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Thread: 211 Elizabeth Street - Condo - NoLiTa - by Roman & Williams

  1. #31

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    The brick facade somehow looks similar to that of Citifield.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroika View Post
    Fantastic! It's funny -- millions of tenements for the dirt-poor that looked just like this went up a century ago ... and this sort of brickwork had been the norm for hundreds of years before that. Yet in the past 60 years it's become near-impossible to find a new building that looks like this.
    The prevalence of buildings with labor intensive architecture goes hand in hand with a dirt poor population to live in them. Today even unskilled labor is vastly more productive, and thus more expensive, than it was a century ago. At the same time unskilled laborers earn a lot more (in real terms) than they used to. (Note that I'm not calling the masons who applied this facade unskilled, but the same argument applies.) Now this kind of workmanship is a luxury, but standards of living have improved. While you may prefer the exterior of the average turn of the century building to that of the average new building, I bet you would prefer the interior of the latter.

  3. #33
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    There is aboslutely no reason that any turn-of-the-century structure cannot be re-fitted with up-to-date interior finishes. Any building 100+ years old will require some re-working, and it's the care and the attention that a worker gives to a job that makes the difference. Of course, the developer must supply and allow for the proper time and materials. When it takes one year to build a foundation it's somewhat ridiculous that a developer mandates that a bathroom be tiled & finishded in two days -- and to hell with the mismatched corners.

    Some of the McSam projects around town have taken longer to build than many of the top-notch developments. Clearly the McSam Man has the cash to let a property sit idle. Why doesn't he move some of the cash into the project itself?

    Finally, from what I've been hearing there are more than a few buyers at the newly-erected William Beaver, Platinum and other Dee-Luxe condo projects (hellow, Plaza!!!) who might argue against your point regarding the so-called "high quality" of modern interior installations vs. old stuff.

  4. #34

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    Of course it is easy to update the interiors of 19th century buildings today. My point is that is very expensive to make 19th century exteriors today and that it was impossible to make modern interiors (appliances, electricity) in the 19th century.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by econ_tim View Post
    While you may prefer the exterior of the average turn of the century building to that of the average new building, I bet you would prefer the interior of the latter.
    Nope. You bet wrong. How much money was on the line there?

    The interiors of most new buildings are depressing as hell. Watch the movie "Brazil" and see if the cookie-cutter-but-technologically-sophisticated apartments in that movie are preferable to what we have today.

    But what do we have in most of today's new buildings? A few whitewashed walls in perfectly square rooms with the same windows/HVAC configurations that I expected in my college dorm freshman year. (And, as it happens, most of the new "luxury" condos I've been in or look up into from outside seem to be decorated with the same mass-produced 1920s vintage French/Italian liqueur posters or Bob Marley posters that generic college dorms get gussied up in.)

    Most of the people I know who live in those types of buildings are (or were) bankers who are rarely home and don't really care about what their place looks like so long as it's close to the office. When you're in your 20s and don't have the time to make your place look like anything but the college dorm you've still got posters from, that's one thing. But living for an extended period of time, or raising a family, in one of the perfectly square-roomed, whitewashed, big-windowed, generic "luxury" condos? That's a nightmare scenario. I'd as soon wish the stifling monotony of a housing project on my children.
    Last edited by Stroika; December 29th, 2008 at 10:28 AM.

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by econ_tim View Post
    My point is that is very expensive to make 19th century exteriors today and that it was impossible to make modern interiors (appliances, electricity) in the 19th century.
    It is very expensive to make those interiors today, but it's also expensive (for now) to buy an apartment today. If McSam wanted to, he could definitely afford the time- and labor-intensive bricklayers to make his buildings look like something other than FEMA's Katrina shelters.

    Just as labor was cheaper in the 1920s, so was real estate. Developers today may face higher labor costs if they wanted to build something well but they also charge unprecedented amounts of money for the privilege to live in it. Sam Chang doesn't shit all over the city because he's forced into it by the big bad unions. He does it because he wants ridiculously outsized profit margins. Of course, we'll never know his margins because as a privately held company he doesn't have to release any information (THAT shadiness, not exec pay, is the real thing the gov't needs to attack -- in the UK even private companies have to regularly report to the public their financial statements).

