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Crypto bros eye $169M skypad, NYC’s most expensive listing




Crypto bros eye $169M skypad, NYC’s most expensive listing

On a recent afternoon, a group of bros worth billions gathered in a Park Avenue penthouse. 

Precisely, the top, 96th floor of 432 Park Ave. — a sprawling six-bedroom palace in the sky that is on the market for a staggering $169 million — 1,396 feet above street level. 

It’s currently the most expensive listing in the city. 

“The first thing everybody does is go straight to the windows. The views are completely insane,” said Ryan Serhant, the skypad’s listing broker and reality TV star. 

The full-floor skypad stretches from a breakfast bar overlooking Central Park to great rooms and libraries looming over the downtown skyline — and the views never get old.

What was once the domain of sheiks (the owner of the apartment is Fawaz Alhokair, a Saudi retail magnate) and titans of finance, now belongs to a whole new group of ultra-rich young people, who made their fortunes in cryptocurrency.

“We offer wine and champagne for anyone who comes through,” said Serhant of 12 recent crypto showings. “[But] a lot of these crypto guys are dry. They just drink computer. It’s very intelligent, smart conversations, they are really interested in hard-asset investments and they want ‘one of one,’ like NFTs. People are spending all this money to own one of one.”  

A dining area inside the insanely priced home.

A dining area inside the insanely priced 96th-floor pad.
A dining area inside the insanely priced 96th-floor pad.

An interior shot of the penthouse's living room.
The unit spans a whopping 8,225 square feet.

A view of the city from the Park Avenue home.
The views from the Park Avenue home are as awesome as they are infinite.

But many of them — like Sam Bankman-Fried, the world’s richest 29-year-old with a $22.5 billion crypto fortune — are remarkably cash-poor.  Some don’t even own their own apartments.  

“They take care of their parents first, buy their mom a house, like Drake, get themselves a car, and then they buy an apartment for themselves,” said Serhant, who has been tracking and targeting crypto titans via Twitter and Reddit.  “Everyone is incredibly public. When we find them, we put properties in front of them and it works.”

“They take care of their parents first, buy their mom a house, like Drake, get themselves a car, and then they buy an apartment for themselves. Everyone is incredibly public. When we find them, we put properties in front of them and it works.”

Broker Ryan Serhant

These crypto whales — who went from $6 in their bank account to $600 million — have good reason to get into the Manhattan property game now.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced that his administration is coming up with new anti-money-laundering requirements for the real estate industry. A big question is whether the rule will include reporting regulations for crypto currency.

“Will crypto be treated like cash so that paying with it triggers a currency transaction report? Right now, it’s unclear,” said Elise Bean, a former staff director of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “There’s a reason it’s called crypto — it’s tied to secrecy.”

Bean argues that crypto dealers should have to identify the beneficial owners of the entities they are dealing with, just as banks do, and turn over to law enforcement the names associated with private crypto keys.

“Americans want to know who owns the ground under our feet — and to prevent it from being bought with illicit funds supplied by corrupt officials, tax cheats or criminals,” she said. 

Still, local and federal governments don’t always see eye to eye. Last month Mayor-elect Eric Adams flew to Puerto Rico (an emerging crypto center) on crypto-entrepreneur Brock Pierce’s private jet. Adams said he wants the Big Apple to be a crypto hub.

Like Miami mayor Francis Suarez, Adams tweeted that he will accept his first paychecks in crypto. This was later clarified by his spokesman to mean he’d convert his first paychecks from US dollars into Bitcoin.

Exterior of 145 Central Park North.
Crypto investor Lane Rettig diversified with a unit at 145 CPN.
Evan Joseph

Crypto entrepreneur Lane Rettig and his wife, Amazon exec Lily Rettig, recently converted some of their crypto into a new $3.5 million condo on Central Park North, precisely because of the upcoming mayor’s crypto-positive outlook.

“It’s been a tech hub for some time, which was exciting and surprising,” he said. “Now, the city is very crypto-heavy.”

Experts see crypto buys as a win-win for New York, which gets an injetion of tax revenue, and investors, who get a more diversy portfolio of assets.

A shot of Lane Rettig.
Rettig says NYC real estate is a good bet thanks to crypto-friendly policy.
Crypto NYC

“Exchanging part of your portfolio for a hard asset like real estate is popular,” said real estate lawyer Shaun Pappas. “It’s a good place to plant money, especially when you’ve seen a significant increase in your investments elsewhere.”

Developer Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group started selling condos for Bitcoin back in 2018. Since then, he has sold more than $25 million worth of commercial and residential real estate in cyber currency, he told The Post.

“There are more and more transactions and, as a result, you are opening up real estate investment to a whole new demographic of investors,” Shaoul said. “Crypto currency holders are a different type of person. They aren’t just finance people, or doctors and lawyers who own stocks. These are bus drivers, school teachers, cab drivers. They never invested before getting on the crypto currency train and now that they’ve made the money, they want to preserve their capital.” 

A grouping of cryptocurrencies.
Pick a crypto, any crypto, and you might be able to live beyond your means.
Getty Images

Individual buyers and sellers are also trying their luck.

““I’ve been in crypto since 2011, and I’m looking to buy an apartment in crypto,” said entrepreneur Troy Osinoff, a New Yorker who now resides in Miami and is trying to sell his $1.7 million apartment for $2.7 million in crypto. “It’s complex. I’m trying to turn my apartment into an NFT that comes with the actual apartment. The volatility makes some people uneasy for a transaction of this scale, but it will become more normal as crypto becomes part of our everyday culture.”

But these novice investors are also at risk of making bad decisions offline, other experts say.

“The amount of crypto money in New York’s real estate market is tremendous,” said real estate lawyer/broker Ed Mermelstein, who reps a lot of foreign buyers. “It’s only been in the last couple of months that some of these major Bitcoin millionaires — many are worth hundreds of millions of dollars — are starting to consider moving their gains into cash and hard purchases.”

But he warns that, rather than cashing out their coins for fiat currency, some of these buyers are borrowing against these highly volatile cyber currencies, which is “very dangerous,” he said.

Others warn that crypto wealth has inflated niche pockets of the New York City real estate, like Greenwich Village, where people with no real estate experience are buying townhouses for the first time — and overpaying for them.

These buyers are also difficult to vet, added Dolly Lenz, of Dolly Lenz Real Estate.

“You never heard of any of them,” she said. “They made money like crazy, one person after another. They invested $1 in Ethereum and made $5,000. And they are all very smart mathematically.” 

Jenny Lenz adds that they are looking for $12 to $20 million apartments — all condos and penthouses.

“They want flashy, and they want turn-key, ready to go,” she said. “They don’t want to wait around for supply chain issues, like a sofa to arrive. They want instant gratification.”


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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