Gravesend Sales Price Falls Just Short of Brooklyn Record

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Anyone who read the recent Times Magazine article about the incredibly close-knit and financially successful community of Syrian Jews in Gravesend may not be all that surprised to learn that one of its business leaders just sold his 7,526-square-foot house for $10 million. The seller was Joseph Cayre, founder of Midtown Equities and a former Latin music producer; the buyer was an LLC. While the $10 million number falls short of the $10.75 million paid for 140 Columbia Heights, it continues a trend of sky-high prices in the South Brooklyn neighborhood: Five out of the nine highest sales prices ever recorded in Brooklyn have been in Gravesend.
Developer sells Brooklyn home for $10M [The Real Deal] GMAP P*Shark
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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  • I used to do freelance work at shop on Aveue U that catered to the clothing for special events for both the Italian and Syrian Jews in Gravesend. Pricey stuff, custom made dresses started at $1000 each. Prior to working there, I had never been to that section of Brooklyn, or seen the McMansions up close. Lots of disposable income floating around in that nab.

  • Terra Cotta roofs in Brooklyn? Who woulda thunk it?

  • Thanks, B, for educating the sheltered brownstoners about the reality that our ‘hoods are but a wee part of the real Brooklyn. How bout some juice on Brighton? Oceana condos worth it? Other similar new developments in the area?

  • I have never for the life of me understood why such an ugly tacky neighborhood could be that expensive.

  • I always thought that the residents were 47th Street jewelers. Someone told that years ago. 10 million- I’m shocked! I guess I shouldn’t be at this point but I assume the construction is crap. I also heard that there is only one firm responsible for the matching McMansionsteins. I’ve seen them being built and it looks like the same old… Here we go again.

    There is an old ranch on Ocean Parkway that is in the mix. It is a beautiful house.

  • isnt this technically stanen island?

  • I think you’re talking about the single story home with the Arts and Crafts vibe on the corner of Ocean Pkwy and one of those Avenues mentioned: S, T or U. I’ve always adored that house. It’s got a large front lawn. Can’t miss it. Definitely worth a drive (or bike ride) down Ocean Avenue.

    There are still some interesting homes dating from the 20s or 30s in these now largely Orthodox neighborhoods. Although most have been “McMansioned,” there are a handful that appear to have been restored. Tend to be homes that were always sprawling, on larger lots. Still some amazing slate roofs out there.

  • I don’t know why you would assume this house is crap. However, after reading the Times essay and seeing this price, it makes me a little sad. A group has purposefully built a ghetto for itself, both physically and socially. As the Times article made clear, the leaders of the group enforce group solidarity and endogamy through very severe exclusions of individuals who marry non-Jews (narrowly defined). Seems to me that the inflated cost of this house inside the ghetto is only the most obvious, and least insidious, results of this policy.

  • Erin, exactly! It is so lovely!

  • Yeah no reason to celebrate the cultural diversity this group represents and their desire to maintain their culture….instead we should call their neighborhood a ghetto, their houses “crap”, “mcmansions” and their culture “insidious.”

    Could this be because they are rich JEWS?

  • the oddest park of this is that they’ll probably tear down the house! not only is it important to live near each other in this community, Syrian Jews desire to live next door to family. So if this guy lives in house next door, he may be buying this for son/daughter

  • What struck me about the article in the Times Magazine was how racist this community is. If you were to replace SY’s/Sephardic/Syrian Jews with the word WASP and Gentiles (not to mention J-dubs) with the word African American, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and every other righteous person in America would have filled the streets of Gravesend with protest marches. Century 21 would be boycotted and shutdown. CNN would of filled every parking spot with a satellite feed truck.

    The edict of 1935 is institutionalized hate speech, pure and simple. It also protects an economic interest, although it should be noted that there are huge disparities within that community. More “have-nots” than “haves” by far.

    Furthermore, it’s shocking that so many of the agencies that service that community are staffed by “J-dubs” and surprisingly, a few gentiles. How do they live with that kind of bigotry? It’s against everything that the larger Jewish community and America stands for in terms of justice, faith, and fairness.

