Pyramid Power in NYC

Rising from the construction ashes of Hell’s Kitchen is definitely a beauty to behold. There’s a tetrahedron rising over West 57th Street that’s about to change the NYC skyline and Manhattan real estate unlike any other straight box tower thrown up in the last few decades.

There is skyscraper construction and then there is true architectural groundbreaking beauty and the Durst Pyramid is clearly the latter.  The building at 625 West 57th Street is taking shape, turning into one of the city’s most unique architectural wonders since the Chrysler Building in 1928 or Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, The Guggenheim Museum in 1959.

West 57th PyramidThe project is the inaugural North American design of the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for the Durst Organization.  The four plane triangular construction is meant to bring natural light deep into the structure and afford some 700 lucky owners the sunny, Hudson River views which set the standard for the NYC real estate market.  The luxury apartments will be set atop glass enclosed retail/commercial space all set to welcome tenants and owners early in 2016.

 Looking to buy/sell real estate in New York?

Lisa Fantino, Associate Broker

J.Philip Real Estate

Spring into Tax Savings

Spring has sprung and so has tax grievance season in Westchester.  That’s when homeowners come out of the woodwork with dreams of reducing their property taxes.  While the filing deadline has passed for the villages, the deadline for the towns and most cities in Westchester is just a few short months away on June 16, 2015.

Westchester Tax Grievance

Yet, the landscape is different this year and commonplace reductions will not be as easily won as in past years.  The reason is that many municipalities undertook market re-assessment projects in recent years:  Mamaroneck in 2013; Scarsdale in 2014; and Ossining this year for the first time in 43 years.  The revaluations have resulted in a seismic shift with lower tax bills for some and shockingly higher assessments for others.  The reality is that other than the rare exception, your property’s assessed value is now closer to the realized market value if your town has just undergone the reassessment process.

The process is easy and costs minimal compared to the savings which are often realized.  To file at the local level costs nothing.  Tax grievance attorneys generally charge a contingency fee, meaning that you pay nothing if your taxes are not reduced.  The only initial expense is the appraisal which must be done, generally less than $600 depending on your location.

Many homeowners try to employ self-help in filing the grievance application, but it’s worth retaining an attorney from the start.  If your application is denied then the tax grievance attorney will file a court appeal on your behalf if he or she is already on board.

It is also important to keep in mind that most municipalities in Westchester base your taxes on the prior year’s assessment, so if your town’s grievance deadline is June 16th for the 2015 tax roll, any reduction will not be realized until your 2016 taxes.  Therefore, don’t delay because prospective savings are still a year away.

Your taxes will not increase simply because you file a grievance application and lower property taxes can be a great asset if trying to sell your house in Westchester or anywhere else in the New York market.

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Farewell Captain

How do you say goodbye to a hero?  Someone who has been a part of your life for more than 20 years?  Someone who has brought you nothing but joy and great memories?  It’s hard but today’s the day New York says Farewell Captain.  Derek Jeter is retiring.  Me and my family will be there for part of baseball history because he has been so much a part of our family tapestry.

You have to understand what baseball is to me…it’s what bound this Daddy’s little girl to Daddy, along with dancing on the tops of his shoes.  My Dad taught me how to pitch, how to catch and he came to all of those girl’s softball games when I played shortstop, just like Derek Jeter.

Farewell CaptainYet, heroes are not born overnight.  They have to prove themselves.  They have to earn the right to your respect.  They have to lead by example and win your heart with each flub and foul…and they have to do it with grace and humility.  Derek Jeter has done just that throughout his stellar career.  So, he is not just leaving the New York Yankees but he is retiring from the game of baseball because he has been its dignified face for more than 20 years.

This summer was like the long goodbye.  Each turn at bat brought thousands of cameras out, clicking away, trying to memorialize a Jeter moment in time.  Then I went to a game and he didn’t take the field.  He draped himself across the fence in front of the dugout, his forever perch, always hugging it, head slouched, looking like a lost boy but focused on the field.  It was a bittersweet feeling for me, probably for him as well.  It’s a sadness that leaves a hole in your heart at the realization that this won’t last but the memory will.  Moments captured in the heart and not in pictures, moments you’ll remember for a lifetime because you lived the dream and believed that anything is and was possible.

I remember the day Joe DiMaggio died.  My Dad displayed a sadness I had never seen before.  He said it was as if his entire childhood and youth were slipping away.  With Sinatra’s death a few months earlier and then the Yankee Clipper.  It was a profound moment for him.

I don’t think there will be sadness in the Bronx today.  I think it’s going to be a party New York Style.  I think the cheering is going to be so loud that they’ll hear it all the way in Beantown and even the Bostonians will feel the love.

We all move onto new milestones in our lives.  Derek Jeter is looking forward to his.  Yankee Stadium was once known as the House that Ruth Built but there’s no denying that Derek Jeter lifted it to new heights.  Farewell Captain.  You will be missed…at least until the next Old Timers’ Day.