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Messages - ljr

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Neighborhood Chat / Re: The Last Word!
« on: Yesterday at 11:23:26 PM »
Farewell JH Life! I will very much miss you.

Neighborhood Chat / Re: PLEASE READ: JHL to say goodbye
« on: December 09, 2021, 02:43:32 PM »
Your efforts were very much appreciated! We found this site very useful and interesting in the 10 years we've lived in JH. Sorry to see it go.

OP is young and just starting out on their own. Buying right away is likely not very realistic. Unless it involves staying with parents for several more years and saving up for the down payment. It doesn't sound like OP has yet done that saving, as they posed the question: do you think I need to save up before doing this, or something to that effect. Plus OP does not have a high income or a second income. Buying in JH might be a stretch at this point for OP.

We moved to JH as a money-saving measure 10 years ago, after owning a coop in Washington Heights for 23 years. So I can confirm: transportation to Manhattan/Brooklyn is much better from JH than from Washington Heights. We prefer this neighborhood in many other ways as well. The only way it falls short is that Travers Park is no match for gorgeous Ft. Tryon Park in Washington Heights.

Re: young people in JH, it's true that there does not seem to be a bar scene for 20s-30s here. I see young people renting in Astoria or Sunnyside and then eventually buying in JH when they have saved enough, have a higher income, maybe have a partner, have an inheritance...whatever. The housing stock for large apartments in JH is much better than in Astoria, Sunnyside, or even Forest Hills, from our buying experience. We couldn't find apartments anywhere near as nice in those areas as we found here.

As for price, we were looking at a particular price point 10 years ago, and we found we could get the size apartment we wanted at that price in JH, Riverdale in the Bronx, or Ditmas Park--or further out-- in Brooklyn. We decided we didn't like the Brooklyn options, so it came down to JH vs Riverdale. Maintenance fees were generally higher in Riverdale, and it is not well connected to Manhattan via public transportation in the area we liked, near the river. It has a very suburban feel, and you really need a car up there. It's pretty there with lots of natural beauty, Hudson River views, Wave Hill, outdoor swimming pool in the building we were considering.

But we chose livelier, better connected JH and are very happy with that decision. If OP can swing it, JH is a great choice, and maybe OP is not much for the bar or entertainment scene anyway. And the 7 train will get you to those other neighborhoods very easily.

Real Estate & Home Improvement / Re: Experience dealing with DOB
« on: November 14, 2021, 07:50:49 AM »
I am not aware that one needs to involve the DOB to renovate a coop or a condo--removing walls, updating electric, removing a bathtub, etc, the things you mention are done routinely without permission from the DOB in my experience. You would usually need to get your plans reviewed by your building management/coop board, but that would not involve the DOB.

Restaurants & Food / Re: Swim Two Birds
« on: November 10, 2021, 05:25:50 PM »
I was going to say that with the demise of this site we will lose the fascinating Swim Two Birds saga--which I thought would make a great mystery-type podcast. So only now after 6 years is an eviction notice being served? The whole thing was so very strange. I wonder what Stew is up to nowadays. It was a sad tale, really.

Neighborhood Chat / Re: PLEASE READ: JHL to say goodbye
« on: November 10, 2021, 01:35:15 PM »
I guess people are using Next Door? This was a very useful site, but I did notice that there were very few active posters on it. There is also the JHFamilies listserv, which is quite active and useful for selling, donating, buying stuff, asking questions about vendors, or general neighborhood discussion. Thanks to the folks who created this site and ran it!

Restaurants & Food / Re: Delhi Heights
« on: October 14, 2021, 06:28:59 PM »
Yeah we were disappointed about this, because it was our top choice for Indian food in JH, and it was a nice, sit-down place with an extensive menu. Too bad.

Restaurants & Food / Re: new restaurant at Roosevelt/75th
« on: October 14, 2021, 06:26:59 PM »
New bakeries...just what we need! Seriously, how does anyone stave off diabetes and heart disease around here? Temptations everywhere.

Things are just not so formal in a small coop--it would be weird if they were the same as in a large building. We're just a small group of neighbors and we communicate with each other our plans. The "supervision" is more informal, but there is no reason to assume that informal means negligent and people should be frightened off from small coop ownership because it seems scary and unregulated or something. Our longtime president tells people what to watch out for, that certain things should be replaced during a renovation, but we don't have forms and fees and formal reviews.

Hmmm...are you assuming that in a self-managed coop, shareholders are necessarily using unlicensed and uninsured contractors? That's not the case.

Well, all those caveats about renovating coops and condo's might be generally true, but one of the charms of JH real estate is that there are so many small coops here, where there is much less red tape overall. We live in one of them: ten units only and we are self managed. We are all on the board, and we all make the rules, which tend to be few. We used to live in a much larger coop in Manhattan, where there were many more rules, enforced by the staff, and you'd get a letter and maybe a fine if you broke a rule. Here, things are much looser. So renovating entails letting everyone know and ideally choosing a contractor with ample experience in these buildings, making sure to upgrade plumbing and electric properly, etc, but it's all off the cuff, no papers to fill out, no fees for the managing agent to process the non-existent papers. So people should not feel daunted by the prospect of buying a coop that needs work on the assumption that having such work done in any coop or condo will be difficult and excessively costly. Not true in all cases. In our case, it's been easier and less costly than when we did the same in Manhattan.

Not sure what you are talking about when you say it's more expensive in a coop. Huh? Why? There is labor and there are materials--same thing whether in a coop, condo, or house. Of course, more credentials and licenses might be required in a coop or condo vs
a private house, where nobody is overseeing what you do. And yes, materials are scarcer and more costly now than before the pandemic. There are more shortages and delays now. In a coop or condo, you might have to go through approvals, you might have to hire an architect--that would add expense, but we've had two coops where we've done renovations and we never had to hire an architect. Overall, yes, we've been told that materials now cost more and there are shortages.

Real Estate & Home Improvement / Re: Kitchen door hinges
« on: September 28, 2021, 02:17:34 PM »
Our 1921 kitchen had two doors when we moved in. We removed the swinging door between the kitchen and dining room because it was in the way and taking up space--and we had no need to open and close the door every time we walked into and out of the kitchen. Or really ever--we saw no need to close that door for any reason. It was a nice, heavy, dark wood door and we gave it away to someone who wanted a swinging door. We kept the other door that leads to the hallway, bedroom, and bathroom because that helps insulate the bedroom from sounds in the kitchen, so we do close that door to facilitate sleeping and napping.

Real Estate & Home Improvement / Re: Again seeking a wood table refinisher
« on: September 28, 2021, 02:12:49 PM »
There is a company that I think might be called Oscar in Corona I think? I once priced out a refinish with them but wound up replacing the table instead.

Restaurants & Food / Re: Best salads in JH
« on: September 25, 2021, 08:12:17 PM »
I think the salad at Ricky's is very good--the one that comes as a side with the entrees. I have not tried any other salads there.

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