- First, moderately good news, from June, for people in rent-stabilized apartments. I mean, it could be better and it could be worse.
By the way, "people in rent-stabilized apartments" will soon include me! I am happy to report that Phase I of my move is now complete. I am presently in what shall be called the "homeless period," during which I will stay with various friends and relatives and be very grateful that I have local friends and relatives, such that I am not truly homeless. Just a bit nomadic.
Phase II takes place on August 15, when I move into my new rent-stabilized place in Washington Heights, where I will be paying 55% of my previous, Upper West Side rent and have one less roommate. The apartment is still converted (1 bedroom to 2 bedrooms with 2 occupants and 1 bathroom), but it will be better than my previous apartment (2 bedrooms to 3 bedrooms with 3.75 occupants and 1 bathroom).
Of course, the cost of moving, storage, and broker fee is equivalent to a little over 2x one month's rent in my Upper West Side apartment or 3.9x one month's rent in my new Washington Heights apartment, so I won't see that 45% savings for quite some time. Also, just to avoid making you all jealous of my 45% rental savings (and one less roommate! or 1.75 fewer roommates, if you count the .75 roommate in the old place!), I should add that my new apartment is next door to the Cross Bronx Expressway and a dark-and-slightly-scary underpass. I am four miles farther uptown, and no longer walking distance from work or Central Park or my grandmother's apartment. I also no longer have a part-time doorman who lets random strangers into the building. Make of that what you will. I liked having him there so I could get packages delivered, but I can't say he made me feel that much safer than a locked door would have.
- In less personal coverage, a New York Times article ("High Anxiety") from several months ago ago about the new high rise condos on the Upper West Side. Here is one letter in reaction and online comments, many of which are quite reasonable. I saw another letter online, but now I can't find it, which pointed out the environmental benefits of denser living, such as is provided by high rise residential buildings.
- The latest Upper West Side real estate news is, of course, the collapse of the retaining wall during construction at the 808 Columbus Avenue construction project. Or maybe that's old news already, since it happened in July. In any case, more people are talking about that project than about the Ariel Towers, which were sort of old news even in June, when the NYT article came out.
- Little Extras, a cute little independent toy store on Amsterdam Avenue, went out of business in June, due to rising rents. They had high quality wooden and fabric children's toys, as well as a small assortment of children's books. It was started by a woman who retired after years of office work, who then decided that what she'd really like to do was open a toy store. It was a nice story, and I was sorry to see it close.
- Remember how I said that I heard that West Side Judaica was going to have to close because of rising rents? Apparently, their monthly rent had been $8K and it's going up to $18K. However, they're going to stay open until the fall and then decide. If you want them to stay open, go buy something there. (At least, that's what the local shuls are recommending.)
- Here's a fun read. (I think that this is the best comment of them all: "Disparaging other places is a frequently used means by which Manhattan residents attempt to offset the cognitive dissonance of paying exorbitant prices for unappealing living spaces.") I've linked to individual Curbed posts before, but now I see that they have tags by neighborhood, so you can read all of the articles with references to real estate on the Upper West Side.
- Finally, I added a "real estate" label (tag), so you can read just those articles about real estate, should you so desire. Expect more coverage of Washington Heights real estate, in addition to Upper West Side real estate, from here on out. Also, possibly an ode to my departed apartment.