2001 Real Estate: Neighborhood Profiles

Murray Hill
By Christopher Bonanos

The boom took a while to get around to Murray Hill—maybe, like a lot of New Yorkers, it wasn’t sure exactly where the Murray Hill was. “It was kind of an old-ladies-who-shopped-at-Altman’s neighborhood,” says William B. May broker Jane Goldberg. “A lot of garment-center people.” But no real-estate secret stays hidden for long. “In 1998, everyone jumped on the bandwagon,” says Eleanore Case, a vice-president at Prudential MLB Kaye. Since then, prices have roughly doubled. The new W Hotel Tuscany, at 39th between Park and Lex, along with several new restaurants have even added a touch of trendiness. “It’s become much more known, and there are young people,” says Goldberg. “People realize how convenient it is.”

STREET NEWS: Manhattan’s increase in car and truck traffic (about 20 percent in the past decade) has been hard on Murray Hill, since backups for the Queens-Midtown Tunnel spill into the quiet brownstone streets. “Especially on a Friday,” notes one broker, “when everyone’s going out to the Hamptons.” Nonetheless, it is still among the most placid of Manhattan neighborhoods, especially at night. It’s also an area built on a human scale, with “a nice mixture of brownstones and high-rises,” says Goldberg. “There have been some new developments, but they haven’t become eyesores.”

MIGRATIONS: Murray Hill now attracts the same affluent young families that also look in Chelsea and even the East Village. And since Murray Hill’s apartments tend to be small, there’s been a lot of buying-and-combining. The big towers built in the eighties by the river are to a great extent their own community, and since they’re condos, they’re often investment apartments and pieds-à-terre. (“View buyers,” sniffs one broker.)

PROGNOSIS: “The market hasn’t leveled off for properties that are well valued and in good condition,” says William B. May broker Paula Schott. “We just had a place go into contract—we had to raise the price after the first offers.” Agrees Goldberg, “There’s a scarcity of property.”



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