Do you think the term “luxury” is abused?

7/11/2008:

I had written this article over two years ago, and never used it. Decided it’s still relevant (and a good “hangover” piece for this morning!)

What is Luxury?

I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve finally hit my boiling point with the excessive and unnecessary use of phrases such as “Luxury Apartment Rentals” or “Live the luxurious life!” when it comes to these real estate developments.

Take this big banner ad for the Curling Club. You think this place qualifies as “luxury”? Hell no! What you have here is a box of apartment units crammed in tight to maximize revenue. No stylized design, or unheard-of amenities. Yeah, it may be over-priced, but it’s cheap and in no way qualifies as luxury. WHY MUST THEY PASS IT OFF AS SOMETHING SPECIAL?

hoboken-luxury-apartments.jpg

I hate quoting the dictionary, but luxury means:
1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
3. Sumptuous living or surroundings: lives in luxury.

What’s inessential about an apartment with a living room, kitchen, a few bedrooms and bathrooms? It sure isn’t anything special. I wouldn’t call most of these Hoboken boxes “sumptuous” by any means. You throw some cheap granite as a counter or low-grade stainless appliances, and all of a sudden it has some magic luxurious appeal? I think not. Expensive? Yes. Luxury? No. The walls can be thin, construction shoddy, management worthless and neighbors suspect. Items get stolen, arguments about satellite TV, and sometimes, even a nosy concierge who deals drugs or has a criminal background. I suppose many consider a “view” of NYC a luxury. Maybe, maybe not. I think it’s just a “luxurious” way for the developer to suck more money out of your pocket. I feel that at least 90% of the buildings that say they’re “luxurious” don’t qualify.

When I think of luxury, take a high-end automobile as an example. Premium leather. Double-paned glass. 400 horsepower. Precision engineering. Quality warranty and superior service. Impeccable ride and handling. And stigma associated with owning it. Of course it costs a hell of a lot more, BUT YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AT LEAST!!

I’d much rather live in a 100 year old brownstone with two dozen coats of paint, radiators, small bathroom and zero “amenities”. Because I’ll take the peace and quiet, spacious layout, solid construction and charming design over cookie-cutter condos any day.

At least some buildings in Hoboken can be considered luxury these days. There are some single-family brownstones with elevators, $100,000 kitchens and floorboard heating in great, safe neighborhoods. But it’s going to set you back a couple million dollars to truly be luxurious. A $500k condo next to the projects will never qualify no matter what. You think that counter top will give you peace of mind when you’re looking over your shoulder or ducking for cover?

I have no problem with these buildings per se, the realtors that profit or tenants that live there. But why must everything be so dishonestly over-hyped? Can’t these marketing gurus (liars) be honest? I’d have more respect for them if they said “Decent apartments. Clean, average size, priced similar to others in Hoboken” rather than making it sound like something on Central Park South. I suppose if you came from a homeless shelter and moved into one, you’d be living the high life. I imagine it has something to do with your perspective.

A butler, personal driver, live-in cook and a full-time assistant is luxury. Not many apartments in Hoboken.

I guess in the year 2008, Hoboken “luxury” is the new “so-so”.

What is your definition of luxury?

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64 Comments on "Do you think the term “luxury” is abused?"

bradykp
Member
bradykp
[quote comment=”92826″][quote comment=”92810″]i agree. the construction isn’t luxury for sure. maybe the contents are, but the buildings are pretty crappy. i had a friend who used to work for Fields – he inspected the sites after they were done and identified where touch up work needed to be done. he told me never to buy a place built by them. i’ve heard countless stories about toll brothers in the media and from owners about how shoddy their construction is (apartments and houses). a lot of the developers are using cheap materials that are just garbage and throwing them up as quickly as possibly. it’s too bad, because people 10-15 yrs from now will have to deal with all the crumbling.[/quote] It’s not just the cheap materials, but also the quality of the construction work itself. When you have so much building going on in one area at a given time, the pool of skilled construction workers inevitably becomes diluted. And particularly with some of the real minor league developers operating here (as opposed to say Manhattan), you’re really getting the dregs of the dregs.[/quote] one of the things i thoroughly enjoy is the amount of non-union work that is used by people thinking they can save money. 9 times out of ten you get burned by this method. you can love or hate unions, and you can agree or disagree with the wages they demand or their methods, but the bottom line is if you’re hiring an electrician, plumber, or… Read more »
dont-cha-know
Member
dont-cha-know

[quote comment=”92810″]i agree. the construction isn’t luxury for sure. maybe the contents are, but the buildings are pretty crappy. i had a friend who used to work for Fields – he inspected the sites after they were done and identified where touch up work needed to be done. he told me never to buy a place built by them. i’ve heard countless stories about toll brothers in the media and from owners about how shoddy their construction is (apartments and houses). a lot of the developers are using cheap materials that are just garbage and throwing them up as quickly as possibly. it’s too bad, because people 10-15 yrs from now will have to deal with all the crumbling.[/quote]

It’s not just the cheap materials, but also the quality of the construction work itself. When you have so much building going on in one area at a given time, the pool of skilled construction workers inevitably becomes diluted. And particularly with some of the real minor league developers operating here (as opposed to say Manhattan), you’re really getting the dregs of the dregs.

bradykp
Member
bradykp

[quote comment=”92708″]My building is on the newer side, and I hear every step taken by every person in the apartment upstairs, and their dog. There’s nothing to do about it: I can’t ask these people not to walk in their apartment. They’re not doing anything wrong. The floors and ceilings just suck here.[/quote]

the floors and ceilings do suck in our building. the problem I have is that our landlord does not REQUIRE area rugs. you know i’ve posted about my lovely upstairs neighbors that start at 6:30am and go all day.

i’ve asked people below me and I know that they hear me occasioanlly, but how friggin hard is it to not wear shoes in an apartment and to be a little more conscience of your downstairs neighbors? i hate our building, even though the apartments are fairly “nice”.

bradykp
Member
bradykp

[quote comment=”92655″][quote comment=”92653″]Like many cities, Hoboken adheres to the Uniform Building Code (UBC) and International Building Code (IBC) which represent the minimum standards a builder must follow. That they barely meet these goals indicates that they believe Hoboken is a hot market and people will buy almost anything.[/quote]

And apparently they’re right.

You can dress all this new construction up with all the fancy appliances and fixtures you want, but in the end, the buildings are crap. They may appear nice when they’re new, but there’s no doubt that they will not age well. In contrast to the turn-of-the-previous-century gems that we all still prize so much, these sheetrock palaces in their characterless neighborhoods will hold little value once their shine wears off and the current gold rush eventually peters out.[/quote]

i agree. the construction isn’t luxury for sure. maybe the contents are, but the buildings are pretty crappy. i had a friend who used to work for Fields – he inspected the sites after they were done and identified where touch up work needed to be done. he told me never to buy a place built by them. i’ve heard countless stories about toll brothers in the media and from owners about how shoddy their construction is (apartments and houses). a lot of the developers are using cheap materials that are just garbage and throwing them up as quickly as possibly. it’s too bad, because people 10-15 yrs from now will have to deal with all the crumbling.

dont-cha-know
Member
dont-cha-know

[quote comment=”92779″]If Bado & Vandor would stop sitting on the (adopted but not made into city ordinance) master plan like an egg waiting to hatch, we’d have zoning in place that would legally prevent these architectural deformities from being built.[/quote]

You meant master sham, right? Or maybe master scam? Was this anything more than a PR exercise? If they ever get around to applying it, it’ll be time to draft a new one.

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