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Thread: 15 Central Park West - Upper West Side - Condo - by Robert A. M. Stern

  1. #976


    Spotted this in the book store today:

    By the author of 740 Park

    Had a some nice photographs of Columbus cicrcle from days gone by as well as interiors of 15 CPW.

  2. #977


    At a Luxury Building on the Upper West Side, the Perks Start at the Curb

    Fifteen Central Park West, home to celebrities and billionaires and an it address of the moment, has a long list of perks. There is the 75-foot sky-lit lap pool, the climate-controlled wine cellar and, for those “desiring anything from a four-course custom menu for 80 guests to an at-home romantic dinner for two,” the in-house chef.

    But there is at least one unique perk left out of the marketing. Because of a quirk in New York’s street grid and polite policing, the no-parking zone in front of the building has been transformed into a ritzy, if technically illegal, parking cul-de-sac.

    Over several visits last week, the cul-de-sac scene was calm and collegial. A nattily clad doorman managed about a dozen waiting vehicles, asking their drivers to move up slightly or fill in empty spaces. The chauffeurs read, cleaned their cars or chatted with one another. Though double parked, the cars generally did not disrupt traffic because they sat in a two-lane-wide, no-parking area created by the termination of the southbound lanes of Central Park West at 62nd Street, just north of the building.

    The southbound lanes of Central Park West end at 62nd Street, leaving a no-parking zone that is two lanes wide. It is often filled with vehicles belonging to residents of the luxury condo. Credit Bryan R. Smith for The New York Times “Do I have to worry about the police bothering me?” the Appraisalist asked two drivers as she waited in her 2006 Acura outside of 15 Central Park West for an hour, just to see what would happen. Sun streamed in from over Central Park.
    “Not really, not much,” one man said, standing outside a Mercedes S.U.V. “As long as you are in the car. But I can’t guarantee,” he added, smiling. And in fact, nothing happened.

    The fortresslike limestone condo counts among its owners the musician Sting and Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs. An 11-room apartment owned by a steel magnate is on the market for $65 million, down from the original asking price of $95 million in 2012. (It can also be rented for $125,000 a month.)

    The building also has a wide, private driveway accessible from West 61st Street, but its management does not like for chauffeurs to wait there. So instead, the front of the building, where the pavement is painted with diagonal lines, is the de facto office for people like Mike, a retired police detective. He has been driving for a couple since they moved to the building about six months after it opened in 2008.

    Mike, who declined to give his last name to protect his clients’ privacy, usually arrives in front of 15 Central Park West each morning at 6:30, driving from his Rockland County home early to beat the traffic, even though he is generally not needed until 9 or 9:30 a.m. To pass the time in the couple’s spotless silver Audi, he reads the paper, drinks coffee and sometimes leaves the car for a few minutes to run to the bank around the corner.
    He has never gotten a ticket, nor has he seen anyone get one, he said. To his left, a shiny GMC Yukon had been without a driver for at least half an hour.

    “They do give us a courtesy, and ask us to move at times when it’s necessary,” he said of the police’s approach to parking enforcement. “And if they ask you to move, you move.” Those times, he said, have been very rare: if a movie is filming, for example, or if they need the space for security reasons.

    Technically, many of the cars waiting in front of the building are violating two regulations: the city’s seldom enforced no-idling rule, which makes it illegal to keep a vehicle running for more than three minutes if stopped, and no-parking regulations, which allow cars to stop only for loading, unloading and the “expeditious” drop-off or pickup of passengers.
    However, as a practical matter, tickets citywide are rare if vehicles are stopped in no-parking zones and their drivers are inside, prepared to move, said a high-level police official who asked that his name be withheld because he was speaking about an unofficial policy.

    The building has a wide, private driveway accessible from 61st Street, but its management does not like for chauffeurs to wait there. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times As for idling, the general understanding in a regular no-parking zone is that drivers don’t receive a ticket unless they are running the engine for about half an hour, said an official of the union that represents traffic enforcement agents, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his job.
    The leeway is not welcomed by some of 15 Central Park West’s neighbors. Sometimes, they point out, traffic does get blocked, because the double row of lingering chauffeurs forces taxis and other vehicles to stop in one of the two active traffic lanes.

    On the opposite side of Central Park West, parking is reserved for police and other authorized vehicles for an underground transit police precinct at the Columbus Circle station. To the south of the building, the curb in front of the black glossy Trump International Hotel and Tower is a no-standing area for all but livery drivers, who sometimes sit two or three deep.(In a no-standing zone, which is more restrictive than a no-parking zone, vehicles may stop to expeditiously drop off and pick up passengers but may not stop to load or unload merchandise, the city law states.)
    The result, said Roberta Brandes Gratz, an urban scholar and author who lives in the Century, an Art Deco co-op directly north of 15 Central Park West, is that the first three blocks of Central Park West have largely been given over to the police and those wealthy enough to have drivers, shutting out regular citizens.

    “The problem here is an accumulation of privileges, privileges for the visitors to those buildings, for the tenants, and for the police,” she said.

    In a new book about the building being released Tuesday, “House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address,” Michael Gross, the author, discusses the controversy over parking. He quotes a former building employee as saying there was ticketing and towing out front when the building first opened, but that it stopped after residents “started greasing the wheels.” But the former employee offered no evidence.

    Ms. Gratz said that most of her neighbors seem to have become so accustomed to the loss of their curbscape to privilege that it was hard to raise passions about it. “It’s the way things work in New York,” she said. Several Century residents seemed surprised to be asked about the double-row of luxury S.U.V.s and sedans lingering in front of 15 Central Park West on Wednesday. “I guess I’ve just normalized it,” one woman said.

    There was also sympathy for the drivers, who, after all, have to spend long hours in their cars, even if they are fancy ones. “Personally, I don’t care,” said Jocelyn Normand, whose mother lives in the Century. “It’s New York City — there’s nowhere to park.”

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