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NyLon Lowdown

By: Tom Leonard and Marika Huins.
Published: 8/16/2010Source: The London Magazine

Fancy a pad in New York? Read our guide to where to buy.

With the exchange rate favouring our Atlantic cousins at the moment, it's no surprise that UK estate agents are seeing an increasing amount of dollar-based purchases in the capital. Savills recently formed an association with US broker Stribling and Associates in New York, to mutual benefit. The London and New York markets are very similar and it's useful fur us to know what's going on,' says Brian D'Arcy Clark, director of Savills Private Office. 'Also when the pound gets stronger we want to be in a position to benefit.'


If you're thinking of buying across the pond, there's a complicating factor in the form of cooperative boards, which control 75 per cent of Manhattan's apartment buildings. These all-powerful committees decide who can buy into some of the city's most sought-after addresses and, to ensure that owners are actually occupiers, they tend to say no to foreigners.


Neal Sroka, president of estate agents Douglas Elliman, explains that while cooperative boards had been a problem in the past for foreign buyers of older buildings, many were becoming less stringent. Things are becoming easier,' he says. 'At the same time, the past few years have seen the arrival of a string of luxury condominium buildings which welcome foreigners.' Just for fun, we've matched up some iconic London property types against their Manhattan equivalents to see what your money will buy you in the Big Apple, whether you're a plutocrat, a trustafarian or a family man ...



We may as well start at the top ... London's enfants terribles of property speculation – Nick and Christian Candy – are asking a whopping £25m for a flat in their new Richard Rogers-designed glass and steel edifice at One Hyde Park Whether or not they get it, there are several addresses in New York that would bear comparison. They tend to be around the southern end of Central Park – the old Plaza Hotel, the Time Warner building and 15 CPW (Central Park West). If you have $57.5m (£38m) spare you could snap up an 8,000sq ft, eight-bedroom apartment in the Time Warner building with two libraries, three kitchens and 12 marble bathrooms through Brown Harris Stevens. Or Stribling has a selection of condo options in the Plaza (one three-bed sold recently for a cool $24m).



Richmond has Mick Jagger in his hilltop mansion; in New York you would have to go out to somewhere like Greenwich, Connecticut, to find a comparably placed suburb, though you'd get a lot of hedge fund managers but not many rock stars there. They tend to reside in Central Park West, the street of huge apartment buildings, which runs up the west side of the park. Bono is in the San Remo at 145 and 146, Diana Ross is at 211 in the Beresford, Madonna at 41 CPW – you get the idea, it's a bit like a real-life Stella Street. Sting is at 15 CPW, where Douglas Elliman is selling a 2,200sq ft two-bedroom apartment, with a roof terrace overlooking a reflection pool off the master bedroom, for $8.5m (£5.6m). Who knows, you might lap the rock singer in the building's 75-ft long pool, or pass him en route to the private wine storage facility ...



The most expensive properties in New York tend to be apartments rather than houses. But if you're the sort of traditionalist who must have the latter – something perhaps like the seven-bedroom townhouse in Belgravia's Chester Square, currently on the market with Knight Frank for £l1.5m – it probably has to be the Upper East Side. Expensive but definitely not cool possibilities include a Beaux Arts five-floor mansion with its own garden a few steps from the Metropolitan Museum, for $26 million (£17.3m) with Corcoran. For something even more extravagant in the same neighbourhood, 1016 Madison Avenue is a 22-room, 10-bedroom, 12,000sq ft giant, for sale with for a hefty $72m (£48m).



London's chattering classes may congregate in Notting Hill; in New York, it's Greenwich Village, of course (think Carrie's pad in Sex in the City). The two neighbourhoods boast the same affluent locals living in hugely expensive houses and trading on the area's bohemian past. A six-bedroom house on Kensington Park Road (with Hamptons) is now worth £4.5m. Prices are rather higher in the Village where nice old houses are hard to come by. Stribling has a lovely five-bedroom Federal-style 1850 townhouse on Bedford Street with rooftop terrace with pool house and spa - a snip at $9.95m (£6.5m).


London's East End is still cool (but now pricey) – Foxtons has a six bedroom warehouse in Hoxton fur £3.75m. New York's answer to the East End is currently the hipster mecca of Williamsburg, just over the East River in Brooklyn. A 1,600sq ft flat with two bedrooms, Brazilian walnut floors and, very important, privately-keyed lift on North 5th Street is going for $1.295m (£860,000) through Douglas Elliman. Or Corcoran has a three-bed penthouse apartment at 99 Avenue B in hip East Village with 14 windows for $1.5m (£990,000).


Those wanting a little more convenience, and a little less grime, can opt for DUMBO, the tiny former warehouse neighbourhood down under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, or if it's true glamour you're after, and you can stretch to $14.75m, 25 N Moore Street in the uber-hip area of Tribeca has a 4,500sq ft penthouse condo with views of the Hudson and Empire State Building (through Corcoran).



New York families who want some space and a bit of greenery are heading en masse to Brooklyn, where the schools are good and the brownstone terraced houses are generally way below Manhattan prices. Park Slope sits on the eastern edge of the beautiful Prospect Park (designed by the creators of Central Park) and has a reputation as New York's most right-on, Birkenstock-wearing, soy-latte drinking, muesli-crunching neighbourhood. (To use the local co-operative store you have to volunteer to stack shelves).


For the price of a £2.5m five-bedroom house in Wandsworth's West Hill Road (Knight Frank), you can just about get the most expensive family home in Park Slope at the moment, a four-floor, five-bedroom Romanesque Revival house on President Street, dripping in original features. You even get the 19th-century chandeliers. It's available through Brown Harris Stevens.



OK, so you need electric gates, a really long drive and TV cameras everywhere. Not to mention a tower or two to top your mansion. In London, The Bishops Avenue skirting Hampstead Heath (AKA Millionaire's Row) is the obvious choice for the international uber-rich. Though nothing's for sale at the moment, you might consider Avenue Road in

St John's Wood, where Knight Frank has a seven-bedroom house for a cool £30 million.


Unfortunately, any suitable building left on Manhattan's grandest stretch – Fifth Avenue along the park – tends to be a museum or a private club nowadays. While there are a few decent sized mansions in the city (Corcoran has an interesting 10,000sq ft one on Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side), it may be better to head out of town for more space.


Belle Haven is one of the smartest areas of Greenwich, the Connecticut settlement that – thanks to the state's more favourable tax rules – has become the de facto home to New York's hedge fund world. For $11.2m (£6.27m) you can have a 9,000sq ft granite Italianate mansion with nine bedrooms, a three-acre garden, vast pool and the biggest magnolia tree in north-east America.



Marsh & Parsons has a 969sq ft, two-bedroom, two-bathroom mews house in St Catherine's Mews, Chelsea, for £1.45m. For that price, you won't get a house in Greenwich Village – a similarly leafy stomping ground for the well-heeled but not too trendy young – but roughly the same amount, $2.2m, would net a two-bedroom apartment in a Christopher Street condo from Fenwick Keats Goodstein. You might have to share the roof deck, but at least you'll also share a doorman.