Renovating in New York: Let ’Er Rip? Not So Fast

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Robert and Debra Liano thought their renovation plans were straightforward, but it didn’t take them long to discover that very little about New York City construction is simple, easy or inexpensive.

After spending $1.65 million in 2010 to buy a co-op apartment at 112 East 19th Street in Gramercy that had last been updated in the 1970s, they moved in and put up with its curved wall topped by glass block, surface-mounted electrical conduits and awkward kitchen.

But about a year later, they began planning an overhaul, and encountered the arcane process that must be followed to renovate an apartment in the city.

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