«New York City Neighborhoods» : Exploring Turtle Bay

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Le Petit Journal New York

BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today we explore Turtle Bay — a district located in Midtown East, with Lidia Del Pozo, Senior Business Development Officer, VP at Bank of the West BNP Paribas Wealth Management. She tells us about the neighborhood she has lived in for over a year with her family.

Portrait de Lidia, portant une vest bleu canard et un top blanc, assise dans son appartement de Turtle Bay.
Lidia Del Pozo in her apartment in Turtle Bay, LePetitJournal.com

Lepetitjournal.com New York : You live in Turtle Bay. What attracted you to this neighborhood?

The reason I decided to live here is not for the neighborhood itself, but especially for its location in Manhattan. Before moving to New York with my husband and daughter, we took just five days to decide on the neighborhood and apartment we would live in. The Turtle Bay neighborhood stood out for us because of its central location in the city. We thought that it would be the best way to be close to all the city’s points of interest. The other reason, which confirmed our choice, was the proximity of my workplace. Indeed, I work for BNP Paribas Wealth Management which is also located in Midtown, and therefore a few blocks away from home.

Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?

I would say that this neighborhood doesn’t have just one identity. I would be unable to say if this is a residential area only or an office district or an embassy district. Turtle Bay is a bit of everything at the same time: there is simultaneously a neighborhood life, with its small local shops, its small bars and restaurants, nurseries, playgrounds, but also an office district, therefore very lively Monday to Friday, with a lot of people in the streets very early in the morning and during lunch breaks. And in this mixed landscape sits the headquarters of the United Nations and a few embassies that revolve around this majestic building, the most beautiful in the city, in my opinion. Obviously, when General Assemblies take place, the district takes on a new face. The district is then under very strict protection and becomes a little locked down and paralyzed. These few days are not very pleasant but not unlivable either. The organization is quite impressive!

And it’s exciting! That’s what makes this district extremely lively and international.

Rue du quartier, avec des voitures stationnées devant des petites maisons mitoyennes de ville presque symétriques, une à la façade blanc crème et une autre jaune vif.
A street in Turtle Bay, LePetitJournal.com

You live near the United Nations Headquarters, where French is one of the official working languages. Do we hear Molière’s language a lot in the streets of Turtle Bay?

Yes, indeed, French is a language that’s heard very regularly on the sidewalks, between two colleagues who go to their office at the United Nations, who we can easily identify in the street because they very often wear their access badge to the building around their neck; or the families I meet when I go to the playground with my daughter, for example. There are a lot of francophones in Turtle Bay. To give a fairly representative example, at the nursery my daughter attends, in her class, out of 10 students, 4 come from French-speaking families! Being able to speak French is of course very practical, especially at first, and always a good way to create new relationships very quickly, although it makes me practice my English less.

Your favorite places in Turtle Bay?

One of my favorite places in my neighborhood is probably the Grand Central Market, which is located on the grounds of Grand Central Station itself. It is a single alley where we find a succession of small stands who offer fresh and good quality products. Despite the fact that it is indoor, the atmosphere is close to that of a traditional market and the merchants are very nice. What I love most about this neighborhood is the fact that it is right on the East River. I am lucky to have a nice river view from my apartment and to be able to witness some really beautiful sunrises. Simple walks along the river are very pleasant and a bit of a change of scenery from the urban, city life.

Is this a neighborhood that you recommend for those who want to buy or rent?

I am not an expert in the real estate market, however what I can say intuitively when it comes to renting, yes it is a neighborhood that I recommend, because it is good to live and as I already have mentioned, it is ideally located in Manhattan to discover the city. Among the other reasons, the proximity to the river, the security and safety brought by the presence of the United Nations headquarters and finally, the very cosmopolitan aspect of the neighborhood. Regarding the purchase of a property, I would evoke the same motivations with the addition of the fact that it is a neighborhood quite popular with expats working at the United Nations, therefore with a certain demand on the market.

If you had to describe Turtle Bay in three words? 

If I had to describe Turtle Bay in three words, I would say that it is lively district, a very cosmopolitan district and therefore conducive to meetings and a multi-faceted district where personal and professional lives mingle.

Vue sur la la skyline de Manhattan au coucher du soleil depuis la rivière.

Experts Discuss – Turtle Bay

Rental market:

In March 2021, the median rent for an apartment in Turtle Bay was $ 2,200 for a studio (-40% over one year), $ 3,200 for one bedroom (flat), $ 4,000 for two bedrooms (-20%) and $ 6,200 for three bedrooms (+ 24%).

Sales market:

At the end of Q4 2020, across Turtle Bay as a whole, the median asking asking price of sellers stood at $ 950k (when the Manhattan average is $ 1M) showing a significant increase in the order of 20% over one year with $ 1,207 / square foot and around sixty transactions over the quarter.

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Le Petit Journal New York

Read the article in Le Petit Journal New York

«New York City Neighborhoods» : Exploring the Upper East Side

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today we explore the Upper East Side, with JC Agid, founder of 37EAST, a media and development consulting agency in the United States, Mexico and France.

