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BLEECKER STREET: The New “Champs-Elysees & Via Veneto”

Suzanne Belmont is a veteran agent with Benjamin James Real Estate and has watched the transformation of Bleecker Street over the years and here is her take on Bleecker Street; circa today!


Ralph Lauren

Bleecker Street has emerged as New York’s newest retail hot spot.  If it’s shopping you crave: look no further! An array of trendy and independent retailers has taken up residence on this Greenwich Village street west of Seventh Avenue.  Arguably New York’s most charming neighborhood, the area is also host to some of the best independent women’s clothing stores in the city, most of which are located in cozy townhouses. Formerly a stretch of offbeat boutiques, the narrow tree-lined street has evolved into a major shopping destination which in my opinion rivals Madison Avenue.  Along this five block stretch you’ll find five different Marc Jacobs boutiques, four Ralph Lauren stores, Tommy Hilfiger outpost, cutting-edge fashion at Intermix or Olive + Bette’s, and savvy shoes and accessories at Verve.  The Only Lulu Guinness and Cynthia Rowley boutiques in the United States are here, as well as the Coach Legend store.

On weekends Bleecker Street is flooded with tourists on foot from around the country and across the pond.  Delightful and charming restaurants, cafes and shops are scattered throughout the blocks with the best that the West Village offers; The Spotted Pig, Tartine, Extra Virgin, Chow Bar, Pastis, John’s Pizza, Murray’s Cheese, Matt Umanov Guitars, Biography Bookshop, Robert Marc and the yummy Magnolia Bakery famous for their mouth watering cupcakes.


Magnolia Bakery


95 The Gansvoort, aka 95 Christopher Street

The Gansvoort; aka 95 Christoper Street

This full service, luxury, Pre-war Doorman Building boats a beautiful marble lobby and is owned and operated by BLDG Management.  BLDG has an excellent reputation for maintaining its properties. The staff is highly responsive with a full-time doorman and a team that devotes its time to meticulously cleaning and updating the property. The building maintains its pre-war charm with the arched hallways, intricate moldings, and high ceilings, yet it is modernized with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.  There is a live-in super, laundry facilities and this is a pet friendly building so furry friends are welcomed.

To view available apartments in this building please contact Suzanne Belmont by
P:  212 645 4477 ext 221 
C: 917-885-7020
E: suzanne[at]benjaminjames[dot]com

You can view more info here and give us a call when you are ready to view an apartment or inquire about availability.

Benjamin James is the exclusive on-site broker for this building. 

Our contact info is here:

I’m currently showing this gorgeous prewar apartment in the East Village and I want to make my case for living on a first floor. I get a lot of phone calls about well priced East Village apartments, but often callers hang up when I tell them it’s located on the fourth or fifth floor. I tell them, “Well that’s why it’s so well priced!” Walking up three to five flights of stairs will usually get you a bigger, better space.

Having stated my case, I urge everyone to consider life on the first floor in the East Village. Many people are avidly against living on the first floor of an apartment building yet this is a golden opportunity to get a great space at a discount, and you don’t have to climb hundreds of stairs to get there! In fact, you can come and go from long trips or with your laundry/groceries without any hassle.

This particular East Village apartment I am showing is a grand two bedroom, easily converted into three bedrooms. There is tons of prewar charm and original details: high ceilings, crown molding, beautiful herringbone floors, and large rooms. The bedrooms are large, much like the great sized rooms you get in those old prewar buildings on the Upper West Side, but in this case it is situated in the younger, much hipper East Village.

This is the only apartment like it in this building, and do you may wonder why?!?! BECAUSE IT’S ON THE FIRST FLOOR! Yes you got it, First floor apartments usually have higher ceilings and more room, because buildings are often configured with a standard layout that doesn’t apply on the ground floor. First floor apartments are an opportunity to have something different.

