Famous Brooklyn Eateries

New York City is arguably the greatest city in the world for delicious food. And the borough of Brooklyn is certainly no exception to this accepted truth. First settled by the Dutch in 1646, Brooklyn would take shape in the late 19th century with an influx of migration from all over the world, most notably Eastern Europeans. Since then, Brooklyn has beautifully developed into the melting pot of today that has spurred the authentic, American-infused cuisine that we all enjoy. We’ve outlined Brooklyn’s famous eateries: those that are both known for their tasty food and rich history. Which ones have your mouth watering? 

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 Nathan’s Famous, 1310 Surf Avenue

Nathan’s, located in the heart of Coney Island, is truly a classic New York staple. Polish immigrants introduced the now-famous weiners to New York in 1916. The original owners kept control of the brand until 1996, at which the restaurant was expanded to become an international fast-food chain. Nevertheless, you will find the most authentic version of Nathan’s hot dog in Coney Island, where you can slather it in chili and cheese while devouring those irresistible crinkle-cut french fries. 

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Brennan & Carr, 3432 Nostrand Avenue

Dubbed the “king of dipped sandwiches,” Brennan & Carr has served the people of Brooklyn for over 75 years. These famous dipped sandwiches consist of succulent roast beef on a kaiser roll soaked in a flavorful jus. The Russo Brothers of the classic Italian Restaurant Gargiulo’s are credited with the discovery of this incredible combination. Inevitably, the sandwich is a mess, but isn’t that the fun in it? 

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Junior’s, 386 Flatbush Avenue

Since Junior’s cheesecake has garnered worldwide fame, many seem to forget the roots of Junior’s, which has been situated on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn for more than 60 years! The current owner’s grandfather helped develop the cheesecake recipe that would win over so many new customers. Of course, now Junior’s offers an adequate selection of classic diner food, from the pastrami sandwiches to the New York-style cheesecake.  Though Junior’s interior was recently restored, you can still get that vintage, old-fashioned feel when you slide into one of those partitioned booths. 

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 Randazzo’s Clam Bar, 2017 Emmons Avenue

Hungry for some seafood? Randazzo’s has you covered. But when you dine at Randazzo’s, you’ll be receiving the food from Helen Randazzo’s Italian-American recipes, which have been passed down multiple generations. Still a family-owned business, Randazzo’s is best known for their tomato sauce. The not-so-secret method: stewing tomatoes for hours before making the sauce. Nearly 90 years have gone by since the grand opening of Randazzo’s Clam Bar and the Randazzo family continues to provide high-quality food to the Sheepshead Bay area. 

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L&B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th Street

Most of us New Yorkers are all too familiar with L&B Spumoni Gardens: a complex that contains both a pizzeria and an ice cream parlor. Established in 1939 by an Italian immigrant, L&B remains family-owned. At the heart of this restaurant is the large slabs of Sicilian pizza that are truly a hodgepodge of red sauce and mozzarella cheese smothered onto the perfectly chewy dough. And this pizza isn’t the only thing that keeps a steady flow – or should we say large crowds – of customers daily. The “Spumoni” ice cream, thus the name “Spumoni Gardens,” is a must-have. It consists of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with nut-filled pistachio. Trust us, it tastes better than it sounds. 

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 Peter Luger Steak House, 178 Broadway

New York City is undoubtedly known for its steakhouses, and again, Brooklyn is no exception. Peter Luger Steak House has an especially rich history, as it began in 1887 as Carl Luger’s and was re-established in 1950 by Sol Forman after the passing of Peter Luger, the last owner who put his name on the sign before his death. But this steakhouse doesn’t resemble those gaudy steakhouses that you’ll find in Midtown Manhattan; it most closely resembles that of a German Beer Hall. Monstrous and juicy steaks are only commonplace at this restaurant and the creamed spinach and onion rings are tasty additions to your meal. Keeping with tradition, they don’t accept credit cards! So if you are heading to Peter Luger Steak House, go armed with cash or a debit card.

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Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J

About 50 years ago, Domenico DeMarco opened Di Fara Pizza on Avenue J. Now, the pizzeria is run by DeMarco and five of his children. This pizzeria features classic, thin-crust pizza. But it’s best known for what goes onto the pizza after it leaves the oven. It’s then finished off with a blend of herbs, intense tomato sauce, and grated hard cheese. The pizza is essentially transformed into a thin-crusted pie that bursts with both color and flavor. This popular spot has left people waiting hours to receive a slice of pizza and trust us… it’ll be worthwhile. 

 

Though we’ve outlined some of the most famous Brooklyn eateries, this certainly isn’t the end of the list. Some honorable mentions include Bamonte’s, Tom’s Restaurant, and Defonte’s Sandwich Shop. When you head to any of these restaurants, you can now appreciate both the food and the history of these famous Brooklyn eateries. Don’t forget to comment below and let Madison Estates know which delicious eatery you like best!

