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Thread: Manhattan Neighborhoods

  1. #61
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002

    Default North of Madison Avenue (NoMad)

    Adding Spice in 'NoMad'


    Tourists jump up as a friend takes their photo near the Flatiron Building.

    After more than a decade of efforts by developers, the charmless triangle at the north of Madison Square Park finally is seeing an influx of cultural and nightlife spots.

    Indeed, while many cultural institutions around the city are struggling, the northern end of the Flatiron District is thriving thanks in part to the willingness of landlords in the neighborhood to cut breaks on rent to cultural groups and independent retailers.

    "We basically take a long-term interest in the neighborhood as a whole. We're willing with tenants to give them relatively low, fixed rents," said Andrew Zobler, chief executive of Sydell Group and developer of the Ace Hotel and the planned NoMad Hotel, both in the area.

    An art installation on the Flatiron's first floor.

    The approach has helped Mr. Zobler attract tenants like Stumptown Coffee Roasters and hip clothing store Opening Ceremony to the Ace Hotel. To offset the lower rent, he takes a percentage of the profits those stores make.

    Mr. Zobler is also in talks with Russ and Daughters, a century-old East Village institution, for a space next door to the NoMad Hotel. The deal hasn't closed, he cautioned, but Mr. Zobler notes it is an example of interest in the neighborhood by home-grown New York retailers. The retailer declined to comment.

    "Not that many people are reinvesting in that kind of world," said James Buslik, a principal at brokerage Adams & Co., referring to theaters and museums. But north of the Flatiron District, "There's real money because the location is so strong," he said.

    The Museum of Mathematics, which claims to be the only museum in the country of its kind, is planning to move into a former showroom at 11. E. 26th St.

    Co-founders Glen Whitney and Cindy Lawrence said they looked for locations in SoHo, Chinatown, Times Square and Bryant Park. "We looked in the Meatpacking District, and by the end of the week the landlord had doubled the rent," Ms. Lawrence said.

    In addition to the access to transportation and growing population of families, the proximity to the Flatiron Building offered a quirky bit of symbolism for the new Museum of Mathematics: "It's the most photographed angle in New York," Mr. Whitney, the museum's director, pointed out.

    The landlord had originally eyed a restaurant, according to Mr. Buslik, the broker, but struggled to find a restaurant willing to take on the large 18,000-square-foot space.

    "How many people are going to build a new restaurant and spend $10 million?" during a recession, he noted.

    The museum will join one of the few other museums now in the area, the Museum of Sex on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street, which opened about nine years ago.

    For the area lately dubbed "NoMad,"wedged between gentrifying Chelsea to the west and the Flatiron District to the south, it has been a long journey to respectability.

    "The district had never gentrified because it was essentially the capital for wholesale or bootleg merchandise. Bootleggers would pay higher rents than anyone else, so it stubbornly remained a counterfeit marketplace," said Mr. Zobler.

    While Sixth and Fifth avenues are now dominated by residential high-rises, he hopes to fill the middle ground with restaurants and retailers to service those new residents.

    "We see the Broadway corridor as becoming the main shopping street and living room for all of the people that live in the neighborhood," Mr. Zobler said.

    That might already be starting to come true, as a number of lively restaurants and bars, such as the Hog Pit, San Rocco, Gstaad, Nuela and, of course, Eataly, have already opened.

    Jay Z's 40/40 Club, which for nearly a decade has been one of the lone bars in the immediate area, is also undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion to 13,500 square feet.

    A new 10,000-square-foot theater overseen by former "Saturday Night Live" writer Ali Farahnakian also recently opened at 121 E. 24th St.

    The People's Improv Theater moved from a previous location on West 29th Street, where it had been for eight years. The rent for the new place is about $60-per-foot for the street level—about $20 lower than a theater space on Broadway can command.

    Still, Mr. Farahnakian notes that despite a sympathetic landlord, it is becoming increasingly difficult for cultural institutions to afford rents in the area. The theater opened a coffee shop and bar to help bring in some extra money.

    "Our rent increased four-fold. My Con Ed bill is what my rent was at the old space," he said.

  2. #62
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Ah, to have a few of these <sigh>...

    PS: That carpark needs to go .

