Author Archives: Hallmark Abstract Service

About Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State and nationwide, underwriting through Chicago Title. HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind! Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process. Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be! From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future! My Background In 1980 I earned an undergraduate degree in economics followed in 1984 by an MBA in finance with a concentration in the tax-exempt market. With this focus on the municipal market I became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following both general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools. This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework of understanding concerning the mechanics of mortgage debt in terms of prepayment experience, mortgage quality and the expected duration of a portfolio. Leaving Wall Street I started Exeter Commercial which funded commercial mortgage loans. Title insurance was a critical part of the underwriting and closing process. At the peak of the financial crisis, I recognized both an opportunity and need as many title firms, for a variety of reasons, closed their doors. Out of this, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.

For New Yorkers, Being #1 Is Not Always The Best!

New York State, according to research at, is #1 among the 50 states in the tax burden on its residents!

As the owner of a title insurance company I am obviously concerned with the health of the New York State real estate market. The levy of property taxes are always in focus, as are the somewhat regressive taxes charged by some governmental entities around the state that are craftily disguised as fees (‘Are Governments Raising Revenue Through Regressive Taxes Disguised As Fees?‘).

Overall, however, the New York State tax burden for its citizens constitutes a situation that if not remedied, could have extremely negative consequences for those of us continuing to reside here moving forward.

But, of course, there is likely a flip side to any remedy that includes maintaining taxes where they are or even cutting them. That is a potentially significant quality of life impact.

Needless to say that New York and many other states are facing a huge fiscal problem with no easy solution!

Does a Solomonic Solution Exist?

During, and certainly after the coronavirus pandemic is but a memory, New York State, its cities, counties and towns will be facing huge and growing budget shortfalls that are going to need to be filled.

It won’t be easy and there are certainly no simple answers, but the truth of the matter is that a migration away from the state to more tax hospitable states had already been occurring before the coronavirus pandemic began, and will likely increase particularly if the fiscal solution from Albany for raising revenue, is to raise taxes!

Currently, according to Business Insider, New York is already Top 10 among states in terms of people leaving!

And while extremely difficult fiscal decisions beyond my pay grade need to be made, one thing I do know is that if raising our taxes is the answer then the exodus of our citizens to Florida, Texas, Nevada, Washington and three other states will continue unabated!

Then, sadly, it will leave those of us remaining behind to pick up the financial slack impacting every aspect of the New York economy including real estate.

It’s a slippery slope, and if you’re concerned about any potential slide let Governor Cuomo know you’re thoughts!

He can be reached here…

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service

PSA: Beware of the “Copyright Infringement Troll”​!

A Copyright Infringement PSA To Avoid The ‘Copyright Infringement Troll’!

In December 2016 I wrote a public interest story in the Hallmark Abstract Service blog titled ‘Carnegie Deli Closing! Are New York’s Jewish Delis An Endangered Species?’, as sadly it seemed that fewer and fewer were left in New York City.

As the owner of a New York title insurance company, this was purely a human interest story with no intention that it would actually lead to any business benefit.

And truly, who doesn’t love a fatty hot pastrami sandwich from a traditional Jewish deli?

For the article I used, and attributed to the author, a generic photo of the Carnegie Deli that was no different from one I could have taken had I ventured to its location at 854 7th Avenue.

A couple of years later, and out of the blue, I received a Summons and Complaint notifying me I was being sued for copyright infringement.

Understanding I was in reality wrong, I reached out to the photographer and offered to settle for a decent sum, apologizing for using the photo due to having been operating under the assumption that an attribution was sufficient.

She could not settle she said, and an article I saw this morning provides explanation for why that was. She had retained counsel (more likely counsel had retained her) and so could not settle.

Her counsel was described in a July 26th article in Bloomberg…

‘‘Copyright Troll’ Faces Disbarment at SDNY for Bad Behavior”

Links to both the original Hallmark Abstract and Bloomberg articles can be found using this url,

Finally, The PSA!

Be extremely aware of copyrights when you are going to use a picture belonging to someone else.

While using the picture may be an honest although incorrect mistake, culpability remains!

Since dealing with the lawsuit that likely brought less money to the photographer than I had originally offered her, I have been using Pixabay for photos although there are many other sites available.

