We love New York, and so does everyone else, apparently.

After eleven months of never ending bad news (disappointing WeWork & Peloton IPOs, falling condo prices, too much vacant retail), New York City is closing the year out with a bang. Here’s some scoop you may not yet know about how New York is turning 2019 around.

Tech companies IRL.

Manhattan is a very crowded 22 square miles, but she is making room for some new kids on the block. Space may be scarce, but there’s always room for one (or two, or three) more. (Have you ever commuted on the L-train? New Yorkers always find a way to squeeze in.)

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Just this week, three massive new office leases from some of the world’s fastest-growing companies were announced, solidifying NYC’s position as one of the world’s major tech hubs.  All of this action is taking place on the west side near Penn Station, and Hudson Yards, in particular, is having its moment.

1.Amazon: 335,000 square feet

Amazon comes crawling back, like an ex-boyfriend at 2 am. New Yorkers may have been a teensy bit sad after Amazon reneged on its plans to move to Long Island City earlier this year, but not to worry. Amazon will house over 1,500 employees in its giant new building, which is in Hudson Yards at SL Green’s 410 Tenth Avenue.

Lesson learned: NEVER bet against NYC.  

2.  Disney - 1.2 million square feet

Baby Yoda moves to NYC. Mulan’s Grandmother Fa famously asked the question “would you like to stay...forever?” and for Disney, the answer is apparently yes. The Walt Disney Company’s new HQ is underway in downtown Manhattan, and has hired SOM to create one of the biggest buildings in the area, a 1.2 million square footer in Hudson Square, a quiet part of west Soho near the Holland Tunnel. Disney will host a retail space on the ground floor; just take a look at the rendering below.

3.  Facebook - 700,000 square feet

Facebook’s footprint gets a bit bigger. Facebook is in talks to take over the Farley Building in Midtown Manhattan, which is an old post office from 1912. Facebook DID, afterall, change the game for sending posts, so it seems as though things are coming full circle. Remember, the social media giant recently signed a lease in Hudson Yards, and if this new deal gets inked, it would bring Facebook’s New York office real estate to over 3 million square feet, creating room for more than 14,000 employees.


Celebrity Sightings

Karlie Kloss sells bachelorette pad. Kloss married Joshua Kushner in October of last year. It didn’t take long for Kloss to jettison her three-level West Village apartment on Charles Street. Kloss has found a buyer at her asking price---$2.75 million. The couple has reportedly moved into their new home, though the details and location have not yet been disclosed. Stay tuned.

Observer / Patrick McMullan. 

Celebrity mansion gets a new owner. Fashion designer Thom Browne (best known for the skinny/short pant trend for men) and his partner, Andrew Bolton, head curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, just bought a 15-room town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for $13 million. (It’s good to be Browne because In 2018, he sold a majority stake in his company to Ermenegildo Zegna Group for approximately $500 million.) The building has had a long line of famous residents, including the Heinz and Vanderbilt families, as well as Charles Merrill, co-founder of Merrill Lynch.

City Culture

Double-super secret artist, Rae BK, opens a Lower East Side pop-up store.  We’re crushing on the refined street art that local artist Rae BK displays in a picture-perfect gallery at the corner of Suffolk and Rivington.  Rae refuses to reveal their identity and only appears in public wearing a mask, which naturally adds to the allure.

Photo credit: Rae BK in action.

Don’t call it a comeback. A ‘90s-inspired pop-up just opened in Soho that has millennials feeling all the feelings. Streetwear designer Dumbgood is selling Blockbuster-branded merch, and while you can’t actually rent any films from this Blockbuster like the good old, pre-Netflix days, Dumbgood’s pop-up has styles inspired by everyone’s favorite old school movies and shows along with a staff wearing their signature employee uniform.

Timeout / Dumbgood.

We all scream. The Museum of Ice Cream is reopening in Manhattan, but in a bigger SoHo space. The famously instagrammable museum (which has raised $40 million in VC money) will feature a dipping counter with whimsical flavors, a gallery of ice cream history, a lounge, and everyone’s favorite---the sprinkle pool. The company also has plans for global expansion.

Fox Business News / Museum of Ice Cream. Real Estate News

The real estate you wish your parents (and grandparents) had the foresight to buy.  The practice of separating a property from the land underneath it, and then renting out that ground to a developer on a long-term basis, is known as creating a ground lease. It is viewed as one of the safest investments you can make, and in Manhattan, it has made a lot of wealthy families even wealthier. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that what’s old is new again, with some new entrants making their mark on this time-tested way to make a pretty penny.

Why downtown condos make brilliant investments. Compound’s CEO Janine Yorio reframes how to think about single family rentals (“SFRs”) in the context of cities. At a time when people are moving to cities at record rates (68% of the world’s population will live in a city by 2050), how can mere mortals profit from this growth? Investing in well-located city condos could be the secret sauce your portfolio is missing.