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Open House Agenda: Five Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | December 20, 2013 7:48am
 Brownstones to modern glass highrises.
Five Apartments to See This Weekend
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MANHATTAN — For our final Open House Agenda of 2013, we’ve selected five properties that appeal to us for various reasons — for good value, their architectural details or simply for being dream-worthy. It's the holiday season, after all, and who says you can’t put an apartment on your wish list?

320 W. 84th St., Apt. 2A, Upper West Side, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
510 square feet
Maintenance: $720 per month
Open House: Sunday, Dec. 22, 12 to 1 p.m.

Lowdown: This updated one-bedroom co-op is priced at $980 a square foot, which seems like a deal considering the average price per square foot on the Upper West Side is $1,340, per Trulia or $1,688 per StreetEasy.

Though the kitchen is small, the apartment does have a good-sized bedroom, north and south exposures and a windowed office space.

“The current owner gut-renovated the apartment when she purchased it four years ago,” said Alfonso Oaxaca of Douglas Elliman. “She redid the kitchen and bath, refinished the original floors, and took a windowed closet and turned it into an office nook with a Juliet balcony. She was able to bring out the [apartment’s] charm and the potential that a lot of people hadn’t seen.”

You get the character of living on a brownstone block but with amenities not often found in those buildings, such as an elevator, live-in super, additional storage and a lovely garden, Oaxaca explained.

Location: Located between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, this block is part of 84th Street also named Edgar Allan Poe Street. “Poe had a barn here back in the day where he wrote ‘The Raven,’” Oaxaca said. “It’s a piece of history.”

The 1 train and crosstown bus are at 86th street, and everything one needs is within walking distance, said Oaxaca, who also lives in the building. The apartment sits between Riverside and Central parks; the newly renovated AMC Loews theater is at Broadway and 84th, where an Oren’s Daily Roast coffee shop recently opened, followed by City Bakery’s Birdbath at 80th Street. The gluten-free/dairy-free By the Way Bakery is coming soon to 90th Street.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s great value for a one bedroom on the Upper West Side,” Oaxaca said.

136 Powers St., Apt. 4B, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
700 square feet
Common Charge: $377 per month
Taxes: $94 per month
Open House: Sunday, Dec. 22, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

Lowdown: Sunday is the first open house for this Williamsburg one-bedroom in the Aria, built in 2007 with 8-foot ceilings, high-end appliances and finishes, and finger-print entry access.

“There are 20 apartments in the building, and no two are the same,” said Winchester Brown III of the CORE Group. “What sets this unit apart is it’s on the top floor and has a large terrace."

Although the unit faces north and east, it has unobstructed views of Midtown and the Empire State Building, Brown said. The sellers upgraded the flooring — wide-plank maple in the living space, slate in the kitchen and unpolished black marble in the bathroom, he added, and the apartment comes with a Bosch washer and dryer and central air and heat.

There are 18 years left on the 25-year tax abatement.

Location: It’s three blocks north to the Graham Avenue L train, three west to the Metropolitan Avenue G. The building is east of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, so it’s less crowded and much quieter than the north side of Williamsburg, said Brown. “It makes a huge difference.”

There are still plenty of restaurants, bars, art galleries and cool local boutiques, Brown added. Gwynnett Street and Huckleberry Bar, which serves food, are two nearby options. There’s also a Key Food two blocks away on Grand Street, but for those with a car, Key Food’s new Whole Foods-like Urban Market opened in early December at Kent and Broadway.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s a great opportunity to buy into the Williamsburg market with a one bedroom with a large terrace and beautiful finishes,” Brown said.

330 Spring St., Apt. 10A, Hudson Square, Manhattan
2 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
1,800 square feet
$3.45 million
Common Charges: $2,313 per month
Taxes: $670 per month
Open House: Sunday, Dec. 22, 12 to 1 p.m.

Lowdown: This two-bedroom condo between Greenwich and Washington streets is the quintessential sleek Downtown luxury apartment in the Urban Glass House building — the last residential project of famed modernist architect Philip Johnson.

“This apartment is the largest of the two-bedroom lines, with the living and dining area seven feet wider than any of the other units,” said Thomas Hemann of Brown Harris Stevens. “It faces east and north and is flooded with light. It also has gorgeous views — you can see all the way to 42nd Street.”

The building was completed in 2006, and the only change the current owners have made was to sand and stain the white oak floors, Hemann said, adding that the Urban Glass House is known for having the highest level of service in Hudson Square, thanks to its super, Romulus Petre.

“He’s one of the best in the city and always going above and beyond for the residents,” Hemann explained.

Location: Hudson Square is west of Sixth Avenue and basically overlaps the southern tip of the West Village and SoHo. Tribeca is one block south. The C and E trains are at Sixth Avenue and Spring Street. The Houston and Canal stations for the 1 train are equidistant. The area recently received $27 million for streetscape improvements.

“It’s the perfect location to dip into SoHo for shopping, for quiet restaurants in Tribeca and for the funkiness of the Village,” Hemann said. “As more residential buildings come into the neighborhood, there are several new services, too, [including] a new coffee shop, chocolate shop and large gym.”

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s hard to find a unit like this with views and this much space and light,” Hemann said. “And, this is the building for those who need service. I don’t mean to sound snotty, but there are people who travel a lot and are really busy and this is the place to be.”


Below are two brownstones four blocks apart. We thought it would be interesting to compare them: One has original detailings; the other has been modernized.

526 Monroe St., Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn
6 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
Single-family Brownstone
3,200 square feet
$1.2 million
Taxes: $2,697 per year
Open House: Sunday, Dec. 22, 12 to 1:30 p.m.

806 Greene Ave., Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn
5 Bedrooms/3.5 Baths
Two-family Brownstone
2,709 square feet
$1.35 million
Taxes: $2,344 per year
Open House: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Lowdown: “If you’re into original architectural details, it’s like walking into history when you enter this brownstone,” said Rutenberg Realty’s Aion G. Grant of the Monroe Street property, whose owners have lived there for about 25 years.

“Everything’s been well maintained and still works. There’s the original claw-foot tub, stained-glass doors, pocketed shutters with 3- to 4-inch blades, a skylight, every room has a fireplace. It’s definitely warm and very homey.”

It’s a single-family home, but the owners closed off the door to the parlor level to give a family member their own space — which can be easily reversed, Grant explained. There’s also a half bath in the mud room off the back yard.

The Greene Avenue property, on the other hand, looks like a typical brownstone from the outside, but everything inside has a modern twist, said Grant, who represents both buildings. The current owners — the wife is an architect, the husband is in real estate development — bought and renovated it in 2005, exposing white-painted brick walls and adding sleek lighting in the living room and on the stairs,

“They put in a lot of time and detail,” Grant said. 

The few original elements that remain include the herringbone flooring and six fireplaces, which could be re-converted into working heat sources, he added.

Location: Stuyvesant Heights is part of the quickly developing Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood, and both buildings are just off Lewis Avenue. The J, M, Z trains at Kosciouszko Street are about six blocks from 806 Greene Ave., 10 from 526 Monroe St., which is also about 10 blocks from the A and C trains at Fulton Street and Utica Avenue.

Along Lewis are several boutiques, bars and restaurants, including two wine bars, and Celestino, Saraghina and Peaches restaurants, Grant added. At Fulton Park there are concerts and summer movies. There’s also the Lewis Avenue public library, several playgrounds and a new health food-based grocery store to open later this month.

Why put these on your open house calendar? Both are good value for money, Grant said, especially in Stuyvesant Heights.