View of the sky between skyscrapers in the Upper east Side in New York.

Rachel Brunet for Le Petit Journal New York: You live in the Upper East Side. What attracted you to this neighborhood?

JC Agid : by chance, of course, on a September day years ago. During my first stay in New York, last-minute trip decided in less than 48 hours, with one week to fill between the end of my studies and my job in Bry-sur-Marne. I was waiting on the sidewalk of a street on the Upper East Side, not far from Central Park, for the arrival of a family that a Parisian friend had introduced to me by phone to put me up for two or three nights. I returned two years later to New York and with the exception of one year spent on 113th Street in the Columbia University neighborhood and another at the top of a soulless tower at the intersection of Central Park North and West, I ended up always living in the Upper East Side.

But I moved to different floors, different horizons too. After having lived for a long time in an apartment in one of those little townhouses that line the peaceful streets to the west of the Upper East, a paradise for mice and either boiling hot or icy showers, I settled on the top floor of a huge apartment building near the East River. In front of me, an ambitious view, gigantic even, with the Carlyle, the treetops of Central Park, Columbus Circle, Times Square and New Jersey in constant spectacle.

Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?

The atmosphere ? That of a district without tourists, of a tidy, almost monotonous city. We live in Yorkville, but we don’t visit it. There are little shops here and there, faces that we meet every day, stories that we share. But we are far from the charm of the neighborhoods of Carnegie Hill or Morningside Heights. There is in Yorkville a strange and family quietness and calm brought by the surrounding schools.

You live near the French High school (Lycée Français). Do we hear Molière’s language a lot in the UES?

Like everywhere in New York, you hear all kinds of languages, and sometimes English. Many French families live near the LFNY (French High school of New York) and the high school students a very particular sound bring to this district. This is not a neighborhood where you can show off, on the contrary, you would almost tend to hide there.

Your favorite places, your good places to go or maybe even your habits?

Photo of a warm croissant sitting on a black and white magazine with a creamy coffee, at a coffee shop table.

Les Frenchies, on 75th Street, between York Ave and FDR, the door next to LFNY, for croissants, is the best in town along with another bakery on 78th Street. But in addition to croissants and pains au chocolat, quiches and coffee éclairs, I meet the boss Michèle Saint Laurent and her partner, Aksana Ivaniuk there. All my friends spend some time there with their children at all hours of the day. More than a bakery with its terrace, Les Frenchies has become the small French grocery store in the neighborhood. There is always a smiling, family and happy atmosphere. Les Frenchies are the heart of my discreet village. This has no price. The best address in the neighborhood.

There was another cafe too, with a more American feel, but this one, Beanocchio’s, was an economic victim of Covid19 and closed permanently. I liked its provincial atmosphere.

On 76th Street, almost at the corner of 1st Avenue, Jones Wood Foundry for a long drink at the bar and remake the world with friends.

A little further, Mission Ceviche on Second Avenue and 72nd Street, arguably one of the best restaurants in the area. Right next door, La Esquina and its tacos whose ambiance projects me into the streets of Coyoacan in Mexico City, the village of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Picture of inside a traditional bookstore with walls covered with colorful used books, and a table in front full of books as well.

I also love this tiny — and it’s already a big word — Saturday morning market on 82nd Street between York and 1st Avenue, as long as you are particularly patient in these times of social distancing. A few meters away, on York Avenue, I often stop at the butcher Ottomanelli, thanks to whom I was able to cook veal paupiettes during a full lockdown; a little further up York, I sometimes go to Dorian’s for the pleasures of the sea and holey wallets, and across the street, above all, is the Logos Bookstore, an old-fashioned bookstore — of the resistance itself — where the smell of books and wood dominate, the perfect place to hang out or search for a gift that the owner will wrap for you, a rarity in New York.

Around 3rd Avenue and 76th Street, another butcher faces Sables, the ideal address if you like smoked salmon and bagel brunches. For Sushi fans, Sushi of Gary on 78th between York and First Avenue is renowned for being one of the best in town. Finally, Sotheby’s on 72nd and York Avenue gives a little importance and vanity to these remote streets of the city.

Is this a neighborhood that you would recommend for those who want to buy or rent a place?

It’s up to everyone to make a decision, depending on the New York they are looking for… As far as I’m concerned, my exclusive atmosphere is this exceptional view, at dawn when the sun is reflected on the windows of Manhattan, at the end of the day of course, and at night , when the city seeks sleep in vain.

Each block has its own style and just above 79th is East End Avenue, a bourgeois destination for celebrities seeking discretion.

The Q train, the recent subway line on Second Avenue, brings this neighborhood, sometimes considered the start of a suburb, closer to the rest of Manhattan. Union Square is less than 30 minutes and Carnegie Hall 20 minutes.

If you had to describe the Upper East Side in three words?

Chic and unassuming on the Central Park side. Discreet and ambitious along the East River.

View of the Upper East Side from above, with part of Central park showing on the left, and the NYC northern skyline.

