Dec 5, 2018

Holiday Building Staff Tipping


Year in and year out, we are asked about New York City holiday tipping etiquette, especially for apartment building staff. Updated annual post.

Here is my take on the situation:

So many ask, “why tip at all for someone who is merely doing his job?” We feel that an additional reward for work well done is a welcome gift. It is good manners, and customary to show one’s appreciation by giving a little something extra during the holiday as a way to say “thank you”.

Keep in mind the following factors in determining what to give:
  • How pleased are you with the service
  • The frequency of the service
  • How long you’ve known the person
  • Your budget
  • The local custom
  • The type of establishment (deluxe vs. moderate building)The following are ranges of suggested gratuities:
  • Apartment Building Superintendents: $75 - $200 There is a wide range here ($50-$500) depending on the services offered by your building and how much the staff are at your beck-and-call during the year.
  • Doormen: $25 and up Take into consideration how nice they are to you, if you get lots of visitors and deliveries, and if they actually open the door for you. To maintain a level of quality service, you need to pay for it.
  • Porters: $15- $30 These people have a difficult and sometimes unpleasant job. If you’ve spilled Styrofoam packaging stuffers in your hallway or incinerator room, you owe it to your custodian to remember.
  • Handyman: $15 - $30+ This is an instance where your tip can be proportionate to the amount of the work you’ve requested during the year. If you merely greet the handyman in the hall, the lower end of the range should suffice. If you’ve gotten him out of bed in the middle of the night to repair a gushing water leak, ask yourself how much such a task is worth to you and show your appreciation accordingly.
  • Mail Carriers: $10 - $20
  • There is a long list of other people to remember during the holidays-garage attendants, personal trainers, housekeepers, babysitters, stylists, etc., and the range of what is considered appropriate is wide and left mostly to personal judgement.
Regardless of the cash value of any gift, however, it is important that a gratuity be given as a present. Include a nice card with a handwritten note and deliver it personally.

Cash is appreciated, rather than checks.In what can seem like an uncivilized city, it is important to remember to make a gesture of appreciation to those who make your life easier. The holiday season is the perfect time to do so.

555 West End Avenue Luxury Condo Conversion


The former St. Agnes Catholic Boys High School at 555 West End Avenue has been converted into a 13-unit luxury condo and is now selling. 

The building's facade remains original 1908 English collegiate- and Gothic-style.

555 WEA formerly St. Agnes Boys High School
The units listed start at $7.9 million for a four-bedroom 4 bath home, a $10.3 million five-bedroom 4 bath home, a second floor unit called The Library (with 5 bedrooms, 5 baths for $10.5 million and a $18 million penthouse solarium with 3 bedrooms 3 baths in the former high school's gymnasium.

555 WEA penthouse solarium
555 West End Avenue, an architectural landmark within the Riverside-West End Historic District features soaring ceiling heights with towering windows. The historic Beaux-Arts architecture features stone facade, limestone bay windows and pre-war details.

The three- to five-bedroom residences bring together elements of pre-war co-ops, condominiums, urban lofts, and townhouses with large spaces and gracious floor plans.

The units have marble slab counters and backsplashes in the kitchen, oak vanities with Calacatta Gold countertops and Italian marble floors in the bathrooms, and white oak herringbone floors.

Located one block from Riverside Park at 87th Street on West End Avenue, the full service 24 hour doorman building also offers refrigerated storage, a bicycle room, and stroller valet. Every residence has its own private storage room. A gym features state-of-the-art equipment in a daylit space and a recreation room features a wet bar with stools, a pool table, dartboard, comfortable lounge chairs, and a large-screen TV.

