broker envy

‘If I Could Buy Right Now, I’d Go for It’: The Listings Brokers Are Obsessed With

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Courtesy of the Corcoran Group, Tim Waltman for Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker Warburg

No one sees more apartments than a broker. Which means they, more than anyone, know which ones are actually, really, excellent. So each month, we’ll ask agents from the city’s top firms about the listings they’re obsessed with (but don’t represent) and what makes them so covetable.

A 25-foot-wide brick townhouse in Hamilton Heights

Specs: 6 beds, 6 baths
Price: $3.5 million

A massive living room with stained glass and wood detail. Photo: Courtesy of the Corcoran Group
The home has an "otherworldly" feel, including its backyard garden. Courtesy of the Corcoran Group.
The home has an "otherworldly" feel, including its backyard garden. Courtesy of the Corcoran Group.

The thing about 51 Hamilton Terrace, says Christopher Butt, an associate broker at Corcoran, is that it feels even bigger than it is. Which may sound like classic broker-speak, but the brick townhouse is, actually, properly enormous: 25 feet wide and 6,000 square feet. “It feels very different than a brownstone,” he says. “It’s a mansion really.” Take the parlor, for example, which is really three rooms — what the floor plan refers to as a parlor, drawing room, and great room, but which Butt describes as a living room and a dining room with a ballroom in between. “It’s a ballroom.”

Butt was taken with the space, which is listed with Stefania Cardinali of Corcoran, the moment he walked in the door. “It was almost like walking into a movie, an otherworldly feel,” he says. There are fireplaces and wainscoting and a curved bank of windows in the back “where you can step out and go into this little garden.”

Upstairs, in keeping with the theme, “the rooms are huge. One after another after another.” Six bedrooms in all, and six bathrooms, with some extra offices and terraces thrown in. It’s more than 100 years old, but “it doesn’t feel old, it just feels enchanting,” he says. Plus, it’s on Hamilton Terrace, “a lovely little nook that ends in Hamilton’s House.”

A prewar duplex in the Beresford, on Central Park West

Specs: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
Price: $8.995 million

A recent, understated renovation makes this prewar “turnkey,” says Laurie Silverman, an associate broker at Sotheby. Photos: Tim Waltman for Sotheby’s International Realty.
A recent, understated renovation makes this prewar “turnkey,” says Laurie Silverman, an associate broker at Sotheby. Photos: Tim Waltman for Sotheby’s... A recent, understated renovation makes this prewar “turnkey,” says Laurie Silverman, an associate broker at Sotheby. Photos: Tim Waltman for Sotheby’s International Realty.

“As soon as I walk into an apartment, I get a feeling,” says Laurie Silverman, an associate broker at Sotheby’s International Realty. When she walked into 17K at 211 Central Park West, that feeling was love. “You walk into this gorgeous living room that’s sun-blasted, with two exposures, and there’s a terrace that runs the length of the living room,” she says. “I call them happy homes, apartments with a lot of light.”

But it’s not just a pretty, bright apartment in any old building. The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath duplex, listed with Cathy Taub, of Sotheby’s International Realty, is on the 17th and 18th floors of the Beresford, one of the most desirable co-ops on the Upper West Side, and it has Central Park views. There’s a fireplace in the living room, a terrace off the primary bedroom, and a curving staircase. Prewars are Silverman’s favorite — there’s a “grace and flow and formality” to the layout.

A lot of prewar apartments need work, but not this one. A recent renovation by Steven Harris Architects — one of the favored firms of the global who’s who — has left it in turnkey condition with the kind of tasteful, high-end finishes that would appeal to almost any buyer, and a dressing area upstairs that reminds Silverman of “the old Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman.”

A modern condo in Crown Heights

Specs: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
Price: $1.795 million

A sunny, bright living space. Photos: Coldwell Banker Warburg.
A sunny, bright living space. Photos: Coldwell Banker Warburg.

Rashi Malhotra wants apartment 404 at 925 Pacific Street for herself. “I feel like in my life, right now, this listing fits perfectly,” says Malhotra, an agent at Coldwell Banker Warburg.

She loves to cook and entertain, and the two-bedroom, 2.5-bath duplex, listed by her colleague Jeremy Kamm, has a big, open living space downstairs with space for a large dining table that basically demands a dinner party. (It’s staged with a six-seater, but Malhotra confidently tells me you could get an eight in there.) There’s a terrace on each floor, and the living spaces below are connected to the bedrooms above by non-scary stairs — a surprisingly rare feature in New York City apartments, where people are loathe to give over extra square feet to allow for a less terrifying grade — and floor-to-ceiling windows. Because it’s in a low-rise area, you also get an open view, where you can see blue sky. “Sun shines nice and bright throughout the day,” she says.

The condo was built in 2007, and while the renovation isn’t new, there’s really nothing you’d need to do, says Malhotra. Located by the border of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Clinton Hill, the building is quiet and conveniently located. Plus, the taxes and common charges are low. Even brokers can feel the sting of the apartment that wasn’t. “If I could buy right now, I would go for it,” she says.

Listing brokers are obsessed with (and don’t represent)