    HIGH LINE BILLBOARD Q&A with the Curator

  3. #63
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    Oct 2002

    Default Carnegie Hill

    Land of Good Bones and Deep Pockets


    Brownstones on 94th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues

    A NEIGHBORHOOD of mansions and bakeries, museums and florists, Carnegie Hill is at once grand and intimate. As pleasantly walkable as any community in New York, its streets offer up vignettes that at times seem almost choreographed. Men sell Christmas trees from the gently sloping porte-cochère of the Convent of the Sacred Heart on East 91st Street. A high-stepping girls’ track team giggles through agility drills near the Engineers’ Gate to Central Park. Jacketed St. David’s boys and plaid-uniformed Spence girls grapple with planetoid-size burgers at Jackson Hole, as much an institution in these parts as any of the museums housed in Fifth Avenue palaces.

    “It’s a real neighborhood, because you’ve got your dry cleaners, your grocery stores, your liquor store, and everything’s within a few blocks,” said Judith Gibbons, a retired teacher who loves to stroll the area with her husband, Francesco Scattone, a hedge fund researcher. “You see the same people, the same dogs, and everyone acknowledges each other, so it doesn’t have that anonymous feeling that lots of places in New York have.”

    In 2006, the couple paid $1.3 million for a two-bedroom co-op on East 95th Street to be near Ms. Gibbons’s job at Hunter College High School on 94th. They have since divided their time between the apartment and their house in the Long Island village of Old Field, near Mr. Scattone’s workplace. But as they contemplated his retirement in a few years, they grew eager to buy a house in Carnegie Hill for the long haul.

    So last year they paid $7.5 million for a five-story 1893 Romanesque Revival town house on 93rd between Madison and Fifth Avenues. One of six contiguous row houses built by the same developer, theirs had since lost its stoop, which their architect, Brian E. Boyle, plans to replace by replicating a surviving twin from two doors over, right down to its foliate carvings.

    Such attention to period architectural detail is common in the area, much of which lies within city historic districts, said Lo van der Valk, president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors, a 41-year-old preservation group. Mr. van der Valk said that the generation that settled in Carnegie Hill in the 1950s and raised families there was now dying out or moving out. Many of those moving in are “Wall Street types,” he said. “They hire good architects and do pretty good work.”

    The town house that Ms. Gibbons and Mr. Scattone bought had been chopped up into 10 units. The interior has now been gutted, as part of a plan for its reconversion to single-family use. The city has approved the couple’s proposal to remove a 14-foot-deep extension that juts out across half the width of the rear yard, a common feature of old town houses. In its place, they will add an extension that runs the house’s full width, with a glass-roofed “greenhouse” opening onto the garden. On the next three stories, the extension will step back farther from the yard.

    “I picture the greenhouse as a place that’s like going outside, but it’s protected from the pests and the noise,” Ms. Gibbons said. “It should be a place where you can put your feet up and read a book.”

    Brokers say that this kind of full-width rear addition has become increasingly popular in Carnegie Hill. “They’re maximizing the real estate they bought,” said Cathy Franklin, a director at Brown Harris Stevens, who, like two of her neighbors, put a rear addition on her own 1888 Carnegie Hill town house on 92nd Street. “People are investing a lot of time and money into the renovations of these houses, many of which have not been touched in 40 years.”


    Carnegie Hill takes its name from the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who in 1902 moved into an opulent Beaux Arts-meets-Georgian mansion on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street. His arrival raised the area’s profile, and more mansions and town houses followed. Today the Carnegie mansion is home to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is undergoing renovations and will reopen in fall 2013. (A sign on the fence explains, “Like many on Fifth Avenue, I’m having a little work done.”)

    According to Carnegie Hill Neighbors, the neighborhood extends east from Fifth Avenue up to (but not including) Third Avenue. It is bounded on the south by 86th Street, and on the north by 98th between Fifth and Park Avenues and 96th between Park and Third. The 2010 census counted 20,473 residents.

    Park Avenue, with its lavishly planted medians, is an iconic boulevard of mostly prewar apartment houses, typically co-ops. Side streets have striking ensembles of row houses, like the exuberant jumble of oriels, dormers and gables that adorns the six landmark Queen Anne town houses from 146 to 156 East 89th. The five-unit building at No. 146 is on the market for $5,827,900.