Experts Discuss – the Upper East Side

Rental market:

In January 2021, the median rent for an apartment on the Upper East Side was $ 1,900 for a studio (-16% over one year), $ 2,404 for one bedroom (-11%), $ 3,300 for two bedrooms (-2% ) and $ 6,000 for three bedrooms (-4%).

Sales market:

In December 2020, across the Upper East Side, the median asking price of sellers stood at $ 1.4M, down around 2% year-on-year to $ 1,300 / square foot. On the other hand, the recorded sale price is $ 1.1M given the negotiations related to the Covid-19 pandemic in this uncertain context. Note that condos held up more with a median asking price of $ 1.7M for an actual sale price of $ 1.622,000.

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

Read the article in Le Petit Journal New York

«New York City Neighborhoods» : Exploring the Upper West Side

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today we explore the Upper West Side with the sculptor Gaelle Hintzy-Marcel who has lived there for four years with her husband, Laurent, and their three children.

You’ve lived in the Upper West Side for four years. What attracted you to this neighborhood?

Clearly, what initially appealed to us was the proximity to Central Park above all, but also to Riverside Park. Another reason why we chose this neighborhood was to be close to our children’s schools; and not too far away by subway from Colombus Circle, where I work, and Chelsea, where my husband works.

Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?

For us, the Upper West Side is above all a green and quiet neighborhood. Traffic is less intense there than elsewhere, and it is rare, except when we are on Broadway, to hear sirens! We overlook a green corridor between two streets, and it is the singing of birds that wakes us up in the morning.

The Upper West Side is bustling with a plethora of family-friendly, casual, and sometimes a bit trendy restaurants. A multitude of bars and cafes too. People stroll in the evening mainly on Amsterdam and Colombus Avenue to go out, settle on the terraces in summer. The sidewalks are wide and traffic is rarely heavy, the atmosphere is relaxed. There are all kinds of deli shops, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Grestedes, Agostino or Fairway. There aren’t many clothing stores, to find them you would have to go south of the Natural History Museum or on Broadway.

There is a real neighborhood atmosphere, warm, between the florist who also serves cafes – Plantshed – the cafe that serves macaroons – Macarons Parlor – and the Upper West Side Yoga And Wellness yoga center which has created and brought together a real community of very diverse and positive people in the neighborhood.

You are a mom. How is life with kids and family on the Upper West Side? Are there many families?

Life is very pleasant with children there. Proximity to green spaces, calm but also safety. Even young children go to school on their own. The neighborhood is regularly crisscrossed around schools by parents’ associations to ensure safety when leaving schools. There are seldom concerns.

The restaurants are kids friendly, there is even an educational toy store – West Side Kids in Amsterdam on 84th Street. There are also many schools, public and private, there are two French-English bilingual public schools. PS84 Elementary School and Lafayette Academy Middle School. Therefore, many French families have settled in the neighborhood. For children, proximity to the Natural History Museums and New York Historical Society is a must.

For extra-curricular activities, in addition to those offered by schools, there are two famous football clubs, the famous West Side Soccer League, very family-friendly, which offers tournaments run by parents on a voluntary basis, but also the famous Manhattan Soccer Club with bus departures for training just in front of the Upper 90 football store in Amsterdam. There are also plenty of outdoor tennis opportunities in Central Park and Riverside Park, with adult and children’s memberships that are really affordable.

You are an artist. Can you show us this neighborhood with your own words? Is this a neighborhood that inspires you?

In fact, I like the peace, the birds, the greenery and the neighborhood life. I love to walk around the Reservoir in Central Park, and admire the view of the San Remo, a beautiful building with two sister towers that is located in Central Park West. This sight has a special resonance for me, because the San Remo looks strangely like several buildings that we used to see when we lived in Moscow. At the end of the day, when night falls, the view from the north of the Great Lawn, in Central Park, on the midtown skyline is very photogenic. But my favorite corner in Central Park is located on the 86th, at Arthur Ross Pinetum with its pine scents and many birds. It is a great place to do outdoor yoga. Between Columbia and Lincoln Center, the Upper West Side has a little nerd-bohemian side! During the Covid-19 pandemic, there were even small impromptu concerts, groups of musicians of all ages and styles setting up on their doorsteps to give mini-concerts on Sundays to the applause of 7 p.m. This neighborhood inspires me yes!

Can you describe where you live, what attracted you, what you like about your apartment?

I live on 88th Street, between Central Park and Columbus. I occupy, with my husband and 3 children – the eldest one is a student now, he is home much less often, the lower part of a brownstone. It’s like a little house. We enter from the basement, a private entrance only for us. On the ground floor, the living areas open onto our little garden, which is very, very pleasant in summer and winter. As we are on the ground floor, the space is admittedly quite dark, but the garden is like a living room. Upstairs, the bedrooms are brighter. What attracted us? The garden of course with its little shrubs, but also the feeling of living in a house and not a small apartment.

As a European, do you find a little European side to this district through the inhabitants, the shops, the schools?

