The Best Co-Working Spaces in NYC

Lately, it seems like no one is required to go to work anymore, right? In fact, a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. And that’s great! As Real Estate professionals, we’ve enjoyed the pleasures of being able to work from outside of a traditional office for a long time. So, welcome to our world.

But ask those who live deep in this gig economy reality, and they’ll agree on one thing: romanticizing about working from a cozy coffee shop with blues and jazz music playing in the background comes to a steady halt once you realize what working from random cafes really means: unreliable WiFi, noisy neighboring tables and being stared at like you’re the worst human in the world because you’ve been hogging the table for the past six hours.

While, yes, there are many (seriously, too many) perks to being an independent contractor or remote employee, you sometimes miss working alongside other people and having the ability to network and share creative ideas.

That’s where co-working spaces come in the mix. These spaces have been popping up everywhere lately, and they provide independent workers with all the benefits of working from an office, without the stuffy corporate-ness of it all, of course.

So, we’ve rounded up our favorite co-working spaces in New York City and broke down why we love them and what it would cost you to take advantage of all they have to offer:

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WeWork Broadway: WeWork has exploded over the past few years. They have offices in almost every major city in America, and are really leading the way in the modern workspace industry. The location on Broadway is by far our favorite one. It’s in the heart of SoHo and offers beautiful glass offices and amazing weekly networking events. And the best part of being a member of a WeWork space is that you can connect with members of any of their many WeWork spaces through their very lively online community. So, just like that, you can add dozens of interesting, smart people to your network! The prices vary depending on how much space you need, but accessing a WeWork Hot Desk starts at $220 a month!

WeWork Broadway is located at 524 Broadway New York NY 10012

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Blender: Blender feels the most like a fully-fledged office out of all the co-working spaces we’ve visited so far. They offer way more than just a desk and a chair. Blender is located just north of Madison Square Park, in the heart of Manhattan. The space boasts of 13,000 sq feet of workspace and 35 private offices. We were sold just from seeing the cafe, which doubles as an event space after business hours. Blender’s events vary from yoga and meditation classes to networking events featuring the biggest names in the startup world. You can tell that Blender’s management understands what a modern day creative needs to flourish because the space is filled with artwork that is curated monthly. We’d visit just for that alone! Blender memberships start at $500 a month. They also offer day passes for those who aren’t ready to commit.

Blender is located at 35 Madison Ave floor 8, New York, NY 10016

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NeueHouse: NeueHouse’s New York location feels more like a dream boutique hotel than a co-working space, and that’s exactly why we love it. It’s like the designers of this place stepped into nearly every artist’s mind and found out what the ideal creative workspace looks like, and then made it into a reality. The space offers gourmet food options, a private library, a screening room and a recording studio! NeueHouse membership plans range from $200–$1,250 a month.

NeueHouse is located at 110 E 25th St, New York, NY 10010

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Bat Haus: Did you really think we’d make this list and not include a Brooklyn space? Bat Haus, aside from having a very cool name, is also one of the coziest working spaces we’ve visited. The office is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn and really embraces the sense of community creatives often crave. This is why Bat Haus doesn’t offer its members the independent desk option. All work is done on communal tables. And Bat Haus understands that even freelancers who just started out deserve a quiet and cool place to work. That’s why they offer memberships for as little as $25 a month! Membership plans range from $25-$225 a month. Oh, and if you ever decide to get married, Bat Haus has the most gorgeous rustic wedding venue imaginable.

Bat Haus is located at 279 Starr St, Brooklyn, NY 11237

the farm

The Farm: The Farm is very similar to Bat Haus in it’s rustic, warm vibes and it’s open space concept, except that it’s made from actual barn materials! It’s owners found an old, abandoned barn in southern Missouri and decided to transport it to NY and re-purpose its materials to build The Farm in SoHo. The Farm is open 24/7, which makes sense since the lines between work and life can often get blurred in an independent contractor’s life. And the best part about the farm? Pets are allowed! Membership starts at $179 a month. Daily passes are $25.

The Farm is located at 447 Broadway 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013 in SoHo, 188 Grand Street 2nd and 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10013 in Nolita and 1178 Broadway 2nd and, #3F, New York, NY 10001 in NoMad

new love city

New Love City: New Love City is a co-working space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that also doubles as a yoga and wellness studio. As our work spaces are modernized to fit the ideals of today’s creatives, it only makes sense that merging the world of wellness and the world of work is the next natural step. And that’s why New Love City works so well. Its interior is radiant with natural light and minimalist design. Members not only get to enjoy the workspaces, but also get to practice yoga and meditate while they’re at work. Now, that’s an idea we’ll get on board with! New Love City offers memberships at  $30 a month, $100 a week and $40 a day.