Also, were this problem to unfortunately arise, check with your corporate liability insurance carrier as these types of lawsuits can be covered. And as always, be you own best advocate!

And while the attorney discussed in the Bloomberg article may or may not be disbarred, I can guarantee there are others to fill in the gap!

Happy posting!

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service

New York City Real Estate: Does The Pandemic Present A Buying Opportunity?

NYC real estate on sale

While New York City is in the infancy of coronavirus Phase 2, the impact of the pandemic on the NYC economy has been stark and highly visible!

This includes the large number of boarded-up stores lining the streets, and the dearth of any car/foot traffic on those same streets!

The current state of the NYC economy includes job furloughs, unemployment, store and restaurant closings and many companies working remotely for the foreseeable future. The real estate market includes rent and eviction moratoriums creating confusion for building owners, landlords and those who own, lease and rent in New York City.

But, at the same time, as we have seen too many times in the past, difficult times can potentially offer great opportunity for those willing to take the risks.

Pain and Potential

Commercial Space

I was struck by an article I read this morning at the NBC NY website, describing how the McDonald’s in Times Square was closing for good. And although there’s another McDonald’s close by on 45th and Broadway, I view this as a big deal.

Times Square, ‘The Crossroads of the World’, is tailor-made for fast food given the fact that on a typical non-coronavirus day upwards of 50,000 people move through it.

Pre-coronavirus, ground floor rents there were in the $1,900 psf range. But during and after a pandemic price discovery for this space and other commercial space, if/when it occurs, may offer some great opportunities for those willing to enter the market.

This same scenario will play out all over New York City both on the street and up the elevator in office buildings as current tenants look to renegotiate, reduce their space or move out all together.

A Potential Bright Side: For any business looking for ground floor retail space or office space in NYC, the probability is that the owners/management companies will be listening and sharpening their pencils!

Residential Space

I was equally struck by an article in Bisnow, with the title ‘The 6 Luxury Condo Buildings In New York With The Most Unsold Inventory‘.

Forgetting for a second that word on the street is that a significant number of current New York City owners may be looking to sell and move to less dense environs, anyone who has walked around or driven into NYC must have noticed the new official bird of the city, the crane.

Whether Long Island City, Brooklyn or one of the other boroughs, the number of unsold new construction condominiums tops 15,000, with 2,600 of them located in just six buildings!

An example is Skyline Tower in Long Island City, gleaming new construction that dwarfs the Citibank building, offering 802 units at an average price of $1.2MM. As of this writing 500 units are unsold!

Brooklyn Point in Downtown Brooklyn is the tallest building in the borough at 720 feet. Offering 485 condominiums for sale, over 300 remain unsold!

The other 4 condominium buildings with an abundance of unsold units are One Wall Street, One Manhattan Square, Front & York, and The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria.

A Potential Bright Side: Market turmoil and the turnover of residents living in existing buildings can potentially cause angst for sellers, but for buyers it may present an opportunity to have price discovery work in their favor. While sellers including new construction can sometimes be hesitant to lower prices, the longer coronavirus lingers the more motivated they will likely become!

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Milton Berle

Michael Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service
(646) 741-6101



Related Articles

The Coronavirus Impact On New York City Commercial Real Estate – Permanent Business Closures!
Post-Pandemic Homebuyers – Choose The Members Of Your Real Estate Team Carefully!
New York Title Insurance Costs – They CAN Be Mitigated!

Buying a Home in New York? What You Don’t Know Can Hurt (Cost) You!

Shopping for a home entails many factors that need to be considered, including financial, personal preferences, practicality, objectivity and realism!

While we all have visions in our minds about the ‘perfect’ home, limitations can sometimes get in the way forcing compromise.

Regardless, the process of home buying as described by various websites, for the most part covers the same basic components:

  1. Determine How Much Home You Can Afford Given Your Budget,
  2. How Much Is Is Available For Your Down Payment,
  3. Find A Real Estate Agent You Can Trust, Who Will Help You Find Your Way Home,
  4. Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval And Choose A Lender Who Can Close On Time,
  5. Find The Perfect Home For You In The Location That Works For You,
  6. Make A Smart Purchase Offer,
  7. Hire an Attorney Who KNOWS Real Estate; In other words avoid a relative or friend who never does real estate transactions but is willing to do your transaction for free,
  8. Have A Home Inspection Scheduled,
  9. Prepare Whatever You Will Need For Closing,
  10. Congratulations On The Purchase Of Your New Home!