More info and listings

Nov 17, 2018

Manhattan Market Report | October 2018

Market Wide Summary

October 2018 saw a decline in sales activity as buyers continued to demand steeper discounts which put pressure on sellers to lower prices in an oversupplied market. There were year-over-year declines in pricing and sales for condos while co-ops also experienced a dip in sales activity but saw most pricing metrics increase. Average days on market continued to increase as buyers wait for better deals as evidenced by the increase in negotiability for both product types compared to last year. Listed inventory reached its highest point since October 2011 as supply continues to outpace sales.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

In October 2018, there was a moderate decline in condo sales and pricing fell across the board compared to last year. Average price decreased 13% annually due to fewer sales above $10M compared to last year, meanwhile, an increase in low-end sales caused the median price to fall 10%. The average price per square foot decreased 9% compared to last year and is at its lowest point since January 2017. Studios were the only product type to see an increase in average price per square foot, rising 15% year-over-year because of two sales Downtown.

One bedrooms saw a 5% decrease in average price per square foot while two and three bedrooms experienced more significant decreases of 12% and 9%, respectively. Two bedrooms dropped off from a high October 2017 figure that had 75% more sales above $2,000 per square foot.

The average price per square foot of three bedrooms declined against an October 2017 figure that was boosted by a few high priced sales Downtown. Average days on market increased 37% with listings continuing to linger on the market, which had 12% more inventory compared to last year. Negotiability deepened 1.5% year-over-year to -4.2%.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Sales activity in the co-op market decreased 6% year-over-year. Average price and average price per square foot increased 7% each, while median price fell 4% year- over-year. The rise in average price and average price per square was driven by an increase in sales over $5M, all of which were over $2,000 per square foot. Annual changes in average price per square foot varied by product type with studios and three bedrooms both increasing while one and two bedrooms decreased. The most notable change was amongst three bedrooms which increased 18% mainly because of a penthouse sale in Tribeca. Days on market increased 24% due to six listings lingering on the market for over a year versus half that many last year. Listed inventory increased 28% to its highest level since June 2012. Negotiability deepened significantly to -2.5%, down from -0.6% last year as sellers face deal-seeking buyers in an oversupplied market.

Manhattan Total Inventory

October 2018 marked the highest number of active listings of any October since 2011, fueled by year-over-year increases of 28% for co-op inventory, and 12% for condo inventory. Townhouse inventory grew 17%. This is the tenth consecutive month that co-op inventory has risen by double-digits year-over-year. Inventory has continued to rise across all product types as supply outpaced slowing sales. Excluding last month, the percent of condo inventory is at its lowest point since April 2015.

Manhattan Negotiability Factor by Price Point

Average negotiability in Manhattan has been deepening since the turning point in the market in Third Quarter 2015. In October 2018, the average discount from last asking price to sale price was -4.2% for condos and -2.5% for coops. Discounts for condos and co-ops have not been this deep since 2012.

Oct 26, 2018

Manhattan Market Report | September 2018

Market Wide Summary 

Buyer hesitancy and continued uncertainty characterized September market conditions as evidenced by the overall decline in deal activity, longer days on market, and persistent levels of negotiability. The result of fewer sales drove inventory levels up to its highest level of any September since 2011.

Average days on market for condos increased significantly as listings lingered and hesitant buyers waited for better deals. Compared to last year, negotiability at the extreme high and low ends of the market has actually tightened but negotiability in the middle of the market ($1M to $5M) remains unchanged. Given the overall level of negotiability in the market, average price declined annually. Median price improved for both condos and coops for the second time so far this year.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

In September 2018, condo sales decreased 10% year-over-year, dipping to their lowest September level since 2011. Average price decreased 11% compared to a high September 2017 figure with several sales above $10M. Median price, however, increased 24% due to fewer sales at the low-end.

Average price per square foot declined 8%, off an unusually high September 2017 figure that was skewed by a sale with Central Park views. This sale also led to the 13% year-over-year decrease in the average price per square foot of two bedrooms. The average price per square foot for studios, however, increased 16%, skewed high due to two expensive sales at Essex House and the Jade.

Listed inventory rose 5% compared to last year and was at its highest level for September since 2010. Days on market increased 12% due to lingering listings finally selling. Negotiability remained very high but decreased year-over-year as fewer properties traded at a discount of over 10% compared to last year.