As a European, I feel good in the Upper West Side. I’m not really trying to find my European benchmarks here, but I appreciate the beautiful buildings of Central Park West, the “human-sized” side of neighborhood life, and getting to know the merchants, restaurateurs and a multitude of people who are in my daily life. We also have a thriving neighborhood social life around schools and activities, with a lot of very different people, which is very cool.

Your favorite places in the UWS?

Plantshed for its flowers and its little coffee. Space Market is our favorite deli, the shops are very friendly, and there is a bit of everything, and everything is better presented there than elsewhere. Bella Luna, our favorite and family-friendly neighborhood restaurant, a place with large windows to let the light in, even in winter, offering simple and good Italian dishes, quick service and an incredible tiramisu! But, there is also The Consulate with its brasserie side, the Osteria Cotta with its cozy bar counter, the small French wine bar Vin sur Vingt, Bodrum and its Mediterranean cuisine, Mermaid Inn and its American dishes, but also Storico, the restaurant of the New York Historical Society for its sophisticated and luminous decoration. For a drink in the evening with friends, the very simple E’s Bar with a room at the back, less noisy, and a terrace in summer, letting a feeling of the old bar from our student years. For a drink in a trendy place, I like to go to the bar at Jacob Pickles, or next door to the Tiki Chick. For pastries, I love Levain Bakery for its cookies to die for, as well as Orwashers Bakery. For yoga, Upper West Yoga and Wellness with the two owners, Stephan and Ingrid, who manage their neighborhood studio with sensitivity and kindness. The list of my favorite places on the Upper West Side is so long … I end it here, with the best Indian dosas at Saravanaa Bhavan!

Is this a neighborhood that you recommend for those who want to buy or rent?

Of course, this is a neighborhood we recommend! But a neighborhood is also a practical choice depending on where you work and where you go to schools, if you have children.

If you had to describe the Upper West Side in 3 words?

Relaxed, calm and lively!

Thank you Gaëlle Hintzy-Marcel for showing us your Upper West Side!

Experts Discuss – the Upper West Side

Rental market:

With an average monthly rent of $ 4,668, the Upper West Side is 11% higher than the average for all of Manhattan.

Sales market:

Regarding sales, the median price in Q1 of 2020 was $ 1,175,000 ($ 1,265 / sq ft), down 3% year on year. To be compared with Manhattan’s median price of $ 1,060,000.

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

Read the article in Le Petit Journal New York

Webinar – The impact of Covid-19 on the New York real estate market

Webinar BARNES New York
The impact of Covid-19 on the New York real estate market

In view of these troubled times and turbulent current events, on Friday 10 April at 3.30 pm (Paris time), 9.30 am (New York time), BARNES shared with you his vision of the current situation, the modifications in its internal organisation, in the way it communicates with its customers, and in its interaction with the markets in which the network is present, particularly the New York market. It is by understanding the present context, while remaining as factual as possible, with figures and data in support, that we will be able, with prudence and humility, to prepare for the future.

Within one month, the world as we know it has been profoundly impacted by a pandemic of rare violence, unparalleled and with many repercussions. In Europe, as in the main states of the United States, containment has become mandatory and many companies and independents dread the weeks and months to come. Many experts speak with certainty about the next steps, with the majority of these predictions being regularly challenged after a few days.

As such, BARNES New York has offered you a live virtual conference in French during which the following themes were discussed:

  • Introduction and overview of the main real estate markets in the world where BARNES is present. By Thibault de Saint Vincent, President of BARNES Group.
  • Focus New York. By Christophe Bourreau, Manager Partner BARNES New York.
    • The current new regulatory framework
    • Impact on transactions in progress
    • How have buyers and sellers reacted in the last two weeks?
    • What are the effects on the rental market?
    • Possible short- and long-term consequences
    • How is commercial real estate in New York and the US reacting? By Miriam Driot, Real Estate Agent and Commercial Expert BARNES New York
  • Financing: How are the banks reacting?

With the participation of Rachel Brunet – lepetitjournal.com, Editor of the New York edition.

Contact us for more information

«New York City Neighborhoods» : Exploring Carroll Gardens

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today we explore Carroll Gardens, a Brooklyn neighborhood, with Laurène Hamilton. Yesterday an auditor in finance, the young mother is now a tourist guide and founder of her own company. She shows us around her neighborhood – where she lives with her husband, a computer specialist, and their two young children – with a lot of passion and enthusiasm.

Lepetitjournal.com New York : You live in Carroll Gardens. What attracted you to this neighborhood?

Laurène Hamilton : I was looking for a safe and family-friendly neighborhood which also offers nightlife, within reasonable distance of Manhattan. I liked that balance better, because I remain a very urban person. I prefer to live in a small space and be able to have access to an outdoor environment that inspires me.

Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?

