Thursday, April 15, 2010

Up, up and away!

Your humble correspondent has a long piece in today's NY Post about four of NYC's big real estate projects (Atlantic Yards; Hudson Yards; Riverside South and East Harlem).

Believe it or not, things are actually progressing! (Although I wouldn't be surprised if things end somewhat differently than a lot of the developers are saying now. But, hey, if ground is broken then ground is broken.)

And while we're talking NY real estate, I suppose I should comment on Nate Silver's list of the 20 most livable neighborhoods in New York magazine this week.

The list is both good and bad.

It highlights some extremely underappreciated neighborhoods, and it was a relief that the number one neighborhood in the city wasn't some place like freakin' Greenwich Village...

...although the problem with the list is that the number one neighborhood isn't, say, Greenwich Village.

If money is no object, then this list is crazy. (How could the Village and the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side not make the cut?) And even if money is an issue, it's sort of ridiculous that a truly great neighborhood like Tribeca scores 14th -- behind neighborhoods like Woodside and Sunnyside. Not that either of those neighborhoods are bad, per se. But Tribeca is better in ever single sense except for one.

But let's not even talk about price. For the moment, let's focus on two similarly priced neighborhoods -- Bay Ridge (#11) and Jackson Heights (#15). Having lived in both I think this is an easy call: Jackson Heights is solidly better.

Bay Ridge is a seriously nice (and underrated) neighborhood, with some terrific brownstones and very underappreciated restaurants. But quality of the housing is iffy. (My building had the infamous bedbugs.) And the commute is nightmarish. (The 40 minute to midtown thing is just bogus. Maybe without any delays whatsoever, but since that never happens, it's ridiculous. I never got any place in Manhattan in under an hour.)

JH, on the other hand, gets low scores for transit, even though it really is only 15 minutes to my office once I get on the F train. (Getting to the F train, I concede, is usually at least 15 minutes.) And it has FIVE subway lines running through the neighborhood (as opposed to BR's one.) Restaurants it also scores low on, which is absurd. JH has some of the very best Indian and South American cuisine in the city. Moreover, my building -- and many others -- have extremely roomy, well tended apartments.

So I don't think all the methodology is perfect on this.

But I will say in praise of this list: I'm glad it's Brooklyn-centric. It mostly appeals to my sensibilities. (Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights -- both of which are on the top five -- are two of my three favorites in the city.) And, yes, from a middle class perspective, it's on the money. Price is an issue for a lot of people, and Park Slope hits the sweet spot on this when you look at a lot of other places.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on the Nate Silver neighborhood list.


Oh, and you might also check out a little Hamptons piece I also wrote. Cheers!