    The often intimate scale and historic feel of the neighborhood are the special preoccupation of Carnegie Hill Neighbors, which promotes contextual architecture and fights perceived nuisances like the recently defeated proposal for a street-corner newsstand on 86th Street.

    “They’ve done a great job of keeping the neighborhood the way it’s been, which is low-rise buildings for the most part,” said Jed Garfield, president of the brokerage Leslie J. Garfield & Company. “Things like that play a huge role in the quality of life, because there’s that much less traffic on the street, and the stores are less crowded.”

    New development has been limited in the past five years, even outside of Carnegie Hill’s two historic districts. In a neighborhood where many residents regard lack of change as a virtue, the construction of a large or modern building can be as controversial as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    When several row houses on 93rd Street near Third Avenue were torn down in the last few years and replaced with a seven-story condominium, some neighbors grew alarmed that a similar building might pop up on their own low-rise blocks.

    These fears prompted a group of homeowners to press for a new historic district on Hellgate Hill, the block east of Lexington Avenue from 94th to 95th Street, which is dominated on three sides by a group of 1870s neo-Grec row houses. Although some Hellgate Hill owners strongly opposed becoming subject to landmarks regulations, a compromise effort failed. Community Board 8 voted in favor of the proposed historic district, and in October, Carnegie Hill Neighbors and the group of supportive owners sent the city a formal request for designation.

    “For a while there were some pointed exchanges,” said William S. Sterns III, president of the Hellgate Hill Householders Association, which did not take a position. “But the process moved on and things quieted down. People like each other, and there’s a pretty nice atmosphere in the neighborhood.”


    Single-family town houses sold for an average of $10,015,714 this year, said Matthew Pravda, an agent at Leslie J. Garfield. Their price per square foot rose to $1,736 from $1,625 last year, he said, and they took an average of eight and a half months to sell, about a month longer than in 2010.

    Three-bedroom co-ops cost an average of $3,383,478 this year, while three-bedroom condos averaged $2,349,167, according to Ms. Franklin of Brown Harris Stevens. A search on Streeteasy showed 191 properties on the market.


    The Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum and School, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum line Fifth Avenue. In an age of vanishing independent bookshops, the tin-ceilinged Corner Bookstore is a neighborhood stalwart on Madison Avenue, where it opened in the 1970s.


    Elementary schools include Public School 77, the Lower Lab School, for “talented and gifted” students, which earned an A on its most recent city progress report. Some public school students attend East Side Middle School on 91st Street, which also scored an A.

    Hunter College Elementary, serving kindergarten through sixth grade, and Hunter College High School, for Grades 7 through 12, are on 94th Street. Both are selective, publicly financed schools. SAT averages at the high school this year were 725 in reading, 738 in math, and 744 in writing; citywide last year, they were 436, 460, and 431. (City averages for this year are not yet available.)

    Private schools abound. The Trevor Day School, which teaches nursery through Grade 5 at buildings on East 89th and 90th Streets (as well as Grades 6 through 12 on West 88th Street), has broken ground on East 95th Street for a 101,000-square-foot facility. Scheduled to open in fall 2013, it will house Grades 7 through 12. Pamela J. Clarke, the head of school, declined to provide SAT averages. “We don’t emphasize them in school,” she wrote in an e-mail, “and we don’t want to emphasize them by bragging about high scores.”

    The No. 6 train, the Lexington local, stops at 96th and 86th Streets. The express No. 4 and 5 trains, which also stop at the crowded 86th Street station, whisk riders to Midtown in minutes and the financial district in about half an hour.

    According to a report by the Cultural Resource Consulting Group, Hellgate Hill was named after the Hell Gate Brewery, built in 1866 on 92nd and 93rd Streets east of Third Avenue.

  4. #64


    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    ^ Upper East Side .
    Does anyone actually call it Clinton? What happened to Alphabet City?

  5. #65


    Yeah, there are various neighborhoods/sub-neighborhoods/other appellations also missing -- Kip's Bay, Garment District, Meatpacking District, etc.

    I had one co-worker who lived in Hells Kitchen and once called it "Clinton." I believe she got this from the RE agent who found her the place (agents/brokers tend to be the ones who use it, since they apparently think it's harder to get someone to live in a place called Hells Kitchen) ... She was widely mocked for a day or two in the office for repeating this term.