When it comes to the professionals or trusted advisors that you will hire, such as mortgage broker, real estate agent, attorney, home inspector and more, referrals from those who have been helped in the past are great, but there are other ways to find these real estate pros as well.

Hallmark Abstract Service, by virtue of being extremely active in the New York real estate market and familiar with a great number of mortgage originators, RE attorneys and real estate agents, can help with recommendations if needed!

Title Insurance: A Critical Component of the Buying Process, is Not Typically Discussed!

When buyers of real estate in New York arrive at the closing table on that great day they are closing, they may be hearing about the provider of their title insurance policy for the first time, a company typically chosen by the buyers attorney:

‘Make a check out to ABC title company for $____’ they will be told.

In fact title insurance, one of the most important aspects of the real estate transaction, should not be discovered about in this way.

In life we learn about, desire and then shop for, most everything that we buy from a $100 pair of shoes to an automobile costing in the tens of thousands. Why then, as purchasers of real estate, do we cede the entire process of purchasing title insurance that will protect our most valuable investment?

Did you know that in New York, title insurance is not all the same:

  1. Title Bills Will Vary From Firm To Firm – This variation can be as much as $1,000 or more,
  2. Know (and approve) Who The Title Insurance Underwriter Is,
  3. Know The Title Claims Experience Of The Firm Chosen To Provide The Title Insurance Policy,
  4. Is There An Affiliated Business Arrangement Between The Title Insurance Provider And Any Of The Other Players In Your Transaction (i.e. attorney or real estate broker),
  5. You As The Consumer Have The Right To Choose The Title Insurance Provider!

Our recommendation beyond numbers 1 through 5 and regardless of the title insurance provider being used, is to request a title bill from another provider to make sure that you are not overpaying!

If in fact the 2nd opinion costs are much lower, ask your attorney to have the fees lowered by the title company being used!

Read more in the article ‘Buying a Property in New York? Remember You Have the RIGHT to Choose Your Title Insurance Provider!‘, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask at the contact information below…

Michael Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service
(646) 741-6101
(516) 741-4723

For Real Estate Transactions in New York City, There’s a New Process for Acquiring Water Bill Information

For the buyers and sellers of real estate in New York City, the responsibility for acquiring the information concerning a property’s water bill, normally that of the buyers title insurance provider, will now be arranged and paid for by the property owner!

These are the details provided by the New York State Land Title Association…

NYC DEP Water Bill Procedure as of May 22, 2020

Important change at New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP)

NYC DEP has shut down access to their computer system to everyone including municipal vendors.

Water information that you were used to receiving as part of a NYC tax search is no longer available. Information is now limited to only account number(s) and the current balance for each account number(s).

After speaking with DEP we understand that the access to this information will not return. They are trying to protect their 850,000 customers by requesting that a Title Read Letter be ordered from them as part of any NYC purchase transaction.  The important part of ordering the Title Read Letter is that it provides innocent purchaser protection, so long as the title read letter is requested and received prior to the date of the property transfer.

DEP is authorized to cancel water and wastewater charges in limited situations for the benefit of an “Innocent Purchaser.” To qualify for “Innocent Purchaser” status:

Below is an excerpt from the most recent Water Board Rate Schedule effective January 6, 2020

Section 3. Title Read Letter

A. Customers meeting the conditions of this Section may request and receive a Title Read Letter.

1. Prior to the date of the property transfer, a title read must have been requested by any of: (a) email sent to; (b) in person at a borough office of BCS; (c) by telephone to the BCS call center, 718-595-7000; or (d) by mail to DEP/BCS Customer Service, P.O. Box 739055, Elmhurst, NY 11373-9055;

2. The property transfer must be an arm’s length transaction as indicated on the real property transfer tax form;

3. DEP will assess a $25 Title Read Fee to the property;

4. DEP will review all accounts associated with the property, adjust the bills if applicable, and issue a Title Read Letter within 30 days after the receipt of a Title Read request, or, if applicable, within 10 days after the field inspection is completed;

5. The amount shown on a Title Read Letter shall remain on the account until paid;

6. Provided that the property transfer is an arm’s length transaction, DEP will not later adjust charges on an account upward for any applicable period prior to the issuance of a Title Read Letter;

7. The provisions of this section shall not apply where the culpable conduct of the Customer prevents or impedes DEP from securing a meter reading or inspection of the property.

