Michael Angelakos, the lead singer of Passion Pit, shares a historic Brooklyn Heights apartment with his wife, Kristy, who works as a food writer. Their home is tasteful and refined, replete with working fireplaces and a spacious, sumptuous kitchen. Equally sumptuous is the sound system in the living room: a record player, amplifier, and speaker setup that Angelakos has been building for years. An extensive collection of vinyl LP's — many of them rare, original-print opera recordings — shares a bookcase with a small library of food literature. Their singular passions are visible throughout the apartment, but what's most striking is the orderliness of it all. This isn't the bohemian crash pad of a decadent young rock star but the carefully maintained domicile of mature individuals. Which is no small accomplishment, considering Angelakos is just 25 years old and fronts one of the biggest bands around. But when they first moved to New York, the couple lived over a restaurant and had to kill nearly twenty mice in a single month; after an ordeal like that, who can blame them for sweeping? Michael and Kristy spoke with us about Boston, concierge service, and still owning a teddy bear.
I guess the real question is should anyone care that Lena Dunham might move to Williamsburg. To which the answer obviously is, yes. Some people should care. Her mom. Her dad. Her friends. That guy from fun., because she dates him. He should care. Her dog. Should anyone else care?
In the fantasy New York apartment checklist that we all have in our heads, there are a few universal, non-negotiable requirements. There has to be a view. There has to be good light. Obviously, an outdoor space is a must. And, as long as we acknowledge that we're just talking fantasy here, wouldn't an elevator that opens right into the apartment be a pretty great thing to have? So, when I arrived at the Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment which designer Rachel Doriss and music producer Joel Hamilton call home, I found myself happily ticking off all the boxes on my fantasy apartment checklist, and marveling at the beautiful space that the couple live in with their young daughter, Coco.
Granted, in a lot of neighborhoods, a $3 million asking price for a loft wouldn't really raise any eyebrows. But in Greenpoint — which, in spite of rapidly rising prices, hasn't seen a higher-priced real estate deal than last year's $2.5 million sale of an actual 3-story house — the sale would be record-breaking, in a big way.
Remember how just a few years ago the economy was terrible and the housing market went bust and all of our rents were suddenly really, really low? Well, maybe not that last part. I don't think anyone could claim with a straight face that rents have been anything resembling "low" for the last...oh, fifteen years or so. But around about 2009, there certainly was a lot of attention paid to the fact that many of those huge glass condos built in Williamsburg were standing empty and unloved. What had once seemed like a surefire real estate bet became a huge disaster not only for builders, but also for the banks that financed the construction. Don't cry too much for them though, because it looks like everything is going to turn out just fine. For the bankers and builders and realtors anyway. For renters and buyers? Not so much!
In a sense, Pete Feigenbaum is the quintessential New York millenial. He lives in a chic neighborhood — Williamsburg — plays in a cool band — Dinowalrus - and is in graduate school at an elite university — Columbia. Yet despite his Times-baiting persona, he's humble, genial, and keeps his apartment modestly quirky.
His room's littered with paraphernalia from his dual lives as a musician and a student: electric guitars and miniature housing models; vinyl records and architecture textbooks. After inviting us inside with a reference to the seminal punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, he went on to lament the structural integrity of the apartment's doors. Welcome, readers, to the 21st century.
You know, overwrought, self-effacing preciousness on Craigslist aside, and preposterous trends surrounding Girls notwithstanding, this could just be a whole post about how it's totally normal, apparently, for a single room in a "livable and trendy but trashy-enough-to complain-about-apartment" to cost $1,500 to live in every month, just because it's in Williamsburg, in 2013. Everything about this is deeply obscene, and I will never get over it.
"We did everything backwards," Jesse Armstrong tells me as we walk through the immaculately renovated 1901 townhouse that she bought with her husband Thom 7 years ago. At the time, the two weren't married, and were just in their mid-20s. But Jesse had been living in a condo in South Slope, "one of those new buildings with no detail whatsoever," and wanted "a project and a dining room" and certainly found one on a recently landmarked street in Crown Heights. So Thom and Jesse bought the townhouse together (the "pocket doors are what sold it to me," says Thom) and set to work restoring elements that had been the victims of a bad '70s renovation, and married a few years later. Their home is a beautiful combination of modern design sensibility and period detail including incredible fireplaces and the house's original inlaid mirrors, and is the perfect place to entertain—which they do often—or just hang out with their two small dogs.