The atmosphere is very intimate, like a small village, with lots of local and independent shops. It is a charming, green area – hence the name – quiet but lively at the same time. You may come across families, singles, couples, and even actors like Neve Campbell. People are laid back but not neglected. Once inhabited mostly by Americans of Italian descent, some establishments still offer Italian products to die for. For example, the Monteleone pastry shop on Court Street sells all kinds of biscuits made with powdered almonds. Try the Rainbow cookies, they are to die for. Another example of a neighborhood institution: Caputo. People buy their bread there daily, and you will be called “Honey”. For history fans, check out the Mary of the Stars Church where the famous Al Capone married in 1918 at just 19 years old! From Carroll Gardens, you are close to Red Hook for a walk, in the middle of industrial warehouses with incredible views of Staten Island or even lower Manhattan.

In the evening, listed establishments like Barely disfigured, where you can have a drink on the four-poster bed, or Ugly Baby, an incredible Thai restaurant, also attract young people to feed their stomachs and their Instagram posts. Who knows, if you are really motivated, you too will line up at Lucali to eat one of the best pizzas in New York?

You are a young mom. How is life with children at Carroll Gardens which obviously appeals to families a lot?

We love it! The neighborhood is full of places for children. Life is pleasant there and our family traditions take root here. Sometimes we sit on stoops – brownstone steps – to eat a pain au chocolat while watching the passers-by. Children love it. When I come home from the nursery, my son says hello to the Caputo’s baker. We often meet acquaintances and we walk side by side chatting. In rainy weather, the Planted café is ideal for getting out of your home and keeping the children busy with a dedicated playing space. Next door, they also have a zero waste shop. In summer, the fountains in the parks attract all the neighborhood toddlers. Seasons pass and lovely memories remain. Carroll Gardens is an inclusive and tolerant neighborhood on a human scale. You will come across elderly people, young people, families, LGBT community, etc. You can feel the openness in the interactions people have with each other or even in the neighborhood’s social network groups. Help is palpable when a neighborhood family is in difficulty.

You are a tourist guide. Can you tell us about the best route to take to discover this district?

I love my neighborhood so much that I’m working on planning a special Halloween tour. Last year with my clients, we even celebrated Halloween together. All the inhabitants were out. Neighbors shared a bottle of wine on the stoops while handing out sweets during the traditional “trick or treat”. It really is a friendly neighborhood. Here is an idea of a route to soak up its atmosphere.

As a Frenchwoman, do you find a little French side to this district through the inhabitants, the shops, the schools?

Yes ! We hear a lot of French speaking. There are several schools that offer courses in French. The best known, being the public school PS 58, which has a bilingual program (beware the zones are changing) or the International School of Brooklyn (ISB), a private school which offers a program with French. During the French presidential elections, it is in those premises of the ISB that we will vote. You quickly find your way around French people at the best of times even if we don’t know each other personally. It is not for nothing that this district is nicknamed Petite France (Little France). Thus a mini French supermarket, Le French Tart Deli, recently opened: there are calissons, traditional French bakery, jams and all these products that remind me of my childhood in France. The La Cigogne restaurant offers Alsatian specialties in a warm atmosphere around a wood fire in winter. Perfect for enjoying a Flammekueche or spaetzle.

Your favorite places in Carroll Gardens?

My favorite coffee shop: Planted, for the Zen and natural atmosphere of the café: pretty wooden tables surrounded by plants, no loud music, a zero waste commitment and in support of the LGBTQ community.

For an exotic coffee: Le Petit Café, built around trees in a Zen setting.

To consume smart: Books are magic, a small independent bookstore that organizes book presentations with writers.

To work on your computer in peace while sipping a soda: Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

Gersi : For an Italian dinner with a neo-American twist or a brunch, I recommend this restaurant. Take a seat in their backyard, just divine! Many establishments in the area have landscaped gardens in the back, so in the summer everyone eats out.

Kittery : For a good lobster roll with a glass of white wine on the terrace.

Is this a neighborhood that you recommend for those who want to buy or rent?

It all depends on the person’s perspective. If the goal is to make short-term capital gains, I don’t think this is the best neighborhood, because its reputation is already established. Carroll Gardens continues to attract for sure. If on the other hand you are planning on the longer term side, buying may be a good option. Renting is often a good first step. People usually end up liking my neighborhood and tend to stick around for the long haul.

Thank you Laurène !

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

Read the article in Le Petit Journal New York

«New York City Neighborhoods» : Exploring Yorkville

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

BARNES New York invites you in its series of articles untitled “ New York City Neighborhoods”, where you can regularly discover the different districts of the city, in the eyes of French speakers who have settled there. They tell us all about their neighborhood, in their words, their tastes, their habits. Today we explore Yorkville, a neighborhood in a neighborhood, that of the Upper East Side. Hélène Drummond, yesterday a doctor, now an author, is from Mons, Belgium. She has just released her first novel “La place est prise”. She lives in Yorkville with her husband, who works in finance, and their two children. She tells us about Yorkville.

Lepetitjournal.com New York : You live in Yorkville, on the Upper East Side. What attracted you to this neighborhood?

Hélène Drummond : When we moved from Belgium, we arrived in this neighborhood without really knowing it, thanks to the children’s school. To be located in the correct geographic area for Manhattan New School, PS 290, we had to live in the neighborhood. We had inquired about different schools before moving and had visited a few apartments according to the geographical areas of these schools. We were immediately drawn to the PS 290 school.

Can you tell us about life in this neighborhood, the atmosphere? What makes it live, what drives it?

The atmosphere is very young and dynamic. I would say that the children’s laughter, the scooters, the restaurant terraces, the 86th Street shopping street, the cultural mix, all of this livens up the neighborhood.

You are a mum. How is life with children in Yorkville? Are there many families?

Yes, there are a lot of families. It is a very well located area with excellent schools. The public elementary school PS 290 is fantastic, there are a lot of very reputable private schools in the immediate vicinity as well. Central Park is very close for walks and the beautiful Carl Schurze Park that families love for its playground, shady corners, and romantic atmosphere. There are countless sports clubs in martial arts, basketball, dance, football, and the renowned Asphalt Green sports center which not only offers fabulous sports programs for children of all skill levels, but also courses during the school holidays.

You are a writer. Can you describe us this neighborhood with your own words?

I would say Yorkville to me is the other face of the Upper East Side. It is a neighborhood that borders the old Upper East Side, super chic, staid and conservative, that of Madison Avenue or Park Avenue, while preserving its own identity. When you cross the Upper East Side from Central Park, you are dazzled by the architecture in the streets, the sophistication of the shops, the outfits of the passers-by. The more we go on, the smaller we feel. A little more irritated by the snobbery too.

Then we arrive on Lexington Avenue, we continue on our way and everything changes. We discover Yorkville: the young, the warm, the welcoming. The decor changes suddenly, still chic, but teeming with life, children, restaurants, terraces, noise, everything. It’s not the cacophony of midtown, and it’s not the opulent tranquility of the Upper West Side: it’s a small town within the city itself, which, I believe, has been able to recreate the best of New York life. Yorkville has redefined the Upper East Side.

As a European, can you find a sort of European side or feeling to this district through the inhabitants, the shops, the schools?

Not specifically only European but international in a more general sense. At the PS290 school, almost all nationalities are represented. At my kids’ sports club, Asphalt Green, it’s the same thing. That cosmopolitan aspect is fabulous.

Your favorite places in York City?

Restaurants: ToloAche, a Mexican restaurant 82nd street and Lexington avenue; 83 1/2, Italian restaurant on 83rd street and 1st avenue; AOC East, French bistro on 83rd street and 1st avenue; Boqueria, tapas bar on 77th street and 2nd avenue; Donguri, gourmet Japanese restaurant on 83rd street and 2nd avenue, Luke’s lobster on 81st street and 2nd avenue my kids favorite restaurant).

Bar-restaurant: Le Penrose, on 2nd avenue, between 82nd and 83rd street. Excellent cocktails and great atmosphere.

Maison Kayser on 87th Street and 3rd Avenue, for my almost daily hot chocolate.

Ottomanelli Brothers store, 82nd street and York Avenue. Butcher’s shop run by the Ottomanelli family for several generations. The best steaks in town.

Takunya Nail Salon: Zen and intimate atmosphere, 100% organic products, 81st street between 2nd and 3rd avenue.

Asphalt Green: Sports complex on 90th Street and York Avenue, with FIFA certified football field and Olympic swimming pool. My kids play in Asphlat Green Soccer Club so they each go there at least 4-5 times a week for their practice / matches. Yes, this is our second home …

The small AMC Orphéum cinema on 3rd avenue between 86th street and 87th street.

The Webster Library, on 77th street and 1st avenue.

Barnes & Noble and L’Occitane stores on 86th Street between 3rd and Lexington avenues.

Randall’s Island and the Esplanade along the East River for bike rides.

Blossoming trees in the streets in spring …

Is this a neighborhood that you recommend for those who want to buy or rent?

Absolutely. Especially to families.

If you had to describe Yorkville in 3 words?

Family-friendly, dynamic and cosmopolitan.

Thank you Hélène Drummond

Interview by Rachel Brunet, director and editor-in-chief of Petit Journal New York

Read the article in Le Petit Journal New York

Living in Battery Park City


The opinions are unanimous: Battery Park City, in the heart of Manhattan, has been considered for some years as one of the best places to live in New York. It is true that with a luxury real estate park, lush vegetation, but also a sweet and family neighborhood life and trendy restaurants on every street corner, Battery Park City attracts a little more residents every day.

Guided tour of a New York neighborhood that is on the rise.

A quick minute of geography

For those who find it difficult to locate, Battery Park City is a neighborhood in Manhattan located between the Hudson River and West Street, otherwise known as the West Side Highway. The district stretches from Chambers Street in the north to Battery Place and Little West Street in the south.

The little story

In the late 1950s, the once thriving Battery Park City harbor area of ​​downtown Manhattan fell victim to the container transport takeoff, which pushed ships to New Jersey, leaving Manhattan ports in ruins. After abandoning the area, which was completely deserted and then turned into a landfill, several private companies have proposed reconstruction projects. However, after the September 11 attack, Battery Park City became vacant as the neighborhood became an official crime scene. Since then, the neighborhood has risen from the ashes to become a posh place where life is very good.

