2007-04-06

Another reason to loathe real estate brokers ...

Trying to locate their recent report on sales figures, I idly browsed the Corcoran ("Live Who You Are"! Be All That You Can Be!) Web site for my neighborhood. I don't expect to find Beverley Square West. I would hope to find Victorian Flatbush. They'd don't even list Flatbush. I found what I expected:
Ditmas Park: Runs from Parkside Avenue to the north, Ditmas Avenue to the south, Ocean Avenue to the east and Coney Island Avenue to the west.
- Corcoran Neighborhood Guide to Ditmas Park
Lest one quibble "Oh, it's just a real estate name," they continue in the second paragraph:
... This landmarked district ...
WRONG! The landmarked Ditmas Park Historic District lies only within the boundaries of Dorchester and Newkirk Avenues, and Ocean Avenue and the B/Q line. The only other landmarked area within the boundaries they describe is Prospect Park South. The rest of their "Ditmas Park" is not landmarked.

It's worse than that. They have no idea where they are.

Their descriptions conflate several neighborhoods - some landmarked, most not - and get basic information wrong. They provide the wrong school number for P.S. 139. There's this:
These homes were originally built for the likes of the Guggenheims and films stars like Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.
Again, not in Ditmas Park. The Guggenheim Honeymoon Cottage is in Beverley Square West, my neighborhood. The Pickford/Fairbanks House is in Ditmas Park West.

And there's this:
Many have porches and garages and sit on wide tree-lined streets with English sounding names like Argyle and Rugby.
Only the streets between Coney Island Avenue and the B/Q lines - half the area they claim to describe - carry these names, borrowed from the status of Prospect Park South. Four different neighborhoods span those streets from Parkside to Ditmas, and none of them are Ditmas Park.

The boundaries they give describe only part of greater Victorian Flatbush; they omit half the neighborhoods. Extending the southern boundary from Ditmas Avenue to Avenue H, between Coney Island Avenue Ocean Avenue lie West Midwood, Midwood Park, and Fiske Terrace. The latter two are proposed Historic Districts and are on track to become landmarked. Extending the eastern boundary to Flatbush Avenue, the Albemarle-Kenmore Terraces Historic District lies east of Prospect Park South, between Ocean and Flatbush Avenues, and South Midwood lies between Ocean and Bedford Avenues, and Foster Avenue south to Brooklyn College.

I've never had any dealings with Corcoran. We tried working with them when we were shopping for our home three years ago. They had yet to "discover" this area, and so had nothing to show us. Their reach had only extended to Windsor Terrace at that point, and we went to one open house there.

And, don't bother trying to find a house a house on their Web site. You won't find any. They only have "townhouses" ...

2 comments:

jonathan said...

I feel your pain, but also feel you're being a little too picky. I live in Fiske Terrace, and have a number of acquaintences in the Heights, the Slope, and Tribeca. Describing where I live, I usually call it Victorian Flatbush. When the acquaintence looks confused, my wife invariably chimes in "you know, Ditmas Park." She knows perfectly well where Ditmas Park proper is and where it isn't. However, to an outsider (which, ultimately, is who Corcoran is talking to), Ditmas Park has come to indicate the area you and I call Victorian Flatbush. If you say "Flatbush," they think you live on Flatbush Avenue. Next to Juniors, I guess.

Now here's what I find confusing. If Midwood generally means the area below the LIRR tracks (between Aves H and I), why is South Midwood north of that?

Xris said...

Jonathan: Thanks for coming by, and for your comment.

Anyone who knows me would agree that I'm picky! But note that Corcoran's "Ditmas Park" doesn't even include Fiske Terrace; according to their description, "Ditmas Park" ends at Ditmas Avenue. Part of my complaint is that Corcoran are also outsiders; they don't understand the neighborhood.

If only it was just the boundaries that they got wrong.

The South Midwood being north of Midwood has always bothered me, too. I wonder how that originated?

From my research I find that all the names of these neighborhoods originated as real estate names. Each developer needed to distinguish their product from the others. I defer to the names the neighborhood associations use to describe themselves.