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Real Estate is A Lifestyle™





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2 - Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle

In Manhattan


HUGE FRONT LAWN – BEAUTIFUL GARDENS A Three Stor y Colonial Home Mount Vernon “Hotel” Museum & Garden Interested in traveling back in time to the Manhattan of the 1820’s?


ell, you can if you visit the Mt Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, an Upper East Side landmark located on 421 East 61st Street, just off of York Avenue. The hotel, which functioned as a 19th century carriage house, offers three in-depth, guided tours that capture the essence of the Manhattan of yore ... a time when instead of asphalt, cool places to shop and eat and upscale apartment buildings; think hills, greenery, sprawling estates and even cliffs jutting out from the banks of the East River. A time when the Upper East Side along the river was dubbed “The Gold Coast” for its exclusivity. The museum, owned and operated by the Colonial Dames of America (a patriotic organization) has a rich and varied history. A thumbnail sketch: it was formerly known as the Abigail Adams Smith Museum, the nod to Abigail (daughter of President John Adams) a homage to the fact that she and her husband, Col. William Steven Smith (an aide-de-camp to George Washington) purchased the land that is now the site of the building for an estate.

(A side note: the museum’s current moniker pays tribute to Washington’s Virginia home, as he was a national hero in the hotel’s heyday. Indeed, his portrait hangs on the wall of the hotel’s Tavern Room.) However, the couple left in 1796. The property then found itself in the bank’s hands. The actual hotel was built in 1799 to function as a carriage house serving a large country estate across the street. Fire destroyed the mansion across the street, and in 1826, the new owner, Joseph Hart, decided to convert the carriage house into a country hotel. It was one of many dotting the East and Hudson Rivers back in the 19th century.

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The interesting aspect of these places was that they were not “hotels” in the conventional sense, as they did not serve overnight guests. Rather, they functioned as refuges of sorts for the day that the city’s middle class could take advantage of. Most of these city folk lived below 14th Street. True to form, the hotel only boasts one bedroom, complete with the furnishings of the day: wood plank floors, a rope bed and a bed warmer. (No California king-sizes with back support in those days, unfortunately.) Fresh sheets were at a premium as well, as washing them took much time and effort. (So forget the 500-thread count Egyptian cotton set if you were an overnight guest back then.) The hotel is currently displayed in its 1826 incarnation, as the furnishings and setup are from that time period. The center hall boasts Greek columns that probably date from that era, to wall moldings from the same period. The spacious rooms feature mostly original but some reproduction furnishings. There is a tavern room that the men of the era would enjoy, complete with recreation of a bar. It is in this room that they would enjoy hearty conversation or a good game of cards. (Visitors can also enjoy tea and scones in this room as part of one of the museum’s tours.) There is a kitchen area, complete with period stove and food cabinet. It was in this room where freed slaves and Irish immigrants toiled in order to prepare meals for the hotel guests. A highlight of one of the tours

is the visit to the Ladies’ Parlour upstairs. A lady dressed in the costume of the era, who gives an overview of what the women of the time would do for leisure in this room, greets visitors. The parlour is adorned with various musical instruments, such as a harp and an organ. Ladies would play these instruments, as well as use the table in the middle of the room to catch up on their correspondence. To cap off the visit, the lady in costume gives a delightful lesson in the “language of the fans.” Each visitor is given a fan, and is shown the different gestures a lady of the era would make with her fan to catch a gentleman’s eye. For example, a lady tapping the top of a closed fan meant that she was interested to beckon a gentleman to speak to her. Kids can also enjoy the museum, as it has a Children’s’ Corner where they are able to steep themselves in the traditions of the day. This area is included in the tours, and kids can experience the gamut, from making believe that they are filling up a bed warmer with coals, washing guests’ linens, making turtle soup (a delicacy of the day) to actually dressing up in period clothing. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $7 for students/seniors, free for kids under 12. Tours should be booked in advance. For more information, visit the museum’s website at or call 212-838-6878.

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Sutton Place Snapshot

DON’T BE INTIMDATED The Real Estate Doesn’t Trade Often.

When it’s Available – It tends to be cheaper and less difficult than some posh places on Park Avenue.

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION Geography lends itself to this community’s seclusion, along with the Settled along the bank of the East orientation of its highly elegant manRiver, Sutton Place is one of the most sions and townhouses. Bound to the sought-after residential addresses not east by the F.D.R. and the East River only in NYC, but in the world. There and the 59th Street Bridge, to the are many New Yorks depending on north, the neighborhood is also enyour perspective, and Sutton Place’s closed by two public parks, one at New York is that of seclusion, gentility 57th St and the other at 53rd St.  The and wealth-encrusted permanen- buildings on the east side of Sutton cy.  Rarely do people move from this Place are strung together by private, chintz-and-mahogany enclave that communal gardens that back onto stretches north of the U.N., from 53rd- the river.  Often the best of the archi59th Streets along Sutton Place, an tecture is not visible from the street, extension of York Avenue. but faces the river. Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™ - 5

