Written by 3:30 pm Wealth Building Views: [tptn_views]

This NYC rental can’t be used for ‘pornographic purposes’ or ‘any abortions’ — here’s why

The furnished garden duplex at 337 E. 62nd St. in Lenox Hill — a unit now available for rent for a cool $18,000 a month — comes with loads of amenities: outdoor space, a separate entrance and multiple high-tech “smart” features amongst them.

On the opposite hand, pets aren’t allowed. And neither are a couple of other things.

The 2,300-square-foot dwelling can’t be used for “any obscene performances,” as defined by the state’s penal code. Nor can the property be used for “obscene or pornographic purposes or activities.”

That’s since the 22-unit condominium constructing, constructed 10 years ago, was built on land sold by the Archdiocese of New York. The property traded for $7 million in early 2012.

The site was formerly occupied by a convent related to the nearby Our Lady of Perpetual Help church. The church itself was razed in 1998.

Additionally, the premises must not be used for “any abortions or euthanasia proceedings,” or to offer “counseling or advice regarding abortions, contraception or euthanasia.” Any display of related signage can be prohibited.

A view of the duplex unit’s kitchen.
Tyler Gustin / BOND New York
Among its many features, in addition to its use restrictions, the unit has floor-to-ceiling exposures.
Tyler Gustin / BOND New York

Such use restrictions usually are not unusual for deconsecrated churches and land sold by religious institutions.

“Faith communities can transfer title to their property but keep a non-possessory interest in its use,” said Rev. Patrick Reidy, an associate professor at Notre Dame Law School in Indiana, who studies religious property.

One striking example: The mixed-use skyscraper called One Chicago, recently built on the previous car parking zone of Holy Name Cathedral. The Archdiocese of Chicago sold the downtown car parking zone in 2017 for an astronomical $110 million.

The developer agreed that the property would disallow any pawn shop, tattoo parlor, gambling facility, automotive wash, flea market or trailer park. Also prohibited are restaurants that encourage shirtlessness or the wearing of “provocative clothing” — including, but not limited to, hot pants and halter tops.

The exterior of 337 E. 62nd St.
Courtesy of Mollie Chandra
The duplex opens to a yard, with this level of outside space being a rarity in New York City.
Tyler Gustin / BOND New York

Restrictive religious covenants are enforceable in court should the local archdiocese decide to implement them, Reidy told The Post. Still, “we don’t see a whole lot of litigation,” he said.

“Admittedly, cases involving religious covenants don’t overwhelm the judiciary,” he and a colleague, Nicole Stelle Garnett, wrote within the Florida Law Review.

In fact, Reidy will not be aware of any such enforcement actions.

“Use restrictions aim to manage the activities of people that may not share the spiritual or moral commitments of their property’s prior owners,” the law review piece states.

“My concern could be that any property that’s excessively restricted runs the chance of not being sellable,” Reidy said. “Just because most religious covenants are enforceable doesn’t make them advisable.”

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York was in Rome for this month’s synod of bishops and was unavailable for comment.

Pravir and Mollie Chandra stand at their “church rock” of their yard, the location of each their proposal and marriage.
Courtesy of Pravir and Mollie Chandra.
Another view of the prime yard space.
Tyler Gustin / BOND New York

The current owners of the duplex, Mollie and Pravir Chandra, who bought the unit 4 years ago for $2.3 million, found the restrictions curious but inconsequential.

“We knew that we weren’t going to upset any of those rules,” Mollie said. She is a licensed massage therapist, while her husband is a specialist in information security, currently working on a music startup using artificial intelligence.

The Chandras are leaving town to start out a bed and breakfast in picturesque Sayulita, Mexico, the beachy town that hosts “Bachelor in Paradise.”

The duplex for rent “looks like a house,” said the listing agent, Mariana Bekerman of Bond New York. Though it’s partly below grade, “it doesn’t feel basement-y in any respect. It has floor-to-ceiling windows.”

It is, nonetheless, on a busy street, plagued with morning honking from traffic exiting the 59th Street Bridge.

The unit seeks a tenant to live there for no less than six months.
Tyler Gustin / BOND New York

The place, currently for rent for at least six months, could possibly be suitable for people needing an area place while they hunt for their very own property to purchase, the Chandras said. Or it could possibly be a snug spot for a patient being treated at a close-by hospital. The Chandras are also open to selling.

Pravir made the house smart. Temperature, lights, music — all are controlled via a phone app.

“You never should touch a lightweight switch,” he said. “You walk around and the lights will follow you.” The property has eight audio zones. The automated shades open and shut on a schedule.

The downstairs game room holds gym equipment, hammock chairs and a surround-sound home theater with an 85-inch screen. “It’s like going to the flicks,” Mollie said.

Outside, there’s a layer of low-maintenance artificial grass, plus a gas grill and rotisserie. The yard is highlighted by an outcropping of Manhattan schist, the identical bedrock present in Central Park. The Chandras affectionately call it their “church rock.”

The rock was the location of each proposal and marriage. “We sort of eloped within the backyard,” Mollie said.

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