New Love City is located at 4th Floor, 68 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

 

The 5 Best Burgers in Brooklyn

In our minds, New York City is synonymous with incredible properties. But, it’s also all about the really (and we mean REALLY) great food. And this city is known for its burgers almost as much as its bagels and pizzas. Brooklyn, specifically, is earning its status as foodie central and every foodie town claims to house the best burger. So naturally, we thought it was our job to step in and find out if that’s true. Hint: it’s true.

Here is our round up of the five Brooklyn Burgers that are making us drool right now:

1)   Reynard: The Reynard Burger is a Brooklyn classic. Housed in the Wythe Hotel, this restaurant serves up a simple burger that does magic. Everything about this burger is cooked to perfection. The bread is soft but sturdy enough to hold up the juices from the tender patty. And the caramelized onions. Let’s talk about the caramelized onions. How do they get it to the perfect sweet/savory ratio that it is?

Reynard is located at 80 Wythe Avenue in the neighborhood of Williamsburg.

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2)   two8two: If you try doing a Google search for the best burger in Brooklyn, two8two is likely the first one that comes up. This cozy burger bar established itself as the best in town early on. The burger is made using fresh meat from the local Paisanos Butcher Shop. And not only is the patty cooked to perfection, but it’s also held up in the softest, most buttery bread buns imaginable.

two8two is located at 282 Atlantic Avenue in the neighborhood of Boreum Hill / Cobble Hill.

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3)   Mister Dips: Mister Dips is the kind of place most people think of when they think Brooklyn. It’s housed in an airstream trailer in the William Vale Hotel and serves its burgers fast food style. But this retro truck doesn’t just serve up burgers. It’s also known for its incredible ice creams and floats. Go for the Special Dip Burger with jack cheese and sriracha. And don’t forget to order a cherry soda on the side!  

Master Dips is located at 111 N 12th Street in the neighborhood of Williamsburg.

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4)   Blue Collar: For the days you’re looking for a simple, old-school burger, Blue Collar steps in. This burger is the least expensive on the list, but price doesn’t always equal value because this one surpasses all. Blue Collar knows that when your ingredients are that fresh, all you need on a burger is lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. And that’s exactly how they serve theirs. Oh, and the veggie option is made with beans and is equally delicious.

Blue Collar is located at 160 Havemeyer Street in the neighborhood of Williamsburg.

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5)   Peter Luger Steakhouse: This place is an old Brooklyn institution. It’s known best for its lamb steak. But any place that serves up that good of a steak makes a smashing burger. This burger is only served at lunch, but coming early just for the burger is so worth it. The juiciness of the meat almost begs you to take the patty out and eat it all on its own. But then you’d be missing out on the perfection that is their bread! Not only are the burgers, steaks and desserts incredible here, but the ambiance of the entire restaurant pulls at the heartstrings of anyone who prefers an old New York.

Peter Luger is located at 178 Broadway in the neighborhood of Williamsburg.

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So, ultimately, we weren’t able to come to a conclusion on which one would win if these burgers were to fight it out for the title of “Best Burger in Town,” but we’re placing all our bets that Brooklyn takes it home in this department. Because who doesn’t enjoy a meaty, juicy burger and a cold frosty beer in this town? Follow that with a cone of freshly-made, milky ice cream and we’d say you’re thinking clearly.

NYC Summer Bucket List

You know those mid-summer blues? When you start convincing yourself that the best of summer is already behind you and the end of sun-soaking and beach-lounging is quickly approaching? We feel you. But, snap out of that! Summer is technically still here for eight more weeks, and we’re living in the best city in the world. (Okay, our opinion may be a little biased, but still.) So, we’re declaring it: It’s never too late to start a New York Bucket List. There are an endless amount of things to do, and what better time to start than now? Here’s our list:

