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Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | March 21, 2014 7:14am
 Check out these unique units at open houses this weekend.
One-of-a-Kind Apartments
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MANHATTAN — Looking for a unique home? While many New York apartments can have a cookie-cutter feel to them, these three units are anything but standard.

271 W. 70th St., Apt. PH, Upper West Side, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Approximately 650 square feet
Maintenance: $1,063 per month
Open House: Sunday, March 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Lowdown: Most New Yorkers complain about not having enough closet space. But the sellers of this Upper West Side fourth-floor duplex penthouse had more than enough — they didn’t even use a large storage loft above a row of closets, said Iris Shorin of Citi-Habitats.

“This apartment has enormous closets.” she said, adding that the ceiling height reaches 14 feet.

The bedroom above the kitchen has a traditional staircase with banisters, “not a narrow one or step ladder,” and it can accommodate a king-sized bed.

“The owner is well over 6-feet tall and he can stand up in it,” she said, so there’s no need to worry about low ceilings, as is often the case with such second-floor loft spaces.

The sellers completed renovations to the “sun-drenched” space about two years ago, putting in a new bathroom, new flooring and an open kitchen with upgraded appliances and an under-counter wine cooler. The brick fireplace is wood-burning. The south-facing terrace has new lighting and decking.

The co-op’s nine units are 100 percent owner-occupied, Shorin said, but the board has a “very good flexible sublet policy.” Maintenance has remained stable, increasing by only $73 since 2009.

Location: Situated near West End Avenue, the apartment is one block from Riverside Park and walking distance to Central Park, Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. The nearest trains are the 1, 2 and 3 at 72nd Street and Broadway.

Longtime local favorite Cafe Luxembourg is on the block, and the new Paris Baguette is around the corner on Broadway with "the best sandwiches, rolls and prices," Shorin said. Also nearby will be the second outlet for the acclaimed West Village bakery Mille-Feuille.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “With the wood-burning fireplace, the terrace and the open kitchen, the south-facing sun-drenched apartment should not be missed,” Shorin said. “It’s incredibly well-priced.”

67 Park Terrace East, Apt. C12/22, Inwood, Manhattan
4 Bedrooms/2 Baths
Approximately 1,750 square feet
Maintenance: $1,834 per month
Open House: Sunday, March 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Lowdown: We usually do not feature apartments in the same neighborhood or listed by the same broker two weeks in a row, but we’re making an exception for one main reason: This duplex apartment in Inwood’s Park Terrace Gardens is not only enormous and nicely renovated, it includes an office space hidden behind a secret door along a wall of bookshelves.

“It’s a really cool feature, like something out of a superhero movie,” said Rebecca Pelletier of New Heights Realty. “When you walk down the staircase, all you see is a wall of books. Then you push the secret door and you’re in your own office.”

The previous owner combined a north-facing one-bedroom on the first floor with a garden-facing two-bedroom on the second floor, resulting in about 1,750 square feet.

“He really paid attention to detail and added a gorgeous, one-piece mahogany staircase — it’s a real conversation piece when you walk into the apartment,” Pelletier said.

“Because of the upper and lower spaces, it doesn’t have the awkwardness of some combined apartments. He retained pre-war details and the staircase was designed for the [unit’s original] curved wall.”

The sellers recently upgraded the bathrooms and kitchen. There is no washer/dryer as they are not allowed, but there’s a pantry that has its own freezer. The current set-up also includes two living rooms, but Pelletier said new owners could convert the lower-level family room into a master bedroom with en suite bath, and even convert the office into a small bedroom or nursery, thereby creating a five-bedroom apartment.

Location: There's a nearby year-round farmers’ market and a CSA program in the neighborhood. In late December, Starbucks opened its first outlet in Inwood, just less than a mile from the apartment, giving competition to local favorites Darling Coffee and Indian Road Cafe.

Public transit includes the 1 train a couple blocks away at 215th Street and the A train at Broadway and Isham Street, about four blocks away.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “The price is really good for the amount of space, especially compared to what you would get downtown," Pelletier said. "It’s like owning a house in the city, but without all of the usual homeowner hassle.”

430 E. 10th St., Apt. 2B, East Village, Manhattan
3 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
Approximately 2,600 square feet
$1.9 million
Maintenance: $1,806.25
Open House: Sunday, March 23, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Lowdown: This co-op near Avenue D in the East Village evokes traditional downtown lofts of the past, when artists carved out their large, open areas and refinished parts of the apartment as needed. One family lives in the single-entrance live/work unit, but it’s currently configured into two separate living areas within one space — and with two kitchens — to accommodate the seller’s two daughters who reside there, said Howard Henzel, of Nest Seekers.

“The separating walls can easily be removed to make it into one large apartment,” said Eyal Adri, who also represents the property for Nest Seekers. The unit gets a lot of light through enormous windows, and new owners could install a Juliette balcony on the other side of the double doors in the living room, he added.

The seller has owned the space for close to 30 years and it’s been a while since it was renovated, both brokers said.

The structurally-sound building is a former dry dock used to repair boats, which accounts for its sprawling space, said Henzel, who will be there on Sunday. The board is also in the process of converting the building from a co-op to a condo, and there’s an additional 900 square feet of space on the floor that another owner is considering selling, which would make the full-floor apartment 3,500 square feet, he added.

Location: This area of the East Village is one of the last where you can get a sense of “what the city was like” in the 1980s, Adri said. You have “old-school bodegas” coexisting with new sushi places and cafes, giving the area “a lot of flavor.” Grocery shopping is “very inexpensive compared to other parts of Manhattan,” he added.

Tompkins Square Park is two blocks west; the Dry Dock Playground, with outdoor pools and spray showers, is across the street. The M8 and M14 crosstown buses are across the street, and “on weekdays, there’s one every 10 minutes,” Adri noted.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “You just don’t see apartments like this anymore, it’s a real original,” Adri said. “Someone with a vision can do whatever they want with this property and make it spectacular.”

With condos around the corner selling for more than $3 million, "in a way, even though [it] is not cheap, this is a bargain,” Henzel added. “There are not too many 2,600-square-foot live/work apartments available,” and there’s the chance to add another 900 square feet down the road. “There’s money to be made for someone who holds onto it for a while.”