Let’s not forget that you get more space for your money. This apartment would easily be $4,000 or more just one flight up. So why pay more to walk up an extra flight of stairs when this first floor apartment is only $3650. That is a rhetorical question considering in this economic climate everyone is looking for a deal, and I say look at an even better deal right here. At least take a look, you might find your aversion to first floor living was imbedded in your brain long ago when you first moved to the city and your parents convinced you that east village crack heads that would come knocking on your door:) Well, to the dismay of many locals who remember when the Musical “RENT” was an accurate depiction of the local fare, the gentrification of the area actually makes the “RENT” scenario more of an anachronism.

You can view this listing here

To Contact Pia Dubitsky you can call her @ (917) 882-6437 or email her @ pia[at]benjaminjames[dot]com

So what do you think, we hit the bottom, and we’re coming back, If so, then I would like to introduce you to 75 Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. This building is offering a very consumer friendly rent to own option that puts a lot of control into the buyers’ hands with very limited to no risk! Here’s how it works.

First you choose and lease a no fee apartment in this top of the line high rise condo conversion.  The deal works like any other hi-rise apartment in NYC and as a incentive you even get two months’ rent free whether or not you buy. At the time of lease signing you enter into a purchase price agreement for the sale of the unit which happens 14 months after  the lease start date! You are not bound to this price, and you don’t even have to close but the owner / building is bound, giving the advantage to the tenant / buyer.  If you agree to move forward and buy the unit, 100% of the rent you paid over the last year goes toward the purchase of the Condo, and you just lived rent free for a year, and lived very well!

This building has many 5 star Hotel amenities, because the first 18 floors of the building is a 5 star Hotel which is Part of Hyatt’s new luxury lifestyle brand named Andaz™. That tends to make me believe it’s not going to have a hard time holding its value. Your Potential “Risk”: the market doesn’t go up in the next year but let’s not forget that you live like a king in these outstanding units at a competitive rent. Your Potential “Reward”: the market comes back, and you have a locked in price from a year prior (when the residential market was reeling in the recession), and enter into a contract with a deep discount.

To Exercise this Option, give me a call @ 201-218-1198 or Email me, Neil Nerich.

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A Manhattan Loft

A Manhattan Loft

After being away from NYC for several years, I was pleasantly surprised at the price reductions on apartments and lofts in the areas of Soho and TriBeCa. After being a real estate broker for over 16 years, I had watched loft prices rise and rise to a completely unaffordable price point – or at least unaffordable to most potential dwellers. Why should lofts in Soho or TriBeCa be so expensive? It made me sad because I grew up in a loft in Soho.

There are lofts with extremely high end finishes and are designed by top designers which are featured in Architectural Digest etc…However, there were and are plenty of lofts that are well appointed, yet are not design dream boats. Regardless, landlords were charging exorbitant rents for the more rustic spaces, no different than the well appointed lofts.  It was sad really.  Prices had reached a critical high.  I decided at that point to stop being a broker and move out to the Hamptons and spend my time surfing.

Now I have returned to Manhattan, and I am very pleased to see lofts prices and apartment prices in the Downtown area return to more realistic price points. I’m pleased to work with landlords that are negotiable with their rents, to a realistic point, and have once again put myself in a position to represent a very healthy amount of properties in the West Village, Soho and Tribeca. I won’t forget the East Village either. The inventory is plenty and I can once again feel good about finding people homes they love and can afford.


Here are some price examples:

$8,900.00 down from $10,500.00 for a  2500 square foot  loft in Tribeca
$5,200.00 down from $6,500.00 for a 1900 square foot loft in Soho
$4250.00 even $4000 down from $5000
$3500 down from $4000……………………… get the idea.

I’m accessible and you can call me if you want to check these deals out.

