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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We Are Tickled Pink that Someone Besides Our Relatives is Reading These Reviews: A Reader Responds to our Thoughts on Truffles Tribeca
Like OMG, we received a beautifully written response by a charming reader today (let's call you...Chace) who likes to think of us as "Brittney" (kewl) and has his own thoughts on the addictively weird Truffles Tribeca, which we visited and reviewed a few weeks ago. Chace is a Truffles Tribeca resident who probably just can't wait to start alternating between Turks and Frogs and the bar at the Dylan Prime and (just a guess here) enjoys Dave Matthews Band concerts, South American wine, and thinks that Panko bread crumbs are so 2006. Because Chace's comment was so well-written, we've decided to post it in it's entirety. Please see our additional thoughts in bold. Chace writes:
"Just for a little balance here, I thought I would comment on your post, Brittney. (I’ll call you Brittney because that's sort of how I think of you) (Yeah, us too sometimes - we're kind of brunette though and gave up the short skirts in the 90s).
I moved to Truffles Tribeca over a month ago (sweeeeet) so I might have a better feel for the place than you do although you seem to come by quite often, including night time visits! (Might want to work on the root of your strange fixation with the building, Brittney!) (We're telling you, it's the mannequins)
Yes, parts of the place are still under construction so you do walk through a temporary “ugly” path to access the lobby. Sorry if the retaining walls were not up to your standards but really, since when do construction sites need to be pretty? From my standpoint, it is a small (huge) price to pay for being able to live in a brand new apartment. Remember, we did not buy, we are renting!
Not sure what unit you visited, but one of the cool things about the building is that they are many different lay-outs. I looked at over 10 different units before opting for my one bedroom. On a higher floor, mine does have a foyer, an island in the kitchen and a huge walk-in closet in the large bedroom. In addition to a large closet in the foyer area. (We bet you are paying through the nose for this, do tell) Now you are right, the living room is not huge but if you know of any comparable rentals in the neighborhood that offer the same views, the same amenities plus a massive living room, do move in right away! (There are none. Tribeca is famously bereft of affordable new construction rental buildings, hence the popularity (even if you exclude the mannequins) of the ol' Truffster)
The building does face West Street. That’s actually how I can wake up in the morning with the most amazing views on the (super tiny from over there)Statue of Liberty and enjoy amazing sunsets through my living room bay windows! That’s the point! If it wasn’t on West St, I would face… well buildings, duh! (totally)
A 5 mn walk to the Canal St subway stop doesn’t seem so unmanageable for me. And the neighborhood is so enjoyable that on mornings when I just want to take my time, I walk the extra 5 minutes to the Franklin station.
The lounge IS quite impressive (but would you pay $850 for it?). Certainly the nicest I’ve seen in any NY rentals. And it is pretty cool to be able to book the private movie theatre to watch live TV or a DVD with your friends. Imagine Brittney, a private screening of “Real housewives of New Jersey” or “The Biggest loser” (actually, we're more Top Chef and Gossip Girl but whatevs) just for you and you best girlfriends!
I could go on about the awesome gym and yoga studio, the roof terrace with showers, bbq and private cabanas just about ready to open (do send pics) , the amazingly friendly and helpful staff but I might actually convince you to give the building another try, when really, Truffles and you weren’t meant to be, Brittney. C’mon, don’t be bitter and just let it go, it’s gonna be ok!
A (very happy) Truffles resident
PS: the first tagline was a quote by Edward Albee but obviousely, that was lost on you Brittney…"(Edward Albee: cool; "You Gotta Have Swine to Show You Where the Truffles Are" as an ad campaign: not cool).
Monday, June 22, 2009
After procrastinating for at least two months, we finally made it out to 50 Franklin, the brand spanking new
We do have to mention however, that the building's one main tie to Tribeca (the coveted zoning for the uber coveted PS 234) no longer exists according to the broker. This building is zoned for "another school" whose number "escaped" the broker when we asked.
At any rate, we began our journey at this 72 unit building in the creepy sales office across the street. Even though there was a huge sign that said "50 Franklin Sales Office" hanging over the door, we couldn't believe that anyone was running an operation out of what looked like a 6-story 1850s brownstone (and not the kind where Blair Waldorf hangs out) with an old creeky elevator and a buzzer outside the door. Anywho, once we got to the sales office (which was medium full on a Sunday - maybe 3 groups there) the agent handed us some hardhats (cute touch, I think mine said "Lily") and told us that 50 Franklin is 15-20% sold. It's a low enough number to actually be believable, however the agent's claim that they are "selling fast" and that reaching 50% sold will be "no problem at all" had us accidentally spitting up our Diet Coke (good thing we were already on our way to the condos across the street).
Once in 50 Franklin, which is mostly complete with the exception of the roof deck (ummm...we seriously cannot even imagine how they are going to turn that tiny A/C unit covered space into the grand lounge area pictured in the brochure) we ran through several 1BRs and a couple of 2BRs. Probably the most interesting thing about this building is that despite the myriad of brochure photos with happy models looking at the Empire State Building and expansive views of Manhattan, only the Penthouse units (gosh, where have we seen that trick before?) actually have a view of anything other than the office building across the street (north) or the even worse (we couldn't believe it) gross graffiti covered neighboring building (south). Of course, if you stand on your 42 sq ft balcony (which most units have) and turn your head to the left, you can see a small sliver of that Civic Center park whose name we can never remember.