    A house for 10 million? Sure, it’s called an economic fence. Try showing up there and trying to by that house if you are black/white/asian/hispanic/or a “J-dub”. Ain’t going to happen and that’s wrong.

  • Could this be because they are rich JEWS?

    No- we say that about everyone. Are you new to the blog?

  • It is an enclave then. Whatever. It has nothing to do with them being “JEWS”, I’m not the poster you are responding to, but if they were a community of nepalese, or a gated community full of white golfers, with the same rules, I’d have the same attitude: shame they feel the need to be so exclusionary. It is ironic that the minority of uber-rich families there must trade their wealth back and forth with each other to live in a pile of bricks on an incredibly average bit of land with no views. Wait. That actually sounds a lot like Manhattan. The same principle on a vaster scale, but at least not so homogeneous.

    Has anyone said: “Crazy Gravesend: His prices are insaaane!” yet?

  • 10:21

    1935=institutional hate speech?

    Do you have any idea what hate speech is?

    They dont want intermarriage – not claiming its a progressive policy but nothing different from many many ethnic, racial and religious groups in this country.

  • 10:25 – really?

    I dont hear such outrage being expressed toward enclaves of asians in Sunset Park or African-Americans in Bed-Stuy or Irish in Breezy Point.

    In fact when people in those groups seem to complain about outsiders moving in – the genral response around here seems to be “what do you expect, you rich gentrifying scum”

  • It goes a bit beyond marriage- c’mon.

  • As things heat up- I’d just like to put out the challenge to work together to come to a higher level of understanding and to spare us all from the nastiness and name calling.

    Proceed peaceful, intelligent peoples.

  • What area in Gravesend is this defined by? Or more to the point, will my folks on Bedford and R be able to cash out to someone in this population?

  • Is the house within walking distance of a Sephardic Synagogue? Then yes they will be able to cash out. If not, you might as well be in Mexico.

  • It’s no in walking distance, the synagogue is on Ocean parkway, the most expensive houses are the one’s within a short couple of blocks, Corcoran is already trying to cash in on this by listing a couple of shit houses for 3 mil a pop in the vicinity

  • It goes a bit beyond marriage- c’mon.

    To what?

  • I wondered how long it would take for that article to pop up here. I’m Jewish (reform), and none of my Jewish friends see anything of ourselves in that community. I don’t think the unpleasantness of their self-segregation has anything to do with being Jewish; to me it feels like Augusta National keeping out women.

    I grew up in the Phila. area, where there’s a sizable Jewish population, but at least in the 70s it wasn’t fragmented like the NYC population is.

    I’m very much torn by the rise in ultra-orthodoxy and enclaves like this one. On one hand, it’s great that the religion isn’t seen as dying out anymore, but on the other, is it really a religion that open-minded, reality-based people would want to join or take part in? Dunno.

    As for their homes; it’s their money. It’s not like anyone else other than a Syrian Jew would want to live in Gravesend.

  • mr b:

    both you and the real deal have the neighborhood wrong. this is definitely, w/o a doubt, and has never, ever been, gravesend. this is madison.

  • Yeah, its an enclave, I love it and I’m a proud atheist. They are friendly people and the Italian and Syrian Jewish women are really hot. It is kept Sephard by high real estate prices but isn’t Chinatown kept Chinese by a real estate conspiracy on the part of local Chinese clubs? The neighborhood is simply that much more valuable to members of that subgroup than to others.

  • 12:23 is correct. The area is called Madison, not gravesend. I have a house on Bedford and its a beautiful area to live in. I am jewish, although not religious. Every saturday morning the neighbors wear their best sabbath cloths and walk to the local shules. Its very quite and peaceful (just the way I like it). Its interesting to note that there is a huge difference in price between a house that sits on a 40×100 then a house on 30×100. Its all about how big you can bulid on your land. I also own a brownstone in PS, but would rather live in Madison.

  • Can anyone explain exactly where Gravesend and Madison are located.

    I’m not familiar w/ these areas that are going for $10mm outside of Brooklyn Heights.

  • I don’t see anything spectacular about the house in the picture. Why does it cost so much? Have they substituted copper or brass pipes for 24kt gold ones?

  • “Syrian Jewish women are really hot”

    Even with all of the inbreeding?

