Friday, July 31, 2009

Daily News Continues to Recognize the Hotness

I'm not sure if the Daily News has a huge stake in Bronx real estate or what, but coming fresh off the heels of an entire special Bronx edition last week (there was even an accompanying marketing website and cheesy slogan [BD thinks its own "The Bronx is Burning - Burning Hot!" is much better than "If You Think You Know the Bronx- Think Again!"]), there is another article profiling a few happy new arrivals to our beloved borough. The first paragraph says it all:

"By now everyone should know it. The combination of cheap apartment prices, lots of green space and convenient transportation to Manhattan has more home hunters from other boroughs and outside of New York taking serious looks at living in the Bronx."

Just an fyi for whomever fact-checked the piece: it would be much more accurate to say that Mosholu Parkway and its environs make up an emerging neighborhood near the New York Botanical Garden, rather than the Bronx Zoo. The Zoo is close, and we bring our little one there often, but NYBG is much closer and convenient to the hood.

Thanks for the recognition, Daily News!


Listing of the Day: Woodlawn Four Bedroom

4236 Vireo Avenue, 4 Bedrooms - $379,000

Sorry about the dearth of posts, folks. Summer vacation and an ever more independent 18 month old make it tough for ole ErLu. In any case, I stumbled on this pretty decent house in Woodlawn, so here's an LOD for you all.

This is in the southeastern quadrant of Woodlawn and the listing describes it as a fixer-upper, but from the pics it does not look like a traditional Bronx flophouse that is uninhabitable while you do the work. The listing does not mention the number of bathrooms, but you have to believe there's a least one in there, right? Right?

What drew the BD's attention was the price, which is pretty damned nice for a four bedroom in Woodlawn; the location (Woodlawn is a pretty fun, tight-knit residential community); and that deck pictured in the listing photos.

Here's the Woodlawn spiel for the uninitiated:

Woodlawn is a very unique neighborhood in the Bronx. It is an Irish enclave that has enough bars and pubs to make even Galway jealous. Our favorites are Rory Dolan's (technically in Yonkers) on McLean Avenue and the Rambling House on Katonah Ave (funny story about the Rambling House and my daughter's baptism, but that's one to be told over a pint). The shepherd's pie and other Irish specialties are can't misses.The people in Woodlawn are super-friendly (hey, a lot of them are happy drunks, I guess). Obviously St. Patty's Day is not to missed up here.

You'd have some shopping up and down Katonah and McLean Avenues.

From this side of the hood you'd be able to access easily the Woodlawn Metro-North stop for a quick commute to Manhattan. Otherwise, it's a bus to the 4 train on the other side of the cemetery.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beyond Living Wages: The Supermarket War at the Armory

The controversial Kingsbridge Armory project proposed by the Related Cos. will have another hearing tonight at 6pm on Lehman's campus in the Lovinger Theater.

BoogieDowner has voiced concerns about the practicality of the living wage debate, so I won't restate my position about that. BUT...the new issue of NOT having a supermarket in the Armory is reprehensible.

The Daily News is reporting that all eight Bronx City Council members sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg asking him to reject any supermarket plan in the Armory. This is outrageous because anyone who lives in and around the Armory knows full well that quality supermarkets - not glorified bodegas - are very difficult to come by. Produce can be old, products expired, and prices high.

I am not sure if/how much money Morton William's (owner of a supermarket right near the Armory site), has given to the Bronx City Council members' campaigns, but it is clear that the Council members are attempting to protect Morton Williams from good old fashioned capitalist competition.

To say that CB7 has enough quality supermarkets is an outright lie.

For proof of the dearth of quality food shopping options just check out this BD post from February lamenting the grocery woes of the hood and the 14 comments from other Bronxites sharing info about where to find a decent supermarket.


Photo of the Day

Opening Day at Gateway Center's Target
Photo sent in by BoogieDowner reader Patrick Farrelly

Listing of the Day: Adolfo Carrion's Old Digs for Rent

620 City Island Avenue, 6 Bedrooms - $4,200/month

Now that Addie's off doing something in Washington (although no one is really quite sure what), he is trying to rent his opulent City Island pad for $4,200/month.

The craigslist ad BoogieDowner stumbled upon doesn't explicitly mention that it is Carrion's house, but there's only one "Former French B&B" on City Island and only one ex-Beep who used to reside in the aforementioned former French B&B.

From BoogieDowner's past jaunts on City Island Avenue, we can certainly affirm the house's party potential.

