Page 4 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast
Results 46 to 60 of 107

Thread: Manhattan Neighborhoods

  1. #46
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Young marrieds with little children, dreaming of their early years in the quiet suburbs (that they ran from as soon as possible).

    Go figure.

  2. #47

    Default Chelsea

    Community Looks to Preserve Women's Prison in Chelsea

    February 23, 2011 4:54pm

    Reports Gov. Cuomo may shutter a prison in Chelsea are sparking a mix of hopes and fears.

    By Tara Kyle
    DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

    CHELSEA — Rreports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may shutter a prison in Chelsea are sparking a mix of hopes and fears on the West side.

    The Bayview Correctional Facility, a medium security women's prison located on West 20th Street and Eleventh Avenue, is one of three prisons in the city that Cuomo is considering closing, sources told the New York Post. The others are Lincoln Correctional Facility on West 110th St. and Fulton Correctional Facility in the Bronx.

    The facility, constructed in 1931 as the Seaman's House YMCA, carries a rich history — for 30 years, it offered beds for the night to merchant sailors, World War II veterans and Coast Guardsmen. But it does not possess landmarks status, a point that has some neighborhood leaders concerned the cash-strapped state might sell it to the highest bidder.

    "It's a handsome building," said Edward Kirkland, co-chair of Community Board 4's landmarks committee, citing the structure's brick and stone façade and maritime motifs. "God knows what they could put on top of it."

    Now, taking Bayview to the Landmarks Preservation Commission was one of the CB4 committee's "class A priorities," according to Kirkland.

    Save Chelsea co-president Lesley Doyel, who recalled childhood walks with her mother to donate books to the Y, wrote in an e-mail that she worried the prison, located on prime real estate across from Chelsea Piers, could turn into another mega-development.

    "The current trends in West Chelsea, and the proposed addition of many stories to the Chelsea Market building would seem to be cause for concern and vigilance," Doyel wrote.

    The site already hosts one preservation battle — four decades ago, painter Knox Martin put a huge pink and red mural on the prison's south side. But development across the street on Jean Nouvel's artsy, luxury condo development now mostly obstructs views of the mural, which Martin said Tuesday had been his "way of imparting the greatest dignity to a women's prison."

    The worst case scenario, in the view of neighborhood leaders, would be either total demolition of the structure, or sale to a luxury developer who would alter the exterior.

    But some said that if the prison did close, there could be at least one potential benefit for the community.

    Both Doyel and Joe Restuccia, chair of CB4's health, housing and human services committee, both brought up the possibility of converting at least part of the building into affordable housing units.

    While Restuccia praised Bayview as a very quiet, "very good neighbor," that provided valuable work release programs, he noted that the facility's size could hold several hundred housing units.

    "If there is a closure, and it's unavoidable," he said, "we should look at it as an opportunity."

    Last edited by brianac; February 24th, 2011 at 02:59 AM.

  3. #48
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    ^ A very handsome example of Art Deco. It should be landmarked.

  4. #49
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Park Avenue South

    A very tiny, skinny "neighborhood" .

    Southern Pride, of a Kind


    The bustle is evident in this view north from the median at 17th Street and Park Avenue South.

    WHEN Jennifer Aziz told her father she was thinking of buying an apartment on East 29th Street near Park Avenue South, he was worried. As Ms. Aziz recalls it, his concern went beyond the standard fatherly protectiveness. As a rug dealer, he had owned a store decades ago in the commercial district south of Midtown Manhattan, which he remembered as it had been then: drably commercial, dead at night and a little seedy.

    Fortunately for Aziz family harmony, her father was reassured when he came for a look around.

    The area is livelier than ever, and in recent years Park Avenue South in particular — the stretch between East 17th and East 32nd Streets — has experienced a wave of residential construction and, hence, lots of new foot traffic.

    Long a poor relation of the “real” Park Avenue to the north, and later an emerging bargain district, the area has come into its own as a distinct place to live and socialize.

    With that emergence have come higher housing prices. Ms. Aziz, 32, who is a nursery school teacher, closed on her one-bedroom apartment this month. Although she declined to say how much she paid, data compiled by indicate that similar units in the building, at 39 East 29th Street, have sold recently for $1,400 to $1,500 a square foot, or more than $1.1 million. Farther downtown, agents say, units in recent condominium developments like 240 and 260 Park Avenue South are closer to $1,700 per square foot and up.

    The street has always had a certain appeal, even in worse times: “Locationwise,” Ms. Aziz said, “it’s perfect to get anywhere. You’re not far from any neighborhood. Never a cab ride that’s more than $10.”

    But now there is less reason to leave. The Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel, an offshoot of the meatpacking district hot spot, opened across East 29th Street from Ms. Aziz’s building in November, and a string of prosaic but essential neighborhood services have fallen into place. Among them, said Jennifer Brown, executive director of the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, are child-care facilities like Appleseeds and the New York Kids’ Club, and several gyms.

    Ms. Brown says her group, a business improvement district oriented toward commercial development, applauds the avenue’s growing residential character. The changes, she said, have helped make the avenue into a functioning live/work neighborhood, allowing residents to walk to jobs at companies like New York Life Insurance, Credit Suisse and Grey advertising.

    “We’ve really found that more residents in the neighborhood have only helped us in terms of what we’re trying to do,” she said, adding that more people meant more customers for an increasingly diverse array of businesses.

    Some of those are trendy restaurants and bars that, like the Ace Hotel on East 29th Street a few blocks to the west, are experiencing a bit of a moment.

    “You’re really drawing a very young, hip crowd,” said Richard Steinberg, an executive managing director of the Warburg Realty Partnership.

    “The same crowd that would normally go down to the meatpacking district or TriBeCa, is now staying in Midtown Manhattan because it’s so much more convenient.”

    Beyond trendiness, the area’s housing stock, much of it former office or commercial space, also has much to offer. Kimberly Lyn Pressman, a vice president of the Corcoran Group, said Park Avenue South drew people seeking a certain kind of dwelling.

    “They want high ceilings, they want voluminous rooms, they want oversized windows,” Ms. Pressman said, “and because of the history of the neighborhood and when these buildings were built, the apartments have a lot of these factors.”

    Ms. Aziz, who will be living in a new unit, said her personal history with the avenue — stemming in part from her father’s old store — made it feel like home. If anything, she said, she might get frustrated as the warm weather draws bigger crowds to the Gansevoort’s rooftop bar.

    But she added: “I actually don’t mind. I prefer a lively neighborhood to a quiet, dark street.”


    The liveliest stretch of the avenue — and the best-established residentially — is below East 23rd Street. Larger buildings include the 259-unit 280 Park Avenue South, which was built in the 1980s, and 260 Park Avenue South, the former United Federation of Teachers headquarters, which opened as condominiums in 2006 with 86 apartments.

    Frances Katzen, a managing director of Prudential Douglas Elliman, described the conversion of the teachers’ building as a milestone in establishing the avenue as a residential area, and said sales there had continued even through the economic slowdown.

    “This is now a destination location,” she said. “It’s not a sort of fringe neighborhood trying to emerge. It’s arrived. It has its own cachet.”

    The blocks above East 23rd, agents said, have generally lagged behind in value, linked in many minds with unromantic Midtown. Yet that association is loose. “You ask 10 different people and you’ll get 10 different answers about where Midtown starts,” said Ms. Pressman, the Corcoran broker.

    In any case, those blocks in the upper 20s have lately gained in allure, thanks in part to new restaurants and hotels. Paul Zweben, a senior vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said the biggest changes had happened a couple of blocks to the west, where the Ace Hotel, with its Stumptown coffee shop and restaurants by the chef April Bloomfield, opened in 2009.

    “I think they’re completely changing that entire section of Broadway over, and it’s basically rolling onto Park Avenue,” Mr. Zweben said, adding that, as in TriBeCa in the 1990s, “I’ve seen neighborhoods change because of food.”

    He predicts that the upper blocks of Park Avenue South will continue their metamorphosis as more eating and drinking establishments come to surround the Gansevoort, which has the makings of a neighborhood hub. Indeed, Mr. Zweben said, the hotel seems to have developed into a scene already. Asked what types of hanging out, exactly, go on there, he replied, “I’m not cool enough, so I don’t know.”


    Ms. Pressman says East 23rd Street is a still a line of demarcation when it comes to price.