  • Madison is between Kings highway and av U. and between Ocean Avenue and Nostrand.

  • It goes beyond marriage in the following ways:

    I can’t buy a house in that neighborhood because of my race and my religion.

    I can’t partner on economic ventures with a member of that community because of my race and religion.

    No one can marry into or out of that community without being barred of the benefit of its resources-economic, social, or spiritual.

    It’s way beyond a ceremony.

    It is racism.

  • How can that house be 7500 sq feet??

  • Many Jewish people that I know think that it is okay to call people goyim and shiksa and shkutzim and to make negative comments about non-Jewish Europeans- even to them – thinking that it is funny. This kind of prejudice is not really addressed by the Jewish community, as far as I can tell.

  • I am Jewish and know quite a few syrian jews. They are racist, no doubt about it. Actually i thought the article barely skimmed the surface of how very racist they are. But i agree with 12:16 its there money and if they want to spend all of it living in gravesend or midwood or where ever, that is there business. No way i would spend that kind of money to live in those neighborhoods.

  • 2:04:

    And you know you cant buy a house because…..you tried to buy a house in the neighborhood? The members of the community dont list their houses with Corcoran, they sell to their friends and relatives – whats wrong with that?

    They partner with all races and creeds in business venture – did you even read the NY Times Article – last I checked Sam Walton wasnt a Syrian Jew.

    Again while not a progressive policy as a tiny minority trying to keep their culture intact while immersed in American culture what else should they do?- are you planning mass marches on the Amish next?

    I predict when you see poorer ethnic groups practicing the same types of policies you comment on how you love how ‘multi-cultural’ Brooklyn. Maybe your issue is ENVY

    fyi – goyim isnt pejorative

  • fyi- either is Jew unless it’s said that certain way- know what I mean?

  • Actually I think it is weird and sad when any group threatens their children with being disowned if they marry outside their creed, race, class, etc. While I understand why groups try to create rituals, rules, etc to perpetuate their identity, I still think it is pretty, er, old world. The multi-cultural Brooklyn I enjoy involves the mixing of people and ideas. Viva Miscegenation! Long Live the Race Traitors! Come to dinner and marry my brother/sister! Move next door!

  • Just a quick glance at ACRIS shows that a lot of data in the real deal’s top 10 list for 2006 is not very accurate. E.g. look at the last 2 BH properties in their list and compare to acris.

  • I posted the other day that my mother was ex-communicated from this community for marrying outside of the community. Although, she has no contact with her family she states that she never regretted her decision. We have had several long talks on the subject since my original post and it is clear to me that as she ages, she longs to see her siblings. They would not be accepting of her but she loves them just the same. This community is racist and sexist and I for one am glad not to be a part of it.

  • Now we know why Cayre sold the home in Madison, construction of the 8,200 sq. ft. replacement home must be complete.

    From the 2006 NYT article-

    “Two doors down, at the corner of Avenue S and East Third Street, is a property owned by Joe Cayre, a former record company executive who was among the group of investors led by Larry A. Silverstein that leased the World Trade Center in July 2001.

    City records show that Mr. Cayre paid $4.5 million for a 4,300-square-foot house on the lot in 2004. But he tore it down and according to plans on file with the city, is now building an 8,200-square-foot replacement.”

  • Unbenounced to most of the people from brownstone brooklyn, there have been tear downs in many parts of brooklyn, queens, staten island and I’m sure in the bronx over the last several years. Brooklyn has many desirable areas that people want to live in. They may not be desirous to you, most of whom are from out of NY and would have no clue of anything other than your beloved brownstone brooklyn, but they are desirable to many people. I’m sure i’ll get many negative comments to this, but i’m sure the cities you came from looked nothing like brownstone brooklyn. Why don’t you travel and explore a little. And to all the racists out there, why can’t people decide to live in an area with similar people. Don’t all you yuppies and trendy types decide to live in manhattan and brownstone brooklyn. If you don’t want to live in other areas, there is no reason to critcize others. On another note, you wouldn’t live with the minorities if it wasn’t in a brownstone area (ie bed-stuy, ft greene,crown heights) and if there weren’t any historical type of buildings or close to manhattan, I doubt any of you would be moving to those minority neighborhoods. If any of you would like to move there, i’ll give you a couple of neighborhoods and prove me wrong.

