I hope you all found time to enjoy a slower pace and the chance to reconnect with family, friends and loved ones during the holiday season. I was lucky enough to have spent a week in Tulum, Mexico with my family. As my ten year old son said about two days in: "This place is magic." It was like Berkeley (town of my alma mater) set on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whenever I return to Berkeley, I always marvel at how it seems to exist in a bohemian time warp, and that is decidedly how Tulum felt, married with new age sustainability, spectacular white sand and the breathtaking Caribbean Sea. The hair dryer, makeup, even shoes were of no use and in spite of its fast growing popularity it still had a super low-key vibe. This was not a luxury vacation, but it was the best place I have ever found that properly recharged me. Perhaps I'll share more about Tulum in a future newsletter!
As we begin to prepare for a new year, with a renewed sense of energy and our thoughts turning inward toward resolutions, let me be among the very first to wish you a 2017 filled with health, peace and joy. I know some like to hibernate in the winter months (WBFP anyone?), but for others who are still mourning last year’s loss of some of my generation’s most adored musicians (even in magical and chill Tulum I was jolted by the Christmas day passing of George Michael), I offer some new hope for 2017 by rounding up some of the best live music coming soon to my favorite venues (with plenty of housing choices around the corner from each, of course). But first, it wouldn’t be a new year without some crystal-ball predictions. Here are mine for next year's real estate market.
The fact that the average sales price in Manhattan has surpassed $2 million made major headlines this month, but overall, insiders are predicting a mixed bag in the real estate market for the coming year. Forbes expects the market to cool a bit, both nationally and locally, due to greater inventory, the fed's interest rate hike, and the simple fact that the market cannot sustain the unbelievable growth it has enjoyed the past half-decade. Remember that The Real Deal memorably projected Manhattan alone will have five years' worth of excess inventory by the end of next year, even though the rate of new development has slowed.
Still, where some see "cooling temperatures," I see opportunity. Buyers' markets are few and far between in the city, so now is the perfect time for buyers, and even renters, to take action. Worried about those rising mortgage interest rates and their effect on home prices? Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan says not to.
In perhaps the best New York City news of the new year, the Second Avenue Subway is slated to open to part-time service on January 1, with 24-hour service expected by January 9. As someone who specializes in the Upper East Side, I know how much the new subway is poised to pump extra life into the market, with some calling it a long-awaited Upper East Side building boom. I look forward watching it and 2017 unfold.
My best advice for the coming year? I’d recommend action for buyers and renters, and smart pricing and a well-crafted marketing plan for sellers.
Here are my picks of the best shows coming to my most favorite New York City concert halls and venues in the first few months of 2017.
64 N 9th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Who to See: Rising Appalachia on January 6 — These soulful sisters will captivate you with their expressive harmonies and banjo and fiddle accompaniment.
Where to Live: Williamsburg has become a notable New York City destination for music with a number of venues featuring major artists and emerging talent. But, as predicted, it seems prices in the area are already dampening in advance of the 2019 L-Train shutdown, making this an opportune time for investing across North Brooklyn, from Williamsburg to Greenpoint. The growing Domino Sugar megaproject is among my favorite new developments in the area.
30 Lafayette, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Who to See: Joe Benjamin & A Mighty Handful at BAM on January 20 — Enjoy a toe-tapping blend of jazz, funk and original compositions from this exciting 10-piece band led by Joe Benjamin.
Where to Live: The Brooklyn Academy of Music has been hosting performances at its current location for more than 100 years, placing it among the city's oldest music venues. Today, thanks to the Barclays Center arena and revamped Atlantic Terminal and malls, the area has become a hotbed of development. Just across the street, the brand-new BAM South Tower rental building will welcome Brooklyn's second Apple store.
155 Varick St.
Who to See: Shawn Colvin and Guests on January 24 – 26 — Grammy-winning folk artist Shawn Colvin serenades City Winery for three nights this January with notable guests Graham Nash of Crosby, Still and Nash fame and Richard Thompson, one of best guitar players in the business.
Where to Live: Just down the street from City Winery, Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano's much-anticipated condo building at 565 Broome launched sales this past fall.
127 E. 23rd St.
Who to See: An Open Book: An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October on January 26 — Justin Furstenfeld brings one of the most stirring and intense voices of rock music to the intimate and historic Gramercy Theatre.
Where to Live: This tiny 80-year-old theatre that once hosted movies and plays will soon be dwarfed by an array of new and exciting towers entering the Gramercy stage. Around the corner, Kohn Pederson Fox's Madison Square Park Tower stretches 777 feet into the atmosphere, and across the street at 122 E. 23rd St., Pritzker winner Rem Koolhaas has designed an 18-story condo tower set to open next year.
311 W 34th St.
Who to See: Sting on March 14 — On New Year's Eve, Sting kicks off a tour in support of his first rock album in years, "57th & 9th." Catch him at the gorgeous Hammerstein Ballroom for the tour's finale in March.
Where to Live: Sting's album was named for the location of the Hell's Kitchen studio in which it was recorded. Two blocks east of the album's namesake intersection, VIA 57 West is carving an exciting and unexpected silhouette on the Westside skyline.
6 Delancey St.
Who to See: The Lone Bellow on December 29 – 31 — This Brooklyn trio shows their Southern roots with stunning harmonies that embrace folk, country, gospel and rock traditions. I saw them there on December 30 but being that they are local, you can catch them next time around.
Where To Live: Built on top of a theater, just before the stock market crash of 1929, the building at 6 Delancey held a number of retail concerns before conversion to a music venue in 1997. The building's historic origins can be found in the mezzanine bar's striking coffered ceiling and the brass railings throughout. The Bowery itself has also experienced a resurgence from its modest roots. Sales at Annabelle Selldorf's ultra-luxe boutique condo building at 347 Bowery launched this summer, and a new eight-story mixed use building is expected to open at 138-142 Bowery in 2017.
196 Allen St.
Who to See: Michael Mizrahi & Michi Wiancko on January 22 — Mizrahi, a brilliant pianist, and Wiancko, a renowned violinist, bring their critically acclaimed and engaging music to this eclectic Lower East Side venue featuring three stages of live music from evening to late night, nearly every night of the week.
Where To Live: The Lower East Side was the cradle of New York City's infamous punk and hardcore scene for years. Today, that musical legacy continues with a number of venues, both old and new,found throughout the eastern portion of Lower Manhattan. Just steps from Rockwood, you'll find one of the most exciting developments in the city rising along Delancey Street. When completed, Essex Crossing will feature an amazing public market, plus residential units and abundant entertainment and cultural venues surrounded by ample outdoor spaces.
125 E. 11th St.
Who to See: Adam Ant on January 27 or Rick Astley on February 17 — Nostalgia abounds at Webster Hall this winter, so whether you'd like to get Rickrolled or dance along to infectious Ant Music, this popular East Village spot is the place to be.
Where to Live: While downtown bowlers lamented the passing of Bowlmor Lanes off Union Square, the Annabelle Selldorf's building on the site — featuring 52 apartments, all with corner layouts — has been earning rave reviews and brisk sales just blocks away from Webster Hall.
881 7th Ave.
Who to See: The Orchestra of St. Luke’s on February 16 — Enjoy the sublime Brahms Requiem performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the equally sublime environs of Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium.
Where (not?) to Live: Venerable Carnegie Hall — a New York institution since its opening in 1891 — anchors the "Billionaire's Row" stretch of glossy towers along 57th Street that was the talk of the real estate world as recently as last year. In a bold proclamation, Business Insider recently decreed that "Billionaire's Row is dead." Oh, how times change.