Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hotel Construction in Midtown Manhattan

Two new hotels will be constructed in Midtown Manhattan’s Fashion District.  One will be located on 25 West 37th Street and the other on 960 Avenue of the Americas.  The loan required for these was recently secured by Hidrock Realty, at a value of $66m.

960 Avenue of the Americas

Other finances for the project came from BBVA Compass Bank ($36m for the hotel on Avenue of the Americas).  The entire development will require $72m.  The mortgage came at a discounted price from Societe Generale a couple of years ago as the owner at the time failed to meet income requirements, resulting in a foreclosure last summer.  Redevelopment began shortly after to reconstruct the office building into a hotel.  It should be completed by this time next year.

25 West 37th Street

Looking at the other property, a construction loan totaling $30m came from the Bank of Nova Scotia.  This will require funds amounting to $54m for completion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New York City Bridges Centennial Celebrations

A set of bronze medallions was presented to Emigrant Savings Bank from the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission.  The Bank received these at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters at a recent ceremony as an honor for its work on various New York City bridges’ centenary celebrations. 

In a report in PR News Wire, Vice Chair of the bank, John Hart, on accepting the medallions said, “I am honored to receive these medallions on behalf of Emigrant Savings Bank and Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of our parent company, New York Private Bank & Trust. Like the bridges themselves, we feel Emigrant Savings Bank is an integral part of New York City's infrastructure. For more than 160 years, we've connected communities throughout the Greater New York area. We are therefore particularly proud to have participated in such a memorial celebration.”

The actual 100 year anniversary was last year.  But various bridges that have been standing for a hundred years reached this milestone over the last few years.  The bridges that marked the celebration included: University Heights; Borden Avenue; Madison Avenue and more. All over the East River, celebratory, fun events took place such as music, walking and boat tours, fireworks and more.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Car Amnesia in Manhattan


It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Well, not quite, but no-one likes the thought of not remembering where they parked their car.  And it’s especially irritating if you’ve just run a marathon….literally!

That is exactly what happened to Charles Petraske, 34-year old New York marathon runner who had parked his car in midtown Manhattan the day of the ING New York City Marathon.  Thereafter he hopped on a bus to get to the start of the race, and then, after an impressive three hours and 16 minutes, he completed his marathon. 

The only problem was, what happened next.  Petraske took $40 and his car keys to the race’s start line and left the ticket on the dashboard.  When he returned to Bryant Park however, he couldn’t see anything familiar, least of all his car – it simply wasn’t there.  The only memory he had of where he parked the car was that it was near a flashing billboard that had commercials for MasterCard, New York State Lottery and Coke Mini…not so helpful.

Of course, just calling all the garages wasn’t going to help and the police didn’t exactly have all the time in the world to help the tired, sweaty runner either.  They said they could only identify a towed car.  In the end, it was his wife who was called into the rescue – she came from Albany to pick him up.

Moral of the story?  Always make sure you make peace with your wife if you’ve had a fight before leaving home; you never know when you might end up losing your car and needing a rescue!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

De-Maddening Midtown Manhattan


Traffic in midtown Manhattan can indeed be maddening.  But now, with the upcoming crosstown bus service due to hit its streets, the maddening of Manhattan could well be a thing of the past.  In reality, what has happened is that the current bus service has extended to 34th Street, serving around 33,000 people on a daily basis. 

The bus service travels in a special lane, specifically designed only for that bus, which immediately cuts out a lot of traffic.  Passengers buy tickets at the bus stops and can thereafter board at the front and back.  As well, it has been found that this select bus service has taken off 12 minutes from a trip beginning at South Street Seaport and arriving on 12th Street.  The service has only been in operation for about a year, where it started on the M15 route, traveling along First and Second Avenues, but since then it has incurred quite substantial growth.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New York Produce Show and Conference

Wherever you are in New York, we sure hope you made it down to the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan for this year’s New York Produce Show and Conference.  It took place last week – between 7 to 9 November – and has been part of a long tradition “celebrating fresh,” for those in the produce industry to engage in useful networking; participate in the conference and trade show and enjoy the industry tours.  Set up by Eastern Produce Council and Produce Business, it indeed marks New York’s only annual produce show and conference in the entire city of New York.