  • 10/20 3:31AM,

    You proved yourself wrong with benounced. The old English term is “beknownst.” You are also wrong about Yuppies not willing to live among others in Brownstones. Even if it were true, it would be due to individual choice. Not because the Grand Yuppa of all the yuppies sent out an edict not to marry outside of the Yuppie community for fear of diluting the Yuppie race.

  • Since most people I know (including me) are in so-called mixed race marriages, and since a least a few people who post here are (gasp) not of European descent, I always wonder at those who say “you woldn’t live with those coloreds unless you had to.” We are those people, Mister/Missus 3:31, and we reserve the right to criticize thoe who teach their children that some of us aren’t worthy to be invited home to meet mommy and daddy. No cultral relativism from me on the essential worth and humanity of all people.

  • Most people who would choose to live in a Brownstone neighborhood, regardless of its proximity to Manhattan would not be racist in my book. Especially considering that all of the Brownstone neighborhoods in Brooklyn were at one time predominantly non-White. Most of them still are. I and many of my neighbors are bi/tri-racial/ethnic or are in multi-ethnic relationships. Any community no matter how small, who aspires to create a pure race through selective marriage and who would turn their backs on family members who do not follow an edict dictating such, is clearly racist. I understand that this is certainly not reflective of the entire Orthodox Jewish community because I have an African-American cousin who is a Lubavitcher and actually married a Lubavitcher of European descent. The SY’s are even forbidden to marry J-Dub’s. So 3:31 please don’t try to justify this communities racism by attempting to point out racism elsewhere. They are wrong. Racism is wrong.

  • Unbenounced to most of the people from brownstone brooklyn, there have been tear downs in many parts of brooklyn, queens, staten island and I’m sure in the bronx over the last several years. Brooklyn has many desirable areas that people want to live in. They may not be desirous to you, most of whom are from out of NY and would have no clue of anything other than your beloved brownstone brooklyn, but they are desirable to many people. I’m sure i’ll get many negative comments to this, but i’m sure the cities you came from looked nothing like brownstone brooklyn. Why don’t you travel and explore a little. And to all the racists out there, why can’t people decide to live in an area with similar people. Don’t all you yuppies and trendy types decide to live in manhattan and brownstone brooklyn. If you don’t want to live in other areas, there is no reason to critcize others. On another note, you wouldn’t live with the minorities if it wasn’t in a brownstone area (ie bed-stuy, ft greene,crown heights) and if there weren’t any historical type of buildings or close to manhattan, I doubt any of you would be moving to those minority neighborhoods. If any of you would like to move there, i’ll give you a couple of neighborhoods and prove me wrong.

    Posted by: guest at October 20, 2007 3:31 AM

    Who in their right mind is up at 3:30 am on a this site, probably someone calling folks minorities.

  • Unbenounced to most of the people from brownstone brooklyn, there have been tear downs in many parts of brooklyn, queens, staten island and I’m sure in the bronx over the last several years. Brooklyn has many desirable areas that people want to live in. They may not be desirous to you, most of whom are from out of NY and would have no clue of anything other than your beloved brownstone brooklyn, but they are desirable to many people. I’m sure i’ll get many negative comments to this, but i’m sure the cities you came from looked nothing like brownstone brooklyn. Why don’t you travel and explore a little. And to all the racists out there, why can’t people decide to live in an area with similar people. Don’t all you yuppies and trendy types decide to live in manhattan and brownstone brooklyn. If you don’t want to live in other areas, there is no reason to critcize others. On another note, you wouldn’t live with the minorities if it wasn’t in a brownstone area (ie bed-stuy, ft greene,crown heights) and if there weren’t any historical type of buildings or close to manhattan, I doubt any of you would be moving to those minority neighborhoods. If any of you would like to move there, i’ll give you a couple of neighborhoods and prove me wrong.

    Posted by: guest at October 20, 2007 3:31 AM

    Who in their right mind is up at 3:30 am on a this site, probably someone calling folks minorities.