Prominent residents include: architect I.M. Pei, Mario Cuomo, Sigourney Weaver.  Former residents include: Bill Blass, C.Z. Guest, Bobby Short, Irene Hayes, Elsie de Wolfe, and Marilyn Monroe & Arthur Miller.  The official residence of the United Nations Secretary-General is a fourstory townhouse at 3 Sutton Place.  The townhouse was built for Anne Morgan, daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, in 1921, and donated as a gift to the United Nations in 1972.  It is currently going through renovations as its last major update occurred in 1950.

families moved in in the 20s, but the construction of the East River Drive (FDR) hemmed in the neighborhood from access to the river. One of the ways around this was to enclose the highway and build private gardens over it, blocking out the noise and smell of the roadway and affording residents private, unobstructed views of the East River.  Affluent residents of River House kept their yachts anchored on the East River before the Drive was completed in the early 40’s. All the buildings on Sutton Place are stunning, but One Sutton Place South is its showpiece and one of the city’s classic addresses.  The Neo-Georgian mansion designed by classic New York architect Rosario Candela was built in 1927.  It has a triple-arch driveway and a large lobby that opens onto a private garden.

In the late 1870s, shipping magnate Effingham B. Sutton bought a tract of East River bluff, unceremoniously known as Avenue A, rescuing the area from the cigar and button factories and breweries that occupied it. Before becoming a marina for Sutton Place’s wealthy residents, that spot in the river was the site of a River House, home of the Kissingers, is the quintessential Sutton Place Baptist immersing place. address and one of the city’s finest The opening of the 59th St. Bridge apartment buildings.  The art-deco exposed the neighborhood to motor building is full of large apartments cars in the early 20th century.  New and duplexes that give way to garYork’s most prominent social-register dens, terraces and river views.

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Sutton Place is a close rival for the well-known addresses of 5th and Park Avenues, but despite its closeddoor reputation, it may be easier to get into than some of the premium buildings closer to Central Park. While the boards are just as selective, the prices are a bit lower, and unlike the buildings on Park and 5th, Sutton Place co-op boards allow financing, if only for tax purposes (except for One Sutton Place South which only accepts cash). As a result, young families are moving in.  Also, new development under the 59th Street bridge has brought in a less-staid crowd. Its dog-friendly buildings and copious dog runs make it a destination for dog lovers, while convenient access Manhattan’s East Side hospitals make the area popular with doctors.

in and out of the city. However the serenity of Sutton Place may be disrupted because the city wants to turn the One Sutton Place South garden into a public park. The building’s lease for the garden expired in 1990, but the idea to turn the land over the FDR Drive into a park surfaced in 2003 when the city had to tear the garden up to make repairs to the expressway below.  The city promised to restore the garden after the work was done, but in the bureaucratic process discovered that it may own the land and intends to put it to municipal use.  The battle has been raging for four years now, and there’s no end to it yet, but if the city wins, it will forever change the character of Sutton Place. As always change in Manhattan is constant and in the meantime we will take our chances and bet on Sutton Place Residents getting their way.

It’s not accessible to the subway, but has good bus service, and FDR proximity makes it easy to commute

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proposed Islamic community center two and a half blocks from the World Trade Center site provoked a now-international uproar over whether it was too close and therefore too painful a reminder that the terrorists who murdered nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001, said they were acting in the name of Islam. Meanwhile, the owner of the 1,250-foot-high Empire State Building objected to a proposal to build a 1,216-foot-high glass tower practi-

cally next door, saying it would be too close, too tall and, of all outrages, too imposing on the Manhattan skyline. For all the sparring, both proposals are still officially on track to be built once their developers raise the cash to start construction. Real estate rivalries and not-in-mybackyard disputes certainly play out at a whole other level in the most densely populated city in America. Developers of a stylish tower atop Museum of Modern Art galleries were forced to hack off 200 feet in part because it sapped sunlight from the area. It’s all about that quintessentially New York concern: location, location, location. So what is too close on Manhattan, an island 14 miles long and two miles at its widest? Four blocks? Six blocks? A mile? Maybe Queens?

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“Unlike in Los Angeles or any other city in America, two blocks can be a long way in New York,” says Kenneth T. Jackson, editor in chief of the “Encyclopedia of New York City.” Neighborhoods transform block to block and from year to year, he says, offering the example of the areas north and south of East 96th Street on the Upper East Side: South at Park Avenue is pricey Carnegie Hill with its gazillion-dollar co-ops and boutiques; to the north, commuter trains rattle out of a tunnel onto elevated tracks past the tenements and bodegas of East Harlem. “Historically, there haven’t been many sacred places in New York,” Jackson says. “Maybe only Central Park. Maybe you couldn’t open a McDonald’s there. Maybe.” According to several polls, New Yorkers agree with the majority of Americans — that a sacred space should be expanded around the World Trade Center site that prohibits religious activity they’re not comfortable with. The 13-story Islamic center proposed to replace an old coat factory is supposed to include a prayer room as well as a swimming pool. Only Manhattanites — 53% according to a Marist Institute poll — don’t mind the location. “The irony of this