This is a little out of most BoogieDowner readers' budgets, but I heard it has a pretty sick catwalk...*wink*wink*



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Biggest Bronx Real Estate Deal of 2009

Crain's New York is reporting that Manhattan Beer is joining the wholesale bonanza down in Hunt's Point. In what's being hailed as the BoogieDown's largest real estate transaction of 2009 thus far, Manhattan beer has paid $20M for a warehouse on Leggett Avenue.

What Manhattan Beer wants to do in Hunt's Point is very much in line with what the meat, fish, and produce wholesalers of Hunt's Point already do: serve as a one stop shop for restaurants, specialty stores, and other food retail outlets.

Another aspect of Manhattan Beer's arrival that is making the community happy is the company's commitment to green renovation, sustainability, and delivery. In fact, Manhattan Beer already has a fleet of low-emission natural gas trucks to help achieve its green goals.

It's great to see companies investing in the Bronx, especially in this economic climate...


Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Bentley is Nuts: Part Dos (Or is it Part 7?)

BoogieDowner has diagnosed the Bentley, a newish building in Van Cortlandt Village at 3880 Orloff Avenue, as schizophrenic and more recently as outright nuts. BoogieDowner would just like to double down on its most recent diagnosis by pointing out that the price has changed again...

Here are the listed prices for a two bedroom in the Bentley

$1555/month - December
$1685/month - March
$1575/month -April 21st
$1475/month -(craigslist ad expired - no linkage) April 30th
$1700/month -(craigslist ad expired - no linkage) May 1st
$1595/month - July 6th
and back to $1700/month. July 25th

In addition to the crazy price fluctuation the listings have tried to lure renters in with an ever changing array of enticements: a free month's rent, no fee, $500 off first month's rent, a free month's rent already calculated into the advertised price, and now a choice between no broker's fee or a month's free rent.

This fluctuation is absolute insanity...I will relent on this consistent price stalking because I know it is probably pretty tiresome for the readers, but I am just stultified by the Bentley's moving target of a price point...


Friday, July 24, 2009

Go Buy The Daily News Today

There is a whole special "Bronx Edition" on newsstands.

Here's a little article by Daily News real estate writer, Jason Sheftell recognizing the real estate hotness of the BoogieDown:
"You Have To See It To Believe It"

Here are some other choice pieces:

"The Closer (Real Estate Gossip)"

"Bronx Brand"

"Opportunity Knocks"

Thanks for helping get the word out Daily News...


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Listing of the Day: 1 Bedroom for Less Than $50K

814 Tilden Street, 1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom - $45,000

This is literally the cheapest co-op I've ever come across in my real estate listing sojourns. Gun Hill Road is not as cool as Bedford Park, or Van Cortland Village, or Mott Haven, or Pelham Parkway, but the price on this unit can't be beat.

The pics actually show a unit that has been maintained and doesn't need much work. If you were to get a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with 20% down, you're monthly would be a mere $215. Throw in a guestimated maintenance fee of $125/month and you'd have a one bedroom for only $340. You can't find one bedrooms for that price anywhere in the City.

There is some shopping on Gun Hill Road itself, and Bay Plaza is reasonably close. You also be somewhat near Bronx Park and the Botanical Garden.

Of course transportation is pretty sweet with the 2/5 at Gun Hill Road and the Williamsbridge Metro North stop a few blocks west at the Bronx River.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NY Times Salivates Over Bronx Flavor

How could you not love this guy?
Photo by Michael Nagle/New York Times

Sorry, I just had to go for the cheesy pun in the title...

As you can tell, we've been bad bloggers lately. We were on vacation last week and are still slowly getting back into the swing of things, but just wanted to alert everyone to a huge article in today's New York Times featuring a popular culinary show on BronxNet, Bronx Flavor. The show, which is the brainchild of Justin Fornal, aka Baron Ambrosia, is dedicated to unearthing all the affordable culinary treasures in the BoogieDown.

We met the Baron at last year's 'Taste of the Bronx' event at Lehman College, and he really is quite a trip... and he positively oozes Bronx pride.

Congrats to Bronx Flavor for getting the BoogieDown some well-deserved press for some often overlooked culinary delights!

Click here to check out the Times' article.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo of the Day

Marine Supplies - City Island AvenuePhoto by ErLu

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bike Racks, Please

These lucky bikes have a place to call home...
Sadly, bikes parked at the River Plaza shopping center in Marble Hill aren't so fortunate.

So I bought a cheap bike a few months ago to avoid alternate side parking frustrations. Here in Bedford Park we have to move our cars from 11:30am to 1pm every day of the week except Wednesday. Boo!!! It's right smack in the middle of the day, and it always causes great angst because if you have a spot that's good for the day, then of course you don't want to go out in the morning and give it up. Then you have to assume that from 11:30am to 1pm, some annoying double parker has pinned you in. So that means you have to wait until 1pm to really try to accomplish anything that's not within walking distance.

