• StreetEasy Open House Scorecard

    The Open House Scorecard: Windows to the world (or NYC)

    Plenty of light comes in through the 11 windows in this $875k three-bedroom condo in Park Slope. 

    If you’re craving natural light (and who isn’t?), you’re probably scouring the city for an apartment with lots of windows.

    But you're going to have some competition, because apparently so is everyone else. This week’s Open House Scorecard -- the 10 open-houses people searching StreetEasy.com this past weekend saved to their calendars more often than any others -- shines a light on apartments with lots of windows (and light). 

    You can peer out of 11 windows in this $875k three-bedroom condo on Sterling Place between Flatbush and Seventh Avenues in Park Slope. The unit comes with roof rights, where you can construct a deck. The building is close to Prospect Park and three stops to Manhattan from the nearby 2, 3, B and Q trains. A tax abatement is in place, making for low carrying charges (common charges $310, taxes $34).

  • Best-of-Brick Summer Flashback Series starts today

    Summer near the city:  A summer membership at The New Plaza Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, N.Y., starts at around $1,800 for two adults and buys you a no-hassle beach escape only 45 minutes by car from Manhattan...along with valet parking, chairs, umbrellas and food & beverage service.

    The dog days of summer are upon us and like many of our fellow New York City-dwellers, we here at BrickUnderground are taking a semi-vacation for the next couple of weeks.

    What does this mean for you, our dear readers? Rather than rolling out 100% new content, we'll repost some of our most popular stories of 2012 as part of our traditional Summer Flashback Series. But don't worry, we'll still have some original stuff, too.

    We hope you'll take the opportunity to catch up on some of the great stuff you may have missed this year. If you're lucky, you'll be doing it from a beach chair.

  • Some people rent for the fun of it, amazing before-and-after staging pics, and more

  • No-Fee Apartment of the Week

    No-Fee Apartment of the Week: $5,850 TriBeCa two-bedroom

    Just look at this playroom at 89 Murray Street. It might be worth checking out this $5,850 two-bedroom just so we could play in there.

    We have a confession to make -- we love TriBeCa. Maybe that's why this $5,850 two-bedroom, two-bath is so appealing, despite its steep price tag. Also, the family-sized apartment is located in one of the best school districts in the city, so for families with school-age children (fyi there's a park just 2 blocks away) it might be worth shelling out the extra cash.

    Pros: The luxury rental building's got all the trimmings ---  gym, doorman playroom... and there's a Whole Foods downstairs! The apartments have high-end appliances (washer-dryer included) and floor-to-ceiling windows, and it's owned and managed by the highly regarded Related Companies.

    Cons: Aside from the price tag (which is often the major con in these no-fee apartments), not much that we can see. Some people might not love being in such a commercial/busy building, as in addition to Whole Foods, there's a Bed, Bath & Beyond and Barnes & Noble downstairs, too.


    No-Fee Apartment of the Week showcases an apartment that’s currently on the market and is being offered with no broker fee (otherwise known as the holy grail of New York City rentals). For tips on how to find more no-fee apartments, check out the The 8 best websites for finding a no-fee apartment in NYC and our Guerrilla Guide series.

  • Transitions

    From Carroll Gardens to the Lower East Side: A nice switch from Sesame Street, except for the weekends

    I moved to the Lower East Side from Carroll Gardens two years ago. I love both neighborhoods.

    Carroll Gardens has a very (for lack of better metaphor) “Sesame Street” feel, with quaint tree-lined streets, generations of families, classic brownstones, and wonderful restaurant and bar establishments. It’s also 15 minutes by F train from the Lower East Side.

    But at the time, I was working as a bartender at PDT and Momofuku Ssam Bar, which are both in the East Village. I wanted to live somewhere where I could walk to work.

    I also wanted to be in the city, because I have a night job, and wanted a place that was busy during the day. The sleepier pace in Brooklyn does not feed into my productivity level as much as the LES does. The constant activity in downtown NYC legitimizes my being off during the day and serves as a pillar of support for a nightlife job.  

