Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods’ Category

Top NYC Neighborhoods for 2013 Real Estate Investment

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Wondering where you should spend your real estate dollar in 2013? We asked our agents to pick out the neighborhoods that they felt were going to be hot in the coming year and got a wide range of answers. While our top picks aren’t necessarily hidden gems or NYC bargain neighborhoods (as if!), they are areas where home buyers are likely to see a strong return on their investment while enjoying a high quality of life. Whether it’s ease of commute, great schools, trendy nightlife, fine dining or open space, there’s something for everyone in our list of top  NYC neighborhoods for 2013 real estate investment. (more…)

All Manhattan, Except the Financial District

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

As a real estate agent, I often hear from my buyers that they are interested in all Manhattan neighborhoods EXCEPT the Financial District. Why exclude it I ask? Their reply is the usual… “Well…there’s no night life…there’s no shopping….too many suits… it’s not trendy…there aren’t any good places to eat…too many young kids…. too many old kids. It’s…well… just too boring! Get the picture?”

Listen to me buyers: within the next five years, we will witness a drastic change in the Financial District (in a good way) and it’s surrounding areas. Mark my words and let me explain why.

The East Village – A Love Story

Monday, November 12th, 2012

My first New York City apartment was on 2nd avenue and 9th street before all the luxury apartments went up. I lived there because it was cheap Manhattan. It was described as a two bedroom but the second bedroom, my bedroom, was a closet with a closet.
The floors sloped severely towards the bathroom and when Starbucks moved out of the downstairs commercial space, we acquired a resident mouse.

My rental was dark and small but it didn’t matter because once I left my prewar, 450 square foot, two bedroom apartment, I was in walking distance to the hats, gloves and wigs on St. Marks, cheap food, a jazz trio at Louis, a Nirvana cover band at Sidewalk. My apartment was for sleeping. My neighborhood was for living.

Since then, I’ve lived in New Jersey, other parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn but always found my way back to the East Village.

When it came time to buy, I did my due diligence and looked everywhere I found palatable within my budget. But I knew where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to own a part of east downtown and now, I do.

Location, Location, Location

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Location, location, location.

Why bother living downtown? As my first Real Estate broker assured me, if you really like a neighborhood that you don’t live in, you can always take a $10 cab ride and you’ll be there in five minutes. Right?


The truth is that if you live in the Upper East Side, you live on the Upper East Side. After a long day at work, you’re not going to hop into a cab, navigate traffic, and go to the local bistro at the corner of Thompson and Grand. Shopping, dining, and bar hopping will, more often than not, happen within ten blocks of where you live. To think otherwise is naïve. And for a lot of folks, that’s just great. But there’s a reason why people pay big premiums to live downtown.

Case in point: I live in the northwestern SoHo. It isn’t cheap, but it’s s-o-o-o-o-o-o worth it. Steps away from Raoul’s,  Mercer Kitchen, Blue Ribbon, Lure Fish Bar, and Aqua Grill. Bars? How about Pravda, Merc Bar, Café Noir, Macao and 60 Thom, to name just a few. Shopping? Like Fifth Avenue, but cooler.

And what about the living space? No cookie cutter floor plans here. No way. You get genuine authentic cast iron buildings pre-dating 1900: Open floor space, high ceilings, and rarely more than six stories. I live in a loft built in 1850. It has 20-foot ceilings, a 14-foot window, and walls so thick that I never hear my neighbors. Try finding that uptown.

My advice? Pay the premium and be a downtowner. It’s worth it.

image courtesy adamina

Don’t Know Lenox Hill From Lenox China?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Robert Lenox was an immigrant Scottish merchant, (1759-1839) who owned a large farm on the Upper East Side. When he bequeathed it to his son, James Lenox, his son divided the land into lots and sold them during the 1860s and ’70s. One of the lots on Fifth Avenue was allotted for the The Lenox Library, now known as the Frick Museum, which houses some of the world’s finest art works on the Upper East Side on 70th Street and 5th Avenue, while another lot was donated for the Union Theological Seminary.
Lenox Hill is the area that now ranges from East 72nd Street to East 59th Street. The neighborhood assumed the name after the German Hospital was renamed Lenox Hill Hospital as a way to acknowledge the legacy of the Lenox family and distinguish the area from Murray Hill.

Walter Scott Lenox, on the other hand, was from Trenton, New Jersey. In 1889 he founded Lenox China, a company that would come to elevate ceramic art and porcelain in the U. S. Thanks to Walter, porcelain tableware came to adorn state functions hosted by presidents and diplomats. By 1897, examples of Lenox’s work were included in the Smithsonian Institution and by the early 1900’s, Lenox china became the first American china to be commissioned by President Wilson and the First Lady. Lenox china still exudes quiet elegance and like Lenox Hill, a Zen timelessness that can be appreciated by the trendy and the traditional types that now reside at Lenox Hill.

Image via Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Downtown Storage Solutions

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

How often does Leia Furer need her pirate costume?
There are only two valid reasons to wear a pirate outfit: Halloween, and hijacking sailing ships. In other words, a pirate outfit is something you’ll probably only be wearing three or four times a year. But what to do with the outfit during the off-season? The feathered hat; the scimitar; the puffy shirt, all the plunder you amassed from your last pirate mission—it all takes up closet space. But you’re a downtowner. You live a sardine-packed existence…

You need extra storage space.

X marks the spot! Not one block a way from our apartment we found not one, but two Manhattan Mini Storage locations.

So we made enquiries. In fact, we did more than that—we are now the proud renters of a 4′ by 4′ by 5′ storage compartment. The cost? $60/month. Worth it? You bet! We couldn’t part with hundreds of books, or ski gear, or the Oscar trophy, or—how could we forget—the bomb defusing equipment. But with the high cost of real estate south of 14th street it just doesn’t make sense to pay for more square footage to house inanimate objects. The best part of the deal is that Manhattan Mini Storage will help to move your precious storables to and from their facility at no extra charge, saving you money and hassle.

We were relieved after having stored our sundry paraphernalia, as you can see.

Manhattan Mini Storage: Check them out here.

The Best Manhattans in Manhattan

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Around Town” is a new series of posts written by RealDirect Neighborhood Guides who wish to share the best places, sights, flavors and experiences NYC has to offer.

You’re thirsty. Not the kind of thirst you feel after jogging five miles, and certainly not the thirst you have after a hot summer day on the porch, rocking on grandpa’s chair. After all, you can’t live by hydration alone. You have other needs.


Not cosmopolitans. Not screwdrivers. Not spritzers. Why mask it? Hell no—embrace it! And if there was one cocktail in the world that thumps on its chest and says, “I am booze—hear me roar!” it has to be the Manhattan who, like a good friend, is readily available, always dependable, and let’s face it: makes you feel good about yourself. (more…)

Kids in the City – Raising a Family Without the White Picket Fence

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

According to 2010 Census Bureau data, 6.3% of New York City residents are children under age five. That means that more than 1 in every 20 people living in the city is a young child. Families that in the past would have chosen to move to the suburbs to raise their children are deciding with ever increasing frequency to stay in New York City. Apartments in the city are notoriously small and lacking in outdoor space. So, how are families managing to live and even thrive without the suburban yard with a white picket fence? (more…)

New York City Neighborhoods – Murray Hill

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Murray Hill, located between 34th and 40th and ranging from Fifth Avenue to the East River, is a residential neighborhood on Manhattan’s East Side which is currently more affordable than many trendier areas. Apartment buildings are abundant, with side streets offering attractive townhouses. Due to proximity to UN Headquarters, many countries operate their embassies or consulates in Murray Hill’s historic mansions.

Though considered largely a residential area, Murray Hill does offer a large number of restaurants and ample opportunity for nightlife, as well as some of the world’s finest shopping along Fifth Avenue.

With subway service to the area currently limited to the 4,5 & 6 trains from Grand Central, Murray Hill has not seen the same level of real estate price increase as neighboring areas. However, construction work has already begun on the Second Avenue subway, which will make commuting to the East Side a much simpler task. For those willing to live with the temporary inconvenience of construction, Murray Hill could be a great place to call home.

Photo courtesy bondidwhat

What are Buyers Looking For? Top 10 List

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

As we mentioned in a previous post, when helping buyers find their perfect home, we gather information about multiple data points to help narrow down the properties that will suit the individual buyer’s needs. This data helps us eliminate properties that definitely will not work and hone in on properties that are the closest to ideal. This information also gives us some great insight into what buyers in general are looking for.

Based on our survey, the top ten items that buyers classify as “must have” or “wish list” are as follows:

Noah Rosenblatt, founder of expounded on our original post by saying:

“Over the past 6 years of writing this blog, I’ve made it very clear what buyers in the Manhattan markets bid up for:

1) Light/Views
2) Location
3) Raw Space”

He goes on to say “By far in this marketplace buyers bid up for views (think river or park views, followed by full city views) and natural sunlight. After that it tends to be about raw space and whether the subject property is large enough to meet the client’s needs. Then comes location – many would think location would be top of the list, but I find this not to be the case in a market like Manhattan. Let me explain.

As Manhattan prices rose and affordability declined over the past decade, buyers widened their criteria of neighborhoods they are willing to live. Buyers that once would only consider living in the West Village, realized that if they are going to buy what they want & need that they may have to consider Chelsea or other neighboring areas. Once that buyer gets a taste of more desirable features and starts to understand what his budget can get in another neighborhood, it anchors them to expecting those now affordable features; such as a bathroom in master bedroom or a full city view. The end result is a buyer who will now have a wider search requirement, dampening the power of “location” as the top desired feature they will bid up for.”

Based on our survey results, Noah is spot-on in his views of what buyers are looking for. Looking at our top 10 list, we see that buyers are looking for light, space and views. While location is important to buyers, specific location is not. Because there are so many outstanding choices in New York City, our data shows that buyers search for properties in an average of eight neighborhoods. While buyers do generally have a specific borough preference, within their borough of choice most buyers are not set on living in one specific neighborhood. When it comes to real estate in New York City, it seems that where you live has taken a back seat in importance to how you live.