  • Go see a free movie in the park: Summer wouldn’t be complete without watching a movie with a few hundred other people in the park. This year, you can pull out the inner Francophile every New Yorker has inside and attend one of the events by Films on the Green, a festival taking place in NYC parks that shows French films in collaboration with the French Embassy. There are two movies left on this year’s list: Donkey Skin and The Grocer’s Son. So, grab your baguettes and a few friends and enjoy this year’s flicks. And if you’re not into subtitles, here’s a complete list of all the movies being shown across parks in NYC this summer.Movie
  • Check out the Met’s Cloisters: If you think the Metropolitan Museum on 5th Avenue is a sight to be seen, and most of us here do, then brace yourself. The Met’s lesser known extension branch, The Cloisters, lays on a hilltop in Upper Manhattan and will take your breath away. The museum is made up of medieval artifacts collected from Europe and reassembled here in Manhattan. In May, the Met showed off its “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” exhibition at the Met Gala. While half the collection is housed at the Met on 5th Ave, the other half is in The Cloisters. The clothing inspired by Catholicism paired with the backdrop of the medieval and gothic structures of The Cloisters is something you don’t want to miss out on seeing. You’ll thank us later for this one.The Cloisters
  • Revisit Coney Island: Most New Yorkers make a conscious effort to avoid crowds, especially in the summer heat. We’re telling you to make a conscious effort to do the exact opposite. Because it’s easy to forget just how magical and nostalgia-inducing this place really is. But once you step in, you become a child again. So, grab a few friends and enjoy the rides, the food and the dozens of photo ops that present themselves at Coney Island.Coney Island
  • Spend a night at the Queens International Night Market: You can live in New York your whole life and be completely clueless to the existence of this feast. We’re here to get you out of that nightmare situation because this is possibly the most authentic food festival New York has to offer. The event takes place every Saturday at 6pm in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and lasts until August 18th this summer. Among the vendors are Percy’s Jerk Hut, Moldovan Waffle Rolls, and Sichuan Naanwiches. Needless to say, go with an empty stomach because you’ll need a lot of room in there.Queens Night Market
  • Attend a Summerstage show: Summerstage has been held in Central Park since 1986, and yet many New Yorkers have never taken advantage of this series of summer concerts. For free shows, Summerstage really brings out the best of New York. The lineup ranges from jazz to afro-punk to dance and comedy performances. The crowds are always lively and the vibes just scream out “summer living.” It would be a shame to let another summer go by without attending at least one show.Summerstage

 

What Every First Time Home Buyer Should Know

A home is one of the biggest purchases you can make and if you’re about to venture into the world of real estate as a first time home buyer it can be a bit nerve-racking, to say the least.  What should be an exciting time can often be overshadowed by the multiple steps that are part of the home buying process and the unfamiliar lingo you’ll hear daily before you even turn that key in your new front door. It might sound stressful, and honestly a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be if you educate yourself and find a realtor who will guide you through the entire process.

Since it’s a lot to take in we’ve listed some first-time home buyer tips to get you thinking even before you begin looking at homes with your real estate agent.

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  1. Start saving early

If you can, start saving for your first home sooner rather than later. Saving more money now means having more for a down payment, which in turn lowers your monthly mortgage payment. While most homebuyers aim to put down 20%, it’s not required when buying a home. You will, however, incur PMI (private mortgage insurance), an additional cost added to your monthly mortgage payment.  Down payment calculator is a good way to figure out how much money you’ll need to put down based on various percentages. Just plug in the amount you are looking to spend, the amount of money you have or the percentage you want to put down, and it will calculate the rest for you.

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  1. How much can you afford

It’s important to know just how much you can afford to spend. This will allow your real estate agent to target a certain price range when searching the MLS (Multiple Listing Services) system. A home affordability calculator can help you determine that amount.

  1. Budget for closing costs and additional expenses

Once you know how much you can afford, keep in mind there are additional expenses, such as closing costs which vary state by state. For instance, in NYC you can anticipate closing costs somewhere in the range of 4 to 5% of your loan amount. Each homebuyer’s situation is different so it’s best to talk with a mortgage specialist early on.

Another good idea is to set aside some money for after you move in. You might need to purchase furniture, appliances, or do some work on your new home. As a homeowner, it’s safe to say unexpected expenses will arise when you least expect them.

  1. Check your credit score

Understand the importance of a high credit score; this is a major factor when applying for a mortgage.  It also determines approval, interest rate, and possible terms of the loan. If your score is on the lower side, work on getting it raised. Focus on paying off any outstanding debt(s) and stay away from opening up any new credit accounts or making large purchases. If your credit needs a bit more help, there are companies who can assist, for a fee, in repairing and raising your credit score.

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  1. Explore down payment options

A variety of first-time home buyer programs are available both through federal and state programs. Loans such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veteran Affairs (VA) loans are available for those who qualify. If you have less than perfect credit, a small amount of money saved, and do not qualify for a conventional mortgage, you might be eligible for the FHA loan. An FHA loan does require mortgage insurance which stays for the life of the loan, unlike a conventional mortgage which can be canceled after your loan is paid down to 80% or more of the appraised value of the home. Educate yourself on the pros and cons of an FHA loan.

