Apr 18, 2014

Hudson Yards the Nation's First Smart Neighborhood

The Hudson Yards, Manhattan's newest neighborhood will be the most connected, measured and technologically advanced digital district in the nation.

Hudson Yards being built over a Long Island Rail Road yard, a once underutilized tract of land on the far West Side of Manhattan will be the first "quantified community" in the entire country.

According to an article in Crain's New York, NYU, in conjunction with Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, will collect information on pedestrian traffic, air quality, energy production and consumption, and even the health and activity levels of workers and residents

The data will be analyzed by a team of number crunchers, although details for the partnership have not been finalized.

The partnership hopes to install thousands of sensors throughout the complex that will send information to secure servers. The data will be analyzed by a team of number crunchers, although details for the partnership have not been finalized.

Their goal and mission, is to use big data to make cities better places to live, though they emphasized the collection of any personal data would be voluntary.

Apr 16, 2014

Manhattan Market Monthly Report | March 2014


Manhattan Market Monthly Report | March 2014  

Market Wide Summary

Low inventory continues to drive strong competition for available units across the market, with year-over-year declines in listed units in both the co-op and condominium markets.
Also occurring in both markets and likely affected by inventory, days on market is down year-over-year and buyer negotiability has dropped. 

This month 31% of sales were above their asking price and just 49% were below their asking price. Contracts signed decreased year-over-year but relative to last month the number of contracts signed increased significantly, up 35% in condominiums and 24% in co-ops. 

The year-over-year decline in contracts signed could be due to several factors; the unusually inclement weather and the decline in available inventory are both likely to have impacted sales. 

Price growth was less robust this month than recent months, however average price and price per square foot had modest year-over-year increases in both the condominium and the co-op market. Compared to last month, prices declined in both of these metrics as well as in median price. 

This is at least in part due to market share by unit type: three+ bedrooms were responsible for only 15% of sales this month compared to 19% in March 2013 and 28% in February 2014.

 The Corcoran Report March 2014

Apr 15, 2014

New Developments | Upper West Side Conversions

340 West 72nd Street - The Chatsworth
Upper West Side Rental Conversions 
Opening in 2014 

340 West 72nd Street 
The Chatsworth 
81 units Rental conversion + new construction - Beaux-Arts landmark plus addition.

175 West 95th Street
80 units Rental conversion  - 18 story rental conversion

360 Central Park West

360 Central Park West 
50 units Rental conversion - Luxury pre-war rental conversion

498 West End Avenue

498 West End Avenue
45 units Rental conversion - Century old pre-war conversion

100 W 80th St. -The Orleans

100 West 80th Street - The Orleans
26 units Rental conversion - Luxury pre-war conversion
101 West 78th Street - Evelyn

101 West 78th Street - Evelyn
15 units Rental conversion - Pre-war conversion plus addition

Manhattan New Development/Conversion Listings

Apr 14, 2014

East Harlem | Manhattan Neighborhood

Metro North Railroad Station at 125th Street & Park Avenue

'There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it's never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It's growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreamin'

Ben E King 
"Spanish Harlem" 

Manhattan Neighborhood | East Harlem

El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) SpaHa (East/Spanish Harlem) community stretches from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East 96th Street to East 125th Street.

Rich in history and residential charm, the diverse East Harlem neighborhood offers those in search of a new apartment or townhouse plenty to peruse. Housing stock runs the gamut from row houses to studios, from one-and two-bedroom co-ops to renovated tenements.

A big draw in East Harlem is space — apartments often come with a dining room, an outdoor garden, or even parking. Large rental complexes like Hampton Court (complete with gyms, garden decks and retail shopping) are now being joined in East Harlem by luxury condos offering views of the East River, the George Washington and RFK (Triborough) Bridges.

Lexington Hill Condominium (103/104th Streets)
East Harlem’s cornucopia of food, culture and lively street life reflects its history. From the exclusive Rao’s Restaurant, founded in 1896, and Patsy’s Pizzeria, established in 1933 in part of Old Little Italy, to modern-day bodegas and botanicas, shopping and dining in this neighborhood continue to evolve even as the Uptown apartments do.