In an effort to shed post baby weight (can I even still use the excuse if Pearl is now 18 months old?), I wanted to get to the gym more this summer while Lou is home (he's a teacher) to watch Pearl. Thus, the purchasing of the bike. I go to the Planet Fitness over in Marble Hill to work out... For $10/month, it's definitely the best deal in town. It's located right in the bustling hub of activity that is the River Plaza shopping complex. As most Bronxites already know, River Plaza is home to a bunch of popular retail shops: Target, Marshall's, Payless, and Starbuck's just to name a few.

Marble Hill is technically Manhattan's northern most neighborhood, even though it's geographically situated across the Harlem River right up against the BoogieDown. So the shops at River Plaza serve tons shoppers from Manhattan as well as the Bronx. There is ample free parking, but the traffic around there is absolutely maddening.

So you'd think biking would be the perfect alternative for shoppers to access River Plaza, right? Well, there's one major flaw that I was really surprised to find: there are NO BIKE RACKS in River Plaza! Seems pretty crazy right? I mean, I looked all over and even asked the dude at Planet Fitness if he knew where one would be... but there are none. This was pretty shocking to me. It seems like such a cheap, sensible amenity to provide. So, instead I just lock the bike to one of the shopping cart corrals at Target. I'm just waiting for a car to hit it.

By the way, if you see a goofy white girl riding around the Bronx on a powder blue cruiser style bike, it's probably me. Beep and say hello!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photo of the Day

Setting up for last Thursday's
'Edible Garden' event at NYBG
~Photo by ErLu

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Listing of the Day: Parkchetser 2 Bedroom

7 Metropolitan Oval, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom - $179,000

This is a two bedroom unit right at the famed Oval, which is the heart of the Parkchester community. Parkchester is often called a city within a city, and this is an apartment within that city within a city - got that straight? Well, in any case, what was once a hidden secret is starting to be discovered and gobbled up.

This apartment looks like is really has the pride of ownership stamped on it. The pics seem to indicate a well loved and maintained unit. The listing boasts of the bubble era necessities of granite and stainless steel. No mentionof the common fees associated with this condo.

Parkchester has tons of shopping, chief of which are its own Macy's and a Starbucks. There is also a decent amount of public space to hang at, including the ovals of the complex proper and a few fountains. And who doesn't like fountains? Should we also mention that Parkchester is going to have Verizon FiOs soon too? Well, it will.

Parkchester was built under the same idea as Stuy-Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, and has the same self-sufficient aura. Parkchester is a safe and family friendly hood with decent transportation via the 6 train and bus service. So if you're looking to own an apartment and have enough money to go out, or just need a place you with enough space that you can actually afford without roommates or a large inheritance or parental subsidy, check out this apartment and nabe.

Parkchester Community Website



Monday, July 13, 2009

Photo of the Day

Crazy Tree - City Island AvenuePhoto by ErLu

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ch. 13 Streaming North Brother Island Web Episode

Good news for web addicts like ourselves, or people who have thrown their televisions out the window because they are sick of the excessive Michael Jackson coverage: Channel 13 is now offering a bulk of their programming online for free.

The newly updated will stream many national programs, as well as original online content created to cater to hyper-local New York audiences.

A new "City Revealed" episode which premiered online this week takes viewers to North Brother Island, which used to be a quarantine hospital and is now a protected heron habitat. It's a really fascinating behind the scenes look at how this bird breeding environment is researched and protected.

So if you can tear yourselves away from the train wreck that is "So You Think You Can Dance" long enough, we suggest you check out Thirteen's new online offerings by clicking here, or checking out the Brother Island episode below.

The City Concealed: North Brother Island Bird Sanctuary from on Vimeo.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Sickens Me

The stalemate in Albany is over with Pedro Espada, Jr. coming back to the warm embrace of the Democratic conference with a new snazzy extorted title: Majority Leader.

So it looks like the State Senate spent a month wasting taxpayer money and neglecting important legislation so that Mr. Espada could aggrandize himself and accumulate titles. I am ashamed of the Democratic conference for accepting Mr. Espada back and giving into his demands that he be given a completely unearned title and leadership role in the Senate.

The deal has Espada as Majority Leader, Malcolm Smith as Senate President, and John Sampson as the leader of the Democratic caucus. Sounds like a whole lot of chiefs and not a lot of Indians to me...What happens the first time the Democrats block some questionable member items for which Mr. Espada asks? Will he bolt back to his man-crush, Dean Skelos?

Hopefully Mr. Espada will succumb to one of the several investigations currently targeting him and we can be done with him for good. If not, we in the 33rd district must not let this scoundrel be re-elected in 2010.