The units themselves are fairly well laid-out and not obnoxiously (not reasonably either) priced. 1BRs float mostly around the $800,000 range which does not include the sponsor's offer of 5% cash back at closing. The 2BRs are all around $1.2 million, although we did see a unit under $1 million that unfortunately had a tiny second bedroom and a view of the aforementioned graffiti-covered building.
Inside, the apartments have very bright finishes - light wood floors and white countertops, which we personally don't like but lots of people do. The floor-to-ceiling windows are quite nice (except for the aforementioned view issue) as are the stackable washers and dryers in each unit. The 1BR units mostly have a deep soaking tub/shower combo (we've always
Overall, we thought the maintenance in this 421-a tax abated building was still a tad high (at $1.30 per sq ft) given that there are few amenities (although there is a doorman).
We're taking a pass on this building (at least for now) however it's not a bad deal if you'd like to be near Tribeca and don't have an issue with dark building views.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
We have always been curious about this set of loft buildings located in a cute part of Tribeca near our favorite speakeasy hangout. When we walked in to the completely under construction entrance (45 John anyone?), we thought that we would be whisked right up to some goofy showroom where we would sit through yet another "conversation" about:
- what our needs are (just show us an apartment)
- the lending situation (we know you're flexible on price)
- how it's a great time to buy (we know you're flexible on price)
Instead, much to our amazement, we were told by the doorman to sign a construction waiver and then proceed to the elevator. We were handed a sheet of paper with a bunch of unit #s and prices and...that's it folks. For the next hour, we roamed completely unattended through floor after floor of fascinating old loft units. It was like poking through an old haunted mansion - you never quite knew what you would find behind each door.
Fortunately, in one unit, we actually ran into a Brown Harris Stevens agent, who informed us that The Tribeca Lofts are a "conversion" from rental units to sales (even though the building basically just looks abandoned) and that we can choose to buy units "As Is" (abandoned) or "Finished" (around $300k more). As you can see from the photo of the leaky ceiling (yes that's a garbage can collecting rain water) above, the units are in various states of repair. Despite some leaks, we loved the location here and the units are large and laid out quite well (particularly the enormous lofts on the 5th and 6th floors that really feel like houses). Although we don't think there are any "view" units in these buildings (view choices are a dark ugly building very close to your windows or a dark ugly building further away), the ceilings are magnificent and the windows in some units are truly spectacular.
Unfortunately however, we cannot find a single recorded sale in this building (even though BHS tells us that there were two sales and that occupancy will happen "very soon") and the 9 apartments that are supposedly in contract are also nowhere to be found.
We'll keep our eye on these lofts, which we hope will start selling...otherwise, back to rentals they go (we think).
Thursday, April 30, 2009
We debated whether this cute little apartment in one of the only Tribeca buildings that has listings for under $1MM is really the overpriced apartment of the week, but at $1,269 per sq ft, we just can't imagine such a price even in a renovated unit.
Both the Streeteasy ad and the floorplan loudly proclaim this apartment as a "Miracle on Greenwich Street!", although the only thing that we find miraculous here is that some new floors and a renovated kitchen would actually spur anyone to pay $825k for what is essentially a tiny apartment without a W/D in the unit and a "cute" balcony that is good for
Although the renovations in this super small apartment are very nice and we like the location, we can't get over the unbelievable price tag given that a larger unit in the same building with a real balcony and in need of only new floors and some kitchen cabinets failed to sell at an ask of $775,000 and is now no longer on the market.
#6G sold in 2004 for $640,000, which we think is actually quite a reasonable price now, given the relatively low maintenance and pint-sized square footage. Add in the fact that absolutely nothing has sold in this building since September, 2008 and we're pretty sure that there are some sellers with high expectations here.
Friday, April 3, 2009
When we first saw this apartment (listed back then at $799,000), the first word that came to mind was "airy". The layout is quite nice, with the living room and bedroom both containing a bright wall of windows. There is a long (although not exactly wide) balcony that can be accessed from both the bedroom and the living room. The cutout kitchen also has a window (to the outside) which is a cute touch that we happen to be suckers for.
Although the apartment needs major refinishing - we're talking paint, floors (is that old parquet?), kitchen appliances, and even the closet doors (a few of which have jagged edged "half" plastic knobs), it is a much better value than the treehouse next door.
The carrying costs (at around $1100 per month) aren't terrible, although the building isn't exactly amenity-filled. There is no W/D in the unit but there is definitely room for one. We still love this location and heck this apartment, especially with the mild price reduction (not enough in our opinion though), is definitely worth a look.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Say what? When we walked into this apartment, we couldn't believe the price. Similar to
our experience at 71 Nassau, this apartment felt smaller than the (already too small for this price range) list of 700 square feet.
But we digress...the real issue with this apartment is that every exposed surface is covered with a dark wood. The place smells like a wood shop, has no W/D (no room for one anywhere either in the cramped layout) and is very, very dark (not sure if it's the wood that makes it appear that way).
On the bright side, we are in love with the apartment's prime location at Greenwich and Chambers but wouldn't even think about paying the (we think) $200k premium to live on this block. You can get the exact same apartment plus an extra 100 sq ft. in a prime East Village location for about $150k less.