On the artsy side of East Harlem, provocative murals by celebrated artist James De La Vega — some commissioned, some not — dot the neighborhood and the living legacy of Salsa greats continues at venues such as Creole, a jazz/supper club, and Orbit, a bar/restaurant that hosts open mic nights in its jazz and cabaret schedule.

East Harlem residents enjoy the East River Plaza on 116th Street off the FDR Drive that opened in ’09. If you want to stock your home with everything, big companies that will be offering their wares for sale in East Harlem include Target, Marshall’s, Best Buy and Manhattan’s first Costco. Other neighborhood attractions include the Museum of the City of New York, El Barrio Museum, Central Park East and North Meadows.

Easy access to get out-of-town. There's a Metro-North Railroad Station at 125th Street with a 4-5-6 Lexington Avenue subway stop and easy access to the FDR Drive and the west side via cross town bus on 125th Street. Easy access to La Guardia airport from 125th Street airport bus.

There currently are approximately 40 active apartments for sale in East Harlem. Ranging from $139,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 5th floor walk-up to $2,980,000 for a 3 bedroom. 3.5 bath, 2849 square foot penthouse at the Crown Condominium.

Currently there are approximately 10 residential buildings (single family, multi family, mixed use and income properties) for sale in East Harlem ranging from $1,150,000 for a two family house to an 8-story income property delivered vacant under construction condo for $15,550,000.

                                                                                             There is a rose in Spanish Harlem...

Apr 11, 2014

HDFC Coops | Facts vs Myths

45 Central Park North
There are about 1500 HDFC coops in NYC about half are in Manhattan. Most have come through various programs run by HPD (Housing Preservation Department) in order to privatize the City's in REM (foreclosed) stock.

Buildings in the Tenants Interim Lease Program  are gut rehabilitated by HPD then they will be converted to HDFC Cooperatives and sold to the tenants for $250 per apartment. HDFCs can obtain full or partial exemption from real estate taxes for up to 40 years.

HDFC cooperatives originating from HPD Division of Alternative Management Programs (DAMP) have certain restrictions and depending of when the conversion took place they are slightly different.

The most common restriction is income: Conversions prior to 1995 require income of new shareholders not to exceed 6 or 7 times the annual maintenance plus utilities. If the incoming household has less than 3 dependents you multiply the annual maintenance plus utilities times 6. If the family has 3 or more dependents then by 7.

There are a number of HDFC cooperatives converted from 1986 to 1995 that have a further restriction requiring the payment to the City of 40% of any profit on the resale of the shares. These are called 60/40 buildings.

HDFC co-ops are intended to be the primary, permanent homes for the self-supporting working low- to moderate-income households. They are not intended to be investment property, for market speculation or for non occupant parents purchasing them for their adult children.

Low income is considered below 100% of the NY area median income and moderate income is above the median. Moderate incomes range from 120 percent to 165 percent of the area’s median income.

A project in the South Bronx, for example, might be restricted to people with incomes up to 80 percent of the median, which means $68,000 for a family of four. But in Harlem, Morningside Heights, Clinton/Hell's Kitchen or the East Village the limit might be as high as 165 percent of the NY median, or $141,735 because incomes are higher in those neighborhoods.

Generally all HDFCs usually require a "Transfer Fee" commonly called a "Flip Tax" often up to 30% of seller's profit but can vary. It is necessary to review the Proprietary Leases and Offering Plans to ascertain exactly what the restrictions for any one particular HDFC cooperative as there are many variations.

HDFC coop boards are not that different from any other coop board. All coops including HDFC are set up as private housing corporations. The coop board is entitled to approve or deny any purchase for any reason other than discrimination. The only difference is HDFC coops have maximum income restrictions. The must remain "affordable" based on New York metropolitan area statistical median income standards released annually through HPD as determined by each HDFC.