 

Spring Things to do in NYC

When it comes to springtime, New York City has a lot to offer. In a city that experiences real seasons, New Yorkers know how to enjoy each one to the max, but the season that really brings us to life (and running for the outdoors) is the spring. And we can just sniff it in the air. It’s coming. The flowers are about to bloom, the music festivals are approaching and our mouths are already watering thinking of all the food markets we’ll be attending. We’ve rounded up the events we’re most excited to explore in New York City for Spring 2019. Which ones are you thrilled about?

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The Orchid Show: The 2019 New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show is a tribute to Singapore. Known as “The City in a Garden,” the island is famous for its enchanting orchids. The show’s running from February 23rd to April 28th and will be displaying thousands of orchids in every shape and color imaginable. At night, “Orchid Evenings” will be channeling Singapore’s nightlife vibes and using a mixture of light, color and aroma to bring all the fun and glamor to the Bronx.

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Affordable Art Fair NYC: With tickets selling from $10 to $70, the Affordable Art Fair is an art lover’s dream. The show displays local, national and international contemporary artists with works ranging from $100 to $10,000. Browse their curated selection and give your apartment character with art pieces that won’t leave you broke for months to come! This year’s fair takes place from March 28th to March 31st.

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The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: Cherry blossom season is arguably the best part of spring. The Sakura Matsuri Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture and takes place in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden every year. This year it’s being held from April 27th to the 28th. There’s a ton of picturesque moments to be captured and the beautiful pink cherry blossoms are the obvious appeal, but there’s also a Japanese tea room, an art gallery and a mini flea market!

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The Macy’s Flower Show: Yes, we’re really selling the floral theme to you, but what’s spring without obsessing over blossoms? Taking place every year with a different theme at the Macy’s in Herald Square, the flower show is not something you want to miss out on. This year’s theme is “Journey to Paradisios” and is an exploration of the outer space experience. All the floral arrangements will be a representation of the ‘cosmic dream.’ We’re preparing ourselves for something sweet-smelling and truly magical. The show’s running from March 24th to April 7th.

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Brooklyn Folk Festival: Sometimes you want to live in nostalgia, delve into the world of folk music and do it all in the heart of Brooklyn. That’s why we love the Brooklyn Folk Festival! Taking place from April 5th to April 7th this year, the festival brings together American and international folk music and folk music lovers for 3 days of music, workshops, film screenings, contests and major jam sessions. Even if folk music isn’t your thing, attending this festival is one of the most unique Brooklyn experiences and shouldn’t be missed!

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MoCCA Arts Festival: The MoCCA Arts Festival is a 2-day multi-media annual event that brings together hundreds of NYC’s most prominent independent cartoonists to showcase their work. The event’s orchestrated by The Society of Illustrators and follows in suit with their mission to promote the art of illustration through exhibitions and lectures. The show provides its attendees with film screenings, speaker’s lectures and interactive workshops.This year’s festival will take place on April 6-7th at Metropolitan West.

 

Holiday Gift Guide for NYC’s Procrastinators

You know the feeling: Christmas is less than two weeks away and you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet. You can forget about ordering anything online because, as we all know from nightmares of seasons past, the shipping date is never a guarantee around the holidays. (Even when they promise you it is.) We, The Procrastinators, seem to never learn our lesson. 

But relax, we’re in it together this time. And perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise- we just so happen to live in the most Winter Wonderland-ey city in the country and it never hurts to grab your warmest coat and a hot chocolate to go hunting for unique, local gifts. Your best bet is to head over to one of NYC’s Holiday Markets (Union Square, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Columbus Circle). Oh, and just one tip: don’t you dare visit a holiday market on a full stomach. Make room for all the foodie booths you’ll encounter and be tempted by while shopping. Our suggestion is to get yourself not one, but at least two, arepas from Top Arepas. (Try the one topped with gouda cheese and sundried tomatoes.) It’ll be so worth it, trust us.

Now, on to gift shopping:

Brooklyn Academy of Music: The Brooklyn Academy of Music is a cultural gem that we don’t think enough people take advantage of. The institution has been around for over 150 years and is home to world class artists across many disciplines. Take a browse through their site and discover all the events that take place in the span of just one week! If you know anyone who loves films, art, theatre, literary events or anything in between, consider buying them a gift membership starting at $85 dollars. And if that’s too much of a commitment, just snag tickets to an event that you think they’ll enjoy! There are plenty to choose from!