  6. #66
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    Oct 2002

    Default Yorkville

    Yorkville attracts families looking for peace and quiet

    By Jason Sheftell

    (Jeff Bachner)

    It’s not exactly convenient, but that’s why it works. East of First Ave. in the 80s and 90s by Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion has become a haven for New Yorkers looking for old-world Manhattan, peace and quiet, and a few dollars shaven off their home price.

    Simply put, you can double your space for the same price you’d pay in more established neighborhoods. Those who know it, appreciate it, happy to sacrifice a few extra blocks to pay as low as $1,950 per month for spacious one-bedrooms on 89th St. off East End Ave.

    “This is a smart starter neighborhood for people just coming to New York,” says broker Tim Bascom who owns Bascom Real Estate, specializing in the downtown loft scene but finds fair-priced deals all over the city. “Young people love it for the price. They don’t mind walking the extra blocks.”

    Townhouses and walkups on the pretty side streets east of York Ave. (Jeff Bachner)

    The neighborhood also draws seasoned New Yorkers looking for value. On the buy side, new buildings like Azure, a 34-story tower “condop” on First Ave., has attracted families seeking large homes. A two-bedroom for $1.195 million would cost $2 million-plus on the upper West Side or closer to Central Park. With a brand-new elementary school next door (M.S. 14 was built with funds supplied from a land-lease deal between Azure developers and the Department of Education), parents have only steps to go to drop their children off.

    “People don’t realize how easy it is to live in this neighborhood,” says Karen Mansour, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, the group marketing Azure. “They’re surprised by what this neighborhood has.”

    Prewar buildings tower over Carl Schurz Park, a thing of beauty all year round (Jeff Bachner)

    Carl Schurz Park

    One of Manhattan’s true hidden gems, Carl Schurz Park has twists and turns, curved elevations and plots of grass where even in the wintertime children have baseball catches and practice modern dance. On a cold Thursday, two women in fur coats took photos of Gracie Mansion between leafless branches of an old oak tree while bundled-up locals walked dogs.

    As you enter the park on 86th St., a stone archway leads to a circle under several stairwells. In the circle, a statue of *Peter Pan centers what feels like a natural amphitheater. It’s as pretty as Tolkien’s Shire, especially considering the park saw disrepair and peril in the 1970s. It was then that neighborhood residents began reviving the area’s greatest asset.

    Today, Carl Schurz Park Conservancy is the oldest community-based volunteer park association in New York City. Working with the Department of Parks, it ensures through private funds that the park is maintained. It also throws one of the city’s top outdoor art festivals every fall — the Gracie Square Art Show. Lining the park, prewar buildings loom like architectural giants. It’s a beautiful sight.

    The view from the Azure, a 34-story condop on 90th St. (Jeanne Noonan)

    What the residents say

    Rico Williams moved to the neighborhood with his girlfriend less than a year ago after living in several uptown and downtown neighborhoods. They have a two-bedroom with a dining area and large kitchen off York Ave. Born and raised in New York City, Williams knows all about the space-for-neighborhood tradeoff. He has lived in a three-bedroom in Sugar Hill, astudio in the Village, a one-bedroom in Chelsea, and as far north as Inwood.

    “As a native New Yorker used to the hustle and bustle, this area was a pleasant surprise,” says Williams, whose apartment rents for above $4,000. “The walk to and from the subway is a nice transition, especially on the way home when it serves as a kind of decompression zone.”

    Architect Deborah Berke lives in a maisonette on the south side of Carl Schurz Park. A longtime loft dweller, Berke and her husband raised their daughter in the neighborhood. Their front door is a few steps from the East River.

    “I never thought I would like it up here,” says Berke, born and raised in Douglas Manor, Queens. “Then we started looking, and it was so peaceful and dramatic in spots. There’s an elegance. Over the years, that seeps in, in a very comfortable way.”

    A living room with views from the Azure (Jeanne Noonan)

    A renter’s heaven

    Developer Glenwood owns five buildings in the area they call “Gracie Point.” The Andover has a fountain out front. The Brittany has a fitness center with indoor lap pool. One-bedrooms are avilable for around $2,795 and $2,995.

