• Peek at artist Dotty Attie's "mountain man with dementia" home decor in Gramercy

    The artist Dotty Attie has filled her Gramercy townhouse with objects from a lifetime spent collecting

    Dotty Attie is an artist who, since the 1970s, has been exploring issues of gender identity, politics and culture through thought-provoking works that reimagine famous paintings and photography, combined with original texts. Last year she was inducted into the National Academy, and her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at PPOW Gallery in Chelsea.

    For three decades she has lived in a four-story 1848 townhouse in Gramercy, where her sons grew up and where her studio is today. An avid collector, Attie’s home is teeming with eclectic tchotchkes and great vintage finds. Her favorite part, though, is a wall in her bedroom packed with objects, including art by her and her sons. Below, she tells us why the wall catches her eye.

  • Broker trying to talk you into selling? How to make sure you get the best deal

    If you own in a trendy neighborhood, chances are a broker will try to talk you into selling.

    Just because you're happily ensconced in your Upper West Side co-op, content to overlook its imperfections to avoid the frenzy and expense of buying a new place right now, doesn't mean you won't hear from brokers trying to convince you to sell. 

    Indeed, real estate agents have long used letters and phone calls to "fish" for listings, i.e.  apartments their clients want, even if they're not on the market. And with the supply of available apartments failing to meet buyers' insatiable demands (not to mention throngs of brokers competing for any and every potential listing), the tactic is becoming increasingly common—especially if you're in a desirable neighborhood. (Think most of Manhattan and pricier parts of Brooklyn, where you've probably gotten one of these unsolicited letters offering an appraisal, which look like this.Halstead Property broker Andrew Phillips, who lives in a condo, says he "must get at least five to eight mailings a week from other brokers about listing my apartment."

    If this kind of missive lands in your mailbox, should you respond? And what happens if you do? 

  • Best of Brick

    NYC real estate's "kickback economy": Buyer (and seller and renter) beware

    You're all set to renovate your apartment. You've lined up a contractor and picked the fixtures you want. You've saved $100,000, which should even cover emergencies. But what you may not know is that hundreds or thousands of dollars of your budget may be going straight to your super, just to make sure the job goes smoothly (and maybe bend a building rule or two). 

    Graft, payola, quid pro quo: whatever you call it, money passes under the table all the time in New York. Often it's comparable to a tip, a way to say thanks to people who help out; sometimes it slides into illegal territory. 

  • Real Estate Want

    Soak in style: 6 NYC apartments with classic clawfoot tubs

    This brand-new Bed-Stuy one-bedroom is going for $5,500 a month, a price justified by luxury touches including a classic tub that sits atop ceramic heated floors. 

    The mark of a truly nice (and expensive) apartment is often a fancy bathroom, and for our money, nothing feels more luxurious than soaking in an old-school claw-foot tub. They can be relatively hard to come by these days—especially in ultra-modern condo buildings—but we've combed the listings for apartments currently on the market with tubs we could stay in for hours. BYO rubber ducky, and check out the rest of them below:

  • Best of Brick

    The 3-percent-down mortgage you've never heard of that's available in NYC

    You have a job. Not too much debt. You pay your bills on time, and even sock away a bit every month. You’re financially stable—finally!—and in almost any other city in the country, you’d be thinking of buying a home.

    But here? Not so much. These days, banks want at least 20 percent down, and with the way New York City apartment prices are going—a seemingly uninterrupted upward sprint—you’d be forgiven for your deep pessimism about ever affording your own place.

    Take heart: There's a little-known state lending program that can be a lifeline for renters hoping to move up the property ladder.

  • One Brooklyn woman's man-with-a-van disaster shows exactly how NOT to pick a mover

    Next time, maybe bite the bullet and get a U-Haul.

    We all get worried about our property getting damaged during a move--but what about losing absolutely everything you own? 

    This worst-case scenario happened to one woman after she hired three strangers from Craigslist to help with her Brooklyn move. Per the Brooklyn Paper's police blotter this week, "The fiends showed up to the apartment between Sutton Street and Morgan Avenue at 8:30 AM in a white box truck covered with graffiti and loaded up the woman's boxes, as well as her motorcycle, scooter, laptop, and cash." 

    She never saw them again, and the police are still on the hunt for the "movers." 

  • Would You Rather?

    Do you love your NYC summers or dream of getting out of dodge?

    Do you need to escape the city for the summer, or is Coney Island enough of a getaway?

    New Yorkers love their city with a passion. But that doesn’t mean we're blind to its shortcomings—namely, the oppressive heat. As such, a city-wide exodus has always been an inevitable part of NYC summers. And when the city empties, it quiets down—a nice bonus for those of us who decide to stay put.

    So we asked five city dwellers: Would you rather escape the city for the whole summer or stay and enjoy the relative quiet?

  • StreetNoise

    A writer live-blogs his rental hunt, composting lessons from the de Blasios, and more

    Now's the time to upgrade your beat-up old couch.

    Ever wonder what it's really like to find a NYC apartment? One Thrillist editor is liveblogging his apartment search and... he has our sympathies (Thrillist)

    These fancy couches are all on sale -- just in time for the new fall TV season to begin (Apartment Therapy)

    Still confused about composting? Let the kindly de Blasio family show you how it's done (NYDN)

    If you rent in a co-op that's trying to take away your fancy amenities—like access to an Olympic sized pool—take 'em to court (The Real Deal)

    Do we really need an app to tell you if your neighborhood is "sketchy"?  (Gothamist)

    Bed Stuy: So expensive that it's now supposedly driving buyers to East New York?(NYP)

    Maybe we should all just move to Marine Park (or at least take a day trip there) (WSJ)

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  • Best of Brick

    The dreaded tenant blacklist: What you need to know

    The family of three living on the Upper West Side stopped paying rent when they discovered their apartment was riddled with mold, causing the wife to fall seriously ill. When the landlord wouldn’t address the issue, they decided to move out, and fast, winding up in a hotel. 

    But their troubles didn't stop there. They ended up on the so-called tenant blacklist and subsequently had major problems securing future apartments.

    These blacklists are not a new phenomenon, but New Yorkers have recently been paying more attention to them, and the problems associated with winding up on a list. (See, for example, these stories in the New York Daily News and WNYC.) But what do you really need to know?  How do you stay off the list? And once you're on it, is there any way to get off?

  • Reel Estate

    Reel Estate: Rear Window is your worst-neighbor nightmare scenario

    Nothing like a quiet date night spying on your murderous neighbor.

    We've all had neighbors that seem a little off, and whom we side-eye in the hallway. But most of them aren't murderous, or at least we don't think they are, let alone catch them in the act.

    In Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic Rear Window—maybe the ultimate lesson in "good fences making good neighbors"—temporarily wheelchair-bound photographer L.B. Jeffries (played by Jimmy Stewart) passes the time looking out from, yes, a rear window onto his apartment complex's shared terrace, and eventually, into his neighbors' homes.

    It's all standard-issue urban voyeurism until he starts to suspect that one of his neighbors, a salesman, has murdered his invalid wife. The neighbor, played by Raymond Burr, doesn't exactly look not suspicious, and Stewart (along with girlfriend Lisa Fremont, played by Grace Kelly), watch him through binoculars as he rifles through his missing wife's purse, makes a series of mysterious trips with a suitcase in the middle of the night, and sits in his living smoking cigarettes alone in the dark: