New York City residents beware: stay away from Chesapeake House at 201 East 28th Street. On real estate websites, the building describes itself as a “lovely co-op.” This is not the case. During the time I lived there, the building was extremely poorly managed. To give just one example, the building at one point had bed bugs, which caused a lot of discomfort to residents and were extremely difficult to get rid of. The super, who lives in the building and is supposed to help residents, refused to do anything to help solve the problem. The co-op board president also refused to help.
In fact, the co-op president, Josh Friedman, is the main reason that Chesapeake House was such a terrible place to live. He is a small, angry man suffering from a severe Napoleon complex. He feels superior to residents and refuses to help them with their problems. I’ve seen him bully everyone in the building just so that he can avoid doing what’s needed and fulfilling his supposed responsibilities as the co-op president.
I cannot stress enough how far John Friedman will go to screw over residents and neglect his duties. On multiple occasions, he has lied to both tenants and the board of the co-op. In addition, he and the super collude to make sure that none of the necessary repairs actually get done. I’m not sure if this is from sheer laziness our out of spite towards the residents, or perhaps both. Josh Friedman’s actions undermine how the entire co-op system should work. He is neglectful and a liar, and there is no one to check his actions.
I hope that I can warn other NYC residents away from having the same terrible experience I did. If you live in Chesapeake House, you will not be able to get the help you deserve for issues with the property, and you can expect to be talked down to and bullied by Josh Friedman regularly. Please, protect yourselves and stay away.
Drive through nearly every area around the nation, and class divisions are as clear as the grittiness of another or the gate around one community. From the footprint of the house to the gleam on the automobile in the drive, it’s not difficult to estimate the economical standing of the people that dwell there.
Class carves up the landscape. From 15,000 feet upwards, you can stare down at tract houses and subdivisions, and the class lines in America will stare right back up at you.
Manhattan, nevertheless, isn’t like most places. Sure, there are clear brand name buildings and tony ZIP codes where the cost of entrance certainly requires a particular amount of riches, but middle class areas do not actually exist in Manhattan — likely the only place in America where a $5.5 million condominium with a teak wardrobe and mother of pearl wall tile shares a block with a public housing project.
In TriBeCa, Karen Azeez feels wedged. A fundraising consultant, Ms. Azeez has lived in the city for at least 20 years. Their was purchased by her husband, a retired police sergeant, one-bedroom flat in the low $200,000 range in 1997.
"When we got here, I did not feel so out of place, I did not have this consciousness of being middle class," she said. But in the last 5 or 10 years various high rises brought "rich" neighbors, she said, the sort of those who discuss winter excursions to St. Barts at the dog run, and purchase $700 Moncler ski jackets for their kids.
Even the local restaurants give Ms. Azeez the awareness that she’s now living as an economical minority in her own area.
Where does a middle class man reside? And could the middle class be pushed by the constant rise in property costs to extinction?
"My niece only bought a house in Atlanta for $85,000," she said. To a lot, making is rich. To us, it is perhaps the upper edge of middle class."
"It is horrifying," she added.
Her terror, needless to say, is the high cost of living and elsewhere in Manhattan, and threatened natives with the specter of an economic apocalypse which will empty the city of all but a few sturdy plutocrats.
And the middle class hangs on, trading economical pain for the psychological increase of the High Line, popular eateries and the feeling of being in the centre of everything. The cost for life’s basic essentials — everything from milk to electricity to haircuts to Lipitor, and particularly home — is more than twice the national average.
"It is irresistibly placing — that is the large distortion relative to other areas," said Frank Braconi, the chief economist in the Nyc comptroller’s office. "Almost everything costs more, but not to the level that home does."
The typical Manhattan apartment, at $3,973 a month, costs more than the typical lease nationally. The middle class makes up a smaller percentage of the people in New York than elsewhere in the country. New Yorkers also live in a unlike area. Household incomes in Manhattan are around as equally distributed as they’re in Sierra Leone or Bolivia — the most affluent fifth of Manhattanites make 40 times more than the lowest fifth, based on 2010 census data.
Ask folks around the state, “Are the middle-class person class?” and the response will probably be yes. But ask exactly the same question in Manhattan, and people frequently stop in confusion, uncertain just what you mean.
There’s no single, proper definition of class standing in this state. Demographers and statisticians use somewhat different approaches to divvy up the great whole that is American into median ranges and quintiles. It feels more egalitarian than proclaiming yourself to be rich or poor, and good, after all.
"Home has consistently been among the manners the middle class has defined itself, by the skill to possess your home. But in New York, you did not need to possess."
There’s no blot, he said, to renting a place you are able to afford just because it’s rent-controlled; such a scenario is considered enviable.
Without the clear badge of middle class membership — a home mortgage — it’s difficult to say where someone meets on the class continuum. Therefore let us consider the definition of “middle class” through five distinct lenses.
The Cash You Make
We’ll begin with an apparent mark: If the cash you live on is coming from any sort of investment or dividend, you are likely not middle class, based on Mr. Braconi.
If you reside in Manhattan and you’re making more than $790,000 a year, then congratulations, you’re the 1 percent.
The middle class is defined by most researchers by computing the median income for a place, and grouping individuals into specific percents above or below the center that is complete.
But if you happen to be defining middle class by lifestyle that salary would need to drop between $235,000 and $80,000. This means someone making in other regions of the state would have to make $166,000 in Manhattan to love the same purchasing power.
On the low end, the pickings are lean. The most affordable properties are largely uptown, in neighborhoods like Inwood, Washington Heights and Yorkville. The most pleasant choices in this range, nevertheless, are one-bedroom flats not designed for families or kids.
"There is no room for the earlier variant of the middle class," Mr. Walkowitz said. Teacher, Fireman, police officer and production worker used to be professions that could lift a family into its rankings. But those sorts of occupations have left individuals unable to stay informed about soaring property costs.
A police officer with five years’ expertise in New York makes about. A teacher with the same amount of years in the public school system of the city makes between $63,534 and $50,812.
The shift toward a knowledge-based and service market has created a fresh set of middle class occupations, like publishing professional, graphic designer and healthcare administrator. Places that would nudge a family into professions like psychologist and the upper class elsewhere — say, vice president or manager of strategy — are middle class in Manhattan.
Some faculty members reap the benefits of university home that lets well below the market rate, in Greenwich Village and in prime places on the Upper West Side.
Maya Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist who studies seafloor earthquakes and an associate professor at Columbia, resides with her 9-year old son in a modest two-bedroom flat in a doorman building on Riverside Drive. Her lease is manageable on an associate professor’s salary, because her building is owned by Columbia. A similar market-rate flat on the Upper West Side costs according to a monthly report.
"I believe it is considerably more demanding for folks with my income to live in Manhattan without subsidized housing," she said. "I’m very fortunate to have it."
Are Kids the Last Straw?
One method to remain in Manhattan as an associate of the middle class would be to be in a relationship. Couples can divide the price of a one-bedroom flat, along with takeout meals and utilities. But possibly the single biggest barrier is created by adding little roommates, particularly the sort that don’t lead to let, to staying in the city.
Just 17 percent of Manhattan families have kids, based on census data. That’s nearly half the national average, making small ones the greatest deal breaker for otherwise diehard middle class Manhattanites.
Tuition fees at private schools can achieve. So families decamp to the suburbs or expect that their offspring will examine well enough to get into the public school system’s gifted and talented program, which offers a ambitious instruction free of charge.
"The injury of kindergarten I still never have forgotten," said Ms. Tolstoy, who beyond striking a jackpot of forms with subsidized Columbia home, struck gold again when her son was admitted into a gifted-and-talented program.
We met with one a Financial District condominium building at 20 Pine,. The One wore a jangly jewelry, a red scarf, and a pair of lime green shades perched atop her curly hair, and she said she’d choose to stay anonymous. Working through a shell business, the one was looking to anchor some of her riches in an advantageous port: New York City.
The building’s lobby swirled with polylingual property discussion. As the Italian and I waited for the one’s agent, an Asian guy sitting on a sofa next to us asked, “You see the flat?” But the Italian did not wait for a reply, leaping up to join a smattering of girls talking a foreign language heading toward the lifts.
After a couple of minutes, a young man that was stubbled swung through the revolving door: Santo Rosabianca, an agent of 20 Pine with Wire International Realty. The company, run by Rosabianca’s brother Luigi, a lawyer, specializes in catering to foreign investors. A first-generation American, briefed her in Italian and Santo greeted the buyer with kisses. She was hunting for a property that would create significant rental income. “Wall Street isn’t my favourite area,” she told me. “But he says it’s quite great for rent.”
After the crash of 2008, it became an emblematic catastrophe, with the programmers until opportunistic foreigners swooped in with cash offers, selling units in volume at despair costs. 20 Pine keeps its international appeal, although the salvage prices are long gone. Rosabianca told the Italian it’d lease for over $4,000 a month, enough to ensure a strong cash flow while its value appreciated. “There is actually no safer method to get that type of return,” the Italian said, “than in New York City real estate.”
This isn’t just accurate—there is plenty of danger in real estate, although the first harvest of purchasers at 20 Pine found—but that barely dampens the enthusiasm of foreign buyers, that have become an overpowering power in New York’s real estate marketplace. Based on data compiled by the company PropertyShark, since 2008, about 30 percent of condominium sales in large scale Manhattan developments have been to purchasers who either listed an international address or purchased through a thing like a limited liability corporation, a strategy seldom used by local homebuyers but favored by foreign investors. “The international elite,” says developer Michael Stern, “is essentially trying to find a safe-deposit box.”
The truth is, if you have lately been outdone by an unbelievable all-cash bid for a flat, there is a decent opportunity that, behind a corporate name that is genus, there is an overseas bank account and a foreign buyer.
"A decade ago, it was only a few top-notch investors," says Andrea Fiocchi, an attorney at Reinhardt LLP, which caters to a global clientele. But the market is diversified and wide-ranging: Fiocchi’s company managed not only two of a substantial quantity of trades, but also the ten most expensive residential sales in the city last year at more mainstream costs. Buildings around the Financial District and Times Square are being promoted heavily abroad. One development job on John Street is "crowdfunding" $50,000 funding shares via the Prodigy Network, a marketing company with offices in New York and Bogota. The Related Companies is using a national system that assures green cards to foreign investors to raise capital that is low-cost for its Hudson Yards job. Something similar has been done by an Australian investment fund in Bushwick.
The typical sales price for all flats in Manhattan in the second quarter dropped 5.3 percent from the previous quarter to $1.68 million and the median cost dropped 6.4 percent to $910,000. The amount of sales closed during the second quarter stayed relatively level from the first quarter at 3,342.
Read More look inside the $118M in NYC penthouse
One reason for the disparity that is growing is new development. Most of the new building in Manhattan is big multimillion-dollar units rather than an assortment of mid-priced to high priced units, Miller said. Foreign buyers are also fueling the binge on hyper priced penthouses, and top wages from finance stay powerful, while total employment increase in New York has been poor, Miller said.
New condominiums are where the actual cost activity is, since foreign buyers can not get approved at coops and new buildings are liked by them.
The median cost of a condominium with four or more bedrooms soared 29.2 percent to $7 million.
But all those new condominiums are beginning to pile up faster than they are being purchased by buyers. Miller said stock in Manhattan is beginning to grow and appears to have bottomed out in the fourth quarter.
That is still below historical averages, but Miller said “that lets you know that lots of the great stuff has been picked over.”