May 15th, 2011 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

What a difference 6 years makes, as the sampling of available real estate offerings in Harlem below from Halstead makes clear.

When I first bought in Harlem there was just one property on this list that I can recall, the Gateway Condominium.  My slice of Harlem which is Frederick Douglass Boulevard from 110th to 125th (we called it the Gold Coast, the NY Times called it Harlem’s Restaurant Row) was just beginning an epic transformation.  It was my move into the neighborhood and its transformation that prompted my fellow bloggers to partner together to create HarlemCondoLife – Your gateway to Harlem.

Today is a few days after the 7th anniversary of my first day as a Harlem resident and owner with a vested interest in this community’s future.  I am happy to report how much has transpired since then.

Halstead Property Development Marketing Open House Schedule.


Follow HarlemCondoLife on twitter @HarlemHCL

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November 19th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

On my way home from work last night I noticed a commotion on 113th between Frederick Douglass Boulevard (FDB) and Morningside, which is right off Harlem’s Gold Coast / Harlem’s restaurant row.

As I walked towards the source of the commotion I overheard someone say “oh no, not again, what happened?”

But as I got closer it became clear that this was not a real crime scene but a function one – confirmed by an actor posing as policeman – shot on one of my favorite side streets in NYC.

Loving Harlem ™

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November 17th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. And there’s nothing like a walk through Harlem’s many parks to take it in.

And the weeks right before thanksgiving are a perfect time to take it all in.

Like this recent image while walking West along Marcus Garvey Park’s northern border.

Simply stunning.

I love Harlem.

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September 13th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

Arise India Foundation is sponsoring the Mahatma Gandhi Health and Peace Walk in Marcus Garvey Park on October 2nd.

The Foundation

The foundation’s mission is to apply Indian thought for humanity’s benefit. Their flagship initiative is the Mahatma Gandhi Health and Peace Walk which seeks to encourage people to walk regularly following the example of Mahatma Gandhi. The goal is to enhance wellness and fight against diabetes, heart disease and obesity in a cost-effective manner. Arise India Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in India and working worldwide with partners.

The Walk

The Mahatma Gandhi Health and Peace Walk is a unique and free public health initiative that is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s habit of walking regularly to maintain his health. It aims to encourage people to walk regularly to enhance their wellness, reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and prevent obesity. Hence the Walk’s motto, “In His Footsteps—For Your Health.” You can read reflections (in “From the President’s Desk“), download beautiful Italian designed posters and watch the video explaining the Walk. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please join us for the Walk on October 2, 2010 in New York City. You owe it to yourself. ” In His Footsteps—For Your Health.”

The Venue

The Walk will take place in Marcus Garvey Park between 11 am and 12 noon on October 2, 2010. The Park is one of the oldest public squares in Manhattan. The walk will start on the East side of the Park ( 123rd Street and Madison Avenue). Participants will walk around the Park perimeter in a clockwise direction for one hour. However, as this is a non-competitive event, participants may choose to walk for a shorter time depending upon their level of fitness. Please collect your Tshirts in advance as notified in your confirmation communication. “In His Footsteps–For Your Health.”

Register For The Walk Today!


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September 12th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

We’re been covering Harlem Real Estate for years.  And the news just keeps getting better.  This week the NY Post shows Harlem Real Estate some more love. The article was fantastic.  Below is a reprint.

Live & learn



September 9, 2010

Don’t bet against Harlem.

At least, that’s what some buyers and developers believe.

The Harlem real estate market is about weighing risk (too much inventory, prices that were inflated) and reward (luxury housing stock in an affordable neighborhood). And while nobody knows which way the market’s headed, a number of buyers and developers have decided now is the time to gamble.

“I don’t care what the value is going to be like in two years,” says Hallie Leighton, who just bought a $650,000 two-bedroom condo in the Lore, a new building on West 112th Street, with the help Ellen Kapit of Sotheby’s and Norman Horowitz of Halstead Property.

Leighton ignored the snarky message-board posts on and that some buyers were allowed out of their contracts because Lore hadn’t completed construction on time.

“I’m not looking to sell,” she says. “I don’t care if it loses value [now]. In 30 years, the value of this property is going to go up . . . The neighborhood has too many natural pluses; there are two parks, proximity to the subway. I find it very unlikely it will go down.”

