Prospect Heights 1BR $2100/mo.

NOTE: This is NOT my new pied-a-terre, and the apartment is no longer available. This post is for voyeuristic and informational purposes only.

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MY COUCH-SURFING DAYS WILL SOON BE OVER. I’m on the verge of signing a lease for a garden floor-through in Prospect Heights. As of November 1st, I’ll be able to say the words “pied-a-terre” even more often. I’m fantasizing how I’ll place my furniture, and my new landlords are being kind enough to allow me to choose paint colors. It’s premature to say any more.

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I found my apartment-to-be on Craigslist (“by owner”), and though the pickings in Prospect Heights, my target neighborhood, are fairly slim, and there is a sad preponderance of bad renovations, there is one other listing I want to share with you. It was rented in a flash. I’m posting these pictures purely as an example of what’s available on the Brooklyn rental market for lovers of old houses who are prepared to do a diligent search.

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It’s a top floor (long climb, bright) on Sterling Place, very near the Brooklyn Museum. The terracotta color of the building, top, and arched windows on the ground floor make me think Renaissance Revival, though most of the neighborhood dates from the 1890s, three decades past that style’s heyday. The apartment has TWO working fireplaces (one is rare enough — this is the outstanding feature, as far as I’m concerned) and the mantels and moldings are the original dark woodwork. Pity about the kitchen in the middle, but what can you do — it’s gotta go somewhere.

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Pretty swell, don’t ya think? No wonder the landlord had people fighting over this one.

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Bright Top Floor 1BR in Prime Philly $975

UPDATE: This apartment has been rented.

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YOU WERE THINKING OF MOVING TO PHILADELPHIA, weren’t you? Or maybe you already live there and need new digs.

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The town is hot hot hot, so hot that the popular Brooklyn-based real estate blog, Brownstoner, has just launched a Philly franchise. I mean, that says it all. Philadelphia is now officially New York City’s sixth borough, if it wasn’t already when The New York Times called it that a few years back.

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Artists and young people (including my son) are moving there for its cultured but laid-back vibe, less stressful and competitive than NYC, and cheaper. Bars and restaurants opening by the day. World-class everything: gardens, parks, libraries, museums, galleries, historic neighborhoods…personally, I adore Philadelphia and hope to live there one day myself.

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But not right away. Which brings me to the subject of this post: I have a wonderful 1-bedroom apartment for rent in one of Philadelphia’s finest neighborhoods, Queen Village (roughly equivalent to the West Village in Manhattan) — and on a prime block, too.

Available June 1st, the apartment is in one of two 19th century townhouses I own in Philly, the older one. The building dates from 1810, and was once a parsonage for the church next door, now co-ops.

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The word ‘aerie’ springs to mind: it feels like a roost, on the top (third) floor, overlooking treetops, rooftops, and the flower-filled courtyard of the building next door.

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The building is attached only on one side, so there are six windows with three exposures — south and west (the living room and kitchen) and east (the bedroom). Like most Philadelphia buildings, the proportions are on the diminutive side. The apartment is 650 square feet total. It’s best for one person. The kitchen and bathroom are 1980s modern, with newish appliances — in any case, completely serviceable. There ‘s a dishwasher and a washer-dryer.

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The downstairs entrance is shared by just one other tenant. It’s quiet and peaceful, but not far from Center City, Italian Market (with its outdoor food stalls), South Street, and any number of bars and restaurants. There’s a sweet park (Mario Lanza) around the corner.

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Winter view from one window

Queen Village is actually the oldest neighborhood in Philadelphia. Once called Southwark, it grew up around the 1699 Old Swede’s Church (still there!) The streets and alleys are filled with old brick townhouses, and nothing but.

Oh – the rent. $975/month, plus utilities (electric and water, roughly $90/month in spring and fall, $150/month in summer/winter). Heating/cooling is via electric heat pump, the all-in-one units like those found in hotel rooms. There’s one in the living room and one in the bedroom, and they’re very efficient.

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Courtyard next door

If interested, e-mail me without delay: caramia447[at]gmail.com. Or go here for my craigslist posting, which also has my phone number.

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Near Mario Lanza Park