A Massachusetts native who moved to New York in 1996, Lockhart Steele has made a mark on the New York real estate market through his blog, Curbed.com, which highlights how people define and redefine neighborhoods, community and place, with a focus on New York City.
Launched in May 2004, the blog is filled with information, insight, gossip, guesses, color, commentary, critiques, humor and occasional digressions from real estate insiders and outsiders alike. The site, Steele said, is not afraid to be ridiculous.
Steele, who in his day job is managing editor of Cottages and Gardens, doesn’t strive to be an expert in real estate but acknowledges that he has received a quick education by publishing the blog.
Curbed.com now receives about 150,000 unique visits each month, and counts among its readers some of the top executives with all the big real estate firms.
Steele will speak at Real Estate Connect in New York City, Jan. 9-11, 2005.
Panel or session at Connect: New Digital Media
What are your current or childhood nicknames?
Which daily newspaper do you read and which section of the newspaper do you read first?
Part of publishing Curbed is reading every New York paper first thing in the morning. Each is a trip in its own way. I get a kick out of finding bizarre stories buried at the bottom of page B7 of the Metro section, then bringing them to the attention of Curbed readers. Because who actually reads page B7?
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever packed in a suitcase?
A human head. No, not really–just always wanted to say that.
What kind of music do you listen to?
A mix of stuff and styles. Back in the 1990s, I wrote a book about Phish after I’d seen about 100 of their shows. (It’s called The Pharmer’s Almanac – order it up on Amazon!) These days, I’m partial to Wilco and The Shins.
What style of home do you live in and when did you buy it?
A one-bedroom apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where I’ve lived for the last four years. I rent. Yeah, yeah–it’s a genuine tragedy.
Where did you spend your last vacation?
A weekend in Los Angeles for a friend’s 30th birthday party a few months back. Scouted the real estate market for Curbed L.A.’s debut in summer 2008.
What professional accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Having had the chance to work in so many different forms of media – magazines, newspapers, book publishing, and the Internet – in my 20s. I’m a huge believer in the Web as an information medium, but there are things that magazines, newspapers and books each do so well. It’s going to be a blast to see what happens to media in the next decade.
What personal accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Too personal for me to answer here, much as I love all of you.
How many e-mail addresses do you have?
Four that I use regularly. I really should stop buying domain names.
What worries keep you awake at night?
Fear that the price of real estate in New York City will climb another three percent while I sleep.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
When lawyers tell you they’re going to send you a cease-and-desist letter, they really are going to send you a cease-and-desist letter.
What is your favorite technology device or software application?
The Web and the Web browser. I used to have a really cool electric toothbrush. Unfortunately, it broke.
What is your opinion of Inman News?
Pleasingly down-to-earth with a genuine voice. I hate news outlets that are afraid to be themselves – Inman ain’t that.
What was the best gift you ever received from or gave to someone else?
The gift of life. No, not really – just always wanted to say that.
What was your top New Year’s resolution and have you kept it so far?
I had the idea for Curbed in the summer of 2003 and sat on it for about six months, sort of hoping and expecting that someone else would have the same idea and make a go of it so I wouldn’t have to. When the idea was still gnawing at me last New Year’s, I decided to give it a shot in 2004. The site launched in late May 2004, so I got to cross a New Year’s resolution off my list probably for the first time ever. Hoping to continue my streak, this year I resolve to win the lottery.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl. If the first few posts of Curbed read like crap one day it’s because my brain doesn’t really wake up until 11am. (If the rest of Curbed reads like crap, that’s just business as usual.)
What is your worst vice or bad habit?
Taking on too many projects at the same time. For example, I’ve been putting off doing this questionnaire forever. But hey! Look! It’s done!
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