Cooperative Market Snapshot

Sales activity in the co-op market decreased 10% year-over-year. Pricing metrics varied as average price decreased 6% but median price increased 9%. Average price per square foot decreased by 10% due to fewer sales above $1,500 per square foot compared to last year.

The largest year-over-year increase in price per square foot was amongst two bedroom units which skewed higher due to a penthouse sale on the Upper West Side. Units with three bedrooms or more experienced a dramatic 36% drop in average price per square foot, off an unusually high September 2017. Listed inventory rose 23% year-over-year along with the decline in sales.

Average days on market decreased 9% off an unusually high September 2017 that was skewed from a listing on the market over 400 days. Negotiability increased as the average discount from last asking price to sale price increased to 2.4%, up from 2.2% last year.


September 2018 marked the highest number of active listings of any September since 2011, fueled by year-over-year increases of 23% for co-op inventory, and 5% for condo inventory. Townhouse inventory grew 13%. This is the ninth consecutive month that co-op inventory has risen by double-digits year-over-year. The month-over- month increase for all product types is typical as may sellers often put their listings on the market in the Fall.


Average negotiability remains high in an oversupplied Manhattan market. However, nearly all price points actually saw year-over-year decreases in negotiability. The largest decrease occured in the $5MM+ price range. The average discount off the last asking price was 5.9%, down from 6.6% a year ago. The decrease in negotiability suggests that sellers have adjusted their asking prices given market conditions.

Oct 11, 2018

Brooklyn Q3 2018 Market Report

 Brooklyn Q3 2018 Market Report

Let’s look at Third Quarter 2018 for Brooklyn:

  • The Brooklyn Q3 market was mixed with results varying by neighborhood:There were robust sales in areas offering good value relative to market-wide prices, while buyers were hesitant in neighborhoods where prices remained high. Sales surged in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including a 63% increase in closed sales South of Prospect Park.

  • Q3 sales declined compared to last year’s five-year record high Q3 sales:Total sales in Q3 Brooklyn were down 7%, though the sales pace was busy with the second-highest Q3 in a five-year period. Resale condo closed sales rose 4%, the second-highest level of condo sales in five years. Both resale co-ops and new development sales declined, 8% and 20% respectively, compared to a very active Q3 in those product types last year.

  • Prices were mixed as several high-end sales drove up average price, while median price declined slightly: The Brooklyn median sale price decreased 3% to $702,000 and the average sale price increased 5% to $881,000, spurred by high-priced new development closings in buildings like The Standish and Pierhouse.

  • Inventory changed minimally year-over-year: Inventory decreased 2% compared to this time last year, due heavily to an 8% decline in inventory in South Brooklyn, which was also the neighborhood with the highest number of Q3 sales.

  • Sales decreased in Williamsburg and Greenpoint as buyers remain hesitant about the L Train suspension: There was a significant decline in sales in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, partly due to a 14% decrease in inventory in those neighborhoods, but also due to buyer caution as the L Train suspension date nears.  
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about The Brooklyn Market Report or the market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.

 Read The Full  --> Brooklyn 3Q 2018 Market Report

Oct 2, 2018

Manhattan Market Report | Third Quarter 2018



Let’s look at Third Quarter 2018 for Manhattan:

  • Third Quarter market activity diminished as buyers took a “wait-and-see” attitude:Manhattan market-wide closed sales and signed contracts declined compared to a year ago as buyers remained cautious with lingering concerns over tax implications and the belief that prices would continue to decrease.

  • Market-wide closed sales decreased 10% and contracts signed decreased 12% compared to last year: Though there were fewer closings in Q3 year-over-year at 3,327, there was a 5% increase over last quarter’s sales. There were 37% fewer new development sales, which contributed to the decline.