    In this neighborhood, calling the number on the many “for rent” signs that line building windows or posted in front of townhouses might be the best way to find an apartment. We saw a $2,600 large one-bedroom in a historic townhouse on E. 87th St. The apartment has arched hallways, a small outdoor space in the back and 10 feet of closet space. Down the street in a walkup building, a call to the “for rent” sign out front found a two-bedroom for $2,750 and a studio for $1,750. Both were gone one week later as this neighborhood trades quickly.

    Glaser’s Bake Shop, opened in 1902, is a remnant from the area’s German roots (Mariela Lombard)

    Old-world character

    In the early 1900s, Yorkville was considered the city’s largest German neighborhood. Remnants of that past exist around every corner. Established in 1873, St. Joseph’s Parish still has monthly Mass in German. Glaser’s Bake Shop opened in 1902.Owned by descendants of the original owners, the shop serves some of the best home-made pastries in the city.

    Richard McIntosh, a television executive, has lived in the neighborhood on and off since graduating from New York University in the mid-1960s. He paid $68 per month for a one-bedroom in 1968. He moved back in the early ‘90s.

    “This is still a real neighborhood,” says McIntosh. “It has old churches, neighbors who really care, and not a lot of tourists. The best new thing is the arrival of the Fairway on 86th St. You don’t hear those intrusive Fresh Direct trucks anymore. I like the separation from midtown. Once you’re here, you have what you need.”

    Henderson Place, an alley off 86th St. near East End Ave., is the neighborhood’s historic heart. Of the 32 homes built in 1882, 24 survive. With arched roofs, a few turrets, inviting front doors, historic streetlamps and scarlet bricks, the tiny street is a New York City landmark. Gingerbread-type, three-story homes help make it as romantic and surprising a place for a New York City walk as any. A townhouse on the street can cost $4 million.

    Views from the promenade (Jeff Bachner)

    The threat

    Lately, McIntosh and others worry about a waste management plant that the city plans at the neighborhood’s north end adjacent to where children play at Asphalt Green, an athletic facility. Two local groups are fighting the plant, saying the city needs to look at waste alternatives.

    “This will injure the health, safety and welfare of the people who live here,” says Sandra Christie, on the steering committee of Residents for Sane Trane Trash Solutions. “The mayor has this smoking ban, but it’s ok for 500 garbage trucks to idle next to playing children? We don’t think it’s right. This will industrialize a very peaceful residential area. A city should protect its neighborhoods.”

    The plant requires approval from the Army Corp of Engineers, looking into impact on the East River eco-system. For now, the neighborhood is safe, still a quiet corner full of well-priced places to live.

  7. #67


    Thanks for the great photos and article on Yorkville. I lived there for about 7 years and really enjoyed it, althought the location was a bit inconvenient in terms of transportation. Still, I miss it. And Glaser's is fantastic!

  8. #68

  9. #69


    Somehow these have escaped me (but not for much longer)...
    Thank you Merry!

  10. #70
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Ah, excellent, some more SM photo wizardry to come, then?

    There's always something left to discover in New York City .

  11. #71


    Love Yorkville. My favorite part of the city. Never thought I could associate 'peace & quiet' with NYC until I walked through there one day.

  12. #72
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    Green Wedgies

    Community tries to carve out open space in Hudson Square.

    by Tom Stoelker

    A proposed POPS for a tower in the path of the Gap park. Courtesy Starr Whitehouse

    While Village people focus their attention on New York University’s expansion plans and doings at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, the future of the Hudson Square neighborhood just west of Soho is in the midst of major rezoning. The real estate arm of Trinity Church aims to transform at least 21 blocks of post-industrial Manhattan into a live/work/play zone. But critics say the Trinity plan misses a key element: open space.

    Though the neighborhood sits just two blocks from Hudson River Park, it’s effectively cut off from it by a UPS distribution center, St. John’s Center’s production studios, and a controversial sanitation garage. With the riverfront park so close and yet so far, various stakeholders are now advancing ideas to eke out more green space wherever they can.

    Most of the proposals call for changes to the Trinity plan, which favors taller buildings near their already proposed SHoP Architects–designed towers at 6th Avenue and Canal Street. The Trinity plan would also revamp Duarte Square, a triangle park that fronts the project. The only other accessible green space in the district is Soho Square.