A VA loan is available for qualified U.S. veterans, active military personnel, and certain surviving spouses. There are many benefits to this type of loan and one to look into if you meet the requirements.

  1. Pre-Approval

As you start the home buying process, a pre-approval letter will confirm in writing how much a lender is willing to lend you and at what terms. This letter shows both your real estate agent and the seller that you are a serious buyer, and in some cases will give you the upper hand over a potential buyer who has not taken this step. It’s also necessary to have when you’re ready to put in that offer.

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  1. Hire the right buyer’s agent

Now that you have everything in place and you’re ready to buy your home, it’s time to find a highly skilled, and motived agent who is both knowledgeable about the area you are looking to move in to, as well as the home buying process. Here at Madison Estates, we provide both the information and guidance you’ll need when purchasing your home along with saving you time. With access to one of the largest data basis in New York, we not only find you your dream home we will be there to advise you every step of the way.

Ensuring Your Home against a Fire

Fire safety is something that you should be prepared for at all times of the year but as we get into the winter season, and some of the coldest months of the year, it’s important to be vigilant about protecting our families and our home.

Our home is filled with loved ones and personal belongings that often time carry a sentimental value so safeguarding what’s closest to us should start from the moment you move in. During the final walkthrough with your realtor, test and make sure the smoke alarms in the residence you’re about to close on are working.

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Owners of one-and two family residences must have installed in their home a working smoke detector that provides an audible alarm within each sleeping area. This sound provides an early warning to those sleeping that there is a fire and a greater chance of getting out of the home immediately. It is a requirement for every home in New York State.

Did you know that if a fire starts you have less than two minutes to get out safely? In such a short amount of time you have to be ready to spring into action and one of the ways to do so safely without wasting a moment is to already have a fire escape plan in place that has been practiced on a regular basis. Once you move into your new home, formulate that plan early on and make sure everyone is prepared in the event a fire breaks out.

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Escape Plan

  • Know two ways out of every room.
  • A closed door can stop the spread of gas, heat and smoke.
  • Have a meeting place outside your home.
  • Know how to call 9-1-1 from outside to report a fire.
  • Practice your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home at least twice a year

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While there are many different reasons why fires break out here are the top five:

  • Kitchen – Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. It takes only seconds for a pot or a pan to overheat and grease to splatter. Most kitchen fires start because people get distracted; never leave an open flame unattended.
  • Heating Equipment – Have your furnace checked annually and if your home has a fireplace, make sure to have the chimney cleaned and inspected. During the colder months many people use portable space heaters; these can be dangerous if used improperly. Keep them away from anything that can burn and never use them to dry clothes or shoes.
  • Smoking – If you must smoke, try and do it outside. Your bedroom should be off limits; how many times do you get drowsy, just lying in bed, watching TV. A lit or improperly extinguished cigarette is dangerous. And never put an ashtray on or near anything that will burn.
  • Electrical equipment – With all of the gadgets and electronics that are out there these days it’s easy to overload outlets with plugs; do not overuse extension cords. Also, be careful of do-it-yourself electrical projects. Sometimes it’s best to leave those in the hands of a professional electrician. And check to ensure your appliances do not have loose or frayed cords/plugs.
  • Candles – Who doesn’t love the smell of a scented candle! But they be dangerous if not used properly. Keep all candles on a level surface in a sturdy holder away from combustible materials and out of the reach of children and pets.

Remember… only working smoke detectors save lives.

  • TEST your smoke detectors at least once a month. Push the test button or blow smoke into the detector.
  • CLEAN your detectors at least once a year to remove dust.
  • REPLACE the battery every year. Better yet, twice a year – when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Replace the smoke detector after 10 years.

Getting to Know Joe Baglio…..

Joe Baglio

While other young kids were dreaming of becoming superheroes when they grew up, Joe Baglio, Managing Partner of Madison Estates, was thinking real estate, even if he wasn’t quite sure at the time what that meant.  “I was drawn to the business at a very young age and intrigued by the process,” he says. “The thought of owning property was always attractive to me as well.”

A Brooklyn boy at heart, Baglio has seen the borough he’s called home since birth go through changes and believes it’s come a long way since he was a kid growing up. It’s a place where home values continue to rise, and the bottom line is, buyers are attracted to what Brooklyn has to offer.

We spent some time chatting with Baglio to learn more about what he believes makes the Brooklyn real estate market so attractive….

How do you spot an area that is on the rise before it truly explodes on the market?