Cash is not always King: Cash only required is a red flag. There are many reasons why a lender will not lend in an HDFC coop but there are lenders (citibank, Chase, Bank of America) that will loan in HDFC coops that have good financials and are managed well. Many established HDFC coops are on the lender's approved list.

Some coops will need to be approved by a lender because they haven't had a recent sale. There is an approval process. If the coop cooperates with the lender and answers the lender's questionnaire and meets lender's and Fannie Mae guidelines they will most likely be approved.

There are a lot of myths about HDFC coops, many are perpetuated by brokers that lack experience and knowledge of HDFC coops. They don't understand the spirit and intent of "affordable housing" despite taking a listing. There are a lot of brokers in Manhattan but few with successful experience selling HDFC coops.

There are many good HDFC coops. For qualified low- moderate income buyers they can offer an opportunity for affordable home ownership but like everything else in NYC there are always some bad apples.

Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware. Buyers and or their (HDFC experienced) attorney should do their "due diligence" They should request financial reports as well as copies of the minutes of the Annual Shareholders Meeting, proof of insurance and Fidelity Bond, as well as payments of Property Taxes and Water & Sewer charges.

Related article:
HDFC Coops

Apr 7, 2014

Determining Price Differentials for Floors & Views

A seller recently asked what is the price differential for each floor in a Manhattan apartment building?

In Manhattan there are many variables in determining the price differential for each floor. A beautifully renovated apartment on a lower floor can sell for a higher price than an "original condition" apartment on a high floor.

The parlor floor in a townhouse may be worth more than the 4th floor if it's a walk-up. A 10th floor apartment facing the back will sell for less than the same apartment on the 5th floor directly facing Central Park.

Unless the building owns the air rights over neighboring buildings, views can and will change in Manhattan. A high floor facing an interior courtyard doesn't have as nice a view as the corner apartment on a low floor overlooking the park. Higher floors usually have a premium as do views. Both premiums can be separate. A view can be subjective. However, kitchens and bathrooms can be replaced but there is only one Central Park and Hudson river in Manhattan.

When pricing or determining value of a Manhattan condo or coop it is crucial to compare apples to apples. All coops and condos in Manhattan have an offering plan.

In the original offering plan whether new construction or conversion, the developer/sponsor put a price differential for each floor and unit in the building.

The sponsor determined premiums for each unit. Since all offering plans are from different years and during different market conditions there is a premium percentage for every attribute. In a coop, premiums for attributes are also allocated with more shares in the corporation.

Think in terms of percentages rather than arbitrary dollar amounts.

For example, if you're considering purchasing or selling in a building that was built or converted in the 80's, you can figure out the approximate percent of the premium.

If the same apartment, line, and square footage was selling in the $200,000 range originally and today the same apartments are selling in the $800,000 range, the apartment today is worth 4x more. If they're selling in the million dollar range 5x.

The premium for floor differential is 4x more whatever it was in the offering plan. If it was $2000 per floor in the offering plan, than it would be around $8000 per floor today providing the comparable apartments are otherwise the same. Price per share (in a coop) and price per square foot can also be used as evaluation tools. However, all square footage is not equal.

In today's transparent information age there are many online tools or "gimmicks" designed for automated instant home values. Take them all with a grain of salt. An algorithm looks at data logically. Real estate data isn't always logical. Selling and buying real estate is emotional not logical.

In Manhattan pricing a home is as much an art as a science.

Pricing a home is a marketing function, the price you get is a function of the marketing you choose.

Apr 3, 2014

Manhattan Market Report | First Quarter 2014

Following an extremely strong 2013, closed sales in the Manhattan market remained numerous duringFirst Quarter 2014, up 25% year-over-year to over 3,200 sales. With a proportional increase
in sales at  the high end, the price per square foot and the average price both topped the Second Quarter 2008 peak.

Ultra-low inventory levels strongly contributed to this quarter’s substantial price appreciation.
Across the market, both the average price per square foot and median price increased by double digits
when compared to First Quarter 2013. 