The banners were up for some time advertising this event, so if you missed it, what were you looking at?  In other words, how could you miss it?  It was everywhere.  But you need not worry as rumor has it that the plans for next year’s show are even greater and even better.

So what can you expect at the show?  Many exciting things: demonstrations by top chefs; more than 300 booths displaying their top quality produce; tours of Hunts Point – the world’s largest online food distribution center – and Philadelphia markets; sports celebrity autograph session and much more.  Located on 54th Street at the spectacular New York Hilton Hotel, you can take time for some pampering during your visit as well.

So if you missed it all this year, look out for the plans for next year as it is set to be even more spectacular.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Stuff for Sugar Publishing

Sugar Publishing – a private media company which runs PopSugar (lifestyle and entertainment community) – just signed a lease that will last for a decade for the ninth and tenth floors of an office building in Manhattan’s Midtown South district.  The exact venue is 386 Park Avenue South.  The lease was signed through Savanna and Monday Properties

Sugar Publishing’s current premises are at 532 Broadway.  W. Clark Finney of Cushman & Wakefield represented Sugar Publishing in the deal.  The deal marks 50,000 square feet of leases having been signed in this building since the beginning of the year.

Property Location

The property is at 27th Street and the northwest corner of Park Avenue South.  It is next to a number 6 subway station. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

New York Historical Society

This week will witness the reopening of the New York Historical Society.  It has undergone a huge renovation, costing approximately $65m.  For those interested in learning about the history of New York dating back from pre-colonial times until the Occupy Wall Street movement, this is now a great educational, informative venue to visit. 

The renovation has been somewhat challenging in various realms.  On the one hand, there is a desire to maintain the museum’s historic feel, but on the other hand, we are living in the high-tech 21st century world and thus those coming to the museum are accustomed to learning through technology.  The museum successfully reflects this.

As well as the hi-tech feel on the inside, the actual aesthetics of the place have changed, with a new entrance and lobby on Central Park West, as well as an Italian eatery that was not there prior to the renovation.  In addition, New York’s largest movie screen can be found at the museum (at 75 feet).  A children’s history museum has been added too.

Planning Ahead

In an effort to give people a sense of history as time goes by, there is also work on explaining the Occupy Wall Street protests, as in later years, this will be history too.  Researchers have thus been spending time at Zuccotti Park to observe and record these events. 

All the changes being made at the museum point to its main criteria – to give New Yorkers who love New York a real sense of the city.  History, present and future, this museum will have it all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sing-A-Long with Mangum

It didn’t take long for entertainer Jeff Mangum to invite his guests to sing along with him when he performed at Manhattan’s Town Hall last week.  “So,” he asked, “are you guys going to sing?” he urged. The response was slow at first, but after a little more encouragement from Mangum, many more guests joined in with “Ghost.”  Following his rendition of the song, he explained why he so wanted his guests to join him.  In a news article he said that when everyone joined in, it made everything “more human.”  He used to sing for his friends he added, as he asked for the lights to be put on so he could see everyone. 

Those who managed to get tickets for the event had no doubt waited a long time to see Mangum perform. Indeed, it has been nearly 10 years since Mangum has performed in public, due to the very intense private period he adopted after the success that became a cult of “In the Aeroplane.”  He did return last May, but that was for a benefit performance for a friend who was sick and he insisted it wasn’t to signify “the start of a comeback.”  But, as they say, man plans, God laughs and with Mangum it appears that this is exactly what happened.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Manhattan Endures Helicopter Crash

Last week a helicopter crashed just past midtown Manhattan at 34th Street into the East River.  Some passengers aboard ended up in the water but were soon taken out by rescue workers on boats, ropes and ladders.  Five passengers (including the pilot) who were aboard the Bell 206 aircraft when it crashed, had to be rescued.  According to WABC (ABC news for the local area), within a few moments of crashing, the plane disappeared into the water.

It is not the first time a low-flying plane has crashed in the region.  Indeed, two years ago when nine people were killed during a collision between a helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River, concerns were raised about low-flying planes and the dangers of the heavily-congested area.