Daily Archives: June 21, 2009

If the Goldman crew doesn’t want to buy our houses, maybe this guy will

I got stimulous, babe

I got stimulous, babe

New York City has some bizarre ways to spend money but this one is really cool: $5,000 to a professor of etymology.

The neighborhood lunatic of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is getting $5,000 of your tax dollars to teach classes in a City Councilwoman’s office about the origin of words.

“One of the main things we said to the Council lady was we needed money to assist in teachers’ payments, and our library books and school supplies,” said Lynval Samuels, 56. “We didn’t know we were getting the money.”

Samuels has been a fixture at Union St. and Utica Ave. for years, neighbors said – stopping traffic, splattering paint on parking meters and fire hydrants, and handing out flyers for his self-styled etymology classes.

But Councilwoman Darlene Mealy (D-Brooklyn) calls him “a fine king” and an asset to the neighborhood – earmarking $5,000 for him in the city budget and letting him teach in her nearby office on Saturdays.

“He’s educating people and showing love, peace,” Mealy said. “I thank God he’s in the community, and I stand firmly with his program.”

The money has not been transferred yet, pending a review by the mayor’s office of contract services – but Mealy said he’s worth it. “I should have gave him more,” she said.

Samuels prefers to go by the name Dr. Bidi XiLi Bey, and hands out flyers for classes at what he calls the QidaMaWi HaYeLe SeLaSe Supreme Regal Lodge – using the erratic capitalization because “some letters are positive and some are negative.”

Crown Heights residents feel the same about Samuels. Some greet him by raising their left hands and saying “beloved.” Others stay away.

Think about this: under penalty of law and the threat of imprisonment someone’s pay is forcibly taken from him and “redistributed” to this chuckle head. When you hear from a politician that a state’s budget has been cut to the bone, you might reflect on Dr. Bidi XiLi Bey and his friends.


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Bring it on!

Goldman Sachs has a record first half, plans a bumper crop of bonuses, largest in history. These guys could save the spec builders yet.


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Yes, this has been bothering me too

Excellent post here discussing the media’s keeping silent for the past seven months on the kidnapping and captivity of a New York Times reporter. No one is saying that the press should have reported it – far from it, as it might have gotten the reporter killed, but the author points to many instances where reporters’ kidnappings were keep silent while “civilans'” kidnappings were not. And he rounds off with the Time’s disclosure of the secret, and entirely legal, NSA tracking of terrorist funds through Europe, a disclosure that arguably placed our entire country in jeopardy. He also quotes Mike Wallace saying a reporter has no duty to warn American troops of an ambush because a reporter’s “sole job is to get the story”. Unless, of course, the story is about a fellow journalist. Shabby. Again – it’s not that the press should have exposed the story of the kidnapping; the point is the press, as part of the free world, should remember that when deciding what secrets to divulge.


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Low end sales

In the $1,450,000 – $3,000,000 bracket, we have 253 offerings, only 18 of which have sold this year, with another 16 under contract.

How’d those 18 sales go? Great for buyers, not so well for sellers. On average, they fetched 72% of their original asking price, which is a come-down from the 96% average long touted by Greenwich realtors. Here’s the breakdown: asking price, selling price, and the town’s estimate of 70% value.

53 Park Ave. So. (new) $2.777, $1.425, 70% = $1.550

154 Valley Rd (new), $1.995, $1.335, 70% = $1.273

18 Sandy Lane, $2.995, $1.350, 70% = $2.134

19 Kennilworth, $1.600, $1.375, $1.301

136 Cat Rock (new) $3.625, $1.505, tax 70% = $1.607

114 Overlook, $1.990, $1.550, $1.240

12 Hendrie Ave., $1.945, $1.550, $1.212

10 Shelter, $2.993, 1.762, $1228

156 Valley (new) $1995, $1.690, no assessment

10 Hearthstone, $2.395, $1.720, $1201

26 Circle (new) $2.195, $2,000, no assessment

317 Stanwich, $3.850, $2.025, $2.632

7 Dandy (new) $2.579, $1.850, no assessment

8 Baliwick, $3.250, $2.000, $12695

7 Gisborne, $3.095, $2.200, $2.095

6 Wyngate, $2.595, $2.300, $1574 (corporate transfer, bought from employee)

30 Owenoke, $2995, $2.300, $1.574

15 Maher Ave, $2.850, $2.509, $1.413 (bought for $2.675 ’07)

Of the 192 houses priced under $1,449,000, 32 have sold, with another 17 under contract.

Here’s a random sampling:

75 Dandy, $1.795, $1.215, 70% = $972

18 Baliwick Circ. $1.875, $1.125, $672

175 Rvsd. Ave., $1.595, $1.075, $1.050

88 Sound Beach Ext. $969, $722.5, $741

35 Sunshine, $790, $525, $585.

So I’d keep negotiating hard bargains. We have a lot of houses to move and if these ever do, the “shadow inventory” will jump in to replace them.


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High end sales

Eight houses originally priced at $5,000,000 and above have sold this year, with another eight between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000 joining them in the parade offstage. How’d they do? Not so bad: the $5+ crowd went for an average of 80% of ask, their little brothers for 74%. Some of this is because the sellers acknowledged a loss upfront and priced accordingly, but still, not all that bad.

$5+  Listings

41 Birchwood (new) $5.995 ask, $5.200 sold, 87%

241 Bedfordt (atq) $6.250, $5.675, 90%

48 Parsonage (new) $7.850, $6.000, 76%

21 Bobolink (old) $8.900, $5.000, 56%

31 N. Porchuck (2 yrs. old) $6.995, $6.250, 89% (purchased for $7.850, 2007)

80 Perkins new) $7.950, $6.700, 84%

38 Andrrews (new) $9.250, $8.325, 90%

253 Round Hill (new) $25 mil., $16.500, 66%

Middle Tier, $3-$% million

154 Cognewaugh (new), $4.895, $3.000, 61%

215 Orchard, (2006) $3.799, $3.00, 79%

2 Jofran (old) $3.200, $2850, 89%

709 Lake (old), $3.850, $3.100, 80% (paid $3.3 million, 2005)

126 Cat Rock (2001), $4.150, $3.200, 77% (paid $3.600, 2001)

224 Round Hill (land) $3.995, $3.000, 75%

89 Perkins (quasi-new) $5.875, $3.450, 59%

49 Hillside Drive (new), $5.975, $4.200, 70%

My personal view on this is that,  despite most of these houses going for something approaching what the sellers demanded, we have so much dead inventory that, unless you find exactly the house you want, you’d be foolish to offer anything like a house’s asking price (if you do find that perfect house or the perfect location or both and you have the money, heck, go for it, rather than lose it. We realtors will love you for your devil may care attitude). There are 161 listings now for sale priced at $5 million and up , and we’re moving 16 per year. 46 of those whoppers are spec homes put up by builders who, for the most part, are hanging on by their fingernails. Take them out, end their pain. And we have the same situation in the $3-5 million range: 160 offerings, 29 of which are spec and again, we’ll move 15 or 16 this year, unless things improve. For every ten sellers who are outraged at your measly offer, one will probably thank you.


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