    Between 19th and 20th Streets, the 54-unit 240 Park Avenue South, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, is one of the area’s more desirable buildings, she said. Prices there were around $1,700 a square foot when the building opened, and have since settled around $1,600 a square foot. For units of all kinds on the avenue, she said, average prices below 23rd Street exceed $1,100 a square foot. By contrast, averages per square foot above 23rd Street are under $800. There are, of course, exceptions and outliers on both sides, Ms. Pressman said. One reason for the disparity, she added, is that most of Park Avenue South’s recent luxury condo developments have been built toward the avenue’s southern end.

    Ms. Katzen says prices on the lower part of the avenue remain high in part because of scant inventory in the avenue’s more popular blocks. “There’s a lack of really good-quality product right now,” she said, “so there seems to be a lot of pent-up aggression.”

    By way of example, she cited a unit she had been marketing as a rental in 260 Park Avenue South, the Teachers’ Federation building, a two-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath unit advertised for $8,700 a month. “We didn’t even have time to rent it,” she said, “because we sold it within a week.” The asking price had been $2.25 million, and the unit sold for $2.15 million, she said.

    Rentals, then, can be hard to find, but according to StreetEasy, one-bedroom units in the avenue’s condo buildings tend to rent for $4,000 and up. Two-bedroom units typically start at $6,500. In both cases, depending on the building, prices can be much higher.


    The avenue passes within a block of Madison Square Park, to the west, and the private Gramercy Park, to the east. To the south is Union Square, where the Greenmarket now operates all day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There are dozens of restaurants on the avenue and on the surrounding blocks; two established favorites are the Gramercy Tavern, on East 20th Street, and BLT Prime, on East 22nd.


    The 6 train makes local stops under the avenue at 23rd and 28th, as well as just north of Park Avenue South’s boundaries at 33rd Street. The latter is also an express stop for the 4 and 5 trains. To the south, the N, Q, R and L are accessible from Union Square.


    Primary students south of 25th Street attend Public School 40, on East 19th Street. The school got an A on its most recent city progress report; 83.9 percent were proficient in English, 86.4 percent in math. North of 25th, students are zoned for P.S. 116 on 33rd Street. That school got a B on its progress report; 75.6 percent were proficient in English, 86.6 percent in math.

    The nearest middle school is Junior High School 104, on East 21st Street. It scored a B on its progress report, with 58.7 percent proficient in English and 68.5 percent in math.
    Baruch College Campus High School, just west of the avenue on East 25th Street, has a little over 400 students. In 2010, SAT averages were 523 in reading, 583 in math and 528 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.


    The New York and Harlem Railroad began running under the avenue in the 1830s, when the line beginning at Prince Street was extended northward. Though the northern blocks of Park Avenue first got their name in 1860, Park Avenue South was still known as Fourth Avenue until 1959, when the city renamed it.
    Last edited by Merry; February 25th, 2011 at 07:16 PM.

  5. #50
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Tasting the Sweetness in Hamilton Heights


    View up West 147th Street.

    Upper Manhattan's Hamilton Heights derives its name from its most famous early inhabitant, Alexander Hamilton, who bought land in the area in 1799. At that time most of Upper Manhattan was still rural, and it wasn't till the 1880s that the neighborhood's stately townhomes began to be built for well-to-do white residents.

    By 1919, the northern section of Hamilton Heights was beginning to be referred to as Sugar Hill, where "life is sweet." The area rose to fame during the 1930s when a wave of black professionals moved in. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the novelist Ralph Ellison and jazz legends such as Charlie Parker all called the neighborhood home around this time.

    The neighborhood, which lies in the western portion of Harlem just south of Washington Heights, hit rough patches in the decades following. During the 1980s, many residents fled as crime surged in surrounding parts of Harlem.

    "Nobody wanted to live here," said Willie Kathryn Suggs, a broker who has lived in Hamilton Heights since 1985.

    Crime in the area never reached the levels seen in other parts of Harlem, Ms. Suggs said, but it did make property cheap. She bought her office in the neighborhood at the time for about $50,000, she said.

    Now the townhomes of Hamilton Heights, many of which are in a landmarked historical district, are the properties that are in most demand, Ms. Suggs said.

    Of the 84 residences currently listed for sale on real-estate site, the median asking price is $537,000. The median price a square foot is $458. In Central Harlem, it is $571 a square foot, and in neighboring Washington Heights, it is $427, according to StreetEasy.

    On West 147th Street, there is a four-story townhouse built in 1901 that was renovated five years ago. The stoop was rebuilt, the antique doors and railings were restored and new windows were installed.

    The rust-colored townhome, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, measures 3,200 square feet, is currently on the market for $2 million.

    On Convent Avenue there is a two-family townhouse on the market for $1.21 million, listed by Ms. Suggs. It's one of a row of 10 limestone townhomes built around the turn of the century. It has five original fireplaces, original window and door moldings and a private garden. There are six bedrooms and five bathrooms in the four-story home.

    Unlike other areas of Harlem, there wasn't much available land for new development in recent years. But a handful of new condo buildings have been constructed.

    On West 136th Street, Gold Development built a six-floor, 29-unit condo building in 2006. That sold out in four months, said Romy Goldman, founder and president of Gold Development.

    On Edgecombe Avenue, Gold Development built a 12-unit, six-floor condo building in 2009 called Hamilton Lofts.

    Each unit has its own floor with elevators that open up directly in each condo. There is one unit left there listed at $624,000.

    One of the neighborhood's drawbacks is a lack of retail outlets. There are several banks and pharmacies in the area, but for many other types of retail needs, residents have to travel down to 125th Street. Sit-down restaurants are also far and few between.

    Schools: Hamilton Heights' public schools are in District 6. They include A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, Hamilton Heights School and New Heights Academy Charter School.

    Other schools in the district include P.S. 325 and Twenty-First Century Academy for Community Leadership.

    In 2010, 43% of District 6 students in grades three through eight received a proficient score on the math exam, and 29.4% of students received a proficient score on the English Language Arts exam. In 2006, the results were 44.8% for math and 37.8% for reading.

    Private schools in the neighborhood include Our Lady of Lourdes School, which runs from nursery school through eight grade, and Dorothy Day Early Childhood Center.

    Parks: St. Nicholas Park, measuring about 23 acres, is one of three large parks in Hamilton Heights or adjacent to it. A portion of the St. Nicholas Park was the site of where George Washington fought during the battle of Harlem Heights in 1776.

    The park was later designed by landscape architect Samuel Parsons Jr. and was constructed in 1906. Now it has areas for barbecuing, basketball and handball courts, playgrounds and dog runs.

    On the banks of the Hudson River is Riverbank State Park, which has indoor and outdoor facilities spread over 28 acres. It has an ice rink, gymnasium, tennis courts and an Olympic-size pool. There are also basketball courts, a softball field and a football and soccer field.

    Nearby is Jackie Robinson Park, which was originally called Colonial Park and was renamed for the Brooklyn Dodger legend in 1978. The park, which measures about 13 acres, has baseball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, and pools.

    Entertainment: Hamilton Heights is home to Harlem Stage at City College. The arts organization features music, dance theater and cinema.

    Also in Hamilton Heights is the Dance Theater of Harlem, which offers training and also hosts performances.

    Shopping: Just outside the neighborhood on Frederick Douglass Boulevard is Hue-Man Bookstore and Café, which hosts several readings.

    Also on Frederick Douglass Boulevard is the bike shop MODSquad Cycles.

    To the south of Hamilton Heights on 125th Street is Harlem's main shopping strip with shops such as H&M, Marshalls and others.

    Dining: Just south of Hamilton Heights is Pisticci, which serves Italian cuisine. Marcus Samuelsson of "Top Chef" fame recently opened the comfort-food restaurant Red Rooster on nearby Lenox Avenue.

    And for chicken and waffles and other soul-food dishes, there is Amy Ruth's on 116th Street.

  6. #51
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default West 70s

    That row of brownstones is to die for <sigh>.

    ‘The Suburbs of Manhattan’


    slide show

    78th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues


    120 West 78th Street (the building in the center)

    WHEN Paul Kahn was growing up on the Upper West Side in the 1980s, he recalled recently, it was pleasant and livable but a neighborhood that might seem surprising in hindsight. There were some blocks his parents didn’t let him walk on; many children, himself included, went to private school; and his Little League, which drew from both the Upper West Side and Harlem, still felt uncrowded.

