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I have quite a few friends and colleagues who live in the Blackout Zone in Manhattan (not to mention the Flood Zone) and while I understand that the blackout was a freakish thing largely due to that substation explosion on East 14th Street, I can't help but feel a teeny bit of validation living *uptown* right now. One friend in particular who's been particularly smug about never living above 14th Street is now on my couch -- comfortably fed, shaved, and showered -- in an apartment he vowed never to visit because it's in what he calls the "nosebleed zone".
But seriously, after several years of increasingly severe weather (hurricanes and blizzards) that have stretched both our mass transit and electrical system to its limits, do we expect to see a shift in priorities among buyers in the coming years?
I'm hearing a lot of vows among friends and colleagues about never living in flood zones again, and never again living in a building taller than six floors (or that requires electrical pumps to provide water pressure).
I think at the higher end, a least, after living through a multi-day blackout, many multi-million dollar homeowners will seriously rethink living in large buildings and instead take a closer look at brownstone or townhouse living.
What do you think?
In 6 months everyone will forget those vows and it will be business as usual.
Prices might drop now but I suspect that eventually people will forget, just like what happened after 9-11.
So maybe now is the time to get in. You know what they say: "When there's a flood in the streets, it's time to buy!"
A generator on the 2nd Floor with a 3-day runtime may become the amenity du jour. Keep elevators available, water flowing, some hallway lights on, and to go all out you could even provide 200W per unit to support gadget charging and a light or two. Buildings' resilience will get some added scrutiny, though I too doubt there are major market changes afoot.
And let's remember that uptown dwellers could have lost power too; the Washington Heights Con Ed substation is down by the Harlem River next to the MTA's 207th St subway yards, which the MTA says were flooded. Or think back to the 1999 WaHi blackout. We are all vulnerable in many ways, and it tends to be pretty event-specific who bears the burdens the worst.
People will continue to buy in outlying areas, but there will be a premium for those units that are centrally located, but insulated from freak weather.
I agree with Uptown Joe that more building amenities may focus on security of water and power supplies.
Not the time to be living in an all-electric building, that's for sure.
I wonder how many brownstones/townhouses got water in their basements and/or cellars. Knock on wood, I think we escaped, but our direct neighbors were not so lucky. They had just finished their post-Irene repairs, and now it's time to start all over.
I too was thinking about those too cool to ever go/live above 14th st
"A generator on the 2nd Floor" ... for safety, be sure the generator is electrically-powered.
"uptown dwellers" ... generally, the uptown west side is on high ground, but most of Harlem is a valley, and there's plenty of landfill there. I wonder why no flooding.
Red is former waterways, pink former marshland. Use arrows to pan left and right: http://www.brorson.com/maps/NYC/NewHarlem_1903/NewHarlemLevel2_3660_0.html
Yeah, I've encountered the snobbery of those living below 14th and immediately thought of that when I heard about the power outages and flooding.
I doubt it will have too much impact on RE prices honestly, but it depends on the buyer. When I bought my apartment right in the center of the UWS I had just moved from a flood zone and actually thought it was a huge selling feature totally missed by both brokers!
I've never understood downtown snobbery.
Historically, the poor neighborhoods (in any city or town) were those that had common sense disadvantages; flood zone, poor soil, no secure source of water, too steep to farm, too swampy, etc. These were judgement calls made by farmers of the 1800's, who had to literally live off the land, and the land had to be of good quality.
If we all thought like farmers there would no one living near the beach dealing with storms and erosion, no one sliding off a hill in California, no one living in New Orleans, no water resource issues in the SW, and no one living below 14th street.
Not everybody lives downtown because they're snobs. In fact, I live in BPC which, for some downtown people, is considered not hip enough. All I know is that it is a beautiful and well built neighborhood. I am re-posting what I wrote on another threat here ..."Despite the parks being flooded, the streets and buildings being on much higher elevation were not flooded and BPC did not lose power for one second. Yes, most of us evacuated but now we know that we could have stayed. My brother stayed and we texted throughout the storm. No flood, no blackout, beautiful waterview and yet cheaper than Tribecca - which is right across West Side Highway and is till dark as we speak."
