment downstairs that I live in. They want a room, not a couch, when they visit. [Our search] has been two years, on and off. We haven’t decided on the price.
What do you think?
It’s nicer than mine—maybe I can move up here and my parents can take the other apartment! I would prefer downtown, but it’s their money.

Who: Kim Lane, lawyer.
What are you shopping for? I’m not really looking. I know the owner—she’s got fabulous taste. She and I travel in the same social circles. I live on the East Side and I’m looking at the neighborhood.
What do you think?
I just love the kitchen—it doesn’t look like something you have to cover up. I don’t cook. I don’t want to cook. It’s brilliant for New York. Most of the things out there are junky—what you find sometimes is that people have so tastelessly renovated and added that to the price.

Who: Jacqueline Jenkins, works in corporate finance.
What are you shopping for? Open space, anywhere between 120th and 155th Streets. I live in the neighborhood—I’m renting.
What do you think?
This is my fourth apartment today—you don’t see kitchens like that often. The prices can be shocking, but I’m working through it with lots of ginger tea.

Open House No. 3
60 Pineapple Street, Apartment 3I, Brooklyn Heights.
$1.1 million.
Brokers: Linda Wolff and Deanna Bowman, Corcoran.

Who: Eric Bacolas, ad-agency human-resources director, and his boyfriend, Michael Bonomo, interior designer, joined by Elise Bacolas and her girlfriend, Jenna Glazer.
What are you shopping for? Elise: We’re not looking—we just bought in the building, and we’re trying to get [the guys] to move here. Michael: I was opposed until last week, and then I got out of the car in Dumbo and thought, I could move here. Eric: To come back to Brooklyn where I grew up—you don’t want to be bridge-and-tunnel again.
What do you think?
Eric: The sliding door is brilliant. But we have twelve-foot ceilings and outdoor space. It’ll be hard to live up to. Michael: We have a lot of back-and-forth going on right now. But that’s kind of our relationship.

Who: Doreen Cronin, children’s author (Click, Clack, Moo), Andrew Gottesman, lawyer, and their daughter, Julia.
What are you shopping for? Doreen: We rent on the Upper West Side. Last week, we visited my friend in the suburbs, and it was beautiful. But I can’t do it. Andrew: We’re more inclined to buy in Brooklyn.
What do you think?
Doreen: Our kitchen now is the size of this dining table. We went to an open house months ago on West 114th Street. They got fifteen offers, and it wasn’t even a great apartment. Andrew: That’s when we said, “We’re taking a break.” Now we want to get back in—the market has leveled some.

The Open-House Log