Rescue me! 308 York Ave ($80,000)

York Avenue in New Brighton continues to need a lot of love, but it has oh so much potential.

308 York Ave - front

This circa 1920 wood frame house is bigger than it looks from the street (around 1600 square feet) and could be an adorable little cottage if someone would replace the garage door, open up the enclosed porch, get rid of that mangled fence and plant the front garden.  It’s going to take a special person to fall in love with this house though.  It suffered a fire at one point, there’s a gaping hole in the roof and it has been open to the elements for years.  Next door is a disastrous looking structure (that perhaps once had its own charm?) and across the street is a vacant lot.  Now the good news: this house is within walking distance of Tompkinsville, home to a growing shopping and dining district; it’s a long walk or a quick bike or bus ride to the ferry in St George; and an increasing number of people are taking on home improvement projects in the area, including on York Ave.

listing for 308 York Ave



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Friday fantasy: a destination restaurant for Jersey street (seriously)

We’re back! A new addition to our family necessitated a longer than anticipated hiatus from the shill, but at last I feel ready to resume posting with some degree of regularity (no promises! — we shall see).

How about a fantasy post to resurrect the blog?

Trulia pic

Trulia pic

I walk past this old service station on Brighton ave between York Ave and Jersey Street almost daily. Over the past couple of years it has been active only sporadically as a mechanic’s garage. More often it has served as a dumping ground for old tires, mattresses and other assorted oversized or hazardous junk. In recent months it has become the canvas for some of the neighborhood’s more interesting and beautiful street art. And now it’s for sale!

5 brighton ave - art

If both time and money were no object (hence the fantasy) I would snap this place up and transform it into a laid back, welcoming, community-oriented cafe. You know, the kind of place where everyone loves to gather after church.  And for Mothers Day brunch. And for ice cream sundaes following ballet recitals.  I would strive to achieve some specialty that would draw visitors from surrounding communities as well. “Best cinnamon buns within NYCs 5 boroughs”, maybe. Or “biscuits and gravy to die for”, perhaps. I would fill the interior with comfy booths that encourage folks to sit and stay a while.  Maybe add a generous counter space aimed at solo diners and a fireplace in the back corner for warmth and ambiance on dark winter days. I would replace those clunky garage doors with giant steel and glass ones that bring the outside in and the inside out. I would fill the outside lot with giant planters and tables shaded by colorful umbrellas.  I would install a web of white twinkling lights over the patio to keep it comfortable and inviting into the nighttime hours.

I imagine it might look something like this place, called Brake Pad, in Georgia.

Who’s with me??  I’d love to see the art preserved as well.

We can’t manage such an enormous project at present, but maybe someone else out there will be so inclined?  The asking price for the property is a bit, uh, ambitious at $575,000. I suspect the current owner is hoping to sell to a developer who will raze the garage and build something that maximizes the buildable allowance while being heinously ugly to boot.  Jersey Street deserves better than that and I truly hope that whoever takes on this project does it with the community’s best interests in mind. The garage last sold following foreclosure for $160,000 just over a year ago, so maybe there’s some wiggle room on the price?

Find the listing here.

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For sale – secret hideaway in Stapleton ($110,000)

The address says Van Duzer Street, but in truth this house and lot abuts no street at all! This wee cottage (2 bedrooms, 992 square feet) sits on a 2,400 square foot lot sandwiched in between the backyards of homes on Van Duzer and Targee.  Check out the location marked on the Property Shark map:

How does one even get back there?  Is there a secret passageway from the street?  Do you have to pass through the neighbors’ backyards?  If you go check it out, please let us know.

According to the listing, here’s what you’ll find in this secret spot:

TONS of potential, we think.  Plus no street noise!  Not too many New Yorkers can claim that.

The yard, while currently overgrown, is large.  Someone with some gardening chops could transform this into their own private, secret garden paradise.

Sadly, there are no pics of the living space.  It’s described as a “handyman special” so presumably everything needs work.  At $110,000 and annual taxes at $486, you could get this place for a total monthly payment of less than $500.  Not bad, right?


