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Thread: ThreeTen East 53 - 310 East 53rd Street - UES - Condo - by SLCE

  1. #121
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    Here a Terrace, There a Terrace

    C-line apartments at 310 East 53rd Street have 46-foot-long living and dining rooms with small terraces at each end. The view above is from Apartment 16C.


    Published: September 10, 2006

    IT’S a hot and humid day, and I’m visiting a still-in-construction site at 310 East 53rd Street, a 31-story, 88-unit condominium that offers a cornucopia of living spaces: two- and three-bedroom apartments, lofts and a couple of duplex “town houses.”

    Kitchens have Thermador ovens and Sub-Zero refrigerators.

    Developed by Macklowe Properties, the building is in a part of town that, rather inexplicably, feels more off the beaten track to me than the Lower East Side or Harlem. But I’m intrigued by the possibility of moving to a modern tower in an area that feels strangely like a new city but is really a few blocks away from the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

    Madeline Hult, the director of sales for the Sunshine Group, meets me on the sidewalk near the corner of Second Avenue, and while handing me a hard hat, points out the handsomely understated panels of Alabama limestone on the facade. She is wearing a hard hat, too, and as I follow her into the first of the two town houses, I notice that she is navigating the building site in four-inch heels.

    “I always wear them,” she says, seeing my amazement as I not only try to keep up with her (wearing my usual flats) but also attempt to avoid tripping on electrical cables and pieces of cardboard while taking in the architectural features of the “town houses” — the two 3,900-square-foot residences that are enveloped by the main tower.

    Rather than having street entrances like the classic Upper East Side or Sutton Place maisonettes, they are reached from the main elevators. Ms. Hult is already pointing out the unusual width of the units — at 40 feet, they are nearly twice as wide as many New York town houses, she says. Each also features a 17-foot-high great room.

    “Excellent space,” she says, “especially if you have big art.”

    And a bank account to match, I think, as Ms. Hult informs me that Townhouse 2 costs $6.9 million (with an estimated $3,022 common charge and $502 in real estate taxes a month) and that Townhouse 4, which also has a 1,300-square-foot roof terrace, is $7.9 million (a $3,279 common charge and $545 in real estate taxes a month).

    “These are like having a town house with the services of the building,” Ms. Hult explains. “There’s no need to take the garbage out yourself.”

    I should hope not.

    Although the spaces are quite amazing, the views are not, even though the sixth-floor terrace does offer a sliver of the East River, a peek at the two neighboring 19th-century historic clapboard houses that have been preserved, and the opportunity of having an outdoor fireplace on the terrace. “Totally private” is how Ms. Hult describes the open-air space. Sort of, I think, if you don’t mind having your neighbors in the tower having a bird’s-eye view of your barbecue.

    We move on to the building’s duplex lofts. They are on the second to fifth floors and are meant, Ms. Hult explains, “for professionals who work in banking and want a loft space but don’t want to be downtown.”

    I don’t know anyone in this group, but they must exist in some quantity as all 10 of the loft units have been sold. Again, the views — through big windows inspired by Parisian ateliers — do not bowl me over. Even though these apartments are called lofts, they seem the antithesis of experimental open-space living. I remind myself that the days when lofts were synonymous with the bohemian avant-garde are long, long gone.

    “They were all different,” Ms. Hult says. “It’s always hard to sell the bottom of a building, so it was clever to create something unique for the lower floors, and these spaces were the first to be sold. Whoever heard of that?”

    Better for me, I think, to concentrate on what a sleek modern tower can really offer. In this case that must be great city views and a level of design that could seduce a longtime fan of prewar buildings into starting anew.

    With input from Harry Macklowe, two New York firms — SLCE Architects and Moed deArmas & Shannon Architects — designed the tower.

    The building does have a very fresh look. Each of the 23 floors of the tower was divided (at least until buyers started playing Monopoly and combining units) into three apartments.

    We start with 11C, a 2,313-square-foot three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath unit with two terraces. (It costs $3.55 million with a monthly common charge of $1,814 and $301 in real estate taxes.)

    Most unusual is the long, long, long combination living and dining space capped with two small terraces at either end. Measuring over 46 feet in length, it represents a furnishing challenge. But the views are amazing.

    “The developer bought the air rights to the south,” Ms. Hult says, “so the views are protected.” I’m tempted to step out onto one of the terraces, but am held back by my fear of heights — the 3-foot-7-inch-high walls are clear glass, after all. But I must be in the minority. Of the original 22 C units, only this one is still available.