Real estate is like a living, breathing organism; it has a pulse and you can just feel it. There are certain subtleties that you have to look for. I am a big fan of people watching, which will usually give an area away. And it’s a combination of the properties, architecture, and people that will indicate if an area is exploding or about to.

As the real estate market continues to prosper and we get closer to the New Year, what areas would you say in your opinion are currently in demand?

Right now I am very bullish on Prospect Lefferets Gardens; it’s an area I’ve spent a lot of time in and have witnessed its change right before my eyes. It has amazing architecture with many limestone and brownstone blocks as well as new, larger scale rental buildings that are fully amenitised which are attracting a younger, artistic demographic.

The original roots of the area are still strong which makes it even cooler. There are lots of restaurants on Franklin, Bedford, and Washington Avenue, plus you can walk to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum.   

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As homebuyers, sometimes finding the perfect place takes longer than we hope. As a seasoned broker, what advice do you have for those potential buyers who walk through Madison’s door?

To always be honest and transparent with your broker. You’re trusting them to help in finding one of the greatest investments of your life. A good broker should know what your wish list vs your needs list is.

What types of changes do you see happening in 2018 for Brooklyn?

I believe Brooklyn has far to go with many areas on the South Shore that still have not been tapped, or should I say discovered. Growing up I remember the backlash I would get when I would tell someone I was from Brooklyn; at that time it wasn’t very chic to say that’s where you were from; it’s still sounds crazy to me when I think about that.

For newcomers, what would you recommend are the “must see and do” things?

You must tour the “Gold Coast”; start in Greenpoint and follow the coast all the way to Coney Island. The diversity, architecture, cultures, and sites will blow your mind!

When you’re not on the hunt for the next great property/location, what do you enjoy doing?

I truly enjoy spending time with my family. I am blessed with a beautiful wife and two beautiful children. My kids allow me to tune out the world and shut down my engines. I get to unwind and jump onto their level which is not all that difficult for me considering I’m a child at heart!

Your greatest passions?

My family and my work.

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What’s In A Name….

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I’m sure most of us have never stopped to think about where the neighborhood’s we live in got their name, or even the history behind it. While some of the older areas are named after Dutch settlers, the newer, more industrialized locations that have turned residential over the past couple of years received their moniker based on geographical location. Take the area of DUMBO, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. When we set out with our real estate agent, we might have chosen the location based on a number of factors, but chances are it’s not because of a name.

If we stop and think about it for a moment, there is a lot of history that helped shape not only the borough of Brooklyn, but each of the 77 neighborhoods that comprise Kings County. It’s extremely fascinating, especially if you’re a history buff.  The Brooklyn Historical Society is a great place for more in-depth knowledge on such a fascinating topic.

The borough itself has the Dutch colonists to thank for their name. In the mid 1600’s Brooklyn consisted of six separate towns. One of these towns, settled in 1646, was named “Breuckelen,” named after a village in the Netherlands. In 1664, the English gained control of the area and the name was eventually anglicized to “Brooklyn” the name residents have come to know and love.

As for the areas that comprise the borough, let’s take a look at where a few originated.

Gerritsen Beach

 Gerritsen Beach

Located just 13 miles from New York City on Brooklyn’s southern shore, this quaint and close knit community was named for the Dutch settler, Wolphert Gerretse, who built his home and mill alongside Gerritsen Creek in the early 17th century. The area was mainly rural territory until the 1920’s when developers began building a resort community.

The allure of Gerritsen Beach for many multi-generational families is living amongst friends and the security of knowing your neighbors. While close to Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay, the neighborhood has a private beach which offers easy access to boating and parkland.

Neighborhood stores and commercial activity can be found along Gerritsen Avenue. Another interesting fact, the neighborhood is home to the only remaining volunteer fire department in Brooklyn and is one of nine that exist in NYC.

Benson

Bensonhurst

Tucked between a multitude of neighborhoods on the southwestern side of Brooklyn, Bensonhurst was an area comprised of farmland back in the 1800’s. Originally owned by the Polhemus family, a landowning clan, they sold their acreage to the Benson family, descendants from some of America’s earliest Dutch settlers.

In 1889, a developer by the name of James Lynch bought the Benson family’s land; his plan was to turn the area into an exclusive resort, complete with a steam rail and trolley access. The Benson family agreed to the sale under one condition; that it would be known by their surname. For a brief time the neighborhood was referred to as Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea but over time it was eventually shortened.

