Five stories of interest, from yesterday’s Sunday New York Times.
A New Chapter in the Face-Off Between Tenants and Landlords
In New York City, tenants can stay in their rent-stabilized apartments for eternity, unless their building is demolished by the owner. But, things aren’t that black and white. In the nutty world of NYC, a building doesn’t actually have to be torn down to be considered “demolished”.
In many cases these are demolitions with a difference. There are no wrecking balls. Walls do not tumble in clouds of dust. The plans filed with the Department of Buildings do not call for new buildings. Instead, they look like alteration plans that the same owner might have filed for an ordinary condominium conversion of a prewar building. Sometimes entire floors are left intact.
The New York Times is successful in making the issue one of the greedy developer vs. the kind, benevolent tenants, being lucky enough to find one tenant about to be evicted who is an 84-year-old man, in a wheelchair.
Back to Manhattan (and Back to Nature)
When Denise Spatafora gave birth to her two children, Savannah, now 5, and Orion, now almost 3, in the hot tub on the deck of her house in southern Vermont … okay, I didn’t read anymore of this story.
Two Years and a Marriage Later …
Man buys condo, preconstruction, with his wife.
When Mr. Lamstein first saw it, nearly two years ago, it seemed about 95 percent finished. “The market was so busy that if they waited until it was finished and the owner had an open house, it was likely they would be in a bidding war,” Mr. Brennan said.
So Mr. Lamstein signed the contract and paid a 10 percent deposit. He let the Chelsea lease expire so he would not have to break it later, even though his neighbor â€” whose lease had nearly a year left â€” warned him the deal would probably take longer than anticipated.
Two years, and one divorce later, it’s finally finished, at least a year overdue. Here’s my tip: don’t plan on new construction being done on time. Ever.
The Bachelor Pad Still Lives
A bachelor pad is a cultural icon. It has been designed by the architect Frank Gehry for the pages of Playboy and has symbolized an alternative to life as a patriarchal breadwinner for more than half a century. It has earned mythic status. And it has essential ingredients.
The quintessential pad is modern, minimalist and cleaned by a maid. There is leather, wine and art. The views are befitting of a master of the universe, but a remote control can kill the lights, lower the shades and turn on the mood music before a girl can say, “I should really be getting home.”
That may seem like a Hollywood version of a bachelor pad, but it does in fact exist.
What ever happened to the swinging bachelor? Did he ever really exist? Does he exist now? Does he have a phat pad? (If you know of anyone in Boston with a bachelor pad, let me know. Maybe we can do a story about it. I’m not sure if Mr. Brady’s Back Bay condo counts.)
Not Quite a Castle, but It’s Home
If the Ottoman Empire were restored, it would make one New York City landlord very happy.
His tenant, Ertugrul Osman, would become the Ottoman sultan â€” the head of a dynasty that ruled from 1299 to 1924, when the Turkish Republic was established. The job would come with a house in Istanbul, the 285-room Dolmabahce Palace, now a museum.
New York law, not to mention noblesse oblige, would require the sultan to surrender his two-bedroom apartment over a restaurant on Lexington Avenue in the 70’s. He has lived there since 1945, and his rent is $350 a month.
That’s awesome. Again, the beauty of rent control!