Sari Botton’s New York Real Estate Karma

In 2007, Sari Botton told a story in the Village Voice about housing karma. She filled in some details for me. The story goes like this.

In the early nineties, and maybe before, painter Joe Coleman lived in an LES railroad apartment. He paid $234.

In 1993, his landlord raised the rent and priced him out.

Botton moved in. She paid $722.


In 2003, she met her husband.

In 2004, she moved into his rent-controlled loft on Avenue B. Together, they paid $1,350.

The landlord started charging them cash on top of rent. Total, they paid $2,100.

A year later, the landlord raised the rent to $3,600. They tried to fight it. They lost. 

After they moved out of the loft, Michel Gondry moved in. (He moved out when he bought a brownstone in Brooklyn for “a little over a billion bucks“)

The last Botton heard, the railroad that once rented for $234 was going for $2,100.

The last ad she saw for the loft put rent at $6,000.  “Rumor has it,” she writes, “that Matt Dillon used to live there.”

Botton and her husband moved upstate. They now have 1700-square-foot house, a quarter acre of land, and many old t-shirts. Their monthly payment—including mortgage, interest, taxes, and insurance—is $1,600. It’s theirs.


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