Today, two main thoroughfares run through this popular neighborhood. Whether walking or driving along 18th Avenue you’ll find the streets lined with predominantly small, family-owned businesses; plus it is home to the popular 18th Avenue Feast which takes place yearly in late August/early September. There is also the ever popular 86th Street, filled with a slew of stores and restaurants. On the second Sunday after Memorial the annual 86th Street Festival is held and there you’ll find the streets lined with live music, food, carnival rides.

Carroll Gardens

Carroll Gardens

The residential area known as Carroll Gardens offers its residents a serene neighborhood filled with brownstone row houses, accompanied by beautiful front gardens. The area takes it name from Carroll Park which is a vital center of the community. The park, built in the late 1840’s, is comprised of playgrounds, walkways, and sitting areas that run between Court, Smith, Carroll, and President Streets.

Originally a private garden purchased by the city in 1853, it was named after Charles Carroll, a wealthy Maryland planter, who was also the first United States Senator for Maryland, and one of the signors of the Declaration of Independence.

You might be wondering why a man from Maryland had the honor of a NY neighborhood being named after him; Carroll led the 1st Maryland Regiment, a group of soldiers who were integral to the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776. These brave men charged the enemy holed up at the Old Stone House at the Gowanus so Washington’s army would have time to escape. Their bravery changed the course of the Revolutionary War.

The gardens refer to the big gardens in the front yards of these beautiful homes. In 1846, a surveyor named Richard Butt planned gardens in front of the brownstone homes in the oldest section of the neighborhood when he developed it.

Originally considered to be a part of the Red Hook neighborhood, Carroll Gardens began to have its own identity in the 1960s.

A favorite area amongst many, the neighborhood is filled with local retailers, cafes, restaurants, and trendy bars, giving it a distinct and unique charm.

Greenpoint landing

Greenpoint

With views of the Manhattan skyline, Greenpoint is one of the more cozier and intimate areas of the borough even as they continue to grow in popularity amongst home buyers.

Originally an area of vast farmland, it was surrounded by blooming trees, beautiful meadows, fresh water creeks and briny marshes. European settlers originally referred to a small bluff of land jutting into the East River at what is now the westernmost end of Freeman Street as “Greenpoint” but eventually the name came to encompass the whole area.

Because it was once predominantly farmland, many of the farm owners family names, like  Meserole and Calyer, are still the street names of today.  It’s also been said that Brooklyn’s distinctive accent originates from Greenpoint.

The neighborhood is also home to McCarren Park which first opened in 1906 under the name Greenpoint Park and renamed two years later after State Senator Patrick H. McCarren. The park contains an outdoor pool, a recreational center, film and concerts in the summer months, and a greenmarket which is open for business on Saturdays. The neighborhood is also a popular filming location for TV and film.

Over the years the demand for housing has skyrocketed and many new developments have begun [although completion is a few years away], especially along the area’s waterfront, which along with the waterfront in Williamsburg, was rezoned in 2005 for increased residential projects.

In 2015, construction began on Greenpoint Landing, a project which includes ten residential towers, a public elementary and middle school, and 4 acres of parkland. While as of this past spring one building has opened, completion is expected to be before 2027.

 

 

A Look at One of Brooklyn’s Historic Landmarks

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A borough so deeply ensconced in history, you’d be hard pressed to find a neighborhood in Brooklyn that doesn’t have something historical tied to it. Located within the area of Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), which is now a premiere real estate location for businesses, is another one of Brooklyn’s landmarks that is rich in history. Originally constructed as a means to dispatch supplies and personnel to military fronts around the world, the terminal has served in a variety of capacities throughout its lifetime. “The Brooklyn Army Terminal is such a remarkable place because it connected to so much of the infrastructure that makes New York City work,” says Andrew Gustafson, owner of Turnstile Tours.

The four-million square foot structure, which will celebrate its 100th birthday next year, spans from 58th street to 63rd street and from 2nd avenue all the way to the waterfront. Surrounded by water, it’s like its own industrial city. Remarkable in sight, the most dramatic feature is the atrium inside Building B.

“When you step inside the vast atrium, you get a sense of the sheer volume of materials that was moved through these enormouswarehouses, but what you don’t see is what’s behind the walls,” says Gustafson.

Before Renovations:

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After Renovations:

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At one time this was the hub for all of the military transportation operations of New York Harbor. Freight cars would pull into the building and unload supplies with a five ton moveable crane that traveled the atrium from endto end, spanning the length of three football fields and the zig zag balconies you see today were once loading docks. The area is currently closed to the public but regular tours are available for those interested in taking a step back in time.