    He has been away from the area a while — he and his wife, Star, now live in a studio on 14th Street in the East Village. But they are expecting a baby next month and are hoping to move to a two-bedroom apartment on Riverside Drive before then. (A contract, for $600,000 to $700,000, has been signed, and they are awaiting co-op board approval.)

    Their anticipated new home in the West 70s evokes the Upper West Side of Mr. Kahn’s youth in many ways, with Central Park on one side, Riverside Park on the other, and blocks of brownstones and prewar apartments in between. But given its new status as one of the most desirable parts of Manhattan it is different, too: New buildings are taller; storefronts are brighter and often occupied by retail chains. Notably, there are far more children.

    That, Ms. Kahn said, is part of the appeal. “I consider the Upper West Side to be the suburbs of Manhattan,” she said. “If you want to stay in Manhattan and you’re considering having a baby, access to the park is such a benefit.”

    At the same time, their building, between 71st and 72nd Streets, is near the Beacon Theater, where Ms. Kahn, a set designer, sometimes works. And the corner of 72nd and Broadway has as much bustle as Union Square, she said, adding, “That’s why I live in Manhattan.”

    Mel Wymore, the chairman of Community Board 7, which represents all the Upper West Side, said that in addition to encompassing some of the costliest real estate in the city, along Central Park West, the West 70s had gained buildings, among them condominium construction on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The growth has buttressed values, even in a down market, but Mr. Wymore said it had also brought challenges. Small businesses like dry cleaners and hardware stores have struggled amid chain stores and banks, he said, and schools are crowded.

    One recent controversy, over the wattage of a new Duane Reade sign above 72nd and Broadway, is illustrative. Mr. Wymore, who lives at 70th and Columbus, said the board and city government had had little success getting it dimmed. “It’s, in not the greatest way, symbolic of the national chains moving in,” he said.

    Still, Mr. Wymore pointed out, such issues take nothing away from offerings like the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical Society, a lively restaurant scene, a thriving retail strip on Columbus Avenue, and of course Central Park.

    Leslie Pastor, a new resident, said she had been drawn by the express subway service at 72nd Street. Ms. Pastor, 34, moved from Connecticut early this year into a one-bedroom on West 75th Street. She did not say how much she had paid, but similar units in her building cost $500,000 to $600,000. She described being pleasantly surprised by people’s friendliness.

    And, while the area is certainly no nightlife nexus, she said she had found several places to meet friends. Besides, busier areas are always accessible by subway, while the particular appeal of her neighborhood is distinctive.

    “There are so many little treasures to find,” Ms. Pastor said.

    As a West 70s resident charmed by her surroundings she has company. Sherry Matays, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group who lives in the low 70s, said that on a recent visit to Paris, her mind had wandered home.

    “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is tantamount to where I live,’ ” she said.


    The housing stock is diverse, if almost all pricey. Central Park West is home to exclusive buildings like the Dakota and the San Remo. Many side streets are lined with brownstones, notably the blocks near the natural history museum, between Columbus and Central Park West in the high 70s. And there is new construction: a rental at 200 West 72nd that also has a new Trader Joe’s and the brightly lit Duane Reade, and condos farther up Broadway.

    Jonathan Charnas, the broker at the Fox Residential Group who sold the Kahns their place, says West End Avenue and Riverside Drive tend to be relatively quiet because commercial traffic is prohibited. Mr. Charnas, who lives in the Kahns’ building, remarked on the change in demographics in 34 years.

    “Because of the subway system and access to the financial district,” he said, “we have attracted a lot of people of means to the Upper West Side.” Also, “you see many, many more baby carriages, many more pregnant women.”

    Mr. Charnas, 67, said that although the area was safer and had big new stores like Trader Joe’s and Barney’s Co-op, he missed some of the small antique stores that have closed, and one particular Viennese bakery.

    Some small retail has held out, though, particularly on Columbus, where a business improvement district was inaugurated in 1999 to combat vacancies. Barbara Adler, its executive director, said it had installed tree guards and planted flowers, and had lobbied the city for more significant changes. Today, she said, storefronts are nearly all full and pedestrians numerous.


    The multiplicity of housing types makes generalizations difficult, Mr. Charnas said, adding: “Buildings differ so much from each other. A lot of the buildings don’t have doormen. A lot of the buildings do have doormen. There are brownstones, there are low-rises, there are mid-rises.”

    Other agents agreed, but they did offer some price generalizations. On Central Park West, “if you’re on a very high floor facing Central Park, we’re in the stratosphere,” said Ms. Matays of Corcoran.

    That, she added, can mean upwards of $4,000 a square foot in a co-op. Prime co-op buildings off the park cost more than $1,000 a square foot, she said, adding that comparable condos, which are relatively rare in the neighborhood but include distinguished addresses like the Ansonia and the Apthorp, are generally about 15 percent more expensive.

    Yair Tavivian, head of the Tavivian Sporn Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman, says a new condo building at 78th Street and Broadway is selling for well over $2,000 a foot, while units in other condo buildings are in the $1,000-to-$1,200-a-square-foot range.

    Over all, two- and three-bedroom units are in especially high demand, because of the area’s appeal to families. Mr. Tavivian said one recent sale, a two-bedroom condo on West End and 71st, was on the market for three weeks, then sold just below asking price, which was $1.3 million. In that time, he recalled, it had 200 showings.

    “If you have a good product, which has unique features and it’s priced right,” Mr. Tavivian said, “if it’s not selling in two or three weeks there’s something wrong with the broker.”

    Rental prices vary. Luxury buildings, like 200 West 72nd, charge $14,000 a month and up for two-bedrooms. There are cheaper options: One-bedrooms are available on Craigslist for around $2,000, two-bedrooms around $3,000.


    Some students above 72nd are zoned for Public School 87, on 78th, where 77.8 percent of tested students recently met standards in English, 77.9 percent in math. Two blocks south of 72nd, at Public School 199, 84.5 percent met standards in English, 85.9 percent in math.

    To accommodate long waiting lists at both schools, last year the city opened P.S. 452, on 77th. It shares a building with Junior High School 44, which is being phased out for poor performance. Also in the building are the Anderson School, for gifted students from kindergarten through eighth grade, and the West Prep Academy, a middle school. There are no public high schools in the 70s.

    But the Upper West Side is also home to many private schools. Among them are the Calhoun School, on West End Avenue in the 70s, and the Collegiate School for boys, on West 78th.


    In an area flanked by Central and Riverside Parks, “there’s no neglected avenue,” Mr. Tavivian said. The natural history museum, between entral Park West and Columbus, is one of the most popular in the country.

    Surrounding it is Theodore Roosevelt Park, the site on Sundays of a farmers’ market at 79th Street. Across the avenue at 77th, also Sundays, is a popular flea market. And of course, markets like Fairway and Citarella, in the mid-70s, draw a wide range of shoppers, as does Zabar’s, just outside the neighborhood a little north of 80th.


    Subway service includes the B and C local trains, which stop at Central Park West and 72nd; also, the 1 local stops on Broadway at 72nd and 79th, and the 2 and 3 express trains stop at 72nd.


    In the 17th century, Dutch and Flemish settlers first called the area now known as the Upper West Side Bloemendaal, or “flowering valley,” according the Encyclopedia of New York City. Among villages in the area in the 1800s was Harsenville, near today’s 71st Street.

  7. #52
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default West Chelsea

    Sort of Cool, Not Yet Hot


    The old made new again sets the mood of Ninth Avenue at West 14th Street.


    POOR Ninth Avenue. You could dismiss the stretch from West 14th to West 23rd Street as the northern hinterlands of the greater meatpacking district. Or you could pity it, there in the shadow of 10th, the glamorous sister avenue whose profile has been transformed by famous art galleries, starred restaurants and the coursing aorta that is the High Line.

    But no need to disparage in any way: These blocks in West Chelsea form a self-contained little quarter, with a thriving life all their own.

    You can feel that life when you cross 14th Street, heading north. After a few steps there’s a sensation not unlike leaving the city and getting that first whiff of air as the sky gets bigger.

    A little after 3 o’clock on a recent Thursday afternoon, a yellow school bus came along toward Ninth on 21st Street with its lights flashing. And there were some teenagers, jaywalking in bunches and talking loudly. Residents were out in their cashmere sweaters walking dogs — a schnauzer, two greyhounds, a funny Jack Russell and a very old pug.

    The wooden benches in front of Knickerbocker Meatmarket were full. And a small crowd gathered inside Billy’s, the pastel bakery that does a good business in cupcakes.

