Open House: Weekend Adventures

By Seth Fera-Schanes

Want to feel like the 1 percent in nyc?  It’s quite simple, really.  Download any number of real estate apps (my personal choice in Trulia) and head to the advanced filters page.  Select the ‘open house’ box to highlight properties in your area, or any area of your choosing that are being shown to the buying public.

Many open houses occur on Saturday and Sunday with staggered 2 hour slots from 11:30-1:30, 12:30-2:30 and some go until 4pm.

Visiting open houses on the weekend is one of my favorite activities for a number of reasons:

The agents are friendly (they don’t know my bank account doesn’t necessarily match up with the asking price for the home) and hold a lot of information about not only the building but also the surrounding neighborhood.  Yay for free historical mini lectures!

Outdoor space;  start drooling now.  Did you know that some people in the city actually have their own private backyards?  Gasp.  Well it’s true and they come equipped with gardens, fire pits, barbecues, lounge chairs (holy shit, right?) and so much more.  And I get to walk around them, oh so briefly, and enjoy the high life.  Some of these places have backyards AND rooftop decks.

Architecture tours.  Why not pick a neighborhood known for working with a famous architect or epitomizes a certain artistic period?  Take Strivers Row for example with Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival and Italian Renaissance Revival by Stanford White all on the same two blocks.  You can visit Brooklyn Heights or Riverdale or any other neighborhoods throughout the 5 boroughs.

Big spending.  There is a huge range of incomes in nyc, no disputing that and this article isn’t meant to touch on the economics of the city.  But there is no shortage of $2-20 million (and more) dollar apartments and townhouses in the city that are quite fun to check out.  You can be surprised by just how few square feet $2 million will get you in certain neighborhoods to the bugged eyed moments when you see the opulence of an indoor pool AND sauna in someone’s house.

Here is an example to illustrate my point.  On one Sunday, I got a coffee in my neighborhood.  As I walked home, I opened my housing app and looked for open houses.  Just down the street from where I was standing was a gorgeous brownstone.  Lucky me.  I decided to stop by and after visiting the 5 floors (with elevator and dumbwaiter) and numerous bedrooms and bathrooms, I noticed most of the walls had built in bookshelves.  Very cool, but wouldn’t a few shelves suffice?  I asked the agent and he informed me I was standing in the home where Maya Angelou lived.

Maya Angelou Townhouse

Maya Angelou’s Brownstone in Central Harlem



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