I can be reached by phone: 917-653-5257 or Email

You can also view some of my inventory here:

Tiger Koehn

The Milan

The Milan

The Milan, a 15 story doorman building at 120 West 23rd Street, has come to the end of its leasing campaign.  The building’s plans for condominium conversion were well underway until financing regulations changed for FHA insured mortgages in the spring.  Although the building had negotiated enough contracts to convert to condominium, the lack of viable financing finally prevented the conversion to condo.  On July 5, Benjamin James announced the newly renovated would-be condo units were offered for rental, and the units have been 95% rented.  With just two units remaining for rent and construction on the major renovations nearly complete, the leasing campaign draws to a conclusion.

The apartments include a collection of Junior 1 Bedroom and 2 Bedroom / 2 Bathroom homes that have been gut renovated.  The new units, designed for condo sale, feature open layouts, floor to ceiling windows, SubZero kitchens and custom stone tile baths.  The Milan had been known in the rental community for its prominent late 1980’s design aesthetic.  The design changed with this major renovation, and kitchens were opened up, black lacquer cabinets replaced by solid core maple, parquet floors were replaced by oak strip, and marble baths with Jacuzzi tubs were replaced with sandstone tile and Kohler sinks and tubs.  The common hallways were also renovated on the first seven floors.

Junior 1 Bedrooms rented between $2600 and $2995 per month.  The 2 Bedrooms rented between $4200 and $4650 per month.  The currently remaining units were used as models during the sales and leasing campaign, and represent some of the best for light, view and outdoor space.  Currently, these Junior 1 Bedrooms are on the market for $2750 and $2950.

Inquiries may be directed to 877 645 2623

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I like to think of myself as a glass half full person.  I have noticed some internet buzz recently about the “muted” summer rental season in Manhattan.  I have to concur with the worthy firms who have compared 2008 and 2009 summer rental numbers to determine that both prices and volume are lower this year, in some cases by more than 10%.  I’m certain that this is not a bad thing!  Fall 2009 will represent opportunity all over the Manhattan rental market.

B&WSkylineEmployment is the driving force behind the Manhattan residential marketplace, and as long as jobs are not being created or expanded, this year’s apartment inventory nestles into a new plateau. 

There is still high demand for great property.  We have seen multiple bids and races to get money down first on premium rental listings at a number of different price points.

Only two weeks ago, my head was spinning at the number of landlords who were turning down low offers due to increased demand!  This year, however, there are vacant units which remain un-rented on all sides of those premium homes.  For landlords and developers who have gone above and beyond to create special apartments with solid finishes and a few splashy perks, vacancies remain minimal, provided those landlords have maintained conservative pricing.  Clearly this is not the market to expect super high prices to fall in line with the very high finishes.  It has proven not to be the market in which tenants can name their price and expect to be taken seriously.

As summer flows into fall, it is clear that there will continue to be a higher than normal vacancy rate in Manhattan. Most of the city’s new hires have already landed and have signed their leases.  Some first year corporate attorneys are finding that their employment is deferred until January, so they may wait until November or December to seek shelter, watering down the annual frenzy known as August demand. Landlords will continue to pay broker fees and tempt new tenants with free rent and other perks.  The real prospective winners this fall will be the tenants.  The discretionary mover who is looking to trade laterally for better space still has some time to discover just how much more space or what finer kitchens, bathrooms and roof decks they can find for the same rent prices (or even a little less, if lucky).  Manhattan renters who have gone out in search of major improvements for a lower price have been disappointed, however, those who might have been driven to outer boroughs, upstate or New Jersey by astronomical prices of 2004 – 2007 will discover a much more favorable rental climate in the City.

So what if prices are down and vacancies are a little higher?  There are some good deals and some great deals to be had all over Manhattan, and the better brokers who spend all of their professional time discerning value from hype will make up in volume what they may lose in price point.  There’s a light in the market, more than in the first half of the year.  From its glow I can pretty well make out that the glass is, in fact, half full!

