Thursday, March 31, 2011

Waiting for the man...While drinking Chai and listening to ELO

Just hanging at Think Coffee (Mercer Street)waiting for a client whom I am showing a loft to on Bond street. I love bond Street. Kind of weird, never been in here before, however the space is the first office I worked in at a RE company called "JI Sopher", total boiler room kind of experience, I mean that in a fun way, this was in 1989. Total NYU scene here, but good coffee, well in my case a Chai Latte.

The Chai has me feeling pretty good, yet even better they are playing ELO...the whole album! The planets are aligning for me today, after Bond street I have a closing, a two bedroom I sold at 280 Park Avenue South, really nice folks.

Anyway this is just me blah blah blogging away the time, first time ever using a Web Cam to take a photo, so thats kind of big. I love firsts, I love and appreciate firsts, heres to firsts and many more to come!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When I think about balance I think about being in harmony with the universe, balance is everything, all the time. In my life it means staying in time with everything I am trying to accomplish. For me staying centered with my energy helps get things done, when I'm too up or to down, the results are never ideal. When we get out of balance we usually don't feel well, stress sets in maybe depression or illness. The body will always seek balance (homeostasis) and usually with time it can right itself, though there are many things we can do to speed recovery and get back on track.

Things like acupuncture,yoga,chiropractics, sitting meditation,kinesiology, sacral cranial work, exercise or a change of diet are just some of the things we can do to help ourselves heal. Some of the above are not recognized as "legitimate" practices by many in the traditional fields of science. But there are some quantum physicists who are changing the way we look at ourselves, much as they changed the way we understand life. Some of these new discoveries are helping us to understand how these holistic practices actually help us heal, beyond all the anecdotal evidence that is available.

Just think, we are made up of 100 trillion cells according to some scientists and each one has intelligence built in. Pretty amazing, and if we can manipulate all that collective energy and channel our intentions; anything could be possible.

In my life as a real estate broker I try and help people make balanced decisions when purchasing a home. Life in NYC is quite hectic and the real estate market is like a mine field of stress, from high purchase prices to dealing with a co-op board interview. We spend a lot of time at home, it's the place we will hopefully make great memories with friends and family. You want to find a place that resonates with you on an emotional level and a place that you can manage financially so as not to add any additional stress to your life.

So try to find balance in your life, it's more than a new age cliche, it's a place worth seeking that will enhance your entire life experience.

*This is part of an exercise I'm doing, simply picking a word and writing about it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Atlantic City or Miami?

I took my wife to see Janet Jackson last Friday at the Borgata, which had no rooms available. Like a lot of people these days we are also watching what we spend. So on I found a room at a pretty good price at Harrah's. I had never been there before, frankly this is only my second trip to a casino. I figured if you are going to AC, you want to be in a big cheesy casino hotel and this seemed to fit the bill.

First of all, Janet rocked! But what I didn't know was that Harrah's had this amazing atrium filled with palm trees, a big pool and Florida like weather; all while it was 32 degrees outside. So although Atlantic City is a weird brew of contradictions and at times more depressing than glamorous, it can provide a fun and easy escape from a harsh winter to a small "tropical"setting.

We had a great time and my wife even won $254 dollars on the Wheel of Fortune slots! That's $190 net after original stake. Nice. So if the cold weather is getting you down, a show in AC and a stay at Harrah's might not be as bad as it sounds (even to a fabulous New Yorker :) Blogged via Android G2

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kelly Slater Killed My Surfing!

When I was a kid (the 70's through the early 80's-how weird! I started surfing in 1974!) I was one of the guys in the line-up that got looked at. I was always inside playing dare with the jetties that we surfed off of, taking off deep on blustery January Nor'easters, when the air temperature was 25 degrees and the the water was maybe 40 degrees. Over the years I continued to surf on and off and I probably peaked from 83-1990 when I spent much of the winter in Malibu. Malibu was a lot more chilled out then but that's another blog. So how did Kelly kill my game you ask?

Well let's fast forward to 2000, I was riding a board I bought in Mexico in the late 80's, then a retro "Black Beauty" from CI, in hindsight I should have stuck with that board! But as my surfing started to improve I got sucked back into wanting to move from a soul surf style to a more aggressive style of lips smacks and cut backs. Now, by the time I was feeling good about what I was doing, it was 2005, so I went out and bought a 5'10" CI "Five", this thing was a potato chip, about 18 1/4", thin, lots of rocker...what was I thinking? First of all, at this stage of the game this was not the board for me for many reasons. But more than anything else, I just never surfed well on it, especially in the slop we get in Jersey during the summer. Once in a blue moon, while in Costa Rica, (Playa Hermosa) I would get into a nice juicy wave and it would just work so well but everything had to be just right. Mostly, I really just got down on my own ability and I started to lose confidence in my own ability to surf. This was not only a difficult board to surf on if you are not at the very top of your game (I was not), it was very difficult to paddle out into a harsh beach break and even harder to catch a wave with. I was always taking off at the very last second and often getting my ass kicked! Surfing in 2-3 foot Jersey summer mush on this board made me feel like I had lost it all together. I practically could not stand up!

