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.
Above, Christina Seid covers happenings in Chinatown on her blog
One of the best ways to get a feel for a place is by reading a neighborhood's blog. In our Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger series, we spoke to the writers who chronicle the controversies, preoccupations and happenings of their chosen slice of the city. Now, we're checking in again to see what's changed, what's stayed the same, and what's the story dominating every street corner.
Hoping to find a new place in the five boroughs for less than half a million? We've combed the listings for options in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, whether you're in the market for a centrally-located studio or something a little more spacious.
Q. My ex-landlord has my security deposit and hasn't returned my numerous phone calls and emails. How do I get it back? Will my renter's insurance cover it? Should I go to court?
A. Your best bet is to create a paper trail, both with email and snail mail, and to keep logs of any phone conversations you have with your ex-landlord, our experts say.
“Write a letter referencing the provisions of the lease which relate to security deposit and send it by regular mail and return receipt requested,” suggests Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities. “This will get the landlord’s attention as it will be a polite way of making it clear that you are laying the groundwork for legal action.”
Last week, a state judge issued a seemingly precedent-setting ruling for New York City renters, finding that a Financial District tenant couldn't be evicted for subletting her place on Airbnb--or at least, that's how the New York Post reported the story.
But the decision wasn't exactly the game-changer it was said to be. After the story was picked up by numerous outlets (including this one), attorneys involved in the case slammed the Post's reporting as both "misleading and inaccurate," Habitat Magazine reports, and the case's winning attorney Kent Gubrud even told the site, "I'm thinking of suing the Post."
Storage space, apartment lounge, concierge: a neighborhood bodega can be many things
Your neighborhood bodega: home of cheap but mediocre coffee, occasional purveyor of really good sandwiches, and lifesaver for those late-night moments when another six-pack or bottle of Nyquil is in order.
But did you know that your corner store can also substitute for a doorman or storage room?
North of Little Italy, you'll find old-school grocers and bars packed with a new generation of tech whizzes. Above, the upper part of the Puck Building on the left is being turned into penthouses.
Nolita--an acronym that stands for North of Little Italy--is the small, mainly residential neighborhood sandwiched between the Lower East Side and Soho. Jam-packed with walk-up buildings that recall Old New York charm, Nolita was originally a heavily Italian-American neighborhood (like nearby Little Italy), and some of the pizza joints and small groceries survive to this day.
Notable landmarks include the Puck Building, a historic office and retail building that's being partly converted to high-end penthouses (of course), and the Elizabeth Street Gallery's free outdoor sculpture garden.
After the jump, neighborhood aficionados spill the inside secrets of this coveted 'hood.
Outdoor space is one of New York City's most precious commodities, and in hopes that one day we'll upgrade from our seat on the fire escape, we pulled listings with some of the most spacious, envy-inducing terraces the city has to offer. If you can't land one to call your own quite yet, couldn't hurt to try to make a friend in one of these buildings...
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