Thursday, January 26, 2012

What does it cost to live in Park Slope and what do you get for the money?

If you’re buying a house or an apartment, there are many reasons to buy in Park Slope.  But you’d better hurry.  They’re going fast.

Here’s the link to an article on that takes the temperature of the current market there.  It’s hot:

To add to what the article says, at present, out of 50 houses listed for sale, 21 are in contract.   Of 254 condos and co-ops currently listed, 79 are in contract. 

One very big reason for choosing Park Slope is the huge difference in prices for properties there and in Manhattan. 

The average price per square foot for a house in Park Slope is around $600.  And you can fall in love with something quite large and lovely, near the park, for somewhere in the mid-$3,000,000s.  Depending on your needs, you might even find something that makes you happy for less than $2,000,000.

That’s millions less than on the upper west side, where the average price for the 32 houses currently available is more than $7,500,000

For a 1 to 3 unit townhouse on the upper west side, in the last six months you’d have paid anywhere from $4,000,000 to more than $22,000,000, with the average price per square foot about $1,700.

There’s a huge difference in the prices of apartments, too.  For a two bedroom, two bath condo of at least 1250 square feet in Park Slope, you’ll pay an average of $1,050,000, or a little more than $600 per square foot.  On the upper west side, a similar condo would be well over double at about $2,500,000.

But it’s not just about price.  It’s also about a gorgeous park, block after block of beautiful brownstones, charming restaurants, the Botanic Gardens, BAM, and lots of other wonderful things Brooklyn has to offer. 

Here are links to previous posts on Park Slope houses:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Evan Hughes's "Literary Brooklyn," about brilliant writers on the subject of America's true second city.

(Sooner or later I'll get back to Manhattan, but as you can see, I am enjoying my Brooklyn sojourn.)
Evans Hughes’s “Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life” is called by reviewer Brian Patrick Eha "a gathering picture of the borough as it has been described by generations of poets and novelists, from Whitman and Crane to Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead and Jennifer Egan. 
 "[The book] charts the tumultuous development of the borough from Walt Whitman's time there to the present.  And I do mean charts: the front matter includes a map identifyhing the residence of more than a dozen authors in various Brooklyn neighborhoods," Eha says.

Eha’s review continues, “Hughes assumes that the reader is familiar with these [authors], but he views them with a fresh eye. He is not afraid to judge and interpret, a fact that becomes especially evident in his chapter on Henry Miller.

"Though the author of Tropic of Cancer gets his due as a stylist and a pioneer, he emerges in Hughes’s rendering as a deeply unpleasant man whose talent arose from personal bitterness and ebbed out into a morass of increasingly pornographic novels and diminishing artistic returns……

[Hughes] is a master of the telling detail that crystallizes a whole character: Norman Mailer marching into a Brooklyn Heights bank wearing a combat jacket and T-shirt and clutching a massive royalty check; Hart Crane drawing inspiration from Ravel’s ‘BolĂ©ro’ during ecstasies of composition. Yet he offers much more than a portrait gallery.

"The historical backdrop never fades from view, and Hughes is at pains to identify exact locations, right down to numbered addresses,”  the review says.

The book sounds fascinating, and I look forward to reading it.  Here’s the link to Eha’s review:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A few words from Elizabeth Stribling, as told to The New York Times

The subject of yesterday's "30 Minute Interview" in the Times was my boss, Elizabeth Stribling.

It's an interesting interview.  Libba, as she is known to everyone, talks about residential real estate in the last year, the influx of foreign money, and a bit about French cooking.  She's an ardent Francophile and a superb chef. 

Elizabeth Stribling
Elizabeth Stribling - Stribling & Associates

But there's a lot more to the story.
I have to tell you, Libba, as she as known to everyone, is about as far from the stereotypical real estate lady as you can get.

When she interviewed me for my present job, more than twenty years ago, she looked at my resume and said, "Well, I see you majored in English at the University of Northern Iowa and then did graduate work in English at UCLA.  You know, that's the same background I have.

"I majored in English at Vassar [Libba graduated cum laude, but she didn't mention that] and then read English literature at Cambridge University," she went on, graciously trying to find common ground. 

I restrained myself from saying, "Oh, that's amazing!  We must know all the same people!"

Libba retains her southern accent (she grew up in Atlanta and New York) and still calls our business cards "calling cards."

A petite, perfectly manicured blonde who favors Christian LaCroix suits, Libba started Stribling & Associates in 1980 with 18 brokers, several of whom are still with the firm. Stribling brokers tend to be very loyal.  We know a good thing when we see it. I've been there 23 years; it's the only place I've ever worked in real estate. 

Thanks to brains, skill, charm and a solid ethic ("Work hard and be honest") she has been extremely successful, growing the company to 250 brokers in three offices, never wanting it to grow so large she couldn't manage it herself, and claiming the high end of the market as Stribling's niche.

The firm is still entirely privately owned; no nameless, faceless holding company pullls the strings.  Libba returns phone calls and e-mails from brokers and clients herself, and with alacrity.  She functions as a benevolent despot. And that's the best form of government.  

Here's the link to the article:


Saturday, January 7, 2012

More about Park Slope: The architect C. P. H. Gilbert’s wild years, as reported in the New York Times

Christopher Gray’s exuberant description of the Gilbert houses in tomorrow’s Times makes one wonder what happens in Park Slope after midnight when the moon is full. 
One has visions of the houses, loosed from their brownstone moorings, perhaps picking fights, perhaps dancing in the street.

 NY Times photo
A sample:  ”Gilbert’s...Brooklyn work tends towards a rugby scrum; the houses tangle and tussle with one another like cats and dogs in a burlap bag.”
Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert was a colorful character.   As per the article, “he could shoot from the back of a galloping horse [Gray doesn’t tell us if he ever managed to hit anything] and design a mean neo-gothic mansion.”  He designed a number of them in Brooklyn, and some interesting examples are described.