Essential during WWII, over 20,000 military and civilian personnel were employed at the terminal and millions of servicemen passed through as they began their journey overseas. The most famous soldier to come through was Elvis Presley when he set sail on an 18-month tour of Germany in 1958. Photographers, reporters, and fans arrived in droves to catch a glimpse of the iconic singer.

In addition to being a major nerve center during the war, the Brooklyn Army terminal, which was once considered the world’s largest structure, served the city in a variety of other ways. During prohibition, it housed confiscated liquor from NYC speakeasies. What was once a thriving piece of real estate for the city unfortunately fell into a state of decay throughout the ‘60s and the ‘70s.  In 1981, NYC acquired the space from the federal government and a few years later a massive renovation was under way.

Since the days of old, the Brooklyn Army terminal has come a long way. Today, the massive space is home to a host of different types of businesses. Once filled with mostly warehouses and distribution centers, manufacturing companies are also taking up residency.

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Mario Macaluso, whose family restaurant, Pete’s Brooklyn Eats, has been a staple in the area for the last 28 years, and opened up a second location in the BAT six years ago. “It was complete tumbleweeds but we built it from the ground up, even adding an outdoor garden,” says Macaluso. Having delivered to the people at the terminal for years, the family had established relationships that proved helpful when space became available.  “After my brother, who runs the original location helped them out during the tragedy of 9/11, they came to us when the opportunity to bid on the space opened up,” he says.  It’s taken some time but Macaluso says this past year he’s begun to see changes. “There’s a lot of history here.”

Other businesses like Chocolatier Jacque Torres, a chocolate manufacturer, Uncommon Goods, an on-line boutique store, TechShop, a high-tech manufacturing hub, and the Intelligence Division of the NYC Police Department, all call this location home. It is also widely used for film and photo shoots.

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In 1965, the area, once referred to as South Brooklyn, took on the name of the neighborhood’s largest park which was built in the late 1800’s. Made up of 25 acres of beautiful elevated terrain, it’s a location that offers residents and tourists magnificent views of NYC landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline.

The neighborhood is also home to NYC’s second largest Chinatown, with excellent restaurants and markets. In the mood for something a little different, stroll along Fifth Avenue and you’re guaranteed to find a multitude of restaurants that specialize in cuisine from almost every country in Latin America.

Reinvented through an increase in residents and strong business growth, Sunset Park is full of diversity and charm, making it an attractive place to call home.

Staging Your Home for the Best Possible Sale

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You’ve made the decision to put your house up for sale and it goes without saying that you are hoping for a smooth and quick process that results in getting your asking price.

To ensure your home receives the attention it deserves there are techniques to give you an edge over other properties currently on the market.  Aside from some small repairs that might need to be completed as part of your pre-sale preparations, consider home staging, the art of decorating a house to sell quickly and for top dollar.

According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, research shows staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than non-staged homes and sell for up to 17% more.

It’s important to realize that home staging is not the same as preparing your home for sale. With home staging, the focus is more on the aesthetics, such as design, organization and the overall appearance, as opposed to the functionality of certain things inside and outside the property. You want to present your house in a way that appeals to the largest audience.

Regardless of the type of real estate market you’re in, it’s a win-win situation. In a sellers’ market, staging can help foster the process along a lot quicker and bring you the maximum sale you’re looking for. In a buyers’ market it’s a smart idea to have that additional edge over the competition.

Benefits to home staging:

  • You’ll think like a buyer – when you begin to set the stage you’ll start looking at your house the way a buyer would.
  • De-cluttering and organizing – Cleaning shelves, closets and cabinets is a big part of home staging. You want a potential buyer to get the feeling of space. Plus, you’ll have to pack these things at some point so why not get a head start.
  • Less time spent on the market –This is especially beneficial if you have a set date in which you need to be out of your home and into your new one.
  • Helps to justify the asking price – If it’s a sellers’ market you most likely won’t have to haggle over the asking price. If the market is in favor of the buyer, it’s beneficial to not have to justify your asking price.

Setting the Stage Room by Room

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Exterior – The outside of your home should be given the same attention to detail as the inside, especially since curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers see upon arrival. You want a positive first impression, anything that will draw away from that should be tended to. If the outside is pleasing on the eye, chances are that feeling of excitement will continue once inside.

  • Survey the outside and make notes on the things that need some extra TLC.
  • Areas like the lawn and bushes should be trimmed and depending on the season, potting some fresh flowers and plants will liven up the outside.
  • In the fall, keep the lawn and surrounding areas free of leaves.Photo 3 (Living Room).jpg

Living Rooms and Family Rooms –Two rooms families spend a lot of time in; they’re a place for gathering and entertainment, and what buyers will envision as they walk through.

