Thursday, January 29, 2009

A tale of two houses: Sutton Place & Brooklyn Heights

Price chop alert?: Brooklyn Heights Townhouse 

First listed by Corcoran in January 2007 for a whopping $5,800,000, the sellers switched to Brown Harris Stevens, who raised the price to $5,950,000. The sellers are working their way through the brand-name brokers, and have given the listing to Halstead for the bargain price of $4,895,000. So, what's the new marketing strategy? "LOSING MONEY! Seller's loss is your gain, selling @ less than the cost." 

OMG! That's like having a big wad of housing Bubblicious, and, like, it popped and got stuck in your hair in the middle of homecoming and all the popular kids tried to get it out with peanut butter but you're totally gonna have to just cut it off and look like a new waver till it grows back.

Now, let's say you take your nearly five million dollars, and ferry it across the river to Sutton Place? You could buy a slightly smaller townhouse for $4M and build it out with the remaining $895K. 

Yeah, but then you'd have to live in Manhattan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Idiotarod!! 2009- This weekend!

Gnomes reunite!!!! for 2009 Idiotarod this Saturday January 31st as Violent Gnomes!
I don't know if anyone remembers me running in the 2008 idiotarod last year, pelting people with eggs while running with my fellow gnomes with our shopping cart across the Manhattan bridge. idiotarod08 will hopefully refresh your memory or give you some keen insight into the event! We will do it again this weekend but have a couple more tricks up ours sleeves. You still have time to register with the Cobra masterminds if you think you have the stamina to run in 2o degree weather, on an undisclosed route, in costume, shielding yourself from sabotage and projectile weaponry. It is only for the truly insane!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where have I been?

I have been getting on the F train at Carroll Street over the last couple weeks and was shocked to find this building at the Bergen Street station on the corner of Warren and Smith the other day. How did this get built so fast and what is going here? Looks like the firs floor will be retail and maybe apartments above. I bet you'll be able to feel the train rumbling in your sleep!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Closing one by one!

Businesses are closing left and right in Cobble Hill. Next door neighbors Miriam and Jill's Vegan Organic closed within days of each other. Could landlords - and overpriced rents - be to blame? Okay, the businesses share some of the responsibility. Miriam (which still has a location in Park Slope) was never anything amazing. They had a killer brunch, but the service was super slow and there was always a wait. (I ate dinner there once and it was just OK but was way over priced.) I'm sad to see it go 'cause it was one of the only good brunch places in the neighborhood and now the storefront will probably sit empty for a long time considering the current market conditions. Jill's actually had great food but really had no atmosphere and never was a place you wanted to go for dinner. The food was amazing for what it was but I never thought it was worth the hefty price tag.

I really think it's because landlords were charging exorbitant rents for these places. I always seem to balk at the numbers landlords give me for their commercial spaces. Can you imagine renting a space for a bar on Columbia street for 5k a month? There have been plenty of closures over the last couple of months but this trend has been a long time coming. I think landlords are about to get a big reality check as places sit empty for longer and longer and don't fetch the 10k a month some of them are trying to pocket.

Maybe if the rents come down, we'll get more of what the neighborhood needs: great food and decent prices.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Calexico coming.....soon?

It has to be about 7 months now that Calexico has been gutting the old Schnack on Union Street between Hicks and Columbia. What is going on in there? They finally have a sign out front and some press info in the windows. I ate at their street cart back in September when we had the Columbia street- street fair and it was great! I have been dying for it to open already cause there isn't much else around here like it! Does anyone have an update on what the hold up is?

Who you gonna call?

This scene has always struck me as odd. I mean if I was walking by this store for rent on Union Street would I really call the broker over the owner? Why would a broker put their sign over the landlords and not ask the owner to take theirs down? What would compel me to call the broker over the landlord? Does this make the broker look bad? I mean it doesn't make them look good.
Commercial spaces are emptying out left and right in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill and i just don't see how this kind of advertising is advantages to anyone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Char No. 4 - doesn't really belong on Smith Street

Ultra swanky, Char No 4 , just opened on Smith Street but it feels like you stepped into a posh Manhattan whiskey bar instead of something off the F train.
Although it does not exemplify that homey Brooklyn feel that most other eateries try to emulate it does however create a sort of excitement that I have not found within the neighborhood. It felt alive and bustling and it was filled to the brim on a Friday night. We had appetizers and 2 rounds of drinks at the bar (fried pork nuggets,crispy cheese curds, and the homemade pastrami) because the wait was over an hour . Everything on the menu is either meat or fried so dieters be ware!
I wasn't really blown away by any of the appetizers but my entree was very good. I had the house made sage pork sausage and it just melted in my mouth and had perfect accoutrements. My portion size was more then enough for me and then some but my boyfriend ordered the $20 scallops and he only got 3 perfectly made scallops and some sweet potato puree. Needless to say he was still hungry.
Overall it was a very nice dining experience and the staff was very accommodating. I have heard their brunch is more then descent so I wouldn't mind finally finding a good brunch place in Cobble Hill. Why can no one in CH/ CG get brunch right? Wow that Miriam is closed I drive down to Kevin's in Red Hook but it would be nice to walk just down the block for some good brunch.
Also why don't they have a website? for such a high end place its frustrating that they cant seem to throw up a simple website. I had to rely on yelp and menupages to get the jist of the place.

Buttermilk Channel vs. Frankie's - Sofo Throwdown!

Who came up with the monicker "SoFo" to describe the South end of Carroll Gardens? I suspect real estate professionals had something to do with it. It may be a contraction meaning South of Fourth Place, but it's really just a polite way of saying "the part of Carroll Gardens people don't want to live in."
Till now, of course. Because SoFo is now home to two - yes, two!! - destination restaurants. Frankie's 457 has been tearing it up since 2004, without serious competition. Now Buttermilk Channel, with it's Danny Meyer-ish vibe, has settled at the corner of Court Street and Huntington, and the early reviews are pretty fab. It's more kid-friendly than Frankie's. In fact, it's more friendly in general, especially during the evening rush (during which you may be stranded at Frankie's bar for 45 minutes...).

Anyone want to weigh in?

Prices finally dropping in prime Brooklyn

Brooklyn Heights - first to rise, first to fall
While prices are still hovering around $700/sf in Park Slope, we're seeing big drops in Brooklyn Heights co-ops. Some are notoriously tricky buildings, like 150 Joralemon - perfectly located, but saddled with high maintenance. One of my favorite buildings, 96 Schermerhorn, has a number of listings under $500/sf. While it also features high-ish maintenance, it has a full-time doorman, a marble and wood-paneled lobby, new elevators, etc.. You'll pay more for a nicely renovated apartment (full disclosure: we have a gorgeous one bedroom listed), but you can snap up a 1980's time capsule for $448/sf.