Remember how great living in a dorm was? Sure you do! It was the best thing ever to live in super-close quarters with a ton of other people, some of whom you liked knowing and some of whom you would consciously avoid at all costs and some of whom were kleptomaniacs who would go into your room when you were in a writing workshop and steal all your pot. Those were the days. Don't you just want to go right back to that special time of forced social interaction and awkward avoidance of eye contact? Well, ok, good for you. Cool even. And as long as you can afford to spend $2,600/month in rent for a fucking studio, a return to dorm life can be yours!
After spending the past three years meticulously renovating the historic Williamsburg Savings Bank building, developer Juan Figueroa is reportedly moving forward with plans to build a 40-story "boutique hotel" on the adjacent lot. "It's going to be the hottest hotel in Brooklyn — no question in my mind," CBRE director Edward Eschmann told The Real Deal.
So, we can all relax a little. But only a little! After that dream-crushing 17 percent rent spike in February, a new MNS real estate report indicates that average rents in the neighborhood evened out over the past month, dropping down 12 percent from what was deemed an "abnormal" high.
New York Magazine's Daily Intel reports that the 3-bedroom apartment where a young Christopher Wallace, later known as Notorious B.I.G. (obviously), lived is now for sale for $750,000. That's a lot of money! Or is it? I don't know. I have maybe officially lost all perception of what "a lot of money" is when it comes to Brooklyn real estate. However, I used to live on that block, wayyyy back in 2001, which was still a completely different era than when Biggie lived there because it was already being called Clinton Hill back then, but still, that seems like an awful lot of money.
Bill Roundy is the brains (or…the hands) behind "Bar Scrawl," The Brooklyn Paper's series of illustrated bar reviews. When we suggested a traditional BK Shelter home profile — like, with photos — he offered to do us one better and draw the place himself. So without further ado, we present to you Bill Roundy's BK Shelter profile illustrated by none other than Bill Roundy.
Located right in the center of Williamsburg, which can feel like the center of the incredibly chaotic universe, is the serene home that artist/designer Scosha Woolridge shares with her husband, Joe, also an artist, and their young son, Summit. The apartment, located in the back of the building and protected from the noise of the streets, is flooded with sunlight and full of vibrant art and beautiful textiles and, well, life.
Su Beyazit, who owns the Clinton Hill boutique Su'Juk, describes her store as "homey and woodsy." Her home in BedStuy, however, isn't quite so modest. It's a roomy, loft-style space with three — three! — sizeable walk-in closets. After searching all over Brooklyn and Queens, she stumbled across a Craigslist ad at four in the morning and snatched it up almost immediately. After taking a look for ourselves, we can't blame her.
It's spring! It's sprung. And now it's time to clean. So one of the interesting things about living in Brooklyn is that we all live in small spaces. Oh sure, we might know someone whose huge apartment we silently covet, but even those places, when you really think about it, aren't all that big. They can't be. This is New York. We compromise on space so that we can live here. We compromise on a lot of things so that we can live here, but that isn't really the point now, other than the fact that it is kind of always the point. Anyway. As we all know from living in New York, staying clean and organized is the key to everything. But you want to do it the right way and make the most out of this, the one time of year that you actually clean everything, you dirty fucker. So in an effort to maximize your space and help you clean efficiently and cost-effectively, I have put together a little guide to spring cleaning. You'll totally be able to invite anyone you want to come over when you're done and he or she will be so impressed that he or she will do whatever nice things it is that he or she does. Maybe it will involve cookies, I don't really know.
So, real estate is expensive, and it's tough to find a good place. But maybe if you save up and keep a sharp eye out, you can find a bargain. Maybe something like a converted stable, a nice fixer upper? Ahahaha, nope. Sorry. If you're looking in Cobble Hill, that will run you about $25,000 per month. Also known as an entire year's worth of pay (or more) for a lot of people. So.
Aly Spaltro is one lucky girl. The 23-year-old singer/songwriter, who records as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, just released her debut album, Ripley Pine, to rave reviews and is about to tour Europe; on top of that, she's somehow landed an exquisite two-bedroom apartment in Park Slope. It’s the kind of place most of us could retire to. She knows she's lucky. And she doesn't plan on leaving anytime soon.
Spaltro's father was in the Air Force, so she grew up all over the world: Arizona, Germany, and, most recently, Maine. After becoming a regular in the Portland music scene, she set her sights on Brooklyn and stumbled into her dream home — not to mention considerable success as a musician — within two years. She was kind enough to invite us inside her "nest" and show us that it is possible to get some peace and quiet around here.
Flood warnings and potentially skyrocketing insurance rates notwithstanding, Gowanus is still very much on the up and up, real estate-wise. So much so that the area will soon be getting a "boutique" hotel, courtesy of Beatrice Inn co-founder Matt Abramcyck.
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