Recently, I reconnected with a neighborhood friend who I hadn’t seen in sometime. He was prompted by one of my crazy email postcards I send out occasionally to my circles. He tells me that he and his partner are looking to score a charming studio somewhere in The Village in NYC without spending a fortune, somewhere they could reside comfortably together and would I like to help them out. So, I got to work immediately to find that perfect spot for them. The Village is sprinkled with lots of charming studio apartment listings many of which feature misleading angle challenged photos and fanciful descriptions with an over emphasis on the neighborhood features and not so much on the apartment itself (the restaurants, the shopping, the park, etc.) to entice buyers. I had to keep a keen eye out for that needle in a haystack, that something special for the money. These guys wanted something special. I had a decent price range to work within, but even still, this is New York City and the market’s on fire and the competition’s pretty fierce. Properties aren’t on the market very long these days. We didn’t waste any time getting started and in just a couple of days, we were on the streets of the Village with our itinerary. In spite my attempt to manage expectations, my clients began to see very quickly that, while many studio spaces are charming, they are also quite tiny (and look nothing like their photos), with closets fit only for a broom and a bucket and amenities, non-existent. Dating each other for a number of years now, both have decided that living separately wasn’t an option any more and admitted each were set in their ways and neither had searched for a place to live in some time. For a couple looking to merge their lives and stuff, they were discouraged and having a bit of sticker shock. Look, Greenwich Village is highly desirable, you pay a premium to live there and sacrifice square footage to do it. They began to wonder aloud if perhaps, they should just keep things the way they are living in separate apartments. Well, we were only a few apartments into the schedule I had put together, so I rallyed them to stay the course and see as many apartments as possible before coming to any rash conclusions. I mean, you never know what you will find in this town just around the corner.
The City is filled with gems and, like a good agent, I had a couple of those on my list yet to show that I knew my clients would like that had the magical combination of location, a sensible studio layout (big open rectangle), a home-like feel (fireplace, separate kitchen), beautiful surroundings, made-to-last construction, a great address and, closets (!) – available for the same price or just bit more than the walk up charmers we’d been schlepping around to see. Personally, I like apartments to feel like a home with common sense design, using high quality materials and offering services for an accessible price point which is what makes a Bing and Bing building so appealing (and hard to get) not at all like the sterile glass boxes popping up all over the City. Bing and Bing were a couple fellas who built some of the best pre-war properties in New York City. Bing & Bing means gorgeous buildings, smart layouts and subtle art deco touches. During their reign as some of the most important New York City developers of the early 20th Century, Brothers Leo and Alexander Bing erected dozens of buildings that are still highly coveted to this day. The architect Emery Roth was a frequent collaborator with the Bing brothers, lending their structures the classic, consistent look they’re known for. So, when I came across one such apartment, I insisted we go see it and, success!! My client’s response was immediate and obvious. They fell in love as soon as we approached the building. Once in the apartment, the deal was sealed. Here’s a list of some Bing & Bing buildings in downtown Manhattan. Check them out and if you want to buy or list one, be sure to give me a call ’cause I’m all about the Bing & Bing.