"Downtown snobbery"?! It almost sounds as if some people here believe that the residents of Lower Manhattan deserve what they are going through. Anyone who is happy in their neighborhood tends to think that it is the best one.
Look, you are in a flood zone. You got hit by Irene but not Sandy. Pure luck, that.
BTW, people probably should not rely on current flood zone maps if that is an important factor in their decision to buy. Best of luck to everyone affected by this horrible event. I'm sure we're not hearing from the worst hit as SE is not a top priority right now. Please share your stories when you are able.
More exactly, Sandy happened not to actually hit New York ... we simply got the associated storm surge. And (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe it downgraded to a tropical storm before it got near land in our region.
Slightly worse conditions (5%?) and BPC would be hit the same as the rest of the landfill area near there. A bathtub can't take the combo of hydrostatic pressure and wave action beyond a certain extent, and there's no reason to believe that BPC is severely over-engineered. In fact, it was designed during lean times in NY and probably takes an approach that favors economy. Its main purpose was to provide a place for excavation dumpage.
I wouldn't for a second consider living in BPC from here out. But then I don't consider it a positive to say that I live in a place that's "like not living in New York at all", which has always been its residents' main talking point.
> In 6 months everyone will forget those vows and it will be business as usual.
Try 6 days.
Generally how old are people too cool to go above 14th?
Or does it cut across every generation?
"....Too cool to live above 14th street..." - Was this a hipster who said this?
Actually, AH, I will correct you and in this rare instance you are wrong. It landed with cat1 hurricane force winds (extending for a huge range), and hadn't been downgraded but had been relabeled. Because the primary cause of the storm at landing was the result of a weather system from the north, rather than stemming from ocean factors, it became a nor'easter wrapped around the remnants of a hurricane (I LOVE the NHC site).
Anyway extratropical, hurricane, whatever, BPC got lucky.
This week gave me some vindication for moving from Tribeca to Carnegie Hill. All because we couldn't afford what we wanted to buy down there, and it was hard to move from what used to be a fantastic neighborhood (and is now just a land of hedge fund mommies and conforming to everything the rest of the manhattan in just about every way) to the land of retirement, strollers (far worse than I remember Tribeca being) and charmless, crappy restaurants.
Now, there no other neighborhood I'd rather be...never thought those words would come out of my mouth!
From a Yahoo article;
"Moche, who was born and raised in New York, was spooked by the strange weather, and now would rather live farther uptown, away from the harbor, in case such storms become more frequent. "We had a snow day now or then, but hurricanes?" Moche said in disbelief."
I think that says it all . . .
Full article http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/yorkers-prepared-fourth-night-darkness-134523649.html
funny NYC--i grew up, schooled on carn hill--raisin up and schoolin mine there--bolting to blyn as soon as my last heads to college next year--neighborhood aint all bad, you certainly cant complain re CP; and if youre raisin up a family it sure works well.
Brooklyn more interesting, and a bit cheaper living across the board. Familyable too, but mine are pretty much launched at this point.
Agree Tribeca has lost it's soul to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Same with Chelsea, and obv SOHO which is at the mall stage of gentrification.
Whinnnny little foolz buying on the water. Can't afford to rebuild every 5 yrs wo insurance. well that's like buying a $500k 1200 horsepower powerboat and asking your guests for diesel money.
My hummer gas bill has gone and fked up my grocery budget!
Well said, yikes!
"Slightly worse conditions (5%?) and BPC would be hit the same as the rest of the landfill area near there."
VERY good point, Alan.
I've been thinking this the whole time. As bad as this was, it was *barely* a hurricane. And virtually no rain!
Can you imagine ...
