Author: George

The Upper West Side of Manhattan

The Upper West Side of Manhattan

Letters to the Editor: A Section 8 crisis in a world with abundant luxury condos for sale

My family’s dream was to own a condo on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At last we did. We purchased our condo in 2008 for $2.7 million, in the heart of the Park Avenue and Carnegie Hill area, right above Grand Central Terminal. From our first time on the uppermost floors of our condo, we knew it was a mistake. The high-rises in the neighborhood are ugly and unattractive. My neighbor, also a lawyer, moved out only one year after we put our name to the mortgage and sold our home for $7.3 million.

We live in a small apartment that contains nine bedrooms and 10 bathrooms (plus additional bathrooms in the bedrooms). My husband and I used the other bathrooms, while our teenage son used the bathroom in the basement. All around us there is garbage. The sidewalks are full of cigarette butts, and urine stains show up on the white tiles in the hallway. Every time we travel to New York, my husband and I have to walk down to the subway and wait for the train to emerge with three or four other passengers.

We moved to a new condo complex in 2012, down on the West Side, one block from the Hudson River. The complex has eight floors, and the buildings are all about 50 feet high. Each building has eight to 10 condos. When we walked into the lobby of our new complex, we found the floors were all the same height. So I told my husband, “This is going to be very strange.”

I bought the house we currently live in in the Upper West Side in 2006 for $543,000. We paid $60,000 down and paid $35,000 in closing costs. During the first year, we lived in 10 rooms, which were very small, and we made ends meet with the help of a wonderful landlord who let us rent his three rooms in the basement for $250 a month. We spent $250 a month on rent, in addition to $6,000 a year on the mortgage. We then decided to upgrade to one large bedroom. We are now paying $450 a month in rent, $6,000 a year in mortgage payments and $300 a month in closing costs, so our monthly expenses are about $1,500. I’m very grateful we’re not paying $2,

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