8. A Title Read Letter that is properly requested and issued pursuant to this Section shall remain in effect for 60 days following the date of its issuance.

B. Customers who request a Title Read Letter after the date of the property transfer will receive an Off-Cycle Reconciliation Letter.

1. DEP will assess a $25 Off-Cycle Read Fee to the property;

2. DEP will review all accounts associated with the property, adjust the bills if applicable, and issue an Off-Cycle Reconciliation Letter within 30 days after the receipt of an Off-Cycle bill request or, if applicable, 10 days after the field inspection is completed;

3. The amount shown on an Off-Cycle Reconciliation Letter shall remain on the account until paid;

4. DEP may later adjust charges on an account, upward or downward, for any applicable period prior to the issuance of an Off-Cycle Reconciliation Letter, in accordance with the terms and provisions of the Rate Schedule and the policies and procedures of DEP;

5. The provisions of this section shall not apply where the culpable conduct of the Customer prevents or impedes DEP from securing a meter reading or inspection of the property.

Source: NYSLTA

Stop Property Thieves From Stealing Your Home in New York City, Nassau County or Suffolk County…For Free!

No-Cost Alternative for Avoiding Home Title Fraud in New York City, Nassau County or Suffolk County!

You’ve seen or heard the commercials, possibly narrated by Bill O’Reilly, that extol the need to pay about $15 a month to protect your home from fraudsters who are out to put their name on your deed, steal your home and leave you with nothing!

Or they say, perhaps a mortgage will be obtained fraudulently with your home as the collateral, that may result in a Marshal appearing at your door asking you to leave.

The commercials will pull on your emotions and fears because, as our home may likely be our most valuable asset critical for retirement planning and other types of planning, no one wants to lose it or have it actually become an economic burden with a stranger the beneficiary!

When You Buy A Home, Or Refinance Your Mortgage, You Will Be Protected!

Of course in New York State when you are buying a residential or commercial property, you have the right to choose the title insurance provider who will protect your interests, insuring that you have ‘good, clean and clear’ title to your property.

Also please remember that title insurance providers ARE NOT all the same, with varied underwriters, claims experience and most certainly costs on the title bill! Do your homework as you would with anything that you buy. Read ‘Buying a Property in New York? Remember You Have the RIGHT to Choose Your Title Insurance Provider!

Sign-up to Avoid Title Fraud in New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County*

Once you own your home, in the boroughs of New York City and two counties on Long Island, a free registry is available to homeowners that will notify them if and when a document is recorded against their property!

New York City ACRIS: Register your property here!

Nassau County Property Fraud Alert: Register your property here!

Suffolk County Home Owner Watch List (HOWL): Register your property here!

Questions about title insurance? Please ask Hallmark Abstract Service at

*Another way to deal with the potential for a fraudulent deed or mortgages being recorded against property in New York is as follows:

The TOEPP or Eagle forms of residential owner’s policies in NY cover post policy forgeries. A copy of the coverage language in the TIRSA Manual:  

COVERED RISKS The Covered Risks are: 1. Someone else owns an interest in Your Title. 2. Someone else has rights affecting Your Title arising out of leases, contracts, or options. 3. Someone else claims to have rights affecting Your Title arising out of forgery or impersonation. 4. Someone else has an easement on the Land. 5. Someone else has a right to limit Your use of the Land. 6. Your Title is defective. 7. Any of Covered Risks 1 through 6 occurring after the Policy Date.

Hallmark Abstract Service: Your TITLE INSURANCE WARRIOR!

What a Buyer of Residential Real Estate in New York City Needs to Know About the Process! (Andrew Luftig, CPL LLP)

With little to no Spring real estate selling season in New York City due to coronavirus, many experts believe that the Phase 2 economy, coming soon, will open the floodgates to an insatiable demand from homebuyers and investors!