  • love this site – keep it up b ~~

    this home is in madison I’m shocked some respected names got it wrong. It is not even close to gravesend shees.

    for the record there are various SY areas in brooklyn the most well know is OP and Ave S area. But other area are in Madison and Midwood. I believe this home is actually in Midwood between ave m-n or n-o. SOmeone asked where the 7000sf is. If I recall that may be one of the home that actually goes until E.24. Yup you read that right!

    oh and i agree the syrian women are cool. so are the italian women. interestingly most are friends but they know there boundaries. overall they do get along with everyone just a tough bunch coming back from looonmg ago tough living in aleppo deep in syria.

  • Forgive me for the long comment, but the record needs to be set straight. no one is probably gonna read this, but here it goes anyways haha
    Alot of racist talk on this site that makes me very sad, i’m a Syrian Jew myself actually was born and raised in Syria before i came here, some like to call us BOAT, BANANA BOAT…whatever it is all in good humor as long as you are not being vicious about it. i’m not religious, but i definitely value and i’m proud of where i come from, i do think the community is very closed in and very into themselves something i personally couldn’t live with, BUT if it wasn’t for that what identity or pride or heritage will i have retained… i don’t know. many of you on this site must come from different countries and backgrounds, then you must know when you come to a new country where you don’t know anyone you are afraid and lost, so people look for familiar faces, culture, language, it makes them feel safe, so they form communities and try to preserve them to keep their identity. People have the right to live the way they want, i didn’t want to live the way my community lived, but do i think they are wrong to want to preserve their identity? isn’t that what have been going on for as long in history as we all know? the Jews, the Christians, the Moslems, chinese, Arabs, Russians, Italians, etc, don’t they all try to preserve their identity? and don’t alot of them look down upon intermarriage? but within each race or religion some communities and families reinforce it more than others, some are more open minded, both have the right to do what they wish. So when a non jew asks for a woman hand in marriage from her father and he refuses, it is not because he is not worthy…he might be the most wonderful man in the world, and even greatly loved and respected by her family, but the father’s sense of duty to sustain and continue the heritage might lead him to refuse, another father might not have that same sense of duty… both are right to practice what they wish. as backward of a practice as it might seem i have to say i’m glad there is people out there that still try to preserve their Heritage, Jews, Christians, Moslems, chinese, Arabs, Russians, Italians, etc. what would happen years from now if everyone marries everyone? we will all look the same, talk the same and what place will history take then? will that be too bad? maybe not, maybe there will be much less wars waged and less hate crimes, but that is not how life is, so lets just all “LIVE AND LET LIVE” let people practice what they believe as long as they are not harming anyone.
    to the one person who possibly read this, thank you for listening to my ranting…LOL

    sincerely yours,
    a Hopeless Romantic

  • oh and for the record, not all of us are super rich, many SY’s (Syrian Jews) are very average some are even poor, but what is great is that the rich ones always make sure no one from their community starves, in a sense they take care of their extended family, whatever you want to make of it…haha

  • I am probably the one person that read your post. I am the poster whose mother was turned away by her family because she married outside of the community. You are correct that many people try to preserve their culture once they have relocated to a country not their own. Culture means everything to many people. This is why American slave owners worked so hard to separate enslaved Africans from their culture during slavery. That said my family is now an amalgamation of many cultures Syrian Jew, Egyptian Muslim, African American Protestants and Latino Catholics. We all benefit from the convergence of cultures but can still celebrate the distinctions between them. My view is probably jaded because when I look at my mother I can see the hurt in her eyes caused by an actual racist edict enacted prior to her birth. To once again embrace her still living brothers and sisters, whom I have neer knowingly laid eyes on, she would have to deny her own children and grandchildren. This can not be justified by brushing it off as merely trying to preserve a culture.

