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Seen & Heard: Open house events for kids on the Lilac


The Lilac, docked at Pier 25, will host storytelling and activities for children as part of Open House New York on Saturday, Oct. 19, once an hour starting at 2:30 (though not sure when it ends). Little Red Lighthouse artist Elaine Marie Austin will be there to lead projects.

StreetEasy published its latest analysis of the new condo market (those built since 2013) and there is quite a glut of unsold units. More than 25 percent of the 16,242 new condos built in New York City since the start of 2013 remain unsold. Some other tidbits from the report:

  • The median price of those condos is $1.1 million citywide, and more than $2.3 million within Manhattan
  • Many new condo owners appear to be investors who’ve listed the units on the rental market: 30% of the condos built since 2013 have since been listed for rent on StreetEasy.
  • There are more buildings in the pipeline: 63 condo buildings with more than 5,617 total units have listings on StreetEasy, but have yet to finish construction.

J. sent this photo with the subject line “Gross!” And noted that she will no longer put her Amazon packages on the kitchen counter, now that she knows they spent some time on a New York City sidewalk. We’ve seen this operation before, but this is really taking over the whole sidewalk. I will note that this is also private use of public space and not legal or appropriate. Amazon needs to rent some real estate if they want to distribute here…


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It is with immense pleasure that I announce the death of my student loans. On August 2, 2019, after 6 years, I finally killed them. It was a slow death but was worth every bit of the fight. Let me tell you about my journey: It began in 2013, when I graduated with a total of 75K in student loans. I moved to New York, but I made sure to pay more than the minimums, which totaled to $1K a month. It was like another rent. I took jobs not based on what I really wanted but what could help me survive. I did this for five years straight. Even after a lay-off during this journey I hustled like hell and never missed a payment. It was more than most people can do, and I, a single, childless, able-bodied woman consider myself lucky. But still, I carried this burden alone. I never asked for or received help. No one ever paid my bills. Then last fall, something in me broke. Maybe it was feeling like my life was on hold, but I just remember thinking I was DONE. I didn’t want to owe anyone anything more. I wanted to start saving for my future. A house. Kids. A life. So I made a decision—I’d become debt-free by 30. I’m proud to say I accomplished my goal 2 years early. In fact, I killed that last 32K in EIGHT months. I cut my budget and lived off of less than a third of my monthly salary. (Turns out, packing lunches and not taking Ubers can save you a ton.) I worked my ass off at work and asked for raises, and got them. I worked three jobs at once, my day job and then side hustles. I walked dogs until my feet literally bled. In the cold. In the rain. In the heat. Nothing was beneath me. I babysat. I cat sat. I stayed up for 24 hours straight to make a few hundred bucks as a TV extra on shows they filmed overnight. I cut my food budget down to merely salad, eggs, chicken and rice. I said “no”—my God I said no—to making memories with my family and friends and prayed there would be other opportunities in the future. Was it easy? No. Worth it? I’m smiling in a cemetery. 102K lifted from my back. You tell me. 1/3
@120ish ___ #studentloans #loans #studentdebt #studentdebtcrisis #freecollege #studentloanforgiveness #debtfreejourney #babysteps

A post shared by Mandy Velez (@mandyvel) on Oct 9, 2019 at 8:26am PDT

In a Facebook post that went viral, Mandy Velez held a funeral for her student loan debt, and explained how she paid off $102,000 in debt by age 28. It’s totally worth a read.

A shout-out to Washington Market Park gardener Richie Haugland for adding this gorgeous staghorn sumac to the park, which changes with the seasons but stays chartreuse all summer long (there’s a bigger one in the back, but he had to fence it in because kids were jumping on the branches). It’s called a staghorn because its branches have a velvet surface, like the antlers of a stag.

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