But at the same time the potential for a repricing of NYC real estate, due to a damaged economy and the very density that made New York the epicenter for coronavirus, is also a very real possibility.

Buyers of residential real estate in New York City need to know certain basics about the real estate market and purchasing process before they begin shopping, so that they are ready to pounce if the iron gets hot! (Note: If financing will be necessary, they should also get pre-approved for a mortgage. Recommendations available upon request.)

Who better to provide this information to the readers of the Hallmark Abstract Service newsletter than Andrew Luftiga Partner at the law firm Chaves Perlowitz Luftig.

The following Purchaser’s Guide appears in the Real Estate section of the CPL Law website.

Mike Haltman, CEO Hallmark Abstract Service

Purchaser’s Guide

Buying a home in NYC, whether as a primary residence or as an investment, is a life-changing decision, and therefore, it is imperative to complete a due diligence review prior to signing a contract of sale. Below are some key points a purchaser should be aware of when considering investing in a residential property in NYC:

Understand the different types of homes available:

• Cooperatives: Apartments in a coop building are owned by a single corporation. A purchaser of an apartment in a coop building will be purchasing “shares” of the corporation and will receive a proprietary lease. As such, the purchaser will receive a stock certificate in lieu of a deed, allocating a number of shares to its unit. Coop buildings are generally older than condos, and coop boards wield a significant amount of power as it relates to your tenancy in the apartment. Nearly all coops typically require a purchaser to submit a minimum down payment of 20-25% of the purchaser price, while also maintaining maximum debt-to-income ratio of about 25%. Coops also are far more prevalent than condos as they represent 70%-80% of the total stock of apartments available for sale in Manhattan. Additionally, the real estate tax obligation is baked into a shareholder’s maintenance amount. Lastly, a purchaser can be denied for any reason or no reason at all.

• Condominium: Unlike coops, condo owners purchase the unit outright and receive a deed to the apartment; similar to purchasing a single-family house. In addition to paying monthly common charges, condo owners are also responsible to pay for their own real estate taxes on the property. Condo boards are far less demanding than those of coops, and therefore, provide more flexibility for investors who may look to sublease the condo. The Board of Managers has the right to purchase the condominium unit for the exact same business terms. Typically, a board waives its right.

• Considering the differences outlined above, it is important to identify what type of purchaser you plan on being (i.e. primary residence vs investor) before deciding on whether you would rather purchase a condo or coop.

• House: townhouses, single family homes, or multi-family homes require an inspection.

Contract terms:

• Once the parties have agreed to a sale price, the parties enter into a contract which governs the terms and obligations of both parties.

• Purchasers typically request a financing contingency which protects the purchaser in the event they cannot obtain a loan to complete the purchase. Boilerplate Condominium and Cooperative Contracts are also contingent on Board approval or a waiver of right of first refusal.

• The purchaser will be required to put down a deposit of 10% of the purchase price once both parties have finalized the contract terms.

• It is very important to retain an experienced real estate attorney to help guide you through the purchase process and work through the terms of the contract. A good attorney will help navigate through the process and ensure you understand details and terms you would have otherwise missed. The attorney will also assist in reviewing the building’s by-laws prior to executing the contract.

• Purchasers may want to set up an LLC to purchase the property In order to shield against personal liability as well as maintain a level of privacy. LLC structure is important depending on whether or not you are the end user.

Closing Process:

• After the contract has been executed by both parties, and all contract conditions are met, a closing date is scheduled. This typically takes place 60-90 days after the contract signing.

• Contracts typically provide the purchaser with the opportunity to conduct a walkthough of the unit 24-48 hours prior to the closing to ensure the condition meets Contract standards.

• The contract will also usually stipulate that the closing date is “on or about” a certain date in order to maintain a level of flexibility should you need to reschedule.

• Closing costs will vary based on the down payment you’ve put down and your mortgage rate, but at a minimum, you will have to pay attorney fees, mortgage fees, and a move-in costs at the closing. Closing costs also vary depending on whether you are purchasing a condominium or cooperative.


