Monday, June 11, 2012

Does your dog like blueberry facials? Yes, there are condo buildings that offer them.

The Wall Street Journal reports that later this summer, 20 buildings in New York will offer dog services via a partnership with the Spot Experience, a dog services provider. 

For a $500 annual membership fee, if you live in any of these buildings your dog will get 10 emergency walks, 24-hour access to the facilities, pickup and drop-off, home training and various other things including anesthesia-free dental work. 

Some buildings already offer pet services.  Dog groups say there are 1,400,000 dogs in New York and developers figure they've all got to live some place.  Take that, dog-free co-ops!

The Journal tells us that, ”On a recent evening, Dee Maxfield faced a situation dreaded by dog-owners across the city. The 35-year-old mother was at home, her six-week-old daughter had just fallen asleep and her husband called to say he was running late and couldn't pick up their dog from the day-care center.

“But instead of panicking, she picked up the phone and called downstairs. Two minutes later, Paisley, the couple's labradoodle, stood at the door—complete with a report card detailing her day, and glowing from an earlier bath, full brush-out and blueberry facial.*
“That is because the dog spa and day-care center, Wag Club, was located on the first floor of her Brooklyn apartment building, One Brooklyn Bridge Park. ‘The convenience is paramount,’ Ms. Maxfield said. ‘It's great.’”
Anesthesia-free dental work doesn’t sound like much fun for the dog, but there are risks with anesthesia.  One of my dearest friends, a long-haired German Shepherd named M’Liss, died of over-anesthesia while being treated for a broken leg, a huge loss to me and her owners.
However, M’Liss would have turned up her pedigreed nose at a blueberry facial.  She was beautiful just the way she was.
Here’s the link:

 *Yeah, I didn't know either, so I googled.  Turns out a blueberry facial is, according to®, an "All-natural SPA™ Fresh Facial Scrub [that] pampers pets with beauty-enhancing, botanical formulas. Gentle formula contains vanilla and blueberry to remove stains without irritating eyes or sensitive skin."  The site doesn't say anything about paraffin wraps.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A brief vocabulary lesson from a real-estate pedant.

You, Gentle Reader, are way too smart to call a townhouse a "townhome."  Or call a brick house a brownstone.  Or confuse a mere top floor with a penthouse, or a balcony with a terrace, or a new apartment with a loft. 

But if you know someone who does make these errors, please pass the following along to him.

First of all, anything in that's in a town and that somebody calls home is a town home, from the $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West to, unfortunately, a refrigerator carton under the George Washington Bridge.

However, some developers use “townhome” to mean a maisonette that is part of a new apartment building.  

(A maisonette is a one- or often two-story apartment at the bottom of a building.  It  has an entrance from the lobby but usually also has its own separate entrance from the street.  In other countries, it is simply a two-story apartment with internal stairs; it's what we would call a duplex.)

Some brokers have also begun to use “townhome” as another name for a townhouse.

They think “townhome” sounds more elegant.  It doesn’t.  It sounds inaccurate and pretentious.  The only acceptable terms for a house in town are townhouse, rowhouse (that is, a house that shares walls with the houses on either side of it), or house. 

Unless, of course, the house in question is a brownstone. 

A brownstone is a townhouse that is faced with brown stone.  A brick townhouse is not a brownstone.
447 West 24th Street - Stribling & Associates
A brick townhouse.  If it's made of brick, it's a brick townhouse
or rowhouse, or simply a house.
Sure, there are those who use “brownstone” and "townhouse” interchangeably.  There are also those who say, “between you and I,” but that doesn’t make it acceptable.  
833 President St - Stribling & Associates
A brownstone. If it's not brown, it's not a brownstone.
A few more definitions: 

penthouse is a small house built on the roof of a building.  It is surrounded by terrace, usually on at least three sides. 

Brokers will sometimes describe the top floor of a loft building as a “penthouse.” 

But the top floor of a building is not always a penthouse.  Even if the owners of the top floor have exclusive rights to the roof, the top floor is not a penthouse.  A penthouse has outdoor space that you don't have to climb stairs to get to. 

A terrace is a setback, large or small, near the top of a building.  The floor of a terrace is the roof of the floor below.  

A terrace.
A balcony is outdoor space that has air under it.  This kind of outdoor space is always a balcony, never a terrace, no matter how big it is.

A balcony. 
A loft is an apartment in a building that was once a factory or a warehouse.  All lofts are pre-war.  Apartments in new buildings are not lofts, even if they are huge and have open kitchens and 10’ ceilings. 

And that concludes my rant for today.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Now is a great time to sell a condo. To buy one, not so much.

Sellers now officially control the market for condos in Manhattan.

As per the Streeteasy May market report, it will take just 5.8 months to sell the inventory of condos currently available. 

The rule of thumb is, more than nine months of inventory is a buyers' market.  Six to nine months is a balanced market.  Less than six months is a sellers' market.

And don't forget, that 5.8 months of inventory includes condos with brick wall views, condos with huge monthly costs, condos that are wildly overpriced and have been sitting on the market forever, and condos with other fatal flaws which mean you don't want them anyway. 

The desirable condos are few and far between, and are getting snapped up the minute they become available.

So if you need a place to live in a hurry, these are your options:  tell your broker to keep her/his eyes peeled and let you know the SECOND something desirable becomes available, check out co-ops (depending on your needs, they may be a better option anyway--e-mail me at to discuss) or start looking at rentals. 

Here's the link:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More about NYC's tallest-residential-building-to-be.

432 Park Avenue,. still in the planning stage, will tower over everything else in its neighborhood and most of everything in New York at 1300'. 

Of course, we're talking residential. 

The Liberty Tower, at approximately 1776',  will still be substantially taller.  Just for comparison,  the Empire State Building  is 1250' tall if you don't count the lightning rod, and 1454' if you do.

The world's very tallest building, however, dwarfs everything in New York.  It's the Burj Khalifa, it's in Dubai, and it's 2716' feet tall.  That's more than half a mile. 

Here's the link to a Wall Street Journal article about 432 Park