I like that fool who's home in Hoboken and beach home on the jersey got whacked and he's keeping it 'together' for his wife and daughter....
Two fking homes?!?!!!? Whinny little shit.
Usually sarcastic, this time around, THE ONION speaks TRUTH!
Hey dealturd. Watch me move markets with my 1000 lot option trades on sprint. Brokewhores like you don't remember the floods,, the bubbles, the $30k assessments, the crazy azzed tenants.... That's why you are a shoe salesman. Making the bulk of your income on commissions.
w67th, I am glad you survived the hurricane; I was worried. I am still worried about huntersburg and hope he makes a reappearance soon. Has he ever been absent this long?
I am just relieved that there was finally a natural disaster catastrophic enough to allow some people uptown to feel better about themselves. You go girls.
If we've learned only one thing from Sandy, it's that it's always better to rent than to own.
I'm still thinking over what someone offered about BPC, never lost power and was always dry. That's very amazing and yet, if I were there on an island surrounded by the city's worst flooding, and surrounded by a total blackout lasting a full week, would I be thinking, boy, this place is GREAT!??? I'm still up @#$% creek without a paddle. It's just that my paddle-less canoe has naugahyde seats, a home entertainment system, and a Coleman lantern that doesn't need kerosene.
And of course expecting the power go out at any moment the whole time ...
A guy FLOATED on an air mattress to city hall in Hoboken, where 25% of the homes were flooded and 90% lost power. This was/is a freaking disaster. If you personally are dry and warm consider yourself extremely lucky.
" some people uptown to feel better about themselves. You go girls."
If you mean "go take a hot shower", "go to an open grocery store", "go ahead and use power and the internet", then yes, thanks, we will "go".
"On The Waterfront":
According to Guinness World Records, Hoboken, NJ boasts 85 bars per square mile, more than any other city in the US.
... yeah, Hoboken, but how many millibars? Kazan!
Pre- storm. I wonder how many they've lost.
BPC did not get lucky. It was built to withstand hurricane level 2 (although given the 14ft storm surge we had with hurricane Sandy, that was technically hurricane level 4 as far as storm surge goes, based on answer.com). See map below for FEMA flood zone categories. You will see that BPC is in moderate (south BPC) to low (north BPC) risk area, lower risk than many other parts in lower Manhattan and even midtown West/East due to its higher elevation, despite being in evacuation zone. We can argue why anyone would want to live in hurricane level 2 zone, but it that happens, not just lower Manhattan will be impacted...
BPC is great because most of the time, those of us who choose to live there enjoy the best view there is (water, boats, statue of liberty - instead of brick walls and water tanks - not that there is anything wrong with that if you like that) and great parks. And for the few days that are not so great like these past few days, we know that we are lucky that we can still take hot shower, use the internet and make phone calls and offer our friends and family members places to stay.
And for those of you who think BPC is an excavation dump, yes, it is built on landfill, but so what? In a place where land is in short supply with growing population, there is not enough space for everyone uptown even if we build up. BPC was originally built to provide affordable housing to professionals working downtown so they would not have to commute from Long Island, New Jersey or Westchester. BPC condo residents pay higher common charges than the average condo owner elsewhere in the city because some of it goes to pay to maintain our parks (which Tribecca people use for free even though they would never be caught dead living in BPC), and some of it goes to the city's coffers, which the city is supposed to use for low income housing provision but, probably more often than not, it is used to plug some holes in the city budget - which benefits everybody who lives in the city. BPC is an income generating area for the city - not a waste of taxpayers' money and a dump. To each his own, no need to be putting down other people's preferences.
Oh, so you don't recall the last storm?
Look, like your living arrangement. Share your joy. But you're still in a high-zone evacuation area. And as many people could tell you who are not technically high zone, the collateral damage can be huge. You come off as very smug with your no power problems. Many people who are not in flood areas lost power. So you got lucky.
