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OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

The most expensive block in New York City

You'll need a lot of money to live

You'll need a lot of money to live on this block. Photo Credit: iStock

It's a quiet residential street. The block is surprisingly still, considering the Central Park Zoo across the avenue. The buildings have neat, short hedges surrounding unassuming exteriors. Many of the lowest windows are shuttered or have their curtains drawn.

Only this very inconspicuousness might tip off passersby on Fifth Avenue between 64th and 65th streets that they are walking the most expensive block in the five boroughs.

The median sale price on the block is $37,078,233, based on 10 years of inflation adjusted data from the city's Department of Finance compiled for amExpress by StreetEasy, a real estate website.

Staying power

As the thin tower One57 rises above "Billionaire's Row" on 57th Street with an average cost of $6,010 per square foot, this historic block retains its position — at least for now.

It includes 834 Fifth Ave., designed by renowned architect Rosario Candela before the stock market crash (the one in 1929), and a triplex bought by Rupert Murdoch from the estate of Laurance S. Rockefeller a decade ago. These blocks have long been home to the rich and famous. Former New York Gov. Alfred E. Smith lived nearby on Fifth Avenue and sometimes wandered the zoo at night.

Haves and have nots

New York City has always been a city of extremes.

Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced another step toward a $15 an hour minimum wage, some 30 blocks downtown. It would take about 282 years for a state worker making their $15 per hour to earn the median price — if they were working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Perhaps 282 years from now, the city will look like a different place.

Would you move in?

Some pedestrians expressed surprise that the block might cost so much. Others shrugged and mentioned the obvious — the views, the quiet, the park.

A traffic cop, Ray Johnathan, 42, took some time to consider while directing cars down Fifth Avenue. Would he live here someday if he could? "I've lived too long in the city," Johnathan said. If the money ever came through, he'd leave. "I'd have land around me, 45 acres," he said. "A house in the middle. Animals: horses and dogs." He thought for a second. "I don't want to stay in the city."

Then his supervisor came over and ordered him back to work.

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