    Carroll Gardens can feel sleepy during the day because the people who are around have families or are freelancers.

    A lot of people who live on the Lower East Side work at night. I have a number of co-workers who live here.

  • StreetEasy's Most Wanted

    StreetEasy’s Most Wanted: These pads aren't far from the park

    There's plenty of green on view from this $1.195m two-bedroom prewar co-op overlooking Stuyvesant Park. 

    If you love nature and want to live within walking (or viewing) distance of a park in NYC, take notes on this roundup of StreetEasy’s Most Wanted -- the 10 sales listings saved more often than any others byStreetEasy browsers this week.

    Stuyvesant Park is “right outside your door” in a $1.195m two-bedroom co-op on East 16th Street and Third Avenue in Gramercy Park. With southeastern exposures, you’ll also have park views from the master bedroom and living room. A windowed office alcove means you can work from home and enjoy the park on your lunch breaks. (The office can also serve as a second bedroom and is accessible through French doors.) The building has a new gym.

    If you fancy living directly across from Prospect Park, consider a two-bedroom condo on Prospect Park Southwest -- between Windsor Place and 16th Street -- for $450k. The third floor duplex is located in a walk-up. Other downsides? The kitchen and two bathrooms need “superficial renovations,” and the central a/c system might also need to be updated.

  • Real Estate Want

    Real Estate Want: A shipshape wisp of a home away from home

    This $2,125 UWS studio is modern with a compact layout that makes it feel like a hotel room (or stateroom).

    Minimalist is the name of the game at this $2,125 UWS no-fee studio rental, which is the perfect size and style for minimal upkeep (well-suited for someone who can store their "stuff" elsewhere, or purge it all together). Plus, The Greystone building even has a maid service that tidies up your room for you -- like a hotel you can live in.

    We’d also love to meet up with a friendly neighbor for a game of pool in the billiards room or challenge them to a chess match on the roof deck—in our pajamas. 

    Real Estate Want is a weekly column featuring New York City apartment details we're coveting right now.

  • Rent Coach

    Rent Coach: What is a rent-stabilized apartment anyway?

    Rent Coach Mike Akerly

    Q. I have an appointment to see a studio apartment in SoHo advertised as “rent stabilized.”  What exactly does that mean?

    A.  It means you should act quickly if you like the apartment.

    Stabilized leases provide tenants with an automatic right of renewal each year.  Moreover, the Rent Guidelines Board regulates the amount by which the landlord can increase the rent each year.  The increases are often lower than what landlords of market rate apartments ask for and thus, over time, rent many stabilized apartments have come to have "legal rents" (the maximum amount a landlord can legally charge) well below the current market rent.

    Though tenants of rent stabilized apartments have the right to renew their lease every year, some events can trigger the destabilization of an apartment.  The most common methods are as follows:

    1. If the apartment becomes vacant and the legal rent would rise above $2,500 for the next tenant (factoring in increases permitted by the Rent Guidelines Board as well as any further increases allowed by law) then the apartment becomes “deregulated” and will no longer be subject to the rent stabilization law; or...

  • Bedbugged!

    Bedbugged! The perfect exterminator

    When you see those damn bugs crawling across your mattress (in my case), or wherever and however you find them, your immediate reaction is to recoil in horror. Barely able to absorb the supreme yuckiness of the situation, your brain kind of shuts down. You just want it all to go away. 

    Sadly, that is just the opposite of what is going to happen. The discovery of bed bugs is in most cases just the beginning of a long road. 

    What anyone wants at a time like this is someone who will sweep in and make it all better. Take away the fear and the sheer overwhelming nature of it all. And most importantly, convince you that the bugs themselves will someday be gone. 

    With this in mind--and having dealt with three PCOs personally and interviewed nearly a half dozen more for this column--I recently sat on my living-room sofa in my blessedly bug-free apartment (where, I sheepishly admit, lint still gets scrutinized, especially in the bedroom) and fantasized about what characteristics, exactly, would be embodied by a PPCO (perfect pest control operator). 

  • Manhattan rents cheaper than BKLYN, renters up in arms over brokers' fees, and more