Our pick: Non Solus 

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Verrier Handcrafted: Verrier Handcrafted is a women-led and operated (It was founded by a mother-daughter duo!) lifestyle and paper goods brand born and based in NYC. All their products (prints, greeting cards, tote bags, cell phone cases, pillows and more) incorporate the original illustrations of co-founder, Ashleigh Verrier, and are hand-painted and hand-glittered by women artisans in their Union Square Studio. These are the gifts you buy for your colorful, glitterful friends or anyone who’s day you want to brighten. A smile is guaranteed. Verrier Handcrafted specializes in NYC-themed and fashion-filled greeting cards, which usually include a sassy, clever or uplifting saying along with the illustration. Grab them for anyone you’re planning to give holiday cards to because these are the kind that don’t get tossed during the first week of January. They live on many people’s walls and in their memory boxes!

Our pick: Would Rather Be In Brooklyn Print

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Min and Mon: Min and Mon offers fun and artsy handbags for those who believe in the power of a statement accessory. Their bags are designed in New York and hand-made in Colombia. Purchasing one of these is not only a major fashion statement, but helps support a fair wage for Colombian artisan families. Think lots of color and crazy (the good kind of crazy) illustrations. It’s like walking around holding a piece of art. We personally love their hand-painted pieces and the fact that they offer changeable straps!

Our pick: Vali Handprinted 

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Pageant Print Shop: Pageant is one of those rare New York treasures that has survived the test of time. The shop was founded in 1946 by Sidney B. Solomon and Henry “Chip” Chafetz as a used book shop in New York City. It had its home in several locations along Fourth Avenue, known as “Book Row of America,” for 35 years before moving around the corner to East 9th Street. Pageant now houses some of the rarest, oldest and most unique prints. During the holidays, they also show at the Union Square Holiday Market, but for their biggest selection, visit their Lower East Side location.

Our pick: East Side Characters Print 

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Independent Book Shops: Speaking of books, many book lovers were outraged when Amazon announced their LIC headquarters in November with the belief that it was the final symbol of the destruction of NYC’s independent bookshops. But believe it or not, indie bookshops are here to stay. To show your support, gift your literati friends and family books and all literary-related objects from some of NYC’s most beloved independent bookshops. A few of our favorites? The Strand, McNally Jackson, Three Lives and Co., Books Are Magic, The powerHouse Arena, Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks, Molasses Books and of course NY’s oldest independent bookstore, Argosy.

Our pick: Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

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Pop Chart: If you’re in the know in the design world, you know that the growth of data has led to infographics and charts being a hot commodity. Now, that seems like a useless fact for the average consumer, but Pop Chart has taken the infographic obsession and created the perfect prints for any occasion. Got a friend who REALLY likes beer? They make infographic prints for the beer-obsessed. A friend who’s a stickler for grammar? Snag them the English Usage Chart or the Pop Culture Guide to Proofreading. And for your photographer friends? We love the Cameras Compendium. They’ve basically created a chart, a graph or a guide for every curiosity, quirk and obsession your friends are interested in. The best part? They’re super affordable!

Our pick: Splendid Structures of NYC Print 

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American Design Club: American Design Club was founded in 2008 when the influence of American designers was being questioned in comparison to their European counterparts. The goal was to create a community for innovative designers to display and showcase their designs in the US. And because many of these designer’s work comes in the form of shoppable gift items, the American Design Club opened up shop and offers a ton of fun and quirky (and not to mention, impeccably designed) products to give your family and friends this holiday season.

Our pick: Coast to Coasters

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Spices and Tease: Spices and Tease is a fourth generation business started in Naples, Italy. The brand has now expanded to the South of France, Paris and the US. Their specialty spice blends make any dish stand out. Oh, and they carry over 180 imported exotic teas for all the Tea Lovers out there. If you happen to pass by one of their shops at the holiday markets, just a whiff of exotic spices and herbal teas alone will sell you. You’re going to want to stop and check it out.

Our pick: Black Lava Salt

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New York Halloween and Fall Events

There’s just something about autumn lovers, and it’s not only our undying devotion to pumpkin spice lattes and plaid shirts. It’s the love we have for all things quirky, spooky and just weird. It’s the pecan pies and the candy and the crispy leaves and Central Park covered in warm hues. And it’s the perfection of ‘not too hot and not too cold’ weather that allows you to spend time either outdoors exploring or indoors being cozy. And if you love fall as much as we do here at Madison Estates, then New York really is the only place to be. We’ve rounded up the spookiest and most autumnal events that we’re most excited for this year. Thank us after you’re all festivaled and pumpkined out!

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

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Our favorite thing about New York is the free events. Because they’re actually good and actually free! And Central Park is known for hosting NYC’s best free events. And to be honest, any excuse to visit the park in the fall is a good one for us. The autumn foliage is beautiful here and you’ll regret you missed it if you do. So, don’t. On October 28th, Central Park will host its annual Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla, a celebration suitable for the family with pumpkin carvings, scary stories, a costume parade and the best part? Fifty pumpkin flotillas set to sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight! It’s magical.