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For sale – 2 fixer-uppers on Willis Ave

In an early morning stroll around the neighborhood, we happened upon Willis Ave for the first time. It’s located just one block off the busy arterial, Victory Boulevard, but at only one block long it feels as quiet and quaint as a small village lane. A series of charming, semi-attached homes built around 1916 sit nestled into the side of the hill. Small double-door garages face the street.

Two homes along this lane have for sale signs out front.  Number 50 Willis Ave is in foreclosure and listed at $255k through the Fannie Mae Homepath Program, which allows low down payments and renovation financing.  The house is set up as a two-family and looks to have hardwood floors, thick mouldings  and bright rooms.  The kitchen is good sized, but could use a bit of work.

Number 44 Willis Ave also has a for sale sign posted, but I don’t see an online listing.  I love the porch on this one, which overlooks the neighbor’s impressive garden across the street.

This block has its challenges, including a couple of vacant lots and an apartment complex that appears to have been abandoned mid-construction (you can see it on the google map street view if you’re curious).  But it has a lot going for it as well, such as a cohesive stock of adorable houses and a location that is convenient to shopping, restaurants, buses and ferry.


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For sale – 163 Clinton Ave ($699,000)

Wow. If we were considerably richer and looking for a home, we would definitely be checking out 163 Clinton Ave in Randall Manor.

This house is pretty huge, at 3642 ft2 with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and an “artist’s loft” on the top floor.  I’m loving the siding, the roof line, and the corner lot, not to mention the high ceilings and multiple marble fireplaces.

There’s an absolutely charming vintage-style bathroom…

…and impressive built-ins in the library.  I’d add a window seat to that bay window.

There are several more pictures on the broker’s website.  The Randall Manor neighborhood surrounds the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and is dense with historic architecture.  It’s a bit of a hike to the ferry, but a quick trip by bus or bike.


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Rescue me! 130 Corson Ave ($199,000)

UPDATE: The list price has been slashed to $199,000.  C’mon and take a look.  We sure hope someone fixes this place up soon.  It would be a shame to leave it exposed to the elements through another winter…

Here’s another listing that’s fairly new to the market, but has been vacant for quite some time and deserves an attentive new owner.

circa 1980 tax photo

It’s a two-family home with a driveway and a large yard.  Unfortunately, apart from sitting vacant, several of the windows were left open through the winter and substantial hole has been developing in the roof.  Add that to the foliage that’s growing out of the chiminey and this place might seem like a tough sell.

Fortunately, the challenges facing this home seem to have been factored into the list price: $249,000 $199,000.  An intrepid buyer could make this house absolutely charming! If it were us, we’d add back the porch and replace the siding for starters.  It’s two doors down from 138 Corson Ave, which we featured earlier and is still available.  Also check out the government program that could kick in $80,000 toward the purchase of this home for an owner who intends to live here.

Click here for the listing:


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For sale! – 85 Sherman Ave ($359,000)

Here’s a pretty sweet opportunity for the homeowner who loves projects! We’d snap it up ourselves if we weren’t already consumed with enough projects to keep us busy for the next decade.
Check out some of the original details on this house.

The windows:

The inlaid parquet floors:

Not bad, right?  But that’s not all!

Plaster medallions:


Radiators without gobs of paint on them:

And unpainted wood staircase and fireplace mantle:

But wait!  That’s not all!  In addition to it’s old world charms, this place has a number of modern conveniences.  It’s walking distance to the ferry, restaurants and shops and there is off-street parking for multiple cars.  Views of the harbor can be had from the upper floors.  This block is among our favorites in the neighborhood, with several nicely preserved houses of varied architectural styles.  Lot’s of well-tended gardens along this stretch as well.

6 bedrooms, 2.25 baths, and a new eat-in-kitchen (although with no pictures of the kitchen on the listing, we’re skeptical of the quality of the renovation).  At this price for this much space (2,719 ft2), we’d assume the baths need to be redone as well.  Love a project?  This one’s for you!

Here’s the listing:

Annual taxes at $2,495


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