    The four-block area currently (left), with proposed Gap park (right). Courtesy WXY
    For the past few months the Hudson Square Connection (HSC) has been brainstorming on streetscape, identity, and infrastructure with a powerhouse collection of firms including Mathews Nielsen, Rogers Marvel, Billings Jackson Design, Arup, and Open. So far HSC has identified the inordinately wide sidewalks as one opportunity for green space and are pushing for more access to Hudson River Park at Spring Street.

    Other ideas focus on swapping displaced air rights for green space, an idea triggered by the popular High Line, such as one for a park overlooking the Holland Tunnel.

    Recently a study by WXY Architecture was presented to the community board that would allow air rights for buildings to be sold and distributed throughout the neighborhood so as to encourage interconnected green spaces. Instead of placing privately owned public spaces (POPS) next to the new buildings, the plan encourages building owners to assemble plazas together, in this case a series of midblock parks between Hudson and Varick to be called the Hudson Square Gap. As there are only three major real estate players in the area—Trinity, Edison, and Extell—the plan would seem doable as long as Trinity and Edison adapt the plans they already have for the block.

    The proposed Hudson Square Gap runs from Henry to Spring Street, where Edison wants to build a midblock tower effectively plugging the proposed gap. That tower would have its own POPS designed by Starr Whitehouse facing Dominick Street, a design dependent on the Port Authority allowing it to encompass an adjoining parking lot that sits above the Holland Tunnel’s entrance and cannot be built upon.

    But all roads lead to Trinity, who owns six million square feet and holds the ULURP application. Their plan carries the most weight unless City Planning can be encouraged to think otherwise.

  13. #73
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    Further to the Audubon Park post, the Berler Houses are superb:

    An Italian Villa in Upper Manhattan Comes Back to Life

    by David Freeland

    809/811 Riverside Drive, “Berler Houses”

    A shared exploration with Gotham Lost and Found.

    The recently designated Audubon Park Historic District, an irregularly shaped area bounded by Riverside Drive and Broadway between West 155th and West 158th Streets, offers a rare glimpse of an earlier, bucolic Manhattan. Although the remnants of the house of the famous 19th-century naturalist whose name graces the neighborhood have, in one of the city’s great architectural mysteries, disappeared, the sylvan landscape Audubon valued so highly is still visible in the area’s gentle hills and views of the Hudson. Handsome apartment buildings such as the Grinnell, the Church of the Intercession (considered by its architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, to be his masterpiece) and the remarkable complex of Beaux Arts museum structures known as Audubon Terrace, only reinforce the elegant atmosphere.

    Berler Houses Rear, with view of garages

    The value of Audubon Park lies in its preservation of building types not visible anywhere else in Manhattan. Chief among these is 809/811 Riverside Drive, an unusual duplex house that resembles an Italian villa looming over the multi-cornered intersection of Riverside, 158th Street, and Morgan Place. Also known as the Berler Houses, the history of 809/811 Riverside has been well documented by historian and Audubon Park resident Matthew Spady. Constructed by clothing manufacturer Nathan Berler in 1922, the house was intended as a model for a larger group of similar duplex houses; although, in the end, only 809/811 Riverside was actually constructed. According to an article dated February 12, 1922 in the New York Times, the houses cost $70,000 to build (roughly $937,000 in today’s figures) and featured a built-in garage, still visible on 158th Street.

    Side view with Solarium and Patio

    Spady has discovered that the houses also contained a Welte orchestrion (a large pneumatic music box filled with pipes and cymbals), built in 1920 and removed when a new owner bought the property in the 1960s. Beyond these features, the houses boasted unique design elements which can still be admired, including a tiled roof (in Spanish mission style), Doric columns, balustrades, arched windows and single-story solariums on both sides, covered with patios.

    Due perhaps to their distinctive and striking appearance, the Berler Houses have been the subject of a number of neighborhood legends. One, in particular, asserts they were the homes of the Gershwin brothers, while another claims that Irving Berlin once lived here. Neither story is true, although the houses have sheltered at least one highly distinguished resident. In 1947, according to an article in the Chicago Defender, “Miss Jewel Plummer” was residing at number 809 while working as a teaching fellow in biology at NYU. As Jewel Plummer Cobb (born 1924), she is known today as one of the country’s most important biologists and an African-American pioneer (according to one source, she had initially been denied the NYU fellowship because of her race). Cobb’s groundbreaking research on cancer cells has led to significant advances in the field of chemotherapy.