Irene had no impact on BPC either. I am not smug. I go by facts.
If you really don't want to live in flood zone (no matter what category), here is the map:
and luck. just a wind pattern away.
i'm sorry. you are stupid. you go by past history, which is no prediction of the future in this case. you're in a very vulnerable area. enjoy it. you may be able to for decades. or not.
The fact is we had a storm surge of 14feet with Sandy, and there was no flood and no blackout in BPC. 14feet storm surge is categorized as level 4 hurricane. Now, if we have hurricane level 5, then yes BPC will have problem, but so will the rest of the city including you. :-)
You are so dumb. you just got lucky. it all depends on the weather patterns.
Bpc truly emerged from Sandy looking impressively resilient, particularly relative to many of its adjoining neighborhoods. I unequivocally believe this will be a key selling point going forward.
> I can't help but feel a teeny bit of validation living *uptown* right now.
those that felt validation for opting to be stay at home moms instead of having a nanny 10 days ago, were treated like sh*t, but i totally get the feeling in both cases.
> One friend in particular who's been particularly smug about never living above 14th Street is now on my couch -- comfortably fed, shaved, and showered -- in an apartment he vowed never to visit because it's in what he calls the "nosebleed zone".
such people don't think on their own, they follow what's trendy. if living 2 feet from the water becomes trendy, sandy or not, he'll do it!
> If we've learned only one thing from Sandy, it's that it's always better to rent than to own.
"Irene had no impact on BPC either. I am not smug. I go by facts."
Fact is, BPC was cut off from the subway system like the rest of lower Manhattan. Fact is, all the businesses on the other side of the highway had no power, and most were closed. Fact is, essentially any neighborhood above 40th street, from Hells Kitchen or Murray Hill to Inwood was much more convenient to live in than BPC. I could order from seamless web on both Monday and Tuesday. The worse inconvenience was the pizza place ran out of pineapples.
> Fact is, BPC was cut off from the subway system like the rest of lower Manhattan. Fact is, all the businesses on the other side of the highway had no power, and most were closed.
a very smart friend of mine from BPC take advantage of the storm by taking a vacation to Europe. last time around, he and his visitors had to check in to a hotel w/in Manhattan. why not use the time as a vacation during mandatory evacuation?
I live in BPC. I rent. My choice of the neighborhood obviously had nothing to do with the flood zone. Were we in a mandatory evacuation zone? Yes. Did I leave? No. Was it stupid in retrospect? Perhaps. Was I lucky? Definitely. But, during this week, it is weird to think that I had a very normal week considering all that happened (I worked from home, I shopped at Whole Foods, I had electricity, and I had Internet). My windows look east and all week I looked into a vat of darkness. But it wasn't until yesterday when I walked through West Village, Soho, and Tribeca in total darkness did I understand what was really going on. Is BPC going up in price because of this? Of course not. It was one event in which we got lucky (and I feel very guilty for being so lucky). But, in 3 months no one buying or renting will remember this. People's perception of what is "cool" and what is not will have nothing to do with being without power for 4 days.
"We can argue why anyone would want to live in hurricane level 2 zone, but it that happens, not just lower Manhattan will be impacted..."
Winds would hurl projectiles through the air. Windows would be smashed. Nowhere in the five boroughs would be a good place to be.
"People's perception of what is "cool" and what is not will have nothing to do with being without power for 4 days."
How about a couple of weeks, and now in the cold? Or the buildings that have structural damage and have been deemed unsafe? How about all of the stories that will eventually emerge from areas around us that were devastated? Or the downtown steam customers who are out of hot water for however long?
For those of you that feel validation as opposed to sadness, you are reinforcing what downtowners feel as well; ie, that the uptown is a bunch of rich tasteless assholes. Although people downtown pretend to be cool, it is also a reaction to the uber-rich Upper East Siders who stare down their noses at the plebians living in "squalor" in the LES. I live downtown and spend most of my time downtown. I will remain downtown although no longer on the hudson river front. I am moving for safety reasons.
