Tuesday, June 27, 2006

$11 million is the new $5 million

Fretting about astronomical South Florida real estate prices seems almost droll when considering the ridiculous McMansioning going on in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn where the Syrian Jewish community is outdoing itself in spending stupid money on tear-downs. Remember, this is Brooklyn, where the ghetto is always around the corner. The Syrian Jewish community is notorious for being insular and close-knit, but this article also points to another real estate trend, the proximity of an Orthodox synagogue and/or school near a neighborhood and its uncanny ability to jack up the prices.

"The location is the most important," said Marianne R. Sanua, an associate professor of history and Jewish studies at Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, who grew up in Brooklyn in a half-Syrian Sephardic family. "They're willing to completely gut a house and rebuild it to the latest specifications rather than spend $5 million to buy a penthouse on the Upper East Side, which would mean nothing to them."

"It's very important for members of the community to live close to one another," she added. "They put tremendous emphasis on keeping their children in the community and having them socialize and marry within the community. Many parents will go to tremendous efforts to buy houses for their children. They will buy houses and give them as wedding gifts."

What, a little fine china and a fancy juicer isn't good enough for those Syrian kids? Sheesh.

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