At least Mr. Espada can get back to work now and maybe open a district office or come hang out in his "primary residence" and invite ErLu over for breakfast.

I also hope that Dean Skelos is canned by the good people of Rockville Center for playing footsie with such an untrustworthy, deceitful, and downright unethical clown.

Here's some real journalism about the Democrats being bent over a barrel and the Republicans being stabbed in the back by a guy whose back stabbing skills they helped hone:

Standoff Ends as Defector Rejoins Albany Democrats [NY TIMES]

Turncoat Pol to Return to Dems [NY DAILY NEWS]


Silver Lining for the BoogieDown? [Update x2]

The Daily News has a brief article based on a real estate report produced by the Real Estate Board of New York. Update: the Daily News linkage is acting really weird and sending us to a different article, but under the same URL. When I figure out what's going on I'll fix it...Update2: The Daily News thing is still not working, but here is a link to the Press Release from REBNY's report.

Needless to say, the whole thing is a big shit show, but there was some good news buried in the stats:

1) The Bronx was the least bad of all the boroughs in terms of overall price decrease for all residential dwellings (condos, co-ops, and 1-3 family houses). Our beloved borough saw only a 9% decrease, while Manhattan saw a 22% decrease.

2) Apartment prices actually increased by 12% in the Bronx, which was the only borough to see increases.

Any theories out there to explain this? Less of an unrealistic mark up here? First time home buyers still priced out of inflated Brooklyn and Manhattan? The smaller they are the softer they fall?

But besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bentley Pics

A BoogieDowner reader sent these photos of the Bentley and its surrounding area for your perusal. Thanks, Lora!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Listing of the Day: the Bentley is Nuts

3880 Orloff Avenue, 2 bedrooms, 1 Bath - $1595/month

BoogieDowner has been following this bizarre rental price fluctuation since December of last year. The price has been (in order) $1555/month, $1685/month, $1575/month, $1475/month, $1700/month and now $1595. In addition to the crazy price fluctuation the listings have tried to lure renters in with an ever changing array of enticements: a free month's rent, no fee, $500 off first month's rent, a free month's rent already calculated into the advertised price, and now a choice between no broker's fee or a month's free rent.

This very well might be a nice building ("on the outskirts of Riverdale" as the listing shouts), but there's something fishy about being unable to price the rental rates consistently. I'm no financial wizard, but if people aren't renting at a higher price, maybe you should try decreasing the price until people start renting.

Here's the Bentley's fancy ad material:
Does anybody live in or near the Bentley? Anybody have any info about how full it is? Please let us know...



Friday, July 3, 2009

Photo of the Day

Mott Haven Historic District plaquePhoto by ErLu

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Photo of the Day

Van Cortlandt Lake
(as seen from Vanny Golf Course's clubhouse deck)Photo by ErLu

Pretend You Have a Deck at Vanny Golf Course's Clubhouse

If the ole BD had a dime for every time we wistfully stated, "Damn, it would be nice to have a backyard and a deck to hangout on (i.e. 'drink on')," we'd certainly have a few extra bucks in our pocket. So until we find ourselves in a position to buy a little slice of urban paradise that features our very own outdoor space, we've decided to adopt the Van Cortlandt Golf Course Clubhouse's bad ass deck as our own.

No, we don't golf... but we sure do love finding new places that will allow us to get our daytime drinking on in the great outdoors. Sure, golfers in Vanny's G.C. Clubhouse look at us a little strange when we walk in with a stroller and not one bit of golf paraphernalia, but we're not letting that stop us.

The Van Cortlandt Golf Course Clubhouse has a nice basic beer selection (Stella, Heineken, Bud Light Lime, etc.) at pretty reasonable prices (around $5 for imports), and a light food menu including fries, hot dogs, burgers, etc. Best of all, the large deck offers an ample amount of tables and chairs with a view overlooking the Van Cortlandt Lake (which happens to be the largest fresh water lake in the BoogieDown). Our 18 month old, Pearl, actually loves visiting the Vanny G.C. Clubhouse because there's lots of space to run around and lots of geese and birds to look at (bribery with french fries also helps keep her happy during these visits).

So, next time you find yourself yearning for your own little slice of backyard suburban living, check out Vanny G.C.'s clubhouse... It's nothing fancy, but a great place to kick back and relax.

Getting There: Subway riders can get there by walking east from the IRT Nos. 1 and 9 terminal. Drivers can enter the park off Bailey Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park South, adjacent to the northbound entrance to the Major Deegan Expressway.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Photo of the Day

Minnieford Avenue, City Island
(otherwise known Cadillac Row)Photo by ErLu