    Developers could still build buildings that look like something other than temporary hurricane-victim shelters or housing projects. But they've been bit by the same profits bug as the bankers, predatory NINJA lenders, et al. That's only natural -- to want more money. But it's only natural for the city to want itself not to look like shit, so it should enforce standards that may cut into developers' profits but actually let us live in a place that doesn't look like the outskirts of Yekaterinburg.
    Last edited by Stroika; December 29th, 2008 at 10:30 AM.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by econ_tim View Post
    The prevalence of buildings with labor intensive architecture goes hand in hand with a dirt poor population to live in them. Now this kind of workmanship is a luxury, but standards of living have improved.
    Why should it be a luxury? As above, Sam "POS" Chang could afford to build quality architecture and still make a profit. It's a question of how outsized the profits he wants -- and the city allows him to take -- are. Good architecture, as in much of Europe, should be a luxury, perhaps, but not an absolute rarity. Instead, we call Costas' garbage "luxury" here. In Moscow, the average Costas building is called a "brezhnevsky dom" -- Brezhnev home. (Which isn't to say Russia's new buildings are any better! They still look like crap, which is one reason why people aren't jumping at the chance to live there.)

    Of course we're technologically capable to produce dishwashers and A/C now. I don't really understand your "we need to trade beauty for technology" argument. Improved technology means that the bricklayer's job should be something we can do more quickly, using machine-cut bricks, e.g. And exorbitant apt. prices mean that more people should be expecting actual luxury rather than settling for what Soviet welders got as a constitutional right.

    Finally, I would hesitate to call paying $2m to live in a McSam slum an "improvement" in standards of living. Of course we expect refrigerated food and clean drinking water -- and those are improvements in our lives given to us by technology. But we don't have Moinian to thank for those -- it's General Electric and the state of New York. The fact that while we can keep our food and potable water safe but continue to devolve in accepting to live in a cheaply built dumpster of a building is not an improvement. Maybe it reflects cannier marketing, or an increased willingness to be duped. But not an improvement in anyone's standards of living.
    Last edited by Stroika; December 29th, 2008 at 10:32 AM.

  8. #38

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    we seem to be talking at cross purposes here.

  9. #39

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    Sorry if that's the case. I just wanted to get across -- and if we were talking at cross purposes, you probably agree -- that getting a crappy-looking city in return for a SubZero fridge is a pretty bum deal...

  10. #40

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    Construction Watch: Nolita's 211 Elizabeth Sheds the Shed

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009, by Pete


    Full frontal on Prince.


    The busy corner of Elizabeth and Prince.

    More photo's on CURBED

    A little gem of 19th Century style combined with 21st Century prices (early 21st Century, that is) has finally shed its ugly construction shed at 211 Elizabeth, and this one fits the old neighborhood like a handcrafted charm. The former Development Du Jour from designers Roman and Williams has 15 one- and two-bedroom units on seven floors (some still available) all hidden behind a swell facade of detailed brick and big wood-trimmed windows. Down on the street it greets passersby with beefy black columns of worked wood and, overhead, a chunky cornice of molded metal. Where Elizabeth meets Prince Street, the entry to future retail is recessed on an angle, the floors above supported by a column on the corner. It's the perfect place to watch hungry hipsters wrestling for a seat at the always-crowded Cafe Habana across Prince Street. And apparently, as seen in the gallery above, not a bad spot to practice the old golf swing. Occupancy, once set for "late 2008", is now slated for "mid-'09."
    · 211 Elizabeth coverage [Curbed]
    · 211 Elizabeth [Official Site]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/05/0...s_the_shed.php

  11. #41
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Wow, that's beautiful. It's so right, and I love the recessed corner store entry.

  12. #42
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Yesterday an artiste was hawking his wares in front of that recessed corner.

    It looks to be a numbered set ...


  13. #43

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    At least with this building you can open up the windows and lean out and tell him that the paintings suck.

  14. #44
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I could never live in an apartment where the windows don't open.

  15. #45

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    Windows that open are underrated.

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