Market-wide price per square foot averaged $1,276, exceeding the Second Quarter 2008 peak of $1,261 by 1%. Condominium values played a large role in that change; the average price per foot for resale condos reached $1,420, a 13% increase from First Quarter 2013. 

Year-over-year, the median price increased 12% for resale condos and 15% for resale co-ops. Larger units in particular continue to post significant price gains; three+ bedroom units gained 25% in median price market-wide this quarter, compared to an 8% gain in studio units.

Thanks to closings in major luxury properties, new development pricing also rose to new heights. Average price increased 69% to $3.285 million, median price 35% to $1.880 million, and price per square foot 40% to $1,776. With their outstanding popularity and intense demand from luxury buyers, new development products skew bigger than the rest of the market; 31% of new development closings this quarter were in three+ bedroom units. While new developments represented only 11% of market-wide closings, they drove some of the biggest price gains.

Despite the large increase in closings this quarter, signed contracts were down versus this time last year. This can be attributed in large part to limited inventory which in the First Quarter 2014 
was 17% lower than the First Quarter 2013 and the unusually harsh winter and lack of large new development projects opening this quarter also played a role. 

This report uses market-wide data based on transactions that closed in the First Quarter 2014 (January 1 through March 31) and compares it to closings that took place last quarter and during the same quarter last year. Closings typically occur eight to twelve weeks after a contract is signed in the resale market but can occur several years later for new developments. For that reason, the sales activity discussed trails actual market conditions.
For Manhattan property owners thinking of selling, there has never been a better or more advantageous time. For buyers looking to act in this market, swift and aggressive action is called for. 

Whichever you may be, I invite you to contact me with your questions about the First Quarter 2014 Corcoran Report and on the market in general.

Mar 31, 2014

Dos & Don'ts For Home Buyers

The following Dos and Don't for Buyers comes from a lenders perspective. For Manhattan coop buyers finances will be even more scrutinized by the coop board than by the lender. 

Most coops have even more stringent financial requirements than lenders so don't assume that a loan commitment from a lender will  necessarily approve you  for a coop purchase. A Co-op board will require complete financial disclosure. They will look into your financial history, current and past income, assets, liabilities and references when evaluating your board package.

Dos & Don't s For Buyers


·    Continue to make housing payments on time: Until closing is set, continue to pay your mortgage or rent in a timely manner.

·    Stay current on all of your bills: Maintain good credit by paying bills on time.

·    Verify all information on your credit report: Request a copy of your credit report to verify the accuracy of the information in your accounts.

·     Make yourself available for conference calls with creditors: Depending on the accuracy of your report and the time line of settlement, credit companies may need to verify further information via conference calls. Remember - your credit may be pulled prior to the closing of your loan.

·     Save pay stubs and bank statements: Underwriters will require no less than two consecutive months of pay stubs and bank statements for qualification purposes.

·     Alert your lender if your job, salary, or compensation changes: If your income changes during the application process, alert your mortgage advisor immediately.


   Establish any new credit:
1.   Apply for, or open new credit cards: Opening new credit will not only add additional inquiries to your report, but will also negatively impact your score. Even if an account reflects a zero balance, a trade line has been added to your report.
2.   Co-sign for a loan or line of credit: When co-signing for a loan or line of credit, the payment will show up on your credit report and count against your debt.
3.   Don't misrepresent anything. Don't omit negative information. It is better to be upfront and explain something derogatory from the past in coop board package than to have the board discover it.

·    Close or consolidate credit card accounts: Closing credit card accounts or consolidating debt can have a negative impact on your score as a result of decreasing your credit capacity.

·     Increase balances on your existing accounts: Because a new report may be pulled just days before closing, the updated balances will be reflected resulting in resubmission of the loan. This may cause not only a delay in settlement, but can also result in a denial of the loan.

·     Make large deposits or transfers without proper documentation: Lenders require a “paper trail” for any large deposits or account transfers. (Acceptable documentation includes but is not limited to deposit slips, copies of checks, loan paperwork, etc.)