  • Market-wide prices increased nominally, but price per square foot figures fell for the third consecutive quarter: Both average and median price per square foot fell by 3% this quarter, but average and median sale prices increased slightly by 2% to $1.93 million and $1.15 million respectively, due to an improved market share in apartment sales with two or more bedrooms. With fewer super high-end luxury property sale closings, especially in new development product, prices avoided being inflated upwards this quarter.

  • Inventory increased 23% market-wide this quarter to 7,284 units: This was the eighth consecutive quarter that inventory increased year-over-year. By product type, co-op inventory rose most, up 37% year-over-year, and resale condos increased by 18%. New development inventory remained virtually unchanged, with a 1% decline.

Read the Full -> 3Q | 2018 | MANHATTAN REPORT

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about The Manhattan Market Report or the market in general. I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you.

Sep 12, 2018

Farley Post Office Transformation to Moynihan Train Hall

The James A. Farley Post Office building, completed in 1913 by McKim, Mead & White was built adjacent to the firm’s Penn Station located across the street. After the demolition of the old Penn Station, the Farley building became one of the first buildings protected under the city’s new Landmarks Law.

Farley Post office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced several milestones for the project., The Farley Post office to the Moynihan Train Hall—namely, the fact that the structure for its enormous skylight has been installed, and the first glass panel for that architectural feature has been placed.

The original Pennsylvania Station, opened in 1910, was designed by the famed McKim, Mead & White architecture firm. The station's steel and glass concourse pictured below, with its great domed roof, suggests the motion and power of the modern age.
original Penn Station courtesty
Photo: Courtesy of Library of Congress

Although a Beaux-Arts architectural masterpiece built of marble to last forever the railroad sold the air rights above the Penn Station. The building was demolished in 1960 and replaced by an office tower and new Madison Square Garden. The new Penn Station would be underground below Madison Square Garden.

MSG today courtesty:

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York's Senator for 24 years, spent over a decade championing a modern Pennsylvania Station for New York City. As a child during the Great Depression, he sold newspapers and shined shoes in the old Penn Station.

Senator Moynihan believed that America is the land of second chances. He saw the idea to build a new Penn Station in the landmark Farley Post Office across Eighth Ave from Penn Station as New York's golden opportunity to redeem itself for tearing down the original Pennsylvania Station.

When it’s completed in 2020, the Moynihan Train Hall will connect to the current Penn Station, offering new access points, more tracks, and a less claustrophobic waiting area for commuters. 

Sep 4, 2018

Back to Private Schools on Upper West Side


The Upper West Side of Manhattan is home to many private schools. 
Below are some of the finest private schools on the Upper West Side.

The Calhoon School West End Avenue

The Calhoon School - West End Avenue

The Calhoun School is a progressive, independent, college preparatory school located in the heart of Manhattan’s West Side. Founded in 1896, Calhoun has grown into a two-building coeducational institution with 670 students, ranging from three-year-olds to twelfth graders.

The former Claremont Academy- Stephen Gaynor School

The Stephan Gaynor School
 West 89th and West 90th Street

The Stephen Gaynor School, a non profit organization, provides a unique educational experience for children ages 5-14 with learning differences in a nurturing environment where children are helped to reach their academic potential. At Stephen Gaynor the pattern of academic failure is broken and children are taught to become successful learners with unlimited potential.
The historic Claremont Riding Academy building was supposed to be converted to condos, the units were supposed to give the feeling of a barn. The market turned and the condo developers sold the building for $12 million to the Stephen Gaynor School, which is located behind Claremont on 90th Street. The developers bought the building for $14 million in 2007.

Abraham Joshua Heschel School

The Abraham Joshua Heschel School was founded in 1983, a new model of Jewish day school was created. An independent school offering a pluralistic approach to Jewish learning in addition to secular studies. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

Congregation B'nai Jeshurun recently purchased the building at 270 West 89th Street from the Abraham Joshua Heschel School for $20 million. The trade symbolizes growth for two Jewish institutions on the Upper West Side. B'nai Jeshurun had rented space in the building from Heschel for its Hebrew School since 1984, when B'nai Jeshurun sold the building to Heschel.

