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In Yorkville, affordable rents and a building boom

As the Second Ave. subway nears completion, new condos draw buyers.

The Upper East Side of Manhattan has long been synonymous with stuffy, old-timey New York. But in recent years, as the increasing popularity of Brooklyn has caused rents to rise, more and more folks have gravitated to Yorkville, a more low-key, affordable subset of the neighborhood that stretches from E. 79th Street to E. 97th Street and from 3rd Avenue to the East River.

Rent there is cheaper than some Brooklyn neighborhoods. According to StreetEasy’s July 2016 market report, Yorkville’s median asking rent is $2,800, compared to $2,998 in Park Slope, $3,199 in Williamsburg and $4,793 in Dumbo.

Wes Wethington, 30, works in talent acquisition at Foot Locker Inc. in Midtown. He moved a year ago to Yorkville from Park Slope because “it was just as expensive as Brooklyn, and easier for me to get to work,” he says.

He pays $1,000 a month for one room in a two-bedroom at 95th Street and First Avenue.
He mentioned additional draws, such as Uber Pool’s $5 commuter flat rate for all rides during rush hour below 125th Street, that make living there convenient and hassle-free.

Yorkville provides as much in way of things to do as Park Slope, at least bar- and restaurant-wise — Caledonia, an upscale Scottish whisky bar right on Second Avenue, is one of Wethington’s favorite haunts.

Those looking to buy can also find deals. Based on July 2016 data from StreetEasy, the median sales price in Yorkville is $850,000, compared to $1,225,000 on the Upper West Side, and $3,516,079 in Dumbo.

But a recent building boom may be changing that. A number of high-rise luxury condo buildings are in development in anticipation of the first phase of the Second Avenue subway line, which would provide Q train service between 96th Street and 63rd Street.

It’s slated for completion by Dec. 30, 2016 — though there are rumors that it might be delayed. According to a July article in The Wall Street Journal, operational testing won’t begin until Oct. 1, which, along with a slew of other logistical issues, could cause setbacks.

Kelly Gitter, a veteran broker with Corcoran, says the pending completion of the Second Avenue subway line is more of a draw for buyers than renters.

“It’s an incentive for buyers in terms of knowing it will be complete, eventually, and it will bring up the value of your home — it’s a good investment,” she says. “It’s a deterrent for renters until it’s complete, because people see workers and machinery and wonder, ‘How long is this going to be?’”

J.G. Melon

The 2016 Michelin-awarded corner pub has been a neighborhood favorite since 1972, famed for its burger. Kitschy green-checkered tablecloths and low lighting give it a cozy, throwback feel.
1291 Third Ave

UVA

The rustic Italian small plates restaurant and wine bar on Second Ave. won a Michelin award and is a great date spot.
1486 Second Ave.

New in the neighborhood:20 East End Avenue

The 17-story limestone high-rise condo from the Corgin Real Estate group contains 43 two-to-six bedroom condos and three duplex townhouses and two penthouses. Pricing starts at $4.5 million.

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