In addition to his real estate expertise, Andrew Luftig, who has been at Chaves Perlowitz Luftig for over 9-years, also specializes in banking transactions, business transactions, and estate planning.

He gives back to the professional community on a weekly basis through educational lectures with many of the city’s top residential real estate companies.

(Editors Note: ‘Buying a Property in New York? Remember You Have the RIGHT to Choose Your Title Insurance Provider!‘)

Role-Playing in New York Real Estate!

The Role of Hallmark Abstract Service is Straightforward!

Straightforward in terms of the end result leading to a title insurance policy, but in the age of coronavirus the process has most definitely required a greater degree of creativity due to business and governmental closures along with the need for social distancing!

As a title insurance provider in New York State our role is simple – To protect clients in a purchase (or refinance) of residential or commercial property, making sure that they have ‘good, clean and clear title’ in what may be the single-greatest financial transaction of their lives!

The actual route of getting to the title insurance policy may be simple, or it could take a roundabout path filled with potential landmines. But it is our job to get there while at the same time making it as easy as possible for the real estate attorney or mortgage loan officer.

And for those very rare cases where a title landmine becomes an actual impediment to obtaining ‘good, clean and clear title’ to the property, it is our job to be crystal clear about that as well and advise that they not close!

We take our role extremely seriously, keeping a laser-focus on our clients best interests.

We also understand that many, if not most of those reading this, will already have strong and solid relationships with a title insurance provider. That is fantastic, and we completely understand as we have those same relationships with the clients that we work with.

However it is critical to have a strong, viable and tested Plan B for New York title insurance because, as the financial crisis taught us more than 10-years ago, seismic shifts in the business landscape can sometimes destroy everything in its path!

What’s Your Plan B?

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service
(646) 741-6101

The Coronavirus Impact On New York City Commercial Real Estate – Permanent Business Closures!

Viewing the impact of coronavirus on New York City businesses from a 30,000-foot perch, we conceptually know that it is going to serious for many and terminal for others!

Until the economy reaches the ‘phase’ where retail stores small and large, entertainment and sporting venues, restaurants, etc. are allowed to reopen in earnest, the number of permanently empty storefronts that may be hard to refill, will remain nothing but an estimate by various interested parties.

But once that time comes where permanent New York City closures become a firm reality, the citizens who had frequented the businesses, government entities that were a receiver of the tax revenues and landlords who benefited from rent will be able to mourn in earnest!

The looming question is how will the occupants of square footage be replaced at a time when human density is frowned upon, the migration behavior of current NYC residents has yet to be determined and, tragically, there is a degree of unrest that may persist for an extended period of time?

Permanent Restaurant Closures!

For an indication of just how bad the situation may be, the publication EATER New York is compiling a running list that of closures that includes some well known names and some lesser known names, that all have a few things in common. That is the impact closures will have on employees, on owners, on neighborhoods, on suppliers, on governments, etc!

Here is a partial list with a link to EATER for the rest.

‘A Running List of NYC Restaurants That Have Permanently Closed During the COVID-19 Crisis’

May 29

Midtown: The Copacabana — an iconic New York City nightclub whose stage has seen the likes of Harry Belafonte, the Supremes, and Carmen Miranda — permanently closed this month after an 80-year run in multiple locations. A staffer at the nightclub attributed the closure to the novel coronavirus shutdown, adding that the venue planned to return next year at a new unspecified location.

Times Square: Manhattan’s luxe new hotel the Times Square Edition, which temporarily closed in light of the pandemic, is set to permanently close this August, just one year after its hyped-up Manhattan debut. The hotel is home to several restaurant and bar options helmed by chef John Fraser, including its ninth-floor Terrace Restaurant and the Outdoor Gardens, an all-day American brasserie. The flagship fine-dining restaurant 701West notably received three-stars in the New York Times. The hotel was a partnership between hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International Inc.

Tribeca: Vietnamese fast-casual restaurant Vietspot has permanently closed just two years after opening in the neighborhood. Owner Sophie Nguyen tells Tribeca Citizen that she hopes to fully reopen the FiDi outpost of the restaurant — which is also the original location — when the current restrictions on dining-in are lifted. For now, that outpost is open for delivery and takeout.

