The Times asked for letters in response to this. I guess I was too late. I have so wanted to write this
Dear Youthful bidder
Two years ago you and your parents coveted my pre-war Upper West Side Manhattan coop–the small one with the open city views, courtyard and northern views not the river and park views–for you. It has a major fault, a small non designer kitchen but you and your parents were willing to overlook that and offered me more money than I thought possible. I wasn’t ready.
Then you went apartment hunting some more and fell in love with the new buildings you know you can’t possibly afford. Even if they do have breakfast served to you in bed on Saturdays, mediation rooms, libraries, gyms, gardens, washers & dryers. Your parents told you that you must buy those apartments on your own. They will help you buy mine.
I priced my apartment fairly. I understand that the one bedrooms with great kitchens and river and park views will go for almost a million and my apartment will go for just over half that. In some ways I feel as if I’m giving it away.
When I bought it almost eleven years ago, maintenance (monthly charges) hadn’t gone up in three years. It has gone up every year since. You will get small fair increases. I bought it during the giddy 90’s and my building was determined to be “world class.”
This has many advantages for you. The lobby has been redone to somebody’s very expensive taste. The basement is a showplace. Bikes are stored, laundry is done, and if you’re lucky like me you might get a large storage cage for $40 a month–in Mnahattan that’s priceless.
We’re a two doorman at prime hours building with state of the art digital security. I have stood at the doorman’s stand and marveled at the security monitor.
You’re never going to have the problems I have had. I took off the hideous wall to wall carpeting in the bedroom as the many floods ruined it and I hate carpeting anyway. The building gave me beautiful plank wood flooring.
You will never have the many many floods I had as there’s a new schematic showing where all the pipes are, many pipes were replaced with copper and the all important steam risers are new. You won’t spend the year (G-d forbid this ever happens again) after a terrorist attack and your mother’s sudden death with the super and/or many workers replacing just about everything. Your new from home business won’t suffer the omigod there are too many workers in here affect.
What the building didn’t fix I did. I had no idea plastic pipes weren’t up to city code but who wants to drink out of plastic? You will have copper. I don’t think you will want to replace the kitchen faucet that cost $400 at Gracious Home eleven years ago. I got it for less but by the time it was installed….It is a faucet of beauty.
For years I was entranced by the black granite foyer, the marble master bath with huge shower stall and huge tub that’s whiter than the whitest teeth. My best friend designed the living room wall unit and a then carpenter now well know cabinet maker executed it.
You won’t get a 40% assessment with one months notice. Our building had the foresight to pay down its mortgages, replenish the building fund for capital improvements and emergencies during the glory years. I understand that you’re too young to think about reserve funds but they are important.
I was in the lucky position of paying cash so I can afford to sell for less than most people, but by the time taxes, fees and other costs are factored in the profit will be lessened. I didn’t get much of a tax deduction. Just the $400 Bloomberg rebate for “owning in these difficult times,” and a small deduction. I’m not a financial expert but in my humble opinion I’m giving you a prime apartment in a prime building in a prime neighborhood and should make the maintenance and assessments (our other rebate went to that one) back.
I’m giving you an apartment that’s steps from Riverside Park. The new park that goes all the way round the city. How I yearned for that in my 32 years in the city. You can bike ride anywhere from my building. I dreamed about that when I was your age and lived across from Central Park. My tires were constantly going from glass shards and other things on the street. I would be accosted in the park if i wasn’t with friends. The parks are so safe now people forget…
When I lie down in bed at night with the windows open the only sound I usually hear much of the year are birds. It sounds like an aviary. The whirl of traffic really does sound like the ocean or white noise. People are amazed by how quiet and country like my apartment is.
You will just a few blocks from Citerella and Fairway. To not have a weekly Fairway experience is too not really live in the Upper West Side. It’s a quick walk to Central Park, though I’m still obsessed with Riverside Park and you can walk many places. But once you see our newish subway station you too will be hooked on the subway and the beauty of the small park outside it.
I’m not just giving you my apartment but the full Manhattan experience. The new buildings can never offer you anything near a renovated pre-war one. I’m giving you a life unlike any you will have ever experienced before.
Your new offer was insulting. I did the mortgage calculator and I dare you to find a quality rental at this price. And your quality of life will be incredible. Fernando the doorman will watch out for you, but in a nice way. Some of the other doormen will flirt with you and any one of them might introduce you to the love of your life.
I’m offering you an affordable alternative to the fancy kitchens and zen gardens your parents admit they can’t and won’t buy for you. Do you really want to live at your parents home or with four roommates until you’re 40?