 Typical Co-op Board Requirements: (what the board is looking for)

  • 1. 25-30% Income to debt ratio. Housing costs should not be more than 25% -30% of income depending on the particular coop.
  • 2. At least 1 years worth of mortgage + maintenance in liquid assets or two years of maintenance after closing costs
  • 3. Increase in salary from previous year, potential future earning. 

Tips to Help Pass A coop Board Interview

Mar 16, 2014

Manhattan Market Monthly Report | February 2014


Mar 14, 2014

2013 Manhattan Townhouse Report

2013 witnessed the highest number of townhouse sales since 2007. There were 282 townhouse sales, a 4% increase over 2012. However there was a 7% decrease in single-family townhouse transactions.

The single-family townhouse median price dropped 12% from last year to $5.500 million and the average price declined by 14% to $6.841 million. Average price per square foot decreased year- over-year by 5% to $1,571. These market-wide declines can be attributed to an increased share of sales occurring Uptown.

The tightening rental market helped to pique interest in the multi-family townhouse market and drove sales to grow by 18%. The multi-family townhouse market had a strong 2013, with 141 closings, up from 119 sales in 2012. Due to the continued low vacancy rate and record high rental rates in New York City, investor and buyer interest for multi-family townhouses has continued to 
escalate, especially Uptown. 

With more sales occurring Uptown, year-over-year median price decreased 38%, average price decreased 17% and average price per square foot decreased by 14% to $753 per square foot.
For the purposes of this report, we define multi-family townhouses as two- to four-family town homes. Mixed-use properties are excluded from the report. 

This study presents information only on arms- length transactions (a sale between two unconnected parties). Excluded are certain other types of sales, including: foreclosure or short sales, changes in legal status or ownership entity, properties that required gut renovation or demolition, bulk or investment sales, as well as townhouse condominiums in new development properties. 

 Complete 2013 Manhattan Townhouse Report

Contact me @ 917-312-0924 to buy sell or lease a Manhattan Townhouse.

Mar 7, 2014

Barbara Corcoran's Park Avenue Home


Barbara Corcoran's home buying advice:

"Buy with your heart, not your head. You can look at all the aspects that make a purchase practical, but that kind of thinking makes it an investment rather than a home." 

Mar 1, 2014

"Made in NY" Films Nominated for Oscars


The 86th Academy Awards will be presented tomorrow night, and “Made in NY” films are among those recognized in 2014 with nominations.  Over 100,000 New Yorkers work in film and television production. NY is the birthplace of film and television technology. The entertainment industry is approximately a $5 billion industry in New York City. 

Oscars Recognize "Made in NY" Films with Nominations
Best Picture
The Wolf of Wall Street

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
The Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
The Wolf of Wall Street
Jonah Hill

Achievement in Cinematography
Inside Llewyn Davis
Bruno Delbonnel

Achievement in Directing
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inside Llewyn Davis
Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Adapted Screenplay
The Wolf of Wall Street
Screenplay by Terence Winter

Best Documentary Feature
Cutie and the Boxer
Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher

Best Documentary Feature
Dirty Wars 

Come live, work and play in NYC.

"Made in NY"

Click here to find a Manhattan trophy apartment or townhouse.

The Oscars will be handed out tomorrow Sunday, March 2 and will be aired live on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres hosts. 

Enjoy the show!

Feb 26, 2014

Tips for Selling Your Manhattan Home


Did you know that within 15 seconds a buyer has already developed an opinion of your property? This is why establishing the right first impression is critical to achieving a successful sale.

Decide on what types of renovations and staging you would like to complete on your home. Remove and repair all signs of damage and other deterioration, e.g. holes and cracks in ceilings and walls. Restore hardware and bathroom/lighting fixtures as needed.

Staging Matters -  Main Rule of Apartment Staging:

Remember, the key to staging a home is to “Neutralize” the environment. You want it to be free of personal photos, waste cans, tissues, cosmetics etc.  