By this same logic, many of my relatives in the midwest think I am crazy to live in NYC after 9/11, and that all New Yorkers are elitist. There are a lot of people who would feel a similar "validation" if a terrorist attacked all of NYC again, especially with uranium. These people are known as psychopaths. How are you any different?
I have friends that live all over the world, urban, suburban, rural, etc. All places have their charms and risks. I choose to live where I live because it is my choice. I do not expect other people to follow it. I get no validation when people are stranded in an earthquake or their houses are burnt to the ground or they are dead as a result of any man-made or natural disasters. I suggest you see a psychiatrist and get your neurotransmitters rebalanced.
After 14 years of renting and owning downton ... never again
This week was miserable
Living somewhere bcs it is "cool" is fking stupid.
Sandy was just a minor inconvience for me, I'll pay for a good zipe code any day of the week. Being warm, safe, clean and fed is more important to me than the illusion of "cool".
> After 14 years of renting and owning downton ... never again
HarlemFF, took for granted you were living in Harlem. what does FF stand for?
You can get screwed anyplace realistically by different events.
I got to say tho maybe its just coincidence but I never knew much about NJ gov Chris Christie until this crisis and he seems quite imprssive to me the way he holds his news updates and demeanor, as opposed to our NY gov.
agreed. but safe means different things in retrospect. people thought the world trade center was safe for years. wondering if any of you felt vindicated when those fell as well?
No. That would be cruel. Not sure why anyone would feel that why.
My handle suggests BPC but I live in Harlem now. Anyway BOOM NYT is on it:
Wife and I fled our confines of the Village for the UWS after dealing with a very stressful couple of days. I of course worked each and every day through the storm until very early hours in the morning, without shower and with a new, horriffic commute. Hit my breaking point on Thursday, wife was freaking out, and had a very generous friend to allow us to use her apt just off CPW.
Oh would I love living near the park.
I dont think it takes a degree in anthropology to realize similar types of people choose to live in similar areas. Lower Manhattan is younger, more single. Upper is more residential, more family. And nowadays Brooklyn is even younger. Who cares people? It is so silly to say uptown is 'better'....better for whom?
"You can get screwed anyplace realistically by different events.
I got to say tho maybe its just coincidence but I never knew much about NJ gov Chris Christie until this crisis and he seems quite imprssive to me the way he holds his news updates and demeanor, as opposed to our NY gov."
Cuomo was relegated to lording over Nassau County press conferences, and was still smacked down by Mayor Bloomberg who demanded LIPA work on the Rockaways as a priority.
Glad to hear BPC was good through the hurricane.
If you like it there, good luck for the future and hope all is well.
Nice to read that most of you are O.K.
Agree with snuffles re: Chris Christie.
Tomnevers: Hope you can go home soon.
Yes, renting is better than owning -- just much easier.
My landlord sent an employee over to tape and board windows. He was concerned about his tenants.
Made sure we all had flashlights, extra batteries and extra water, ect.
He's a good guy.
Bay Ridge had some trees down and those blocks lost power.
My rental apt was fine throughout:
No power outage, I still had (Time Warner) cable service, my Verizon internet didn't go down until
the day AFTER the hurricane , late Tues.
Bay Ridge, located up on a real ridge didn't flood .
Although gale force winds are a part of the elevation factor, most homes/buildings were intact.
On the day of the hurricane: stores, restaurants, delis were all open.
On Tues. almost all of the rest that were closed down on Monday were reopened.
Many store/business owners' are local residents as are their employees.
“If you are in the flood zone and you are marketing a new high-end property, it will need to stand up to the test of another superstorm,” said Stephen G. Kliegerman, the executive director of development marketing for Halstead Property. “I think buyers would happily pay to be relatively reassured they wouldn’t be terribly inconvenienced in case of a natural disaster.”