    And yet, Ninth Avenue is hardly small-town. A big housing project sits directly across from a swank hotel; the nightclub Buddakan is not far from the Simple Kitchen, a restaurant that uses produce from its own farm in Connecticut. There’s an Anthropologie on the northwest corner of 15th Street in the Chelsea Market, looking out onto the bustle at Prince Lumber, the lumberyard on the southwest corner.

    This length of Ninth Avenue is almost an urban village, with a kind of Kate Moss style: mixing old and new, high and low, cosmopolitan and wholesome.

    “It has the best of everything,” said David Davis, who lives in the Porter House at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street and is the managing principal of the architect and design firm Rottet Studio. “The noise when the bars let out is kind of overwhelming.” But on a summer day, he said, “when you step out of your building and people are taking salsa lessons in the triangle in the street, it’s why you live in New York City.”

    This patch of Chelsea, some of it in a historic district, has an off-the-beaten-path quality. Maybe that’s why it’s amusing to see a couple of Italians, befuddled and referring to a map, as a cyclist pedals past in the bike lane that has rearranged traffic on the southbound avenue. Between the check-cashing place and Klee, a brasserie where there’s an Iron Chef in the kitchen, this neighborhood continues to evolve.

    The Maritime Hotel, 363 West 16th Street, built in 1966 as the headquarters for the National Maritime Union, opened in the summer of 2003, when Ninth Avenue, according to the strapping young general manager, James Palmer, was full of “weird shops and a skanky liquor store.” The hotel has a low-key professional clientele, from the fields of art, fashion, film and TV.

    The Apple Store moved into the corner of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street in 2007, anchoring — or anointing — the southern end of the corridor. And in December, Google bought 76 Ninth Avenue (a k a 111 Eighth Avenue), the former Port Authority of New York Commerce Building. Built in 1932, it takes up an entire city block, contains about three million square feet of space, and has a helipad on the roof. Sale price: $1.9 billion.

    Somehow, the area manages to support large and small. The arrival of Le Pain Quotidien does not mean the independent pioneers, like the narrow, neighborly Hudson City Antiques (No. 150), are going anywhere.

    When the conversion of a 1905 warehouse into the Porter House (No. 66) was completed by SHoP Architects in 2003, the building was a bellwether for the emerging minidistrict. The warehouse was given a black addition with a fabricated zinc panel system for the exterior, creating a “unique interface between the original Renaissance Revival facade and the new addition,” according to the firm.

    The addition sprouts up above the brown and white cow hanging outside the Old Homestead (No. 56), a classic steakhouse that opened in 1868. The 20 units sold quickly, and there hasn’t been much turnover. But recently Mr. Davis listed his one-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath fifth-floor apartment, with 11-foot ceilings and original arched windows, for $1.7 million. (He’s not leaving the neighborhood. He’s just in need of more space.)

    “You can’t touch anything like it in Chelsea for that,” said Caryl Berenato, a vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who has lived in the area since the 1980s.
    Indeed, it is a coveted part of town. The town houses that line some side streets as you head north are old and elegant; the low-slung buildings along the avenue with preserved glass-pane- and wood-frame storefronts are more Main Street than boulevard; and the little row of old houses, anchored by the red brick Federal that takes up the northwest corner of 21st Street, is a surprise. Look up, above Le Grainne Cafe’s sidewalk tables, to see the white-framed windows. Now owned by a lawyer, this house is evidence of original Chelsea, circa 1831.

    Another splendid artifact lies just across the street. The family that founded Chelsea left its apple orchard to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1817, with the stipulation that the church build a seminary. As a result, the brick General Theological Seminary takes up the length of Ninth Avenue to 10th, from 20th to 21st Street.

    Financial hardship forced the seminary to develop the Desmond Tutu Center, a hotel and conference center, at the western end. It also had to sell a ’60s-era building at the eastern end, which was torn down for what became the Chelsea Enclave, a 53-unit condominium developed by the Brodsky Organization. According to the Corcoran Group, the condominium at 177 Ninth Avenue was sold out as of March. (A unit sold in February for $2,452,174, to a financial analyst, and another in March for $3,225,000, to the director of an art gallery.)

    But there will be others. In December, the seminary faced a debt of $41 million and negotiated to sell several more structures within its compound, including the West Building (completed in 1836), which sits opposite the Chapel of the Good Shepherd (consecrated in 1888), to the Brodsky Organization for further condominium development.

    For now, though, the seminary grounds are open to the public. Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can enter on 21st Street, leave a photo ID with the clerk, and gain access to a remarkably peaceful sanctuary. It’s like a tiny slice of Oxford University, complete with bell tower and tennis court. The quadrangle frames what the seminary calls the Close. And amid its well-maintained expanses of grass, tufts of daffodils in bloom, and couple of 150-year-old American elm trees stretching overhead, the sounds of the city almost disappear.

  8. #53
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Tribeca

    The Land of the $800 Stroller


    ON Sept. 11, 2001, TriBeCa, the Lower Manhattan loft district two blocks north of the World Trade Center, shook. Much of the neighborhood saw one if not both hijacked airliners fly into the twin towers. Residents watched aghast as bodies and then the buildings themselves crashed to earth. Clouds of ash descended on the streets as if in some macabre snowstorm.

    “After 9/11 there was a sense of paralysis in the neighborhood — of ‘Oh, my God, what has happened, and will it happen again, and is it safe to live here?’ ” recalled Barrie Mandel, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group who has lived and sold real estate in TriBeCa since the 1980s. But within a year, Ms. Mandel said, “with leadership from The Tribeca Trib,” the newspaper that has long helped make a community out of the neighborhood, “most people decided, one person at a time, ‘Yes, it could happen again,’ but they decided to stay and help merchants reopen their businesses, and help the neighborhood come back and revive.”

    Revive it did, and long before the killing last week of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks, an act that has helped bring the neighborhood a kind of closure. Just four months shy of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, TriBeCa is thriving. Far from fleeing this district of high-ceilinged converted warehouses and picturesque Belgian-block streets, people have been moving to it in droves. Between 2000 and 2009 the population of the 75-block neighborhood swelled by more than a third, to 14,190, census data show.

    Residents are richer now, too, with a median household income of $136,000, nearly one-fifth higher in inflation-adjusted dollars than a decade ago.

    “When we look back at the rebuilding efforts, it’s a real testimony to our community’s ability to persevere,” said Julie Menin, the chairwoman of Community Board 1. “We’ve been able to build many new schools, parks, playgrounds, ball fields and community centers.”

    It is families, lots of them, that have driven growth. TriBeCa has added an average of more than 100 families a year since 2000, accelerating its decades-long shift from an off-the-grid artists’ enclave to the Land of the $800 Stroller.

    Nicole Rosenthal Hartnett, a children’s portrait photographer, has had a foot in each of these TriBeCas. In 1999, she bought a loft on White Street as both home and studio. Soon she met Michael Hartnett, an English banker who lived down the street, on a blind date arranged by his real estate broker. The couple were married two years later.

    “I’m an artist, and he was one of those new bankers moving into the neighborhood,” she said. “It was the two worlds meeting. He was my first suit.”

    After a stint in London, during which Ms. Hartnett had a baby boy and became pregnant with a second one, the couple returned to TriBeCa in 2004, paying $2.75 million for a two-bedroom two-bath co-op loft on Hudson Street, in a converted Beaux Arts office building.

    The 3,000-square-foot apartment was large enough for Ms. Hartnett’s photography as well as her family. “This loft is an old-school open space,” she said, “so I can still drop down a roll of paper and have a studio.”

    Shortly after moving in, she found herself immersed in the casual, family-friendly atmosphere for which TriBeCa is known. In London she had felt isolated and lonely. But in her TriBeCa building she soon met an artist, Christine Sciulli, who had two boys around the same ages as her own. Ms. Sciulli introduced her to other mothers, most of them creative professionals, and before long the women had formed a “mama group” they called the Supper Club. Once a week for more than six years they met at one another’s lofts while their children charged around.

    “You’d end up with 20 kids, easily, running around your house — all boys — and your house would get trashed,” she said. But the friendships forged among the women were so strong that even after the children drifted apart, their mothers have continued to meet for a weekly craft-night gathering they call the Henhouse.


    TriBeCa, an acronym for Triangle Below Canal Street, charms the eye at every turn. A vigorous campaign led to the designation of much of it as four historic districts in the early 1990s, and a southern extension of the protected streetscape area was added in 2002. Thus the neighborhood retains much of the unified architectural feel of the commercial and manufacturing district it once was.