Life is sweet and beautiful in Battery Park City

Those who like to walk already know that there are no metro stations in the Battery Park City area. Train access is in the Financial District, which means it is always a good idea to have a pair of sneakers in your bag, in case you have to walk a quarter of a mile to the nearest metro.

Despite this, living in this neighborhood is extremely pleasant, for adults, families and their children. Green spaces – A third of Battery Park City is indeed considered “park” -, the tranquility of the streets, the panoramic views of the Hudson, the proximity of the water on 3 sides and the uniformity of the urban landscape is soothing, just steps from other noisier neighborhoods and the vitality of Manhattan.

More generally, the population of southern Manhattan has doubled in 10 years, and restaurants, shops, outdoor facilities for sports along the water have followed suit. Although the atmosphere in Battery Park City is laid back and sporty enough, the food scene in the neighborhood is fairly formal and upscale. Most upscale restaurants are located around Brookfield Place and among them, we must mention the Michelin-starred French cuisine of L’Appart. There are also more casual cards, like that of Tartinery Hudson Eats.

During your walks, you can enjoy Rockefeller Park, Super Duper Tennis, Farmer’s market at Bowling Green Station and the Staten Island Ferry area. You will surely come across the supermodel Tyra Banks who owns an apartment in the splendid Riverhouse residential complex, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio.

The battery park City property market

Battery Park City is slightly more affordable than Tribeca with a median sale price for a three-bedroom apartment of $ 3,125,000. The median rent for a three bedroom is $ 11,000 and for a two bedroom, $ 6,950.

Built fairly quickly – and still expanding- the housing stock is fairly uniform but the apartments are magnificent. In the north, there are mainly large and beautiful brick buildings. The southern section contains complexes such as the waterfront residential building, the Gateway Plaza, which was completed in 1983. Le Solaire, a LEED certified building, and the first “green” residential complex in the country, opened one of its main luxury buildings in 2002 is 225 Rector Place, which was refurbished in 2012. It offers its residents high-end services and lovely views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Freedom.

Living in the Seaport District

If you were offered to live in an iconic and unique American city, in a historic district, you would say that it is very hard to find. Not at all, the Seaport District in New York City is the perfect example of the successful marriage between the charm of the cobbled streets, the proximity to the East River, the roots of Manhattan, the authenticity of a historic place and the unique modernity of its facilities. The stroll through the Seaport District risks capturing your buyer’s heart.

Life in the Seaport District

A quick minute of geography

A quick reminder for those who have just arrived – or for dummies in geography – Seaport District is the maritime district adjacent to the Financial District. Located in Lower Manhattan, it is bounded by the Financial District to the west, southwest and north; the East River to the southeast; and two bridges to the northeast.

The rebirth of a declining neighborhood

In the 18th and 19th century, Seaport District was a commercial district, notably with the dynamism of its port; its development is linked to that of the Schermerhorns family who bought this area to have many buildings constructed there: many of these centenary buildings are still standing.

The district took on its modern appearance in 1810: traders and restaurants sprouted like mushrooms, giving this area new vitality. The area is connected by an underpass from Fulton Center to Brookfield Place. The Tin Building, which once housed one of the largest fish markets in the world, has been completely renovated to accommodate a large Jean-Georges market and a superb rooftop. Today, the Seaport, which only recently recovered from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is a very popular tourist destination with first the South Street Seaport museum which exhibits several remarkable ships such as the magnificent four-masted ” Peking ‘of 1911, the Wavertree freighter of 1885, the Goëlette Pioneer of 1885, the flagship Ambrose of 1908, the tug Helen McAllister of 1900, the tug WO Decker from 1930… The brand new shopping center is filled with shops and restaurants. Therefore, a stroll along the quays is a popular attraction during the 4 seasons. During sunny days, outdoor concerts are organized as well as exhibitions, stands and much more on the brand new Pier 17. The charm of the Seaport District, meanwhile, has weathered the storms and it has remained intact.

The Seaport District property market

The variety of the urban and architectural landscape

The neighborhood features some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, and the narrow, winding streets take you on a journey through history with many restored buildings from the early 19th century contrasting with modern luxury apartment buildings.

Thus, one can admire between some beautiful red brick buildings, The Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, built in 1913 to honor the victims of the Titanic tragedy that claimed the lives of many prominent New Yorkers. Or even Bowne & Co Stationers: founded in 1775, it was New York’s oldest operating company under the same name, and they carried on the same tradition of professional printing on real old printing presses. Not far away, the Joseph Rose House, called “The Rat house” is in fact one of the oldest buildings in Manhattan still standing from the colonial era. Likewise, the Paris Cafe, at the crossroads of South Street and Peck Slip, a charming old-style restaurant and pub. It opened in 1873 and is one of the oldest bars in New York. It seems that President Theodore Roosevelt was a regular customer …

On the other hand, new construction is on the increase, rivaling luxurious amenities and breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Seaport Residences (1 Seaport), for example, which offers its lucky residents 360-degree views of the river and a superb swimming pool on the 30th floor.