    After being on the market for some years, 809 Riverside Drive was sold in 2010 and its new owners, according to Matthew Spady, have been engaged in a caring process of restoration. According to Spady, it’s been a delight to see the house occupied again. “At Christmas,” he recalls, “they put their tree in the solarium where the whole neighborhood could see it, a lovely gesture signalling that a family is once again in residence.”

  14. #74


    I'll have to try Glaser bake shop. I love going to a long-standing establishment with good eats.

  15. #75
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default Flatiron

    Profile, Always High, Keeps Current Too


    slide show

    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

    IT was sometime in the mid-1980s, Carol Peligian recalls, that she told her broker not to telephone her until she’d found her an apartment among the run-down, sparsely populated commercial blocks of Fifth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets. The broker’s response was succinct: “You’re out of your mind.”

    Ms. Peligian’s husband, Robert Boghosian, was scarcely more enthusiastic. But Ms. Peligian, an artist, recognized New York as a great shape-shifting organism; she felt that the decidedly unglamorous area below Madison Square Park might have a future to match its richly textured past. At the time, that stretch of Fifth Avenue was “like a canyon: it was abandoned, it was vast and boarded up,” she said. “But it had a faded old beauty just waiting to be cared for a little bit.”

    In 1987, the couple paid $320,000 for a 1,700-square-foot loft in the Folio House, a neo-Renaissance-style co-op building on 18th Street. The unit had soaring ceilings and windows and original maple floors that still bore the stress marks from years as a book bindery. “It was love at first sight,” she said, “a coup de foudre.”

    Today, even as the area has gentrified to the point that she laments the “malling of Lower Fifth,” Ms. Peligian’s affection is undiminished. Looking north from her street, you see the Empire State Building; looking south, you see the Washington Arch, with One World Trade Center beyond. “The magical thing,” she said, “is that you still have this incredible feeling when you walk out the door in the Flatiron, right out on Fifth, that everything is possible.”

    There is plenty in the neighborhood to buttress her opinion. As destination restaurants like Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern opened in the Flatiron in the 1990s, joining the City Bakery and shops like that of the British designer Paul Smith, the district became increasingly desirable. A wave of residential conversions of commercial and industrial lofts, along with new residential construction, added more than 1,000 housing units to the 19 blocks of the Flatiron between 2000 and 2010, according to census data; the increase amounted to almost 25 percent. The population also swelled by nearly a quarter, to 8,527.

    Many of these new arrivals are families. “It’s not the Chelsea crowd,” said Hervé Senequier, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who lives in the area. “Just by the nature of the size of the apartments, the majority of which are large, they are geared more toward families.”

    Two recent arrivals are Alison Graham and Ted Beaton, managing consultants for I.B.M., who relocated from Australia last year. To establish a nest for themselves and the baby they were planning for, the couple paid $1.6 million for a two-bedroom loft in the Cammeyer at Sixth Avenue and 20th Street, a newly converted neo-Renaissance-style condominium built in 1892 for A. J. Cammeyer & Company, a shoe retailer.

    Their 1,189-square-foot loft is within walking distance of their jobs on Madison Square, but the area also strongly appealed to them because of its “ton of resources for mums and babies,” said Ms. Graham, who takes her infant son, Cooper, to City Treehouse, one of several play centers nearby. “It’s so family-friendly compared to when I lived here in the late ’90s,” she added.
    There are plenty of diversions for adults, as well. “We walk down to the West Village and we’re there in nine minutes,” Ms. Graham said. “We’re at the High Line all the time. We go to Chelsea Market and Madison Square Park. We ride our bikes out to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge. We feel like we’re in the center of the universe.”


    The boundaries of the Flatiron can be a subject of disagreement, but the district generally runs from the Avenue of the Americas to Park Avenue South between 14th and 23rd Streets, excluding the blocks adjacent to Union Square. Still, as often happens when a neighborhood becomes popular, some see its borders as expanded. The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, the six-year-old business improvement district that keeps streets clean and maintains two public plazas created on Broadway in 2008, places the northern boundary in the upper 20s, an area some call NoMad, or North of Madison Square Park.