  • To ensure a good feel for the space, make it not only warm and inviting but spacious.
  • Bring in neutral, warm tones; you can add things such as accent pillows to enhance appearance.
  • Items that give off the impression of overcrowding should be removed; you want the room to breathe.
  • Arrange furniture for the best possible flow; when people want to sit down and spend time in a room you know you’ve achieved your goal!

Kitchens – One of two rooms that hold the most resale value, the kitchen is another area people spend a great deal of time so placing extra attention here is key. Remember, even small improvements will have a big impact. If you must spend a little extra time and money bringing a room up to date this is the one to do it in.

  • De-cluttering counter tops and remove any unnecessary items.
  • To modernize cabinets consider installing a new set of knobs, or even a fresh coat of paint.
  • Keep everything spotless; clean the kitchen area like the sale of your house depends on it.
  • Leave the curtains or blinds open and make sure the lights are turned on; you want to leave the impression of clean and bright.
  • If you have an eat-in kitchen set the table so buyers can envision themselves sitting down to a meal.

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Bathrooms – The second of two rooms that will up your resale value, bathrooms should be up to date, immaculate and well lit.

  • If any fixtures are outdated replace them with ones that are more modern and current.
  • Hang towels that are color coordinated with your color scheme and consider placing some fresh flowers out; they look and smell nice.
  • Scrub everything down, including windows and shower doors till they sparkle. You want it to look like a model home not one that was recently used.

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Bedrooms – The goal for this room is cozy and comfortable. You want the room to appear spacious and again, neutral tones will help you achieve the look.

  • Limit the amount of furniture to eliminate the space feeling cramped.
  • Remove the bulk of the clothes you aren’t wearing from your closet; this will give off the feeling of a larger space. You’re going to have to pack them up anyway, so why not now.
  • Consider upgrading your bedding; it’s something you’re going to take with you and will improve the look of your room while it’s on the market.

While these are just a few ideas to consider for each room, remember, the goal of home staging is to make money. Based on your time and budget you will be able to determine what improvements are possible. If you’re in a sellers’ market the amount of changes might be minimal; in a buyers’ market you’ll most likely have to do a bit more work. The key is to find the right balance which will in turn help sell your home as quickly as possible. That, and of course a great real estate agent!

 

 

Discovering a bit of American History, In a Cemetery…..

Brooklyn is synonymous with quite a few things; the Cyclone, Coney Island, and of course, delicious food and restaurants. There are endless places to visit, but what many people might not know is there is a great piece of American history sitting on a span of 478 spectacular acres in south Brooklyn, otherwise known as Green-wood Cemetery that’s worth passing through.

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Founded in 1838, this historical landmark was one of the first rural cemeteries, and quickly developed a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and prestigious places to be buried. It’s no wonder it is the final resting home for many well-known Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.

Walking through the winding paths, visitors will notice names such as Leonard Bernstein, the famous composer, Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, Henry Chadwick, the “Father of Baseball”, and William S. Hart, a silent movie star, to name just a few of Green-wood’s famous residents.

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With a quarter million visitors a year, it is second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction and provides breathtaking views of Manhattan. Built before Central Park [construction on the park began in 1857], Green-wood was part of the rural cemetery movement, which believed in creating cemeteries using landscaping in a park-like setting.

“This is New York City’s first urban greenspace which predates both Central Park and Prospect Park and was the inspiration for both,” says John Connolly, Manager of Public Engagement and Development for Green-wood. “It has a long history as being a place to find solace.”

One of the wonderful things about the cemetery is you can experience all of its beauty and history, even if you do not have a loved one buried there. Green-wood offers insightful tours aboard their historic trolley with guides who will share fascinating stories.

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Or if you prefer to stroll the grounds on your own, you can do so as well. Keep in mind when doing so that it’s also where President George Washington and his troops fought the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776 across what is now the grounds of Green-wood.

If you’re visiting in the fall, you’ll also be able to purchase the home grown honey from the beehives that are cultivated by Green-wood’s beekeeper.

Along with their rich history, Green-wood is also sought after for use in both television, with shows like “Gotham” and the “Blacklist” filming frequently, to films such as, “The Departed,” “The Girl on the Train,” and “John Wick,” taking advantage of the sprawling grounds.

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Designed in 1911, the beautiful limestone chapel is a popular venue for special events and film shoots. “We receive a lot of requests for weddings in the chapel,” says Connolly.

“It’s not just about burying people,” says Connolly. “It’s also about how we can use the space currently.”