    For residents this means lofts with soaring windows and vast floor plates, sometimes punctuated with cast-iron columns. For pedestrians it means gracious marble and cast-iron Italianate commercial palaces on and near TriBeCa’s eastern boundary of Broadway, and stout red-brick warehouses with Romanesque Revival-style arches nearer its western border of West Street and the Hudson River.

    The southern boundary, which the community board puts at Murray Street, received a high-rise infusion of residential luxury in 2006 with the opening of 101 Warren Street, often called a downtown Time Warner Center. The Whole Foods in the base of the 35-story building has also provided a gleaming emporium of designer food to an area previously short of supermarkets.


    Lofts are king, and the buildings where they are found fall into two broad categories: co-ops, typically converted in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and condos, most either developed during the wave of conversions that began in the 1990s or built from scratch.
    Co-op prices have taken a hit since the financial crisis of 2008, falling to an average $1.8 million this year from the market’s peak of $2.3 million three years ago, according to Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

    Condos, by contrast, cost even more than before: an average $2.8 million, up from $2.6 million in 2008. Among the condos is a small subset of superluxury buildings like 101 Warren Street and 7 Hubert Street, brokers said. Ms. Mandel, the Corcoran executive, said that units in such buildings had been selling for $1,600 to $2,600 per square foot. Two Federal-style houses are on the market, with asking prices of $5.25 million and $6.5 million.

    Ruth Hardinger, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said that 176 properties were for sale, mostly condos, and 80 for rent. A two-bedroom two-bath unit costs $4,800 to $13,500 a month.


    Pier 25, public parkland jutting into the river near North Moore Street, began a phased reopening last November after a renovation. The new playground and synthetic turf field are attracting lots of visitors, and the rest of the pier’s facilities, including a climbing wall and mini-golf course, are to open soon. But for some who recall this new pier’s funky predecessor, with its hamburger stand and its mini-golf course made by an artist and children out of recycled garbage, there lingers the sense that something homegrown and unique to TriBeCa has been scrubbed away.

    “It’s lost its organic feel,” said Ms. Hardinger, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s. “And in its place it has swings and toys that are industrially produced.”

    Bob Townley, a mainstay of the old pier who will run programming on the new one, noted that it will serve far more people than its forebear did. “People love the pier,” he said.

    “Old-timers like myself may have a harder time learning to love it, but it’s important to realize that the Hudson River Park Trust took older elements and replicated them; it’s the old elements revitalized.”

    School crowding in Lower Manhattan has roused residents and their representatives. Their feistiness has yielded results. By September 2012, the city plans to open the third new primary school in four years.

    Students who live west of Church Street are zoned for Public School 234 on Greenwich Street, which received a B on its most recent city progress report. But the school has been oversubscribed; some children in this zone have gone elsewhere.

    Public School 397 will move into the base of the new Frank Gehry tower on Spruce Street in September. It will serve kindergarten through second grade this year, expanding one grade per year until it reaches eighth grade.

    Intermediate School 289 on Warren Street is one option for Grades 6 through 8; it received a B on its report.

    The selective Stuyvesant High School is on Chambers Street. SAT averages last year were 674 in reading, 735 in math and 678 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.

    Last month, the city said that in the fall of 2012, some residents would be expected to send their children to school outside the community board boundaries. Ms. Menin, the board chief, said she would fight any such plan.


    The financial district is within walking distance. The 1, 2 and 3 subway lines run along the West Side. The 4, 5 and 6 take riders up and down the East Side.


    Several of TriBeCa’s finest 19th-century commercial buildings stand around Duane Park, a serene triangle bought by the city from Trinity Church for $5 in 1795, according to “The Texture of Tribeca,” by Andrew Scott Dolkart, published by the Tribeca Community Association in 1989.

  9. #54
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Audubon Park

    Naturalist Perched Here


    Riverside Drive

    Boricua College

    790 Riverside Drive

    800 Riverside Drive

    ONE can imagine how John James Audubon, the renowned naturalist and illustrator of “Birds of America,” might have reacted to the idea: his own name, being used to promote the very development that would transform the rambling woodlands of his beloved Washington Heights estate into a densely populated urban district. But that is precisely what happened, according to Matthew Spady, a longtime resident and magpie collector of historical facts about the area.

    In 1841, shortly after the publication of “Birds,” Audubon bought 14 acres north of 155th Street, which at that point existed only as a line on a map. There, at the base of a hill overlooking the Hudson River, he built a green-shuttered white clapboard house with a parlor he used as his painting room. When he died in the house a decade later, he left his family land-poor. To make ends meet, his widow, Lucy, began selling off parcels of the estate, which came for the first time to be called Audubon Park.

    “The Audubon name had sold books,” Mr. Spady said, and now it would sell real estate.
    It is doing so again. Residents revived the name Audubon Park, which had been in disuse for nearly a century, during their decade-long campaign to win city landmark protection for their tranquil, architecturally cohesive enclave. And ever since the creation in 2009 of the Audubon Park Historic District, brokers have found the historic designation an effective lure uptown.
    “It gives people that extra level of comfort to be able to say, ‘I’m moving into one of the city’s newest historic districts,’ ” said Sandy Edry, a senior associate salesperson for Citi Habitats, who handles sales for two of the three prewar buildings converted into condominiums in the district in the last five years.

    Historic character was a draw for Jane VanLare, a lawyer, and her husband, Jordan, who studies nearby at Columbia University’s medical school. The couple, who met a decade ago as members of the Harvard ballroom dance team, paid $755,000 last year for a four-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath unit with a maid’s room in the Riviera, a Renaissance Revival co-op with a marble lobby.

    The sixth-floor apartment, which overlooks a church and the stately edifices of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, retained its gracious proportions but cried out for a renovation.

    “It’s an opportunity to combine the traditional, beautiful architecture with the modern amenities we wanted,” Ms. VanLare said. While taking care to restore original French doors, the couple’s workers are installing central air-conditioning that will be controlled by a home automation system, as will the lights, window treatments, heated bathroom floors and audio-video equipment.
    The kitchen, complete with “wine cave,” will connect to a library that the two plan to use as a family room, with a built-in projector and movie screen.

    All told, the work will cost about $500,000, which the VanLares consider a savvy investment, far more so than if they had stayed on the Upper West Side, where they previously rented. “We were looking for a neighborhood with good potential for growth,” Ms. VanLare said, predicting that Columbia’s northward expansion would increase demand in her new neighborhood. “By moving uptown you get so much more space, but you still have the benefits of Manhattan: the great transportation, the shows, the restaurants of New York City.”


    Just north of the serene, green grounds of the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, a tributary of Riverside Drive breaks off from the main drive’s north-south straightaway at 155th Street and makes a sinuous, almost furtive turn inland. As it curves uphill and uptown past residents combing their dogs or playing guitar on park benches, tall prewar apartment houses with eclectic limestone and terra-cotta detailing rise up on either side, giving the area the feel of a secret enclave. On high ground at 157th Street looms the great prow of the triangular, nine-story Grinnell co-op, the Renaissance Revival-style grande dame looking as if she might at any moment sail down the drive’s curve and into the Hudson.

    A lushly planted oval, shaded by London plane trees, stands in the center of Audubon Park’s part of Riverside Drive. It is tended by neighbors from the Riverside Oval Association, who last fall planted 1,000 bulbs. “I live for it all winter, to see the fruits of our late-October labors,” said Vivian Ducat, a co-chairwoman of the group, which hosts a party for Audubon in the oval in April.

    Most of Audubon Park, which runs from 155th to 158th Streets west of Broadway, is a visually consistent streetscape of apartment houses built from 1905 to 1932. The landmarks designation report lavishes a nearly Audubon-worthy level of attention on the architectural plumage of the Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival buildings. Census data for Audubon Park and the three contiguous blocks to the east show the population in 2009 was 58 percent Hispanic or Latino, 29 percent African-American, and 8 percent white.

    The area has come a long way since the early 1990s, when drug-related shootings plagued Washington Heights. Crime rates in the 33rd Precinct have plunged in every major category since 1995, police data show.

    Officer Steve Api of the 33rd Precinct said Broadway was a crime dividing line. The police are very rarely called to Audubon Park, he said, but “the east side of Broadway between 155th and 158th Streets has a bad prescription-drug problem.”