This was a really demoralizing time for me. I never thought my board could have something to do with my poor surfing. I thought I should be shredding on the thing just like Kelly, LOL! I sort of put two and two together and being kind of a gear-guy, knew it was time for a change. I was really pumped about the new shorter and fatter boards being shaped. After lots of looking around and reading I decided to buy the new Rusty DWART. I almost went with a CI Pod Quad and was also interested in the Firewire stuff. I really like the technology behind the FW's but they are really expensive and there was a lot of talk about boards that had broken down and the customer service was not great.

So anyway, I just started to ride my DWART, 5'10" (set up as a quad). I love it and look forward to a full year of surfing. Last year I was only out a handful of times after breaking my back surfing in Play Hermosa, Costa Rica. But I am feeling more confident and ready to have some fun, almost nothing means more to me than riding waves and it was difficult getting in such a funk the last few years. So it all made sense when I read an article in the February 2011 edition of Surfer magazine written by Chris Mauro. I had fallen victim to this board design that KS was ripping on in the 90's. It kind of makes sense, as that was a time when I was surfing quite a bit and I was stuck in that era of KS dominance and the sticks he was riding. Ironically, it was Slater who started to experiment with new designs and was actually riding these boards in competitions. Of course, Kelly didn't really kill my surfing (well sort of) but like anything else in life you have to be fluid, receptive and open to what's going on in the moment. Clearly I was stuck in the past and had the complete wrong idea about what I should be riding. Before, when I walked into a surf shop, I had tunnel vision when it came to choosing a board. It had to be thin, narrow and short! How dumb was I? I should have been paying more attention to people like Rob Machado.

Monday, March 21, 2011

When a Deal is not a Deal

I have been following the real estate market in three places, New York (of course), East Coast of Florida and Costa Rica. I also informally try and keep an eye on what's happening throughout the US as well to have some sort of handle on the macro picture. But let's stick to NYC for the moment; things have moved from stable to a low rolling boil. So what's boiling? Any well-priced apartment in a prime segment of Manhattan is trading. For instance, 54 East 11th Street just went into contract fairly quickly (near ask), a nice, if not quirky space that needed a complete renovation.

Another unit we were involved with bidding on was at 5 East 22nd Street, yet another we lost (and we bid just a stone's throw away from the asking). We THOUGHT we had a deal, then my 6th sense kicked in as excuse after excuse came our way regarding getting the terms sheet to our attorney. When I pressed the listing broker a bit she fessed up: they had been negotiating with an all-cash buyer and it looked liked the seller was leaning that way, even though our bid was higher. I was not a happy camper. My client really wanted this place and I don't like to get played. Fact is, if we were told what was going on in a straight fashion, I would have advised my client to bid the ask, as I had told her that was where I thought the unit would trade. I can't say for sure if she would have, but I am pretty certain she would have went there. However, because of the way the negotiation was handled, I never would have suggested it and I know she felt the exact same way. Now I don't know if it was the seller or the broker who engineered their strategy, but in the end the seller may have sold herself short by not negotiating in good faith. We accepted it and moved on.

This is not the first time this has happened to me and I am sure it won't be the last. But this is (unfortunately) how deals transpire in NYC. There is NO deal until the fat lady sings, which means both parties have to put their John Hancock on the contract. In most cases, especially in this market, sellers will stay the course with a buyer once the ball starts rolling, meaning a contract has been sent out along with supporting documents to the buyer's attorney. I think in general this is the best way to proceed: any offers that come in after an offer is accepted, or (better yet) a contract has been sent out, should be honored. There is nothing wrong with having a back up offer (or two) if the present deal falls through. I have seen, more times than not, deals fall through when a seller decides to bump an accepted offer and proceed with a higher offer that came in after the fact. One reason this can happen is the second buyer is acting from a more emotional place after drawing a line in the sand with an offer and then not getting the deal. Or, sometimes by the time they decide to make their offer, the seller has already accepted someone else's offer. Type A Manhattanites don't like to lose (but they don't like to overpay either) after bidding with their ego and not their brain.

So, when you represent a buyer in NYC and have an offer accepted, everyone tends to get a little jumpy because if you are not attached in an emotional way to the home you are buying, you should not be buying it. Jumpy? Yes, because the seller's broker will continue showing the home until there is a fully executed contract. As a buyer broker I don't like it anymore than you do. However, if I was selling your home, I would be doing the same thing and like most brokers, I would advise you to stay the course with the accepted offer, especially if we were close to getting home. Now, of course, if a new offer comes in that is substantially higher we have to talk and then things can get a bit ugly (especially for buyer Numero Uno)!