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May 11, 2006 -- THINK you have to spend a fortune for a park view? Can't afford Central Park or Gramercy Park? Getting the park perks you're looking for could be as simple as picking another park.

But those views and that grass often don't come cheap. Properties with views of Central Park can start at $800,000 (a 400-square-foot studio on Central Park South) and go as high as $70 million (Pierre Hotel penthouse at 795 Fifth Ave.). Gramercy Park is pricey, too, with the low end at $625,000 (a 450-square-foot studio on Gramercy Park South) and the high end reaching $16 million (duplex penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North).

But the city is full of other great parks: Stuyvesant Square Park, Seward Park, Tompkins Square, Fort Greene Park and Pelham Bay Park are five alternatives that offer lots of green for less.

"People love the sense of community that a park view gives them - no matter what park it is," says Corcoran Group senior vice president Glenn Schiller, who notes that park-side property values are always on the up and up. "And if you can pay less for that feeling, it feels even better."


Pelham Bay Park, located in the northeast corner of The Bronx, is the largest public park in New York City. At 2,764 acres, it's three times the size of Central Park. The area was part of the 50,000 acres purchased in the 17th century from the Siwanoy Indians by Thomas Pell.

Today, the park includes two golf courses, a miniature golf course, a driving range, a stable, tennis courts and baseball diamonds.

The park borders the neighborhoods of Country Club and Pelham Bay. Most of the homes with park views are brick-and-frame detached houses sitting on lots that are 3,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

There are also many smaller semidetached homes that sit on 2,500-square-foot lots.

Overall, most of these homes have been renovated and include amenities like formal dining rooms, driveways, porches and basements. Prices range from $500,000 to $725,000.

In addition, "There are a handful of mid-rise apartment buildings built in the 1930s to 1940s which have park views on the upper floors," says Prudential Kafcos Realty associate broker Phyllis Basilone. "There are also some multi-family homes with views that have rentals as well."

One-bedroom rentals average $950, two-bedrooms rentals are $1,200 to $1,300, and three-bedroom rentals average $1,500 a month


Bordered by Essex Street, Canal Street and East Broadway, the three acres of land that are Seward Park (named after former Secretary of State William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska) were acquired in 1897. Seward Park is the site of the first municipally built playground in the United States, which was constructed in 1903.

"The area still has a lot of old-timers, including Chinese and Jewish immigrants," says Manhattan Apartments saleswoman Melissa Giordano.

The United Housing Federation built the Seward Park Co-ops in 1957. Today, 500-square-foot studios there cost $300,000 to $350,000. One-bedrooms, which average 850 square feet, cost between $450,000 and $520,000; 1,100-square-foot two bedrooms go for $575,000 to $725,000, and 1,250-square-foot to 1,300-square-foot three-bedrooms are $775,000 to $1 million. Amenities include 24-hour security guards, parking, a gym and a laundry room.

Not surprisingly, the cost of living near Seward Park is significantly less than Central Park or Gramercy Park. With the influx of luxury condos in the Lower East Side, however, that gap is decreasing.

The Forward Building at 175 East Broadway, built in 1910, was home to the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper. When the renovation of the building is complete this summer, the 10-story building will have 29 luxury apartments ranging from $575,000 to $4.5 million.

Another condo elevating Seward Park's prices and reputation is 7 Essex St., a new building with luxury lofts.

"Today, nothing in 7 Essex is below $1.5 million," Shemesh says, "and the triplex penthouse is $3.5 million."


Bordered by Avenue A, Avenue B, East Seveth Street and East 10th Street, the 10.5-acre park named after former Vice President and New York Governor Daniel Tompkins was designated a public park in 1878.

The properties with park views are largely rentals, although there is a particularly well-known condo.

Most of the rentals are archetypal East Village walk-ups, which means they are usually small and oddly shaped, with the occasional bathtub in the kitchen.

"The average price of a typical East Village one-bedroom rental is $2,300 a month," says Corcoran Group senior associate broker Paul Gavriani. "However, something with a park view will cost you more, running between $2,650 and $2,900."

The Christodora House at 143 Avenue B is one of Tompkins Square Park's most well-known addresses. The 17-story doorman building built in 1928 was converted to condos in 1986. One-bedrooms range from 650 square feet to 850 square feet and run from $650,000 to $850,000. Two-bedrooms, which rarely become available, average $1.6 million for 1,100 square feet.

Painter Dustin Horowitz, 32, has lived in three different studios in five years in the Christodora House. "It's not like Central Park where tons of people have that view," he says. "Only a handful of people see what I see."


Brooklyn's first park, Fort Greene Park is a 30-acre green oasis built in 1847 at the urging of poet Walt Whitman. Famed Central Park designers Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux redesigned the park in 1864.

The park, bordered by Myrtle Avenue to the north, Saint Edwards Street to the west, Dekalb Avenue to the south and Washington Park to the east, currently houses tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and a weekly Saturday greenmarket.

The buildings that have park views are predominantly townhouses, though there is a high-rise condo two blocks from the park that offers views on the upper floors.

The townhouses, built in the mid- to late 1880s, are primarily Italian in style and are mostly four stories. They range from 17 feet to 22 feet wide. Prices start around $1.5 million and can go as high as $2.5 million.

The Greene House, a new high-end condo located at the corner of Carlton and Greene avenues, was completed in October 2005. Building amenities include a fitness area, a daytime concierge and parking. A 755-square-foot one-bedroom goes for $549,000; a 1,735-square-foot two-bedroom is $799,000, and a 999-square-foot two-bedroom with 1,208 square feet of private outdoor space is $899,000.

New housing stock is coming to the area in the nearby Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building. The tallest building in Brooklyn at 512 feet, is being converted into condos, which are expected to be ready next year.


Given to the city in 1836 by Peter Stuyvesant, former governor of New Amsterdam, Stuyvesant Square Park is bisected by Second Avenue and hemmed by 15th and 17th streets. Many buildings in the park date back to the 1850s and 1860s.

"The condos with park views are mostly prewar walk-ups," says Prudential Douglas Elliman executive vice president Tamir Shemesh.

One-bedrooms that range from 700 square feet to 800 square feet run $650,000 to $775,000, and 1,400-square-foot two-bedrooms start at $1.5 million, according to Shemesh.

And there are three new condo conversions with park views. Landmark 17 at 233 E. 17th St. is a five-story Victorian Gothic building constructed in 1877. The two- to four-bedroom loft-like units range from $1.7 million to $4.8 million.

"For what you get, it's still cheaper than Central Park and Gramercy," Shemesh says.

Rutherford Place at 305 Second Ave., originally built as the Lying-In Hospital in 1899, now offers 122 multi-level units going for $500,000 to $3 million. The Abbey Condominiums at 205 E. 16th St., originally built in 1888 as a church parish, feature stained glass in studios to four-bedrooms that are around $1 million to $4 million.

THE GREENE HOUSE: $549K to $899K

Two two-bedrooms and one one-bedroom unit are on the market. Agent: Jerry Minsky, the Corcoran Group (718) 210-4010.



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