The NYC Townhouse Real Estate Market

Owning a few square meters in New York City is a wish for most of you (and for us). So when this property in NYC is a townhouse, these townhouses with incomparable cachet in the upscale neighborhoods of the city, we reach the cream of the crop, the top of the top. Buying a townhouse is certainly the best thing that can happen to you in New York and we tell you how to do it.

What you need to know before buying a townhouse in New York City

The basics

A townhouse is a private house where at least one wall is shared with another residence. Townhouses are quite rare in the New York real estate market and account for barely 2% of residential transactions. Yet real estate of this type is often superb and some of it is part of NYC’s real estate heritage and history. Historical details, gardens, privacy, numerous bedrooms and bathrooms … In an overcrowded city like New York where housing is often cramped, living in a townhouse is a luxury that you will soon not be able to live without.

Size matters!

Indeed, New York townhouses are described in terms of width and depth. In terms of width, townhouses range from 13 to 25 feet (3.9m to 7.62m), with most townhouses being built within a range of 17 to 20 feet (4.26m to 6m). They are as wide as the size of their lot, which means the size of the parcel of land on which the property is located. In terms of depth, the dimensions vary considerably and there is often an extension on one or more floors which makes the exact size difficult to determine with precision without the help of a professional. Many townhouses also have outdoor space, at the front and back of the house. In general, in most residential areas, the minimum backyard depth is at least 30 feet (9.1m).

As you can see, the larger the townhouse, the more valuable it is because the more air and light, the better the circulation between the rooms. Larger and shorter rooms are also easier to arrange than longer and narrow rooms.

Living in a townhouse

The owner of a townhouse in New York is responsible for paying all property taxes, upkeep and repairs to the property, unlike a co-op or a condominium, but no monthly payment is required for building management. There is no approval by the board of directors for the purchase or sale of such property. Also be aware that the sale of the property can be passed on to any third party without the prior approval of anyone other than the owner.

Tax rates are determined annually by the NYC Council based on the class of real estate. Class 1 includes one to three family homes and Class 2 includes all other residential properties. This rate is then applied to the assessed value of the properties which is estimated by the Department of Finance.

Neighborhoods to find a townhouse to buy in NYC

There are townhouses to buy in almost all areas of New York City, but some are remarkable, in terms of their geographic location and their prestige renovation. Thus, in the Upper West Side, the block between Central Park West and Columbus which historically recorded the most expensive sales in 1970. In the Upper East Side, it is near 5th Avenue, where the most expensive block is located between 70th and 71st East. In the Chelsea district, the most beautiful townhouses are found on 21st and 22nd streets West, between 10th and 11th avenue.

How much does a townhouse cost in NYC?

The price of a townhouse is determined by a host of variables, including building and lot size, location and condition. From one neighborhood to another, sometimes from one street to another, the price can fluctuate considerably. In addition, the immediate environment is very important and you have to look at the houses behind the townhouse, those on the sides and the one in front. The more expensive townhouses are on blocks with rows of townhouses on both sides of the street. Otherwise, there is a fire station, a police service or a school nearby or worse, opposite, prices will be lower because of noise and traffic. Finally, you should know that if the prices of townhouses in Manhattan generally start at several million dollars, they are often cheaper per square meter than apartments. And, unlike a co-op, there is no liquidity requirement imposed on the buyer after the close (other than those required by the lender).

Real estate agent commissions on rental property in New York

New York City definitely does nothing like any other place. Its real estate agent commission system for property rentals is further proof of this. The rental market is different from many parts of the country as all brokerage fees are usually paid by the tenant, rather than the owner. However, that was before. A law passed on February 4, 2020 called this rule into question, triggering a great dissatisfaction in the profession and among the renters. The NY Real Estate Board lawsuit has put this new measure on hold, but what will come next?

Real estate agents’ commission system

In principle, in most parts of the United States, the landlord (renter) pays the commissions of the real estate agent who represents him and the one who defends the interests of the tenant. In New York, it’s different, it’s the tenant who has this double burden: he must not only pay the commission for his own agent but also that of the owner’s real estate agent. This “double commission” is around 15% of the annual amount.

The Department of State (DOS) decision

The State Department intervened in the economy of the New York rental market last February.

It has been decided that owners will now have to pay brokerage fees for the real estate agents they hire to represent their interests.

It was a reversal of the tenant-pays system which had been the norm in rental transactions in New York.

Any real estate agent acting on behalf of a landlord who accepts brokerage fees paid by a tenant may be subject to disciplinary action. Agents representing a tenant are not affected by the guidelines.

It should be understood that this measure only affects owners who rent out their property, since they are now obliged to pay the agency fees formerly paid by the tenant. A logical and inevitable consequence, this additional cost for the owners will lead to an increase in rents … and dissatisfaction with the tenants. What started out as good news for them may well become a poisoned gift.

Following the announcement of this measure, the Real Estate Board of New York immediately brought the case to justice, at least to have the decision postponed until March 13, 2020. A case to follow…