  • i agree with you, it is not fair that her own family will not talk to her, i think they should, but that is a family affair. on the other hand to be accepted back into the community is a different story, the community doesn’t need to take her or you back, (i’m sorry to sound harsh)she decided to break away from a set of standards enforced by a community (whether they are right or wrong is a whole different story) but that is a decision and a risk she made, to go out there and have a different life, she has every right to do that, and the community has every right to do what it can to preserve its identity. i love many aspects of the community i was born into, and many aspects are selfish but after all good and bad always go hand in hand. if i or anyone else decide to do things that are not accepted by the community then that is something we choose to do and be willing to take the consequences. but i feel her pain, if my family disown me if i ever decide to intermarry i will be heart broken, but i wouldn’t care less if the community disown me because i believe they have the right to do that, if they don’t there will be no community, whether thats a bad thing or not is again a different story. even the Main rabbi’s sister of the community intermarried and was excommunicated but her family still has some contact with her, they still talk to her even if she is not part of the community, so again this is a family affair CAUSED and yes ENCOURAGED by community rules, but bottom line family affair!!! has she tried to talk to her family? not for the purpose of having them agree that what she did is OK, or even come to new year’s dinner! because if they are very religious they might not want to, which is a great shame. do they refuse to talk to her? that is unfair, but it is a family affair… because i know few people from the Syrian community who intermarried got rejected by the community but still keep in touch with their immediate family. i think it is great that you have such a diverse family but not everyone has to follow that lead, people and communities have the right to choose, whether we agree with it or not, as long as they are not going out there killing or harming people who don’t believe in their views. Except unfortunately in your mother’s case someone did get harmed! your and your mother’s emotions, but it is a family affair…
    Ha, we totally made this brownstone chat a personal conversation….but hey whatever brownstoner has so much nonsense and trash talk anyways! at least someone might lean something about something from our Chat.

    i hope your mother can mend her wounds with her family

    pleasure chating with you Poster 11:41am.
    you sound like a tolerant and a kind soul

  • The majority of comments on this board are entirely without merit. Anyone can buy a house anywhere they want so long as they can AFFORD it. BTW the buyer is not syrian so he is not going to a sephardic synagogue making most of the downright nasty assumptions all FALSE. Syrians are not any more racist then Starbucks is for not having one in lower income neighborhoods.

  • no one here is actually paying attention to the house itself. It’s not just the building on Bedford Avenue– it also includes what must be landscaped/yard land made up of two lots behind it on East 24th street. This helps explain the price.
    The neighborhood is filled with some beautiful old houses from the 20′s and 30′s, many renovated as well as many tastefully (if sometimes too elaborately) new homes built on regular 100 by 40 or 60 lots. And there are lots of old shade trees.

  • It s true that the price is high..but not that high

    It s true that SY jews like living in communities …but no more that connecticut WASP or yuppies from manhattan

    Jews like living in communities in NJ too…SY have one in englewood i think too

    After what happened in WWII Jews have been found to try to preserve what they have and kept that through generations that is why they take care of their surroundings have a clean neighbourhood where they can live SAFELY ..can you blame them? Anybody here to deny the holocaust?

    I am a jew from France and I felt very offended by the above blog and comments..I am trying to see what I am going to do to resolve this frustration …

    Hell yeah the guy made money on his house and he sold it for 10m$ ….If you don’t like it go live in Russia or CHina….

    Oh sorry both of there countries already acknowledge that property should be valued according to markets offer and demand ruling…

    I guess ur stuck with Cuba or Venezuela…oops heard castro isnt doing that well

  • I forgot to mention that this guy is loaded i mean really…10m$ is like 100k for most people for him…Freedom tower is one of his investments and he kept it even after Sept 11 happened
    What an honour for Americans to have him I have to say … Racism is the least of his concern leaving in Brooklyn as a matter of fact i think they are developing a 2.5bln$ project in Midtown Miami…where diversity is the rule cubans hispanics,europeans…where they have beautiful ideas to help the city thrive

    People can live wherever they want and buy whatever they want at the price they want …that is America…freedom of choice as long as you obey the rules of the country,,,,

    And You will find that mature jewish boys always follow the rules cause they re scared of what their mother would say….and scared of god. You need to know boundaries in order to evolve properly

    I think some of you should learn from good religious people jews,christian or muslim for the matter…we all live together even if it is a few block away brooklyn has jews neighborhood, arabs, blacks …i d say not so many WASP but they re coming…

  • By the way if your guys want to buy a condo in Midtown Miami check http://www.midtownmiami.com

    I am sure joe cayre will not mind you are not jewish ’cause he’s just not a racist..

    Lol ..your guys are so funny sometimes..