    The terrace walls of Townhouse 4 are clear glass.

    310 East 53rd Street.

    Ms. Hult steers me to the kitchen, really nicely appointed with pale celadon glass-fronted cabinets edged in stainless steel, Thermador wall ovens and dishwashers, Gaggenau stoves and Sub-Zero refrigerators.

    Bathrooms are clad in all-white marble. “Everyone gets a six-foot tub,” Ms. Hult says. “It’s all about spa bathrooms.”

    We visit the two other apartments on the floor, both interesting variations on the main theme of spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows, glass-walled terraces, marble baths and sleek galley kitchens. Only a half dozen of the two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath A and B units, mostly on 20-something floors, are still available.

    They range in price from $2.416 million to $2.991 million. For the A line, the common charge is $1,249 a month, and the real estate taxes are $207; for the B line, the common charge is $1,394 a month, and the real estate taxes are $231.

    I’m already thinking of how these apartments could be combined to get views in all directions. The altitude must be getting to me.

    To create even more envy, we ride the elevator to the 31st floor, a full-floor penthouse (3,632 square feet, three bedrooms, three baths, a powder room, library, living/dining room, breakfast room, the ubiquitous gallery, and, count them, three terraces for a total of 1,906 square feet of outdoor space.)

    Priced at $10.5 million, with a monthly common charge of $3,173 and real estate taxes of $527, the apartment is, I must admit, quite fabulous. There’s a bit of the Chrysler Building, a section of the Empire State Building and city views that must be truly magical at every moment of the day or night.

    And three terraces. One off the kitchen, for outdoor dining, Ms. Hult says, as well as two others that are deeper than any of the terraces on the lower floors.

    I decide — with some trepidation — to step out onto the studio-apartment-size terrace off the master bedroom suite. And here, the four-foot-high walls are very, very reassuring, even if they are clear glass.

    There’s nothing like a $10.5 million penthouse to cure even the most extreme vertigo.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  2. #122
    Senior Swanky Peteynyc1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Hell's Kitchen


    I just walked by this project tonite. Now that the scaffolding is gone you can really see just how stupid the base of this building looks. I think the main body of the building is beautiful and the balconies nicely placed, but the base is retarded looking! It doesn't fit the neighborhood at all.

    Oh, and there was 6 cop cars and about 20 officers outside cuffing some drunk kids for fighting at the neighborhood watering hole Redemption. I bet the 10 million dollar penthouse owner looks forward to that every weekend

  3. #123

    Default gove credit where is credit is due for this bizarre combination

    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    ^ SCLE Architects.

    IMO, taking into account the entire building, it doesn't appear to be that bad.
    The base should've been shorter with less wall and more windows. That's probably why you don't like it but the material (granite?) looks to be first rate and hey, it's different, I don't see it that often.

    The tower portion gets an A- grade from me and the base gets a C+ for an overall grade of B.
    Actually, that's better than my college grades.

    Moed De Armas Shannon were the design architects, SLCE rarchitects of record

    the tower is not bad, but WTF were they thinking! That's two in a row. First they runied th base of the GM building, now this bunker. I'm amazed Macklowe bought into that base. It's not his style.

  4. #124


    Usually when a tower and base are so completely mismatched, the base tries to be contextual to lowrise neighbors. That's clearly not the case here. It's bad, very bad. And a shame because the tower is quite nice.

  5. #125


    Maybe tower-on-base isn't always the best solution to begin with.

  6. #126

    Thumbs up

    Some really nice pictures from Sota Glazing Inc..
    I'm liking that milky transparent color. Does the building look this nice in person?

  7. #127


    You can see how far residential architecture has come by scrolling up to see the brick balconied tower next to this one... at one time that was pretty much the norm for new residentials.

    But theres no excuse for that hideous base. They could have continued the charming feel of the next door tenements... what a lost opportunity to combine a fine looking tower with a nice established low rise street wall.

  8. #128
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    The Walgreens is already up and running.

  9. #129
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    That base ^^^ is so confused

  10. #130
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    I thought the tower looked good when I walked by. The base is very pronounced. It looks almost institutional. I thought it was interesting, rather than disturbing or offensive.

  11. #131
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    I've only seen the base in pictures, so I'll take your word for it .

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