    The Flatiron District takes its name, of course, from the iron-shaped 1903 skyscraper, originally called the Fuller Building, whose proud prow surges northward at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street. But the neighborhood owes its distinctive sense of place at least as much to the rows of grand edifices in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, designated by the city in 1989, which encompasses the bulk of the Flatiron neighborhood.

    Broadway from Union to Madison Square was lined in the last third of the 19th century with fashionable shops catering to the “carriage trade.” Many of these showy architectural confections survive, restored in recent years and given a contemporary twist by of-the-moment shops that have inhabited their august buildings, hermit-crab-style. On 20th Street, the Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop, a concept store aimed at college students and young professionals, opened in November in the mansard-roofed palace of the former Lord & Taylor. Across the street, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese has taken up residence within the majestic Romanesque Revival arches of the Goelet Building, designed by Stanford White.

    “It’s much more posh on Broadway than it’s been,” said Mara Flash Blum, a senior vice president of Sotheby’s International Realty, who lives in the area. “Several buildings were scaffolded for restoration at the same time, and now it’s like the unveiling of the Ladies’ Mile, and it’s quite breathtaking.”

    On Sixth Avenue, the colossal shopping emporiums of the late 19th century, known then as Fashion Row, are again thronged with shoppers. A renaissance initiated by Bed Bath & Beyond has more recently been joined by Trader Joe’s and the Container Store. The cast-iron-fronted O’Neill Building, long scalped of its eye-catching twin domes, has been restored and converted to condos.

    “In the mid-’80s our neighborhood was a lady who’s just been let go, and then people said, ‘Oh, she’s pretty,’ and they dressed her up,” said Ms. Peligian, the artist. “And sometimes with the small boutiques they do a good job and she’s beautiful, and sometimes with the big chains they overdress her, but she’s still beautiful. A queen’s a queen.”


    The Flatiron is a destination for foodies. Popular restaurants include Rosa Mexicano and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s locavore haven ABC Kitchen, inside the ABC Carpet & Home department store. Eataly, on the north side of 23rd, exerts a nearly planetary pull on Italian-food lovers.


    Condos typically run $1,500 to $1,700 a square foot, Ms. Blum said, and “a deal would be $1,200 to $1,300.”

    For a buyer “with price concerns who doesn’t need a doorman,” co-ops offer a relative value, said Mr. Senequier of Elliman. “A co-op will cost $850 to $1,100 a square foot, more if it’s a penthouse.” He added that units had been taking about 113 days to sell, as they had five months earlier. A search on showed 83 apartments for sale.

    One project aimed at families is the Story House, at 36 East 22nd. Once home to Frederick Warne & Company, the publisher of Beatrix Potter, the building has been converted by the Zucker Organization into eight full-floor condos ranging from $3.25 million, for a two-bedroom, to $4.5 million for the three-bedroom penthouse. Laurie Zucker, a partner, said four units had sold since August, all close to asking price.

    And then there’s One Madison Park, on 23rd, a slender 50-story glass exclamation point transformed into a high-profile question mark when its construction and sales were halted by financial problems and lawsuits. One of the hottest buildings in Manhattan in 2008, the project is now working its way through the bankruptcy process, which is expected to be complete in May. The Related Companies, the developer behind the Time Warner Center, co-owns the debt in a partnership with the HFZ Capital Group. The partnership expects to complete construction and provide the building with new resources, and sales could begin again in early fall.


    Zoned schools include Public School 11 on West 21st and P.S. 40 on East 20th, as well as two schools in Greenwich Village, P.S. 41 and P.S. 3. All earned A’s on their most recent city progress reports except P.S. 3, which scored a C.

    For middle school there is Junior High School 104 on East 21st Street, which earned a B. A new middle school is scheduled to open on 15th Street near Fifth Avenue in the fall of 2014.
    Nearby high schools include Baruch College Campus High School on East 25th; SAT averages last year were 520 in reading, 587 in math, and 533 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


    The 6, N and R trains make stops on 23rd. The F and M stop on 14th and 23rd. A block west of the district, the 1, 2 and 3 stop at Seventh Avenue and 14th.


    Theodore Roosevelt was raised in a house at 28 East 20th Street, which was demolished in 1916. A facsimile rebuilt on the site serves as a museum.

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