And she hasn’t been the only one.

“I think it was the perfect time to buy,” says Jo-Nell Labbienti, a lawyer in Colorado who, with her husband, Jim, also closed on a two-bedroom at the Lore as an investment property late last month — even after she was allowed to rescind her contract this January.

She asked for an extra $10,000 off the purchase price of $625,000 — which she got.

“If we didn’t hit the bottom, it was so close to the bottom that it didn’t make any difference,” Labbienti says.

The Labbientis, who worked with Halstead Property broker Jeff Goodman on the deal, also have an apartment on West 137th Street — and they haven’t had problems finding tenants.

It’s no wonder that buyers are still willing to bet on Harlem — prices, by Manhattan standards, are low. It’s fairly easy to find new construction in the $500 to $600 per square foot range, or less. Two recent examples: the Madera condo and the Odell Clark Place Condos, with prices in the low- to mid-$500 per square foot range.

Sam McCash and his wife, Sarah, who are about to close on a 1,470-square-foot two-bedroom condo at the new PS90 building, a conversion of a former elementary school on West 148th Street, scored an even better deal: They are paying around $480 per square foot.

“It made us feel really nice seeing trees outside our window,” McCash says. He adds that they looked at some cheaper units, but public transportation helped seal the deal. “Some of [the other buildings] were really nice — but very remote.”

The 75-unit PS90, which should start closings this month, is about 50 percent sold. (The building is mostly one- and two-bedrooms, with a 1,228-square-foot one-bedroom unit on the market for $585,000 and a 1,312-square-foot two-bedroom for $775,000.)

“When we came out with pricing, it was much more reasonable than it would have been a year before,” says Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners, which built PS90.

And the numbers have been improving. According to appraisal firm Miller Samuel, the average price per square foot of co-ops or condos in Harlem and East Harlem jumped from an average of $570 per square foot in the first quarter of 2010 to $742 in the second quarter. Moreover, the number of sales improved by 18 percent. (Both numbers, however, are still well off their 2007 peaks, when the price per square foot was $836 in the fourth quarter, and 160 units closed in the third quarter — more than double the current traffic.)

Not every Harlem building is setting itself up as affordable. The 116-unit 1280 Fifth Ave. condo on Central Park North — with a Robert A.M. Stern-designed exterior and interiors by Andre Kikoski (who recently designed the Wright restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum) — is coming out of the gate this fall with an average price per square foot of $1,265. An 800-square-foot studio starts at $725,000, and prices go up to $3.355 million for a 1,863-square-foot three-bedroom with a setback terrace.

“Our work was really about creating a distinctive way to live on Fifth Avenue,” says Kikoski of his design of 1280 Fifth Ave., which shares the address of the Museum for African Art, set to open next year.

Even the troubled Lotta development on Adam Clayton Powell, which went off the market to become a youth hostel back when things fell apart in 2008, is returning as condos this month. The 35 units should be priced around $500 per square foot, says broker Gilad Azaria of Prudential Douglas Elliman.

And one shouldn’t forget the 44 condos atop the new Aloft hotel on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. They plan to start selling this month, with prices from $300,000 for a 513-square-foot studio to $1.03 million for a 1,758-square-foot three-bedroom.

And many Harlem developers have been sweetening the deal. For example, 5th on the Park, which has been on the market since 2007, has been doing special promotions in which it’s snipped more than $100,000 off certain apartments and given another $10,000 off at contract signing (the promotion will be ending this Sunday).

Though nearly every Harlem building on the market is reporting an increase of foot traffic, there is still “a big gulf between buyers’ views of how soft they think prices will be and developers’ [views],” says Justin Hieggelke, a sales agent with TREGNY. “It takes more negotiating to get both parties to agree.”

One promising sign for Harlem overall is the mini-renaissance that has taken place on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. New restaurants and grocery stores like Best Yet Market have sprung up to serve the residents, anticipated in the hundreds, of new units along the street, which include the Aloft hotel and condo, 2280 FDB, the Douglass, the Parc Standard and the Livmor.

“There are new developments on every block,” says Lucille Chung, who closed on a 1,226-square-foot two-bedroom at the Livmor with her husband, Alessio Bax, for $675,000 in July. “You can’t tell there’s a recession here.”

