Saturday, March 11, 2017

The pendulum swings again. Prewar is out, and new and shiny is in.

An article in tomorrow’s Times Real Estate section entitled "Prewar Is So Last Year"  talks about millennials who are stripping the prewar detail from their prewar apartments and replacing it with nothing, or at least a whole lot less than what was there before.

In the article, a Douglas Elliman salesman says “Millennials…are looking for an apartment that doesn’t necessarily remind them of their parents or grandparents.”   

Image result for mid century modern homes
I’d say their parents and grandparents were looking for prewar detail because it didn’t remind them of the mid-century modern favored by their own parents and grandparents.

In the ‘70s, friends of mine bought a townhouse in Hoboken (at the time, Hoboken was in.  Now the whole state of New Jersey is out), and ripped everything out of it so that there was one room per floor. 

The female half of the couple was an art director and they painted the newly bare walls in white, cream, and the palest shades of lavender and blue.  They said it had been a rabbit warren of tiny, dusty rooms.  

Thirty years later people were searching Harlem and Brooklyn for those few townhouses with tiny, dusty rooms that hadn’t been ripped out in the ‘70s.  If you could find one that still had a working dumbwaiter, you had struck gold.
Elliman Photo
A building on Third Avenue constructed in 1964 has a large marquee projecting from its front wall over the entrance.  I considered it ostentatious, pretentious, ugly, and faintly obscene.  

For a while I lived two blocks down from that building, and I was always mortally embarrassed when anybody mistook that building for the one I lived in.  “I would NEVER live anywhere that looked like that!”  I would tell them. 

But then I had a client who was a gallerist.  She told me she had seen an apartment she liked in a building on Third Avenue.  “The one with that wonderful ‘60s floating panel over the front door,” she said. 

Go figure.

Call me at 917-991-9549, or e-mail I’ll be happy to visit your apartment, loft, or townhouse and give you a detailed broker’s opinion of what it could fetch today, supported with figures and comparable sales. Of course, there’s no cost or obligation involved.

Even if you plan to stay in your home till the next millenium, it’s always good to know what it’s worth.