The potential buyer should walk in and feel as if it is a model home, devoid of clutter. When they leave they should wonder whether anyone lives in the apartment.

For showings: Owners should leave while your home is being shown so that buyers will feel more comfortable to move around and discuss your property with the real estate professional.

Home Enhancement Guide

Feb 22, 2014



1 THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME With fewer developments on the market and interest rates still at historic lows. 

2 BRAND NEW EVERYTHING Be the very first to live in your home and enjoy brand new infrastructure throughout.

3 COMPETITIVE PRICING Developers have a realistic understanding of the market and prices to match.

4 EASE OF OWNERSHIP Benefit from a hassle-free purchase process with no board packages, interviews, and use your residence however you want—live, rent, or pied-à-terre.

5 INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED Modern room proportions, high quality materials, and windows that maximize light and air add up to a home that complements your lifestyle.

6 IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY There is often no need to wait to move in—your brand new home can be ready right away.

7 HEALTHY HOME Green features make your life healthier, and energy efficiency benefits you and the environment.

8 STATE OF THE ART LIVING Your home is outfitted with top of the line materials, the most up to the minute technology, and all the little extras that make life easy.

9 CREATE A COMMUNITY Move in together, and build a community with your neighbors.

10 THE FULL PACKAGE Your home is more than just your condominium—it’s the fitness center, outdoor space, and private lounges, not to mention the doorman and concierge, at your service.

It's time to say Good-Bye to 2013 and Hello to 2014. Looking forward to a brand new start. There is nothing better than a brand new home in a brand new year.

It is important to have an experienced buyer's broker represent you in New Developments. On-site sales agents represent the seller/sponsor/developer's interests.

Click here to receive new development listings
Call me at 917-312-0924 or email me to schedule showings

Feb 10, 2014

NY Roommate Law


Recently a couple of buyers have asked about the "NY Roommate Law" pertaining to "bylaws" rules and policies in a coop. Last year while I attended an exhibit at the Museum of New York about small spaces and the trend around the world of living alone, it was at that exhibit that I first learned it is illegal in NY for more than three unrelated people to live in an apartment or a house. 

The law, for decades part of the city’s Housing Maintenance Code, is little known, widely broken and infrequently enforced. NY has many housing laws that were reforms from the 19th and early 20th century tenements.

A landlord or coop may restrict the number of occupants based on housing/occupancy laws but you can generally take on roommates without having to add them to the lease or even get your landlord's approval.

Recently I've learned of "NY Roommate Law" Unlawful Restrictions on Occupancy Law. A law that entitles a tenant to have a roommate. This law trumps coop "bylaws" regarding the coop's right to approve all occupants living in a coop apartment. 

Roommate Law Explanation: 

If you are the only person who has signed the lease, in addition to your immediate family, NY law allows you to have another roommate who has not signed the lease. The roommate’s dependent children are also permitted. (Note: This law applies if the premises is the tenant’s primary residence)
·     Therefore, any lease provision disallowing a roommate that’s not on the lease (as well as his/her dependent children) is illegal.

·     If two or more people signed the lease you may have additional roommates provided that the total number of tenants and occupants (excluding dependent children) does not exceed the number of tenants on the original lease.

·     To make the above more clear, if 3 people sign a lease and 1 moves out, you can replace that person who moved out with a new occupant.  

      While many RE laws to protect tenants do not apply to co-ops, the roommate law overrides proprietary lease provisions that limit occupancy. 

This law allows tenants with leases to have roommates without interference from their landlords. While many tenant protection laws do not apply to cooperative apartments, the so-called Roommate Law does.

      The roommate law does not allow cooperators to circumvent the coops subletting policies, the coop shareholder must also reside in the apartment as its primary residence in order to benefit from the protection of the roommate law. 

Real Property Law, Section 235f "Roommate Law"

 Legal Disclaimer  - Information in this article is not intended as legal or financial advice and should not be used to substitute for advice of legal counsel.

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