Trinity School 139 West 91st Street

Trinity School 139 West 91st Street

Founded in 1709 as a charity school supported by Anglican missionaries, the school had its first classes meet in Trinity Church at the head of Wall Street.  Its first schoolhouse was built on the church grounds in 1749, and it is the oldest continuously operating educational institution in the city of New York. The school stretches nearly the length of 91st Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. 

Ethical Culture School -33 Central Park west

Ethical Culture School - 33 Central Park West

The Fieldston Ethical Culture school is committed to academic excellence, ethical learning, and progressive education, ECF offers a rich and challenging curriculum in the arts, sciences, and humanities. A coed, nonsectarian school, it serves a diverse community of about 1,700 students from PreK to 12 on two campuses -- one in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and the other in Manhattan.

The Dwight School - 291 Central Park West

The Dwight School - 291 Central Park West

Founded in 1872, The Dwight School is a PreK-12 private international school located on Manhattan ’s Upper West Side. In 1996, Dwight became the second school in North America to offer the full International Baccalaureate (IB) program from kindergarten through grade 12. With the opening of Woodside Preschool in the fall of 2005, Dwight became the first school to offer the IB Primary Years Program for children ages 2-4. Dwight continues to be a pioneer in international education and today nearly 40 countries are represented in its student body.

Columbia Grammar and preparatory School

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School is one of the oldest institutions in America, with a long and notable tradition of excellence as a college preparatory school. Facilities include a state-of-the-art theater to computer and science labs, five art studios, including filmmaking and photography and library for children and programs PK through 12.

West Side Montessori school

West Side Montessori School - 309 west 92nd Street

West Side Montessori School (WSMS) is an independent early childhood Montessori school serving 209 students, ages 2.10 through 6. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City and accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, the American Montessori Society, and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Mandell School - 795 Columbus Avenue.
The Mandell School is a member of ISAAGNY (Independent School Admissions Association of Greater NY) and the Parents League. The Mandell School is committed to providing a rigorous educational environment for children and their families, which through intellectual stimulation and emotional support, enables them to become responsible active citizens of the world.

K-8th grade is located at 795 Columbus Avenue. There are 3 preschool locations as well: one on 150 Amsterdam Ave. (between 66th & 67th St.).  Another preschool in the west village on 160 Christopher St. and one on the UWS (775 Columbus Ave.) that opened 75 years ago.  

Many private schools have long waiting lists and have admission requirements/procedures similar to colleges and universities. Most private schools require mandatory testing from the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) as well as interviews, school tours, and references. The best time to contact schools for brochures, applications, and procedures is after Labor Day and ERB testing forms should be completed in early October.

For More Information:

Educational Records Bureau
Parents League of NY

 The Archdiocese of New York     1-212-691-3381
 Abacus Guide                          

Originally posted: September 05, 201

courtesy of:

Aug 11, 2018

Manhattan Monthly Market Report July 2018

Market Wide Summary 

Year-over-year, July sales activity amongst condos and co-ops decreased 3% and 9%, respectively. Pricing metrics for condos varied as average price increased significantly but median price remained nearly flat. Co-ops experienced a significant 53% increase in average price while median price rose more moderately at 12%. Co-op average price increased substantially due to some very high-priced deals on the Upper East Side.

The average price per square foot increased 5% for condos, while it increased 23% for co-ops. Listed inventory for condos reached a 12-month high for the fourth consecutive month, and co-op inventory rose 45% to its highest level of any July since 2011. Average days on market decreased for condos, but increased significantly for co-ops. Negotiability was up year-over-year for both product types, as higher inventory and less buyer urgency continues to drive up that figure

Condominium Market Snapshot 

In July 2018, condo sales experienced a year-over-year decline of 3%, and with 347 signed contracts it was the slowest July since 2011. Despite the slow sales, year-over-year average price figures increased 19% and median price remained nearly flat, only down 2% yearover-year. The increase in average price was due to a larger number of sales over $2M, and fewer sales under $1M compared to last July.