    Residents said the streets generally felt safe. “I’m never afraid to walk around at night,” said Frank Poindexter, who takes his King Charles spaniel, Parker, for long strolls.


    The Riviera and Grinnell co-ops, both of which are celebrating centennials, are the queens of Audubon Park. Their apartments have high ceilings and prewar details, and some have river views.

    Nine units sold in the Riviera in the last year, said Bruce Robertson, a senior associate broker with the Corcoran Group, who lives in the Grinnell. Three-bedroom two-bath units cost $670,000 to $720,000. A renovated four-bedroom two-bath in the Grinnell recently sold for $999,000. “Co-ops are selling faster than a year ago,” Mr. Robertson said.

    Five prewar apartment houses have been converted into condos in the area in the past five years, three on Riverside Drive below 158th Street, and two above, just outside Audubon Park. Mr. Edry of Citi Habitats said that 801 Riverside Drive was one sale shy of the 50 percent mark, while 35 percent of units had sold at 807 Riverside. One-bedrooms have been selling in those buildings for about $300,000, he added.

    The rental price for a gut-renovated two-bedroom condo in the area is around $2,250 a month.


    Broadway is a lively, sometimes litter-strewn commercial corridor, where old men hawk tube socks and Spanish-language radio stations blare from cellphone stores. “I love how Hispanic it is, and all the salsa that blares out,” said Sue Woodman, an English journalist who moved into a prewar rental building opposite Trinity Cemetery last year. “It just seems much more fun than Starbucks and CVS.”

    But for Ms. Woodman, the greatest cultural revelation was the Hispanic Society of America Museum and Library at Audubon Terrace, the Italian Renaissance-style museum complex at 155th Street and Broadway. In 30 years living on the Upper West Side, Ms. Woodman had never visited the Hispanic Society. When she first walked through its column-flanked door, her jaw dropped.

    “It’s just Goyas, and Velázquez paintings hidden back there,” she exclaimed. “They’re just there, and you walk in there anytime you want.”

    “The World Outside Our Windows,” an exhibit of photographs taken from apartments in the Grinnell, will be on view June 26 and July 17, from 2 to 5 p.m., at 800 Riverside Drive.

    A virtual walking tour of Audubon Park is at For a multimedia centennial celebration of the Riviera apartment house, go to


    Primary students are zoned for Public School 28 on West 155th Street, which serves prekindergarten through fifth grade; it got an A on its most recent city progress report. Thirty-one percent of third graders met state proficiency standards in English, 38 percent in math. Grades 6 through 8 are taught in two schools that share a building on West 164th Street: Middle School 326, which earned an A on its report, and M.S. 328, which got a B.

    Some children attend the selective Bronx High School of Science. SAT averages last year were 632 in reading, 685 in math, and 643 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.


    The No. 1 train stops at 157th Street and Broadway. Midtown is about half an hour away at rush hour; the financial district takes 45 minutes.


    Riverside Drive’s winding inland course between 155th and 158th Streets was the result of political maneuvering by the Grinnell family, who by 1897 owned most of Audubon Park and worked with other property owners to have the boulevard run past their front door to increase their property values, Mr. Spady said.

  10. #55
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Gramercy Park

    Feel Free to Use the Name, at Least


    36 Gramercy Park East

    East 19th Street

    Slide Show

    PASSERS-BY peeking through the iron fence into the two-acre 19th-century gem known as Gramercy Park may find plenty to tantalize: statues ringed with landscaping, elaborate birdhouses and pathways invitingly empty of other New Yorkers. Polite-but-firm signs just inside the gates make clear what kind of rowdiness is not allowed: dog-walking and stepping on the grass, among other things.

    Something else that isn’t allowed: the entry of passers-by — at least, if uninvited. Gramercy Park is one of the city’s two privately owned parks. Accessible only via key, mainly to people living just adjacent, the park is therefore off-limits even to most residents of the neighborhood that shares its name. So the view through the fence is the only kind that most visitors ever have.

    The neighborhood, though, is doing just fine without its keys. Residents say it offers more to do than ever, as well as a central, walkable situation near public transport and entertainment districts like Union Square and Greenwich Village. And though proximity isn’t the same as access, the park’s quiet presence in the neighborhood’s midst lends the surrounding blocks a certain hominess.
    “It actually has a huge role, because it’s such a physical presence that it sets the tone for the area,” said Mark Thompson, the chairman of Community Board 6, which represents the neighborhood. “It’s such a beautiful piece of property that everything else focuses on it, and it makes everything else nice.”

    The larger neighborhood stretches well beyond the park, north to East 23rd Street and west to Park Avenue South. The southern boundary is less neat: perhaps East 17th Street and maybe as far south as East 14th Street. To the east, some residents make the case that Gramercy Park’s influence stretches beyond the traditional border of Third Avenue and closer to Second.
    All of these blocks, residents say, are more affordable, relatively, than park blocks. The mostly co-op buildings in this outer periphery have recently drawn a younger crowd that gives an understated area new liveliness.

    One younger resident, newly arrived, is Jessica Schnurr, who bought a unit at 211 East 18th Street — between Second and Third Avenues — with her husband, Tim, in February and moved in this summer after a long renovation. The couple, who both have jobs in Midtown, paid $830,000 for their two-bedroom one-bath unit, she said.

    Ms. Schnurr, who is 29, also said the 10-block move from their previous place, in a more crowded and less homey area that was part of Murray Hill, made a world of difference.

    “I think this is more of a grown-up neighborhood, and someplace that I could see myself living for a long time,” she said. Irving Place, the six-block north-to-south street that dead-ends at the park, has long been a favorite stretch, with its outdoor restaurant tables and sparse traffic. “It kind of feels like it could be a street in even maybe a smaller town,” Ms. Schnurr said.

    At the same time, she said, there is plenty of excitement in Union Square and beyond. Gramercy Park offers the chance to be a part of that excitement, or to remove oneself from it.

    Nancy Van Bourgondien, the Corcoran senior vice president who sold the Schnurrs their apartment, said that, beautiful as the park is, it has little direct effect on most residents’ daily existence. The neighborhood’s nearness to many other areas, she argued, is more important.

    “It’s easy entree into the East Village, it’s easy entree into the Village and it’s easy entree into Chelsea,” she said. “And if you live in Gramercy you probably go to all of those places in your everyday life.”


    A city historic district surrounds the park and extends southward, down to 18th Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue. The most ornate buildings face the park; 36 Gramercy Park East, with two knight-in-armor statues out front, was once home to the actor John Barrymore. Thirty-four Gramercy Park East, on the same block, is where the comedian Jimmy Fallon lives.

    The Gramercy Park Hotel, recently renovated by the hotelier Ian Schrager, is a sleek presence to the north, while mansions on the southern perimeter house the National Arts Club and the Players, a social club designed by Stanford White. At Gramercy Park South and Irving Place, the Zeckendorf family is converting a former Salvation Army women’s residence into a luxury condominium tower, with one unit per floor.

    The blocks farther from the park — like 19th between Third Avenue and Irving — have a mix of town houses and co-op buildings. Closer to the park, they tend to be prewar; newer buildings are common along Third Avenue, said Elaine Mayers, a senior vice president of Citi Habitats who lives in the area.

    The busiest commercial streets are Park Avenue South, with its string of large restaurants, and Third Avenue, which has traditionally had small retail like dry cleaners and hardware stores. More recently, the stretch has drawn bars and small restaurants, some louder than residents would like.

    “Some of them have matured over time,” said Mr. Thompson, at the community board, but he added that some planned establishments had been denied liquor licenses at the outset, so “were actually not allowed to open.”

    Some potential residents searching in the neighborhood will not consider a place without park access, said Jessica Huff, a managing director of Olshan Realty. What happens next may surprise them.

    “You can’t believe how many times in the last 15 years I’ve heard people say, ‘You know, I only used it twice,’ ” Ms. Huff said.


    Park units, the most prized, typically start in the $700,000 range for a one-bedroom and go up from there, depending on condition and building amenities, Ms. Huff said. Two-bedrooms, she said, are much more sought-after and scarce.

    “The cheapest two-bedroom on the park would be about $1 million,” she said, “in the least exclusive building, needs work, not great view.”

    Even a distance from the park, Ms. Mayers said, two-bedrooms routinely sell for $1.3 million or more and one-bedrooms often exceed $800,000. Still, the farther-flung blocks offer a relative discount: Ms. Huff said an alcove studio that might cost $400,000 to $500,000 on the park would be more like $300,000 or $400,000 away from it.