 

Pumpkinville

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We didn’t lie to you. We told you you’d see a lot of ‘pumpkin’ on this list. Pumpkinville is a 200 acre farm in Great Valley, New York providing family friendly fun all fall season long. You come here to enjoy hay and pony rides, get lost in corn mazes, watch how apple cider is made and really just take in the acres and acres of fall foliage all around you. This one’s for you, pumpkin spice latte lovers.

 

BangOnNYC! Warehouse of Horrors

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Every year, BangOnNYC! brings your worst warehouse nightmares to life. This event, hosted in a Williamsburg warehouse, is a weekend affair packed with horrifying art and performances. And you’re in luck because 2018 marks the event’s 10th anniversary. So get ready to experience every piece of art BangOnNYC! has made to date, delicious food and a freaky, spooky performance line up!

 

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze 

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Ok, back to the pumpkins. Every year, Historic Hudson Valley hosts The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze and it’s one of those events you’ll really regret if you miss. Picture this: 7,000 artisan-carved and lit pumpkins alongside the riverside, a Pumpkin Planetarium, flying ghosts and a special appearance by Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman. Grab your tickets and don’t forget to bring with you all the Halloween spirit you have inside because this one’s a good one.

 

Candlelight Ghost Tours @ Merchant’s House Museum

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This house is what The New York Times calls ‘Manhattan’s most haunted house.’ And rightfully so! Take a 50-minute tour of the mansion and be ready to be spooked to your core as you learn about the dark and haunted past of this ancient structure and the family that once lived there. Or do they still walk the halls in ghost form? Book your tickets now and let us know, because we’re really too scared to find out for ourselves!

 

 

 

Property Spotlight: 576 Yetman Ave

We’re not usually ones to brag about our listings, but it was easy to recognize that we’ve got something special on our hands with this one. Entering this home feels like stepping into a secret world, one where the spaciousness to coziness issue is magically solved, one with such things as fireplaces, skylit hallways and enormous closets. Hey, these things are hard to come by in NYC.

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This newly renovated, two-family duplex greets you with a fountain, centered within its landscaped front garden. The house opens up with double doors at the front, leading you into a room with precious bay view windows. A tour of 576 Yetman Ave in Tottenville, Staten Island reveals a formal living room with a built in fireplace (for all your hot chocolate drinking, twinkle light hanging, winter wonderland needs), a skylit staircase, central air and heat, crown moldings, etched glass windows, stainless steel appliances, three spacious bedrooms, an attic, a lush, green backyard and a fully finished basement with five rooms (yeah, FIVE rooms).

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The garage, in addition to parking your cars, can be used to do laundry or as an additional office space. And that’s in addition to the ton of storage space it provides. And all that is in addition to the four parking spots the driveway provides on its own. Are you sensing how many times we’ve used “in addition to” so far?

The backyard has a deck, an in-ground pool and an outdoor kitchen and barbecue. Think we’re done? Nope. The house also has income potential with a one bedroom tenant’s apartment, with a brand new eat-in kitchen (stainless steel appliances and granite-top counters) and a full-tile bath.

At this point, who isn’t drooling over this place?

A Little About Tottenville:

Tottenville is one of those rare towns in New York City that perfectly combines old world charm with new city modernization. Taking a short walk around town will quickly bring you to the realization that Tottenville, at its core, is the ultimate bay town. It’s bordered by water and still maintains the qualities of most waterfront towns in New York.

The homes in this town are known for their strong Victorian architectural heritage, with eight houses qualifying for New York City preservation status. The rest of the houses in Tottenville are a combination of old stately homes, townhouses and newer constructions.

Most of the town’s shopping and commerce is contained within strip malls and on its Main Street. There, you come across small mom and pop shops: pizzerias, bakeries and restaurants. Our favorite thing about Tottenville? Most businesses on Main Street are still independently owned and operated. Our other favorite thing about Tottenville? La Bella Marketplace and all its fresh groceries and Italian food aromas. Oh, and let’s not forget about Conference House Park, where you can enjoy your morning walk and cup of coffee.

And whether you like to admit it or not, Tottenville is in NYC, and has the advantages of access to three railway stations in the neighborhood, which easily transport commuters in and out of Manhattan. Who doesn’t love a serene, charming town with easy access to the craziest, most thrilling place in the world?

Madison Estates has been retained to offer for sale 576 Yetman Avenue. Contact listing agent Anna Kasimis at 718-645-1665 or 347-678-2893 to setup a private showing.

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/576-Yetman-Ave-Staten-Island-NY-10307/32375795_zpid/

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

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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

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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.