“I think the time was right for me, financially and professionally,” says Maryann Riordan, who just put an offer on a nearly 1,300-square-foot one-bedroom at Savoy West on Lenox Avenue three blocks from her practice, Harlem Dental Associates, with Halstead broker Danni Tyson.

“I think prices were about where I expected,” says Riordan. “I wasn’t quite ready, but when I looked I thought, ‘OK, this is a good deal.’”

Additionally below is a summary of some of the hottest bets in Harlem now.

The Lore 261 W. 112th St.

1280 5th Ave. / Museum for African Art

Lotta 1961 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

5th on the Park 1485 Fifth Ave.

Aloft Hotel 2300 Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Madera 18 W. 129th St.

Odell Clark Condo II 108 W. 138th St.

Savoy West 555 Lenox Ave.

Odell Clark Condo I 2373 Adam Clayon Powell Blvd.

PS90 220 W. 148th St.

Finally, if this isn’t enough information, please check the following post on for even more detail.

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September 2nd, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

I love a bargain. Especially when it benefits my community (or something wonderful adjacent thereto). Which is why I am sharing today’s great offer from

LivingSocial offers steep discounts on a variety of products and services. Offers change daily. You can subscribe via email or visit the web site. You can specify target neighborhoods or zip codes too.

I could not resist today’s offer for Rack & Soul. Rack & Soul is a good soul food restaurant adjacent to Harlem. The food is incredibly tasty, and the owner is very nice and flexible. We had him cater a party once and he was very nice, helpful, and everything was as expected. Moreover, the food was incredible. If you’ve not tried Rack & Soul now is a great opportunity.

Try LivingSocial and Rack & Soul today and let us know how you liked them!

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August 31st, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy is what we believe to be a first. A multi-level virtual shopping complex first reported in AM New York.

First floor: Six shoe stores featuring Adidas, Timberland, Puma, Fila, Polo and Reebok.

Second floor: A virtual movie theater with hot Summer previews including “The Other Guys” and “The Expendables.”

Third floor: Still under construction. Boutiques including Toure Designs, New York based jewelry designer Sue Tsai, Coco & Breezy Eyewear. Kaufman Furs and Brooklyn’s Mizchif Clothing are also considering the site.

A number of designers, some local some not, are excited about leveraging the store to reach more customers. Including celebrity hip-hop threads maker Alhassan Toure, a 36-year old designer, whose clients include LLCool J and Akon, didn’t want to rely on people making the trek to his store, Toure Designs. And Sue Tsai, 23, who launched her line of ankle bracelets in 2007 and has a store on Madison Avenue.

The goal is simple: “…to change the consumer experience,”. Mekeze Okoro. President and co-founder of Malluu.

Welcome To Harlem!

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August 30th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

What a difference a summer makes.

As our readers know our recent posts on BBQing in Morningside Park have generated copious comments. It all started with a post referencing the sign below regarding BBQ areas in the Morningside Park.

Yesterday I went riding in the Park and noticed the old signs were gone and new signs were up prohibiting BBQing. We’ve vacilitated from on extreme to another. Surely the collective “we” can do better than that.

Once again we encourage our readers to present creative ideas for solving problems raised in a way that is mutually beneficial for the community as a whole.



In the meantime this is a gentle reminder / public service announcement:

Please let’s all remember to feed the Big Belly Solar Powered trash compactors (and associated trash receptacles) after feeding ourselves (smiley face).

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August 29th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

City public pools will remain open until Labor Day (September 6, 2010). Make sure to get your last dips in on or before 9/6/2010. General hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This applies to all 54 outdoor New York City public swimming pools.

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August 28th, 2010 by HarlemGuy

By HarlemGuy

Today is the 40th anniversary Martin Luther King’s I have A Dream speech, delivered on August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C..

In 1963 I had not yet lived my first full year.   And yet my life would be forever defined by what came before and what came after that moment in time. 

If you do nothing else today please take a moment to celebrate the words that helped pave the way for all of us to enjoy all that Harlem represents.   And cap off your weekend by celebrating at this weekend’s Sundae Sermon in Morningside Park, Harlem, New York City.



I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Posted in Harlem, History Tagged with: , ,