    The biggest frustration in the area, brokers said, is a lack of inventory.

    “People really want to live here,” Ms. Mayers said. “When I get a two-bedroom listing it just flies.”

    Rentals, too, are relatively scarce. According to, one-bedrooms start at roughly $2,500 a month and can cost as much as $4,000. The handful of two-bedroom rentals start around $4,500 and quickly reach the $10,000-a-month range.

    Around the park, Ms. Huff said, there is a hierarchy. Units with views of the park, she said, are more prized than those without. Then there are the units with a view and a terrace.
    For one of those to come on the market, she said, “somebody’s going to have to die.”


    The 6 local train stops at 23rd Street and Park Avenue South, and at Union Square, which also has the 4, 5, N, Q, R and L trains. Buses run north on Park Avenue South, south on Second Avenue, both ways on Third, and cross-town on 23rd and 14th Streets.

    Activities permitted inside Gramercy Park include reading on benches and strolling the tidy pathways. For those without keys, there is Union Square Park, southwest of the neighborhood, and Stuyvesant Square, southeast.

    Dining options abound, from the 71 Irving Place coffee bar to Pete’s Tavern, the venerable watering hole across the street that once hosted O. Henry. Another place of note is Maialino, Danny Meyer’s Roman trattoria in the Gramercy Park Hotel.

    Irving Plaza, at Irving Place and East 15th Street, offers live music.


    Primary students are zoned for Public School 40, on 19th Street between First and Second. The school got an A on its most recent progress report, with 83.9 percent of tested students proficient in English, 86.4 percent in math.

    Junior High School 104, on East 21st Street, scored a B on its report, with 58.7 percent proficient in English and 68.5 percent proficient in math.

    Among the public high schools in the neighborhood is the School of the Future on East 22nd Street, which has 655 students in Grades 6 through 12. SAT averages last year were 475 in reading, 488 in math and 466 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.

    Friends Seminary, a private Quaker school on 16th Street between Second and Third Avenues, has been operating since 1786.


    “Gramercy” is an Anglicization of the Dutch name Krom Moerasje, which means “little crooked swamp,” according to the Encyclopedia of New York City. In 1831 Samuel Ruggles, a property owner, drained the swamp, created the park and sold surrounding lots. Irving Place, once a stretch of Lexington Avenue, was renamed in 1833 for Washington Irving, who often visited.

  11. #56


    Just beautiful. That last one makes you want to just go to sleep on the front steps.

    “The cheapest two-bedroom on the park would be about $1 million,” she said, “in the least exclusive building, needs work, not great view.”
    A handyman special for a cool mil? I'll take it.

    "little crooked swamp"? Wow. Never knew.

  12. #57
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Hell's Kitchen North

    With All Its Contrasts, It Needed an Alias


    slide show

    A weekend street fair on 8th Avenue

    Silver Towers on 42nd Street between 11th and 12th Avenues

    Oasis garden at 52nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues

    NOT long ago, a Midwestern couple arrived at 48th Street near Ninth Avenue to inspect the $399,000 co-op that their 20-something son wanted them to help buy. After looking over the place, a railroad one-bedroom in a tenement walk-up, the mother looked quizzically at the agent, Donald Kemper, and said, “Now tell me, am I in Hell’s Kitchen, or am I in Clinton?” Mr. Kemper, a Prudential Douglas Elliman vice president who lives in the area, replied, “It depends which one you’re more comfortable with.”

    Mr. Kemper’s answer was both sly and accurate, because both names — one rough-and-tumble, the other resolutely respectable — are used by the local community board to define the same area west of Eighth Avenue, from 59th Street to the mid-30s. Hell’s Kitchen, the identity favored by longtime residents, dates to the 1800s, when the neighborhood began its century-plus run as a hotbed of gang violence and squalor. The name Clinton was introduced in 1959 in an attempt to distance the area from that notoriety, which was well deserved as late as the 1980s.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to gentrification. As memories of street crime have receded, and as luxury developments have risen, the name Hell’s Kitchen has acquired a kind of gritty cachet. Trendy restaurants on Ninth Avenue incorporate “HK” or “Hell’s Kitchen” into their names, and some developments use Hell’s Kitchen’s perceived edginess as a sales tool. “You don’t need a weather report to remind you: Hell’s Kitchen is sizzling,” declares the site for the 505, a sleek condominium on 47th Street. By contrast, marketing for the Thorndale, a condo conversion of a 1905 carriage house on 45th Street, describes the area as Clinton.

    “Hell’s Kitchen has developed over the last 20 years into an equal partner with Clinton,” Mr. Kemper said. “If I’m more affluent and have a family, I’m looking for Clinton, but if I’m a young, hip 20-something buyer coming up from Chelsea or somewhere else, I want to live in Hell’s Kitchen.”

    Regardless of what anyone calls it, Victoria Rowan, a writing coach who rents a one-bedroom on 55th Street and Eighth Avenue, loves where she lives. “The creative nerve of the city is very much right here,” she said. “It’s not what I would call a stable neighborhood, but it’s an exciting neighborhood.”

    Ms. Rowan moved to the area in 2004 because she wanted proximity to her writing clients, as well as a living room big enough for 10-person workshops. Her 900-square-foot apartment, which costs $2,925 a month, satisfies both needs. “I’m right in the middle of publishing here,” she said. “I live a couple blocks from the Hearst Building and a couple blocks from Random House.”

    For her, the integration of the arts into the area’s daily life offers a marvelous perk. Sometimes she walks to 55th Street and Ninth Avenue with her toy poodle, Victor Hugo, to watch the dancers through the windows of the building that houses the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Or she strolls to Broadway shows or to Theater Row on 42nd Street near Ninth Avenue, a collection of small spaces whose opening in 1978 gave the area a big push.

    Hell’s Kitchen’s proximity to the theater district has long attracted show people. During the Academy Awards broadcast this year, many theater folk — Ms. Rowan’s neighbors — assembled in her building’s lobby after a fire broke out in the health food store on the ground floor. “There was the seamstress who did the costumes for ‘Mary Poppins,’ and guys wearing ‘Guys and Dolls’ varsity jackets,” Ms. Rowan recalled. “And all these people were worrying about how the fire ruined Oscar Night, not about whether all their worldly possessions would go up in smoke.”


    The change in the northern part of Hell’s Kitchen in the last two decades has brought in wealthier residents with more education, census data show. From 1990 to 2009, median income (in 2009 dollars) rose to $66,371 from $48,025; the proportion with at least a college degree climbed to 64 percent from 44.

    The area remains racially diverse. Among the 45,134 counted as residents in 2009, the proportion of whites held steady at 61 percent; the share of Asians nearly doubled, to 13 percent, and the Hispanic population dipped to 19 percent from 25. The proportion of African-Americans dropped a bit, to 6 percent.

    Also, since 1990, the share of residents who never married climbed to 62 percent from 54, while the proportion of households with children fell below 9 percent, more than a point.

    The streetscape, too, is markedly changed. Forty-Second Street from Ninth Avenue to the Hudson has become a corridor of gleaming residential towers, whose rentals and condos often offer jaw-dropping river or city views. One, an imposing 63-story black-glass monolith on the south side of 42nd Street between 10th and Dyer Avenues, is called MiMA. According to its developer, the Related Companies, this acronym stands for the Middle of Manhattan; according to the cheeky real estate blog, it stands for the Magical Island of Many Amenities.

    Eighth Avenue, too, has high-rises. The InterContinental Hotel opened last year on 44th Street; the spiffy Shake Shack restaurant on its ground floor makes for quite a contrast with the sex shops next door. Two blocks up, the 43-story Platinum condo is billed as New York’s “signature power residence.”

    The more intimate scale of the tenement-and-brownstone side streets, where many low- and middle-income people live, is largely protected above 42nd Street by the Special Clinton District, whose zoning generally restricts building heights to seven stories, or 66 feet. “The neighborhood is a steadfast, hardcore group of individuals who love the low-scale character,” said Elisa Gerontianos, co-chairwoman of Community Board 4’s Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen panel on land use.

    Within these limitations, luxury residential has begun pushing west; some even pops up between 10th and 11th. One of the most closely watched is Mercedes House, a zigzagging rental-and-condo complex, whose ground floor has a Mercedes showroom.