Douglas Wagner
Benjamin James Real Estate

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Here is a building review of “21 Chelsea” by Benjamin James Agent Suzanne Belmont:



120 West 21st Street, affectionately known as “21 Chelsea”, is a handsome and luxurious fifteen story red brick doorman rental apartment building situated on a quiet tree lined street. It was the first “off the avenue” Chelsea high rise.  As you walk down 21st Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in NYC’s incomparable Chelsea, it is unmistakable with its modern glass canopied entrance. 

This A-l building was built in 2001 and features Studio, 1 Bedroom and 2 Bedroom apartments with a 24 hour doorman, porters and a friendly, hands-on, live-in super.  The sleek, modern lobby has beautiful inlaid granite floors. There is a separate room where your laundry, dry cleaning and packages are held.  A note is slipped into each mailbox to notify tenants of a delivery.   Bike room and card operated laundry facilities are also located off the lobby entrance.  There is a garage (Central Parking 212 633 6488) and a leasing office (212 645 4477) on the premises.

The Lobby

The Lobby

One of this Chelsea apartment building’s best features is the stunning landscaped roof deck, decorated with lounge chairs, tables and a variety of trees, gorgeous flowers and 360 degree sweeping views of the City.

Rooftop Garden and Deck

Rooftop Garden and Deck

21 Chelsea rental apartments are extremely spacious with extra wide living rooms and bedrooms.  With large casement windows, beautiful polished hardwood strip floors and wonderful closet space, many offer walk-in closets. 
The kitchens are of condominium quality with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances (full size refrigerator, dishwasher microwave) and generous cabinetry.

The large designer bathrooms feature white ceramic tile, chrome fixtures, white vanities and celebrity lighting.
Units are pre-wired for multiple phone lines, high speed cable, high speed internet access, as well as individually controlled heating and air conditioning.  Some units feature private terraces. A major plus is that the apartments are offered at below market rental rates which translate to at least 8-15% cheaper than any of the Sixth Avenue Chelsea luxury buildings.

Chelsea: The Neighborhood
120 West 21st Street offers easy access to subways on the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, F, V and L lines.  Chelsea is known for its dining, shopping, bars, nightclubs, art galleries and upbeat creative atmosphere. The local clubbers, artists and the Chelsea residents shop this neighborhood’s exclusive designer boutiques and cool consignment stores. Here’s a short list of Chelsea’s Best: Gascogne, Victory Cafe, Intermezzo, Elmo, Cafteria, Merchants, Chipolte Mexican, Tono Sushi, Craft Steak, Del Posto, Comme des Gacons, Camouflage, Giraudon Shoes, Luigi Men’s Clothing, Loehmanns and Barneys Co-op, Equinox Health Club, New York Health & Racquet, Steel and Barton Gyms, Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Gap, Old Navy, TJ Max, Filenes Basement, Container Store, Duane Reade, Staples, Best Buy, Citibank, Chase Bank, TD Commerce Bank, Valley National Bank and Bank of America. CENTRAL TO UNION SQUARE: Great Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Shopping and Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Staples, Duane Reade, Citibank, Chase Bank, TD Commerce Bank, AT&T, Verizon, Barnes & Noble, DSW, Filenes Basement, Anthropology, Gramercy Tavern, Angelo and Maxies, Blue Water Grill, Duke’s, Republic Noodle and Union Square Cafe.

Chelsea: The History
Chelsea is a neighborhood on the West Side of the Manhattan borough of New York City. It is located to the south of Hell’s Kitchen and the Garment District starting at 34th Street, and north of Greenwich Village, and the Meatpacking District that centers on West 14th Street. The neighborhood is part of Manhattan Community Board 4 and Manhattan Community Board 5. An area in the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Chelsea Historic District.

Chelsea is sometimes referred to, along with Hell’s Kitchen, as Manhattan West. A longstanding weekly newspaper is called the “Chelsea-Clinton News.” The weekly newspaper, “Chelsea Now”, also serves the neighborhood…

The History section was taken courtesy of WikiPedia and you can read more about Chelsea’s History, Data, Demographics and fun facts here:,_Manhattan

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