Real EstateA Recording Studio in Manhattan, a Waterfront Residence in...

A Recording Studio in Manhattan, a Waterfront Residence in New Jersey

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Since shifting to Weehawken, N.J., final fall, Stanley Brown has developed a nightly behavior: He works lengthy hours on the recording studio he runs in Midtown Manhattan, and normally takes an Uber house at 2 or 3 within the morning. When he arrives at his condominium constructing, which sits alongside the Hudson River with an unfettered view of Manhattan, he takes a quiet stroll alongside the riverfront to course of his day.

“I take that stroll religiously,” stated Mr. Brown, who lives alone. “I’ve conversations with the town at night time. I wish to see what it’s that I’m shopping for into, or what I’m constructing there. It’s time to consider what’s taking place and what’s coming tomorrow.”

Mr. Brown, 54, has been working within the music trade since he was in his early 20s. He grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the place he performed drums and keyboard in church. In his 20s, he met the members of the hip-hop group Run-DMC and started enjoying keyboard for them. (You’ll be able to see him within the music video for “Pause,” decked out within the group’s signature rope chains and enjoying a solo on the keytar.)

Quickly, mentors like Jam Grasp Jay and the producer Hiriam Hicks taught him the ins and outs of manufacturing. Since then, he has written and produced for a spread of R&B and gospel acts. He has labored with artists, together with Salt-N-Pepa, Dru Hill and Michelle Williams from Future’s Youngster. He additionally served as senior director of artists and repertoire for RCA Inspiration, a label beneath Sony Music, and lately signed a distribution cope with Roc Nation.

In 2004, Mr. Brown bought a two-bedroom home in North Hills, N.Y. He constructed a recording studio, full with a vocal sales space, in his basement, the place musicians and different producers would usually go to from New York Metropolis. However these journeys from the town normally meant a two-hour drive again after a recording session.

Final yr, when the pandemic heated up the true property market on Lengthy Island, Mr. Brown realized that he may get worth for his home, and he set his sights on Stroudsburg, Pa. He had two good buddies who lived in a gated neighborhood there, the place he figured he may construct out a home with a recording studio and host songwriting camps.

However there aren’t any trains that make for a straightforward commute between New York Metropolis and Stroudsburg. Mr. Brown’s good friend, the producer Rodney (Darkchild) Jerkins, identified the holes in his plan. “He was like, ‘You’re going to be up there by your self,’” Mr. Brown remembers. “‘No one’s coming to work up there.’”

As doubt set in, a brand new alternative materialized. A good friend known as to let Mr. Brown know {that a} recording studio in Manhattan had opened up: Did he wish to take the lease? The reply was an apparent, rapid sure.


$3,500 | Weehawken, New Jersey

Occupation: Music producer

His weekend passion: “I’m a bike man. I trip bikes actually onerous. However it’s at all times on open highways, so it’s safer. I’ll trip with my buddies to Jones Seashore or the Hamptons. [Interstate] 495, on the proper time of day, is vast open.”

On taking days off: “I’ve no drawback working weekends, however I don’t prefer to kill my engineers. So I give them the weekends off. Sundays I’m working, as a result of I’m at my church in Jamaica, Queens. I run the music division. I’ve been there for 21 years.”

For Mr. Brown, having a studio “is like water to a fish — I want it to exist,” he stated, laughing at his unintentional rhyme. “Music is all I do know. It’s all I’ve ever completed. And if I’ve a studio, I can at all times write, I can at all times play music, I can at all times play with different artists.”


A plan emerged: He would use the cash from the sale of his home to put money into the Manhattan studio, which first started as just a few rooms and rapidly expanded to the entire ground as Mr. Brown created suites for among the producers who labored with him. “Now we are able to simply create across the clock, and we don’t should share the house with strangers — you may sustain the vitality,” he defined.

With the Lengthy Island home offered and the Pennsylvania plan nixed, Mr. Brown started on the lookout for leases. He had lived in Edgewater, N.J., on the flip of the millennium and started wanting alongside the waterfront in close by Weehawken. The second constructing he checked out, a waterfront property owned by Veris Residential that was a stone’s throw away from the Port Imperial ferry terminal, instantly felt proper.

“The vitality was nice,” Mr. Brown stated. “Strolling in, it felt like a lodge. I favored that it was new. And the view performed a giant issue.”

He moved right into a $3,500-a-month, one-bedroom condominium there final October, after placing almost half of his belongings in storage. He will probably be shifting to a two-bedroom, with a wraparound balcony, within the constructing this fall. When he’s not on the Manhattan studio, he’s usually on his constructing’s roof deck, ingesting his morning espresso and taking just a few calls earlier than heading into the town. The deck and pool space make the place really feel like a luxurious lodge: “It’s like I get to have a staycation day by day at house,” Mr. Brown stated.

The constructing additionally offers him an enviable commute. When he sees the ferry approaching from the floor-to-ceiling home windows in his condominium, he is aware of he has eight minutes to get on. From there, it’s simply six minutes to Manhattan, and a quick shuttle takes him just a few blocks from his studio.

For somebody who works lengthy hours, this kind of ease is a luxurious. “It simply makes me be ok with what I do, the place I’m,” Mr. Brown stated. Because it did for thus many individuals, the pandemic supplied him a possibility to prioritize what mattered and discard the remaining. Being answerable for his residing house and his time permits him to focus his inventive vitality towards the work that sustains him and that has outlined his life, he stated.

The studio is a dream come true, however an costly one. “I gotta pay for it, so I’m there day by day working and writing, always discovering new writers and engineers to maintain it going,” Mr. Brown stated. “It’s an funding. However at this level, if I’m going to roll the cube and wager, I’m going to wager on me. As a result of I’ve no intentions of dropping.”

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