by Laura Matiz
Eight-hundred years ago, on June 15, 1215, Magna Carta was signed by King John of England on the banks of the Thames River in Runnymede. Thus, this iconic Great Charter, signed by the king under pressure from rebel barons tired of a king beyond the law, became an important symbol of liberty and property rights in the English-speaking world. We first learn about Magna Carta in history classes, but my guess is few of us really grasped the significance of the document's place in human history. Magna Carta spells out what we now refer to as human rights, something that still does not exist in some parts of the world where political systems undermine individual freedoms and the security of ownership.
Magna Carta was first published in the Americas by William Penn in 1687. He wrote that Magna Carta described Fundamental Rights given to Englishmen including "freedom of his person and property in his estate." With these rights, owning property becomes protected from the will of any monarch or government such that none can seize your property.
Of course, the importance of Magna Carta for this post is in relation to real estate property. It is the relative safety of these investments that drives individuals, families, and corporations to secure ownership of real estate property. Is it any wonder that pundits have recently described the new luxury developments in Manhattan as safe-deposit boxes for foreign money? Certainly, our deeds, titles, and contracts and their sanctity in the courts leads to a robust system that allows anyone to own a piece of land.
A history buff? Learn more about Magna Carta as it reaches its 800th anniversary:
by Laura Matiz
In December 2014, I wrote about transit developments in "NYC Underground: New Transit Projects." There, I highlighted the 7 Line West Side Extension that will reach the Jacob Javitz Convention Center. The extension will also serve the new Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, "the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center." This project is bound to open up and change Manhattan's far West Side.
by Laura Matiz
The post-war condominium at 250 East 65th Street, is a full-service, pet-friendly building on a beautiful double-wide tree-lined block. This centrally-located building is near major subway lines, fabulous restaurants and shopping, and cultural attractions. The roof deck is a landscaped oasis with a built-in BBQ and sound system with both lounge areas and tables for eating. The building has a gym and laundry, bike and storage rooms.
Apartment 14F is a stunning and sun-flooded 2-bedroom-2-bath residence that exudes the contemporary sensibilities of the Upper East Side. At approximately 1450 square feet with 10' ceilings—unique to the building's top floor—rooms feel generous and spacious. An entry gallery leads to the sprawling corner living room and dining area that is wrapped in oversize windows with city views. The layout is perfectly designed for seamless living and entertaining featuring a sleek, windowed open chef's kitchen with white lacquer cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances and a center island breakfast bar. There are two generously proportioned bedrooms and two black and white tiled baths. The plentiful storage, beautiful wide plank flooring and central air round out this perfect home.
Categories: Select Listings
by Laura Matiz
My Spring 2015 newsletter was released on Mother's Day. This latest digest covers my articles from the the first few months of 2015 and through mid-May. I have received a number of comments, the best one came from someone in the industry and it is worth sharing with all:
Wow, this is really good Laura. It may be the only newsletter I actually took the time out to read. -JT
One of the neat things about today's world is that I can fairly quickly see the response to my newsletter. I am pleased to note that my newsletter had an over 50% open rate when the industry average for real estate related newsletters is around 20%. In addition, the click rate for my Spring 2015 was more than double the industry average. All I can say is, thank you readers.
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If you would like to email the newsletter to a friend, please use the Forward to a Friend link.
Thanks to Gus Klapper for the fabulous photo of spring in Central Park that was used for the banner image on the newsletter.
by Laura Matiz
Last week I ran across PlaceILive.com and their Life Quality Index. I was intrigued by their safety/crime map (see screenshot), especially having read recent media coverage about New York City continuing to be one of the safest cities in the country. As a lifelong New Yorker, seeing the crime rate drop the way it has is something I proudly recite to out-of-town visitors, while gently warning them that NYC is still a big city and to stay aware.
In terms of real estate value, few things matter more than crime rate and safety. The lower crime rate in New York has been a major factor in the tremendous growth in real estate value over the last decade. The Life Quality Index as shown on the PlaceILive.com map includes many other factors as shown in the image. Manhattan's Life Quality Index is currently at 62, although many neighborhoods reach into the 90s.
Give NewYork.PlaceILive.com maps a try. The many data mappings are fun to explore at a macro level and at a micro level focusing on distinct areas and neighborhoods.
Categories: Open Data
by Laura Matiz
When showing apartments in the city, there are three things that sours a buyer's perception of a building and its vicinity, scaffolding, a garbage bag mound, and sidewalks full of dog dirt. I can usually convince people about the temporary nature of the first two, although some scaffolding seems to grow permanent status in front of buildings. Dog poop is another story, especially if on a second visit, the situation is the same.
Long-time NYC residents may recall 1978 when the pooper-scooper laws were enacted during the Ed Koch administration. Before that, the city sidewalks were a minefield. It was disgusting. Opponents of the law felt that picking up after your dog was also disgusting. So did the Department of Sanitation, who initially refused to pick up dog waste from public receptacles. At first, dog owners were instructed to bring home the droppings for disposal in their toilets. See FlushPuppies.
We have come a long way since the late 70s. Most dog-owners carry little baggies and willingly pick up after their pets. The City has a website with information on the law and a form where citizens can leave a complaint for dog waste. One presumes the complaint information will be used to canvas the affected area by one of the small number of Department of Sanitation employees who enforce the law. I have never seen one of these employees, so they may be as rare as Big Foot. I found some older articles that claim that much fewer than 1,000 summons are given out yearly in the five boroughs. That may be because scofflaws must be caught in the act of not acting. An amNY.com story tallied and mapped the number of complaints the city received for animal waste for the year ending July 2014. Manhattan had 220 of the total 2,442 complaints received.
Sidewalk cleanliness in residential areas is also probably a measure of the invisible socioeconomic boundaries that exist in the city. Most doormen buildings have sufficient staff to keep the front of their building clean. From anecdotal observations, most owners never let their pooches go in front of their own building. That would be uncouth. Also, residents of buildings on the avenues tend seek the quieter side streets to allow Fido to do his business and to hide from their neighbors during the act of bending down and picking up. Of course, there is always the park, but you have to pick up there too, or a Park Ranger will want to have a chat with you.