    Last spring James Dale, an advertising executive, was playing in a gay football league in DeWitt Clinton Park on 53rd Street when he noticed Mercedes House rising across 11th. In May he signed its first lease, trading his fifth-floor walk-up in Chelsea for a $3,250-a-month one-bedroom with river views.

    “I wanted a better quality of life,” he said, noting that he plans to use the complex’s outdoor pool when it is built.

    Grumbling about the luxury developments is not unusual among longtime residents. “It’s bringing a different kind of person into the neighborhood,” said Heather Holland Wheaton, a writer who tends the community garden on 52nd Street. “People are very transient. They’ll be here for two years and then move to Connecticut.”

    Mr. Dale said that a married colleague did indeed plan to move to the suburbs to have children and “be closer to her horse.” But for his part, buying in Hell’s Kitchen is a possibility. “I’ll live there a couple of years and see how the neighborhood evolves,” he said.


    Ninth Avenue has sushi, tapas and jägerschnitzel available within a single block. “All our mom-and-pops are now bars,” lamented Kathleen McGee Treat, the chairwoman of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association. “This used to be a neighborhood where if you needed to get your kid a pair of shoes, you could walk over to Mr. Shapiro’s and the child would be fitted for shoes.”


    The average for a studio condo in Hell’s Kitchen North in the last year was $552,928, said Gary Kahn, a senior vice president of Corcoran; two-bedroom condos averaged $1.56 million.

    One-bedroom prewar co-ops averaged $499,550. Walk-up co-ops, typically tenements, sold for $643 a square foot on average. The area is “selling faster the first half of this year than the first half of last year,” said Mr. Kemper of Elliman.

    A recent look at showed 41 one-bedrooms in new developments or conversions renting for $2,750 to $4,800 per month. Most walk-up studios were listed at $1,600 to $2,400.


    Public schools include the highly regarded No. 212, on 48th Street, which got an A on its most recent progress report, and No. 51, which got a B. Students at Public School 51 are being bused by the city to a site on East 91st Street. A new building is expected to open on West 44th in 2013.

    The Professional Performing Arts School on 48th Street includes both middle and high schools. The middle school received an A on its report. SAT averages at the high school in 2010 were 437 in reading, 460 in math, and 432 in writing, versus 439, 462, and 434 citywide.


    The 1, A, B, C, D, and E trains stop at Columbus Circle. The A, C, and E trains run down Eighth Avenue.

    The M50 crosstown bus runs east on 50th Street and west on 49th. Residents complain that the 42nd Street crosstown bus does not run frequently enough to handle the throngs, said Ms. Treat of the neighborhood association.


    Theories abound for how the area came to be called Hell’s Kitchen. An 1881 New York Times article used the term to refer to a notorious tenement on 39th Street near Ninth Avenue, observing that “vice in its most repulsive form thrives here.”

  13. #58
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    There's Not Enough Lenox Hill to Go Around


    Lenox Hill stands out among the tony neighborhoods of Manhattan for the stately townhouses that line the side streets from Central Park to Third Avenue. Those single-family mansions are some of the most sought after in the city, and in recent years, sale prices of those homes have defied the economic downturn and continue to climb.

    Co-ops are more readily available and make up the bulk of the properties available on the market in Lenox Hill, which is in the southern section of the Upper East Side and runs approximately from East 59th to 72nd streets.


    But the co-ops are also tough to get into. The co-op boards in Lenox Hill have earned reputations for being among the most selective in New York City.

    The most expensive homes in the neighborhood are found west of Third Avenue, but a number of luxury buildings have also recently begun to open in the eastern portion of Lenox Hill.

    Prospective home buyers are drawn by the proximity of Central Park, easy subway access and short walking distance to Midtown, said Susan Greenfield of Brown Harris Stevens. Plus, there is the high-end shopping on Madison Avenue.

    "It's really a cosmopolitan city, but this is a cosmopolitan neighborhood," said Ms. Greenfield, who has lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years.

    View Interactive

    The median asking price for Lenox Hill homes is $1.223 million, or $1,045 a square foot, according to real-estate site StreetEasy. In Carnegie Hill to the north, it is $1,020 a square foot, and in the Upper West Side, it is $999, according to StreetEasy.

    In the past decade, many of the townhomes in Lenox Hill were bought up and renovated, said Ms. Greenfield. "It's rare to find a house in Manhattan" that is the size of the single-family homes in Lenox Hill, she said. "The people that buy the townhomes really want the space."

    Ms. Greenfield notes that closing prices haven't been hurt by the economic downturn and that in many cases sales prices have gone up since the real-estate boom ended. Closing prices for townhouses in the area have ranged from $8 million to $48 million, according to Ms. Greenfield.

    For example, there is a limestone townhouse on 64th Street that sold for $5.7 million in 2002. The 10,000-square-foot home was gut renovated and now has a pool, an elevator and gym. It's now listed for $21.5 million.

    Finding a whole townhouse to rent is often just as competitive as buying one. Monthly rents for an entire townhouse in the neighborhood range from $20,000 to $50,000, said Julie Rose of Citi Habitats.

    "There is definitely a demand for that style of living," Ms. Rose said. "There are just not a lot of townhomes."

    Several large rental apartment buildings in the neighborhood have recently been converted to condos. Among them is Manhattan House, a sprawling housing complex that was originally built in the 1950s at 66th Street and Third Avenue. The modernist structure earned a historic landmark designation from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2007.

    Manhattan House was recently renovated and now features amenities like a concierge service, a yoga studio, entertaining space and a rooftop terrace. Each unit has a washer and dryer, wood-burning fireplaces and balconies. Of the available units, prices range between $1.4 million and $7.365 million.

    Another new development in Lenox Hill is the Laurel, a 31-story condo building at 67th Street and First Avenue. The building was finished in 2009 and about 75% of the units are sold or in contract. The building has a gym and training center, a pool, an entertainment room, parking and a concierge service. Asking prices there range between $850,000 and $5.975 million.

    Parks: St. Catherine's Park is a small park on First Avenue with basketball courts, running tracks, volleyball courts and playgrounds. Lenox Hill is also near the Wollman Ice Skating Rink in Central Park and the Central Park Zoo.

    Schools: Lenox Hill public schools are in District 2. They include Manhattan International High School, Talent Unlimited High School and Urban Academy Laboratory High School. Primary school include Robert L. Stevenson and Beekman Hill International.

    In 2011, 80.4% of District 2 students in grades three through eight received a proficient score on the math exam, and 67.9% of students received a proficient score on the English Language Arts exam. In 2006, the results were 78.5% for math and 73.8% for reading.

    Private high schools in the neighborhood include St. Vincent Ferrer High School, Manhattan High School for Girls and Dominican Academy. There is also the all-boys Browning School with primary- through high-school classes.

    Restaurants: Daniel Boulud's flagship restaurant Daniel is in Lenox Hill. Daniel is one of the city's most acclaimed French restaurants and recently received three Michelin stars. There are also several upscale new American restaurants in the neighborhood such as Rouge Tomate and Park Avenue Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.

    Shopping: Madison Avenue is lined with luxury retailers like Barneys, Chanel and Ralph Lauren. There are also several national chain stores like Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath and Beyond.

    Entertainment: There are several cultural institutions in Lenox Hill such as the Frick Collection and other museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, are nearby as well. There is the Park Avenue Armory, which is performing arts venue.

  14. #59


    So if Lenox Hill stops at 72nd St, Carnegie Hill starts at 86th, and Yorkville is east of 3rd Ave... what is the area bounded by 5th Ave, 86th St, 3rd Ave, and 72nd St?

  15. #60
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    ^ Upper East Side .

Page 4 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Queens Neighborhoods
    By krulltime in forum Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and SI Real Estate
    Replies: 76
    Last Post: July 21st, 2015, 03:04 AM
  2. The State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods
    By Edward in forum New York Real Estate
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: May 20th, 2005, 01:25 PM
  3. Your neighborhoods
    By Pottebaum in forum Photography and Travel
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: August 12th, 2004, 01:27 AM
  4. Nine photos, tiny bits of three neighborhoods
    By Gulcrapek in forum New York Skyscrapers and Architecture
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: February 24th, 2004, 05:21 PM
  5. Long Essay on Art in New York Neighborhoods
    By Agglomeration in forum New York Real Estate
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: December 17th, 2002, 08:27 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Google+ - Facebook - Twitter - Meetup

Edward's photos on Flickr - Wired New York on Flickr - In Queens - In Red Hook - Bryant Park - SQL Backup Software