New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wood, Glass, Brass and Trees


I could have bought, I should have bought, I would have bought, but instead, I have rented my current apartment for 27 years. Many ask why I have not bought a residence, the quintessential American investment. I hope the photo helps answer that question. This is the view from my apartment overlooking a park. Only a handful of people in a city of millions are blessed with a vista like this every day.

I overlook Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, something which no money can buy because nothing is for sale on this square. Most property around the park is owned by New York University - the handful of residential apartments here are all rentals. I am not the only long term renter on my street - tenants in my building have been here for 30+ years, as have other renters in the few neighboring townhouses not university owned.

There is a very unique situation here in New York City that skews and exacerbates everything - rent regulation. Rent stabilization and rent control laws regulate rent increases, resulting in a market where unregulated apartments have dramatically outpaced rent-regulated ones.

So, many city residents who have lived here for long periods of time have artificially low rents, often fractions of the market rate. Many assume that rental apartments in prime locations and buildings are extremely expensive and occupied by the wealthy and privileged. This can be true, but often, the ability to occupy such places is more a function of how long a long tenancy than extreme wealth.

This is not all that it seems, however, since there is a strong incentive for landlords to do as little work as possible in buildings and apartments where rent stabilization exists. Apartments are typically neglected and in disrepair.

In my case, I have desperately needed new windows since I moved in, but frequent pleas to the landlord fell on deaf ears. Until this summer, when, for reasons unexplained, a man came to measure and, a short time later, scheduled the installation. Voilà - I had new French windows with solid brass hardware. At last it's quieter and draft free. All I see now is wood, glass, brass and trees...

14 comments:

bryan said...

really enjoy your blog! please keep the entries coming :) and i wonder who that quartet is that frequently sings under the arch? perhaps i should have bought a cd...lol

Brian Dubé said...

They were Select Blendz - see my story "Mad as Hell" when they were on Bleecker Street.

Regina said...

Wow, you are lucky with this view, not only in New York!

I really love your blog! I've been to New York recently after a long break and now I'm hooled again! Now I enjoy your blog even more because it is so real NY!

Thanks and keep going, please!

Ioanna said...

I love this photo! I can not stop look at it!

Andra said...

My daughter and I are making our first visit to NY next week. Your blog has made us look forward to our trip even more.
Thank you,
andra brown

Mirela said...

WOW, wonderful photo, and it must be a wonderful place to live as well. Have you tried buying off that apartment? :)

Brian Dubé said...

Regina - thanks, yes I am lucky.
loanna - maybe I should give tours or a NYDP brunch!
andra - enjoy the city.
Mirela - apartments are not for sale it is strictly a rental. The owner has been approached in the past regarding selling the building and was not interested.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I have checked it every few days for a couple of years. Interesting viewpoint, great photos, and of course you live in one of the great cities of the world. Keep 'em coming!

cara said...

Beautiful photo and a great read.

Gunn White said...

Congratulations with your new window.
What a view!!
You are lucky

Ceciel said...

I understand you don't feel like moving...
I love NY, your window, and you blog !

james said...

This is really beautiful picture.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Love your blog! You have a wonderful view!

Lianne said...

love love love autumn colors. i've only been to new york 2 times in my life but its already one of my favorite cities. i wish some day i am able to live there even for just a year or two!

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