Average price per square foot also increased, rising 5% year-over-year. The average price per square foot increased 27% for studios and 7% for two bedroom units, while one and three bedroom units remained essentially unchanged, only increasing 1% year-over-year. Listed inventory rose dramatically, up 24% compared to last year and is at its highest point since October 2010. Days on market decreased 14% due to fewer units on the market for over a year compared to last year. Negotiability remained very high, as the average discount between last asking price and sale price increased to almost 4%.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Sales activity in the co-op market declined 9% year-over-year while average and median price increased 53% and 12%, respectively. The large increase in average price was the result of a handful of sales above $10M compared to zero last year.

Average price per square foot increased significantly by 23% due to these sales while pricing metrics for all resident types increased year-over-year. The largest year-over-year increases in price per square foot were amongst the smallest units as studios and one bedrooms increased 36% and 15%, respectively. Similar to condominiums, inventory rose dramatically, up 45% year-over-year but remained flat month-over-month.

Average days on market rose 24% due to more units on the market over 100 days compared to last year. Negotiability for co-ops also increased, as the average discount from last asking price to sale price increased to 2.6%, up from 2.1% in June, and just 0.8% last year.


July 2018 marked the highest number of active listings of any July since 2011, fueled by year-over-year increases of 45% for co-op inventory, and 24% for condo inventory. Townhouse inventory grew 19%. Month-over-month, inventory remained flat for condominiums, co-ops, and townhouses.


 As inventory continues to rise and absorption falls, buyers with less urgency and more options have become more aggressive in their negotiations. All price points except the $3MM-$5MM range experienced year-over-year increases in negotiability with the most notable being properties under $1MM and over $5MM. On average, properties below $1MM are trading at a 2% discount off their last asking price, a five-fold increase compared to last year. At the high-end, properties $5MM and above are trading at a 5.5% discount off their last asking price. This is almost double the average discount buyers received a year ago. The average discount for $3MM- $5MM properties decreased year-over-year because there were more units that traded closer to their asking price compared to last year.

Jul 26, 2018

Brooklyn Monthly Market Report | June 2018

Market Wide Summary 

During June, strong South Brooklyn new development sales at recently launched sites such as The Jade Condominium and The Arthouse Condominium drove up overall contract activity by 11% compared to June 2017.

Due to the uptick in new development sales in South Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s price metrics fell compared to last year. Average and median sale price figures fell by 6% and 1%, respectively. Average price per square foot decreased versus June 2017, down 3%, driven by an increase in market share of sales below $2M.

The difference from last ask price to sale price was -0.1% below the average asking price, slightly lower when compared to last year. Days on market was unchanged compared to last year and shortened by one week compared to the previous month as more fast-selling and less expensive homes traded in June 2018.


Days on market in June was level compared to last year but shortened versus the prior month. As fewer expensive homes traded in June, the days on market figure of 61 days ended an eight-month streak of being over the Brooklyn’s five-year average.


Newly listed apartment inventory was up a significant 38% year-over-year and level with the month prior. The number of newly listed apartments during June 2018 is the highest June figure on record, driven by significant new development introductions in South Brooklyn and the launch of Brooklyn Point earlier this year.


Negotiability improved for sellers in Brooklyn versus June 2017 as almost 65% of homes sold at or above the asking price in June 2018, level with Brooklyn’s five- year average. More sellers have been pricing their homes in line with buyer’s expectations as 35% of homes sold at the asking price, higher than the previous month and last year.


This blog site is designed and published as a consumer service by local real estate broker to help Manhattan, New York City buyers, sellers and renters make informed real estate decisions. This site and its feeds are owned and operated by Mitchell J Hall, a NY State licensed real estate associate broker associated with The Corcoran Group and member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

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