West Village: Japanese grilling destination Takashi has left the West Village after more than a decade in the neighborhood. The novel coronavirus shutdown dealt the tabletop grilling spot “a particularly deft blow,” according to a letter posted to the restaurant’s website by owner Saheem Al. Given the restaurant’s focus on interactive, family-style meals, a pivot to delivery or takeout didn’t make sense, Ali wrote, while the restaurant was too small to make a comeback with dine-in service at reduced capacity.

West Village: Blenheim, an upscale farm-to-table restaurant in the West Village, appears to have permanently closed without announcement, according to tipsters who described the space as “cleared out entirely.” In its six-year run, the restaurant was known for its “grown-to-order” produce, which comes from two farms in the Catskills also owned by the restaurant. At the time of writing, the owners have not posted a closing announcement to their website or social media page.

Read the rest at EATER here.

Michael Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service
(646) 741-6101

The NYC and Long Island Real Estate Industry Needs Coronavirus Phase 2 In Order To Function! But…

real estate and coronavirus Phase Two

Long Island is going Phase 1 tomorrow, but what about New York City?

In order to return to any semblance of normalcy, the real estate industry in the New York City/Long Island/Westchester region is anxiously waiting for Phase 2 of the coronavirus economy reopening to be implemented!

So c’mon Phase 1 because, as the players and fans at the Craps table will scream, ‘Baby needs a new pair of shoes’! Or if not shoes, the ability to run a business involved in the real estate sector of the economy!

And once Phase 1 begins, it is then supposed to be 2 weeks after that when Phase 2 will hopefully be phased in.

It’s Phase 2 that will ‘…allow a wider range of businesses to reopen, including storefront retailers and businesses in the professional services, finance and insurance, administrative support, and real-estate and rental-leasing industries. Under the current guidelines, no region will eligible to begin Phase Two until at least May 30…’

Currently NYC has hit 4/7 and Long Island 5/7 of the metrics necessary to be hit in order for Phase 1 to be enacted.

NYC is missing an appropriate contact tracing capability and it is just below the 30% level for the availability of hospital beds and ICU beds.

Long Island also needs to shore-up its contact tracing capability, and has not yet met the criteria of an adequate decline in hospital deaths, although opening to Phase 1 has been scheduled for May, 27, 2020.

Impact of Coronavirus Shutdown for the Real Estate/Mortgage Industry

On some level determining the ultimate impact from coronavirus on real estate attorneys, real estate brokers, traditional lenders, hard money lenders, commercial mortgage lenders, building owners (impact will vary by property type), homeowners, CRE buyers, homebuyers, investors, spec builders, developers etc. is akin to gauging the impact of Martians landing on earth.

Individual bankruptcies, foreclosures, forbearance, mandated rent holidays, limitations on evictions and more are some of the ancillary issues that will likely and severely impact the market and the people involved.

Real estate-related businesses such as inspection firms, surveying firms, municipal search firms, interior design, exterminating, renovation, architecture, furniture, title insurance and many, many more, have seen revenues decline to a point where some may not be in a position to continue as a going concern.

PPP loans have helped firms to maintain staff for 2-months, but that has done nothing from the standpoint of revenue. And, in New York, rent can often be greater than the 25% allowed for rent expenses.

Phase 2

While the pent-up demand for housing is hopefully waiting in the wings for the floodgates to open, the reaction of the public when it comes to the comfort level of going out in public remains to be seen.

Will there be a rush of current owners living in the density of New York City pursuing property in the relative fresh air provided by Long Island and Westchester?

On the other hand, will there be a rush of people who always wanted to own in NYC who now sense that there may be a softening in prices due to the prior statement?

We, as do you, face a plethora of unknown outcomes where we can hope for the best and continue to run our businesses in the manner to which our clients have become accustomed.

And, at the end of the day, the Hallmark Abstract Service family sincerely hopes that this unimaginable episode has left you, your family and all of those close to you as healthy and unscathed as possible! Because, ultimately, that is what really matters!

I believe the following phrase, that a good friend recently made me aware of, should be a guiding light for us all as we seek to navigate what will be Uncertainty with a capital U!

The Serenity Prayer

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service
(646) 741-6101