NIMBY battle is that it comes down to Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx saying, ‘Not in My Manhattan,’” says Marist’s Lee Miringoff. Shortly after Sept. 11, the prediction was that New Yorkers would turn queasy about working or living in tall buildings. But before the real estate bust, more than 200 buildings taller than 15 stories were under construction, and an ever-more extravagant skyline was emerging. So is there such a thing as too tall? The owner of the Empire State Building, which became the city’s tallest building again after Sept. 11, tried to protect its primacy — and their investment — arguing not only against a hulking glass office tower two avenues away but also for a 17-block no-skyscraper zone surrounding King Kong’s perch. The City Council didn’t buy any of it — and overwhelmingly approved plans for the new tower. New York isn’t completely heartless about its airspace. After all, some skyscrapers agreed to dim their lights for the fall migration to avoid having tens of thousands of birds slam into tall buildings.

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A Great Manhattan Neighborhood With A Strong Future Yorkville has come a long way since emerging from the shadows of the elevated trains that once ran above its avenues. The neighborhood, nestled in the northeast corner of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, was once home to primarily German, Irish and Eastern European immigrants who filled tenement buildings.

Among the area’s new developments is Cielo, built in 2006. The doorman building on East 83rd Street and York Avenue features floor-to-ceiling windows, a concierge and other amenities.

Other new developments include the Robert A.M. Stern-designed Brompton, a 22-story luxury condominThen the Second Avenue El came ium tower on East 85th Street near down in 1942 and the Third Avenue Third Avenue that features 24-hour train in 1956. Now those small tene- concierge services. ments, as well as single- and multifamily buildings, are shadowed over Construction on the 58-unit Georgica by the tall luxury rental and con- at 85th Street and Second Avenue dominium towers that began pop- began in August 2007, and sales on ping up in the 1980s. In recent years, the 20-story building, now 80% occumore uber-luxurious high-rises have pied, began in March 2008. Building opened, further altering the neigh- amenities include a concierge, a fitborhood’s skyline and bringing more ness center and a Wifi activity room. buyers seeking some slight relief from The latest building to open, the Azure higher-priced housing to Yorkville’s on East 91st Street and First Avenue, west. Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™ - 11

A pocket park at the corner of Second Avenue and 95th Street, at the edge of the Normandie Court apartment complex, offers a tranquil oasis

East 88th Street is lined with five-story walk-up apartment building and town houses. According to brokers, the walk-ups contain mostly rentals, which make up 60 percent of Yorkville’s housing 12 - Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™

made news during construction in 2008 when a crane collapsed at the site, killing two construction workers and damaging nearby buildings. All signs of the damage are gone, and buyers are now moving into the 128-unit building, which had a grand opening in April of this year. The 34-story tower offers views of the East River, Queens and the George Washington Bridge -Residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows and Brazilian wood floors. Like the rest of the Upper East Side, prices for condos and co-ops have held strong in the past few years. Yorkville median sales prices increased to $698,500 in the third quarter of this year from $582,500 in the third quarter of 2007, according to real-estate appraisal and consulting company Miller Samuel Inc. Median sales prices on the Upper East Side, had a smaller jump, increasing to $992,500 in the third quarter from $895,000 in the third quarter of 2007. While no new developments are under way in Yorkville, the face of the neighborhood will continue to change as construction on the longplanned Second Avenue subway progresses. The first of four phases of construction, which involves an extension of the Q line between 59th and 96th streets, began in 2007, and

the Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that portion of the work will be completed by the end of 2016. When the overall subway project is completed—that timeline is unclear—the new line will run from 125 Street to the Financial District. The construction has been fairly disruptive to the businesses along Second Avenue, but the area is expected to eventually benefit from the increase in foot traffic. And the new line would aid residents at the most eastern ends of the neighborhood—who now must trudge over to Lexington Avenue to catch the train—better access to transportation. Parks and Recreation: Carl Schurz Park features basketball courts, playgrounds, dog runs and a promenade with views of the East River, Roosevelt Island’s Lighthouse Park, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. The park is also home to Gracie Mansion, an 18th-century home that once housed the Museum of the City of New York but is now the official city residence for the mayor and the mayor’s family if hizzoner chooses to live there (Michael Bloomberg doesn’t).

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Schaller & Weber, a family-owned butcher shop at 1654 Second Avenue, has been attracting costumers since 1937 and is a reminder of the neighborhood’s German roots.

Stores, restaurants and bars are plentiful in Yorkville. Mustang Grill, with its roomy outdoor seating, is a well-liked option. 14 - Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™

Volunteers from the nearby ASPCA often walk dogs in the park. This weekend, the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy is hosting the 38th Annual Gracie Square Art Show, where visitors can buy paintings, photographs, sculptures and other works from regional and national artists. Tours of Gracie Mansion will also be available by appointment. Proceeds from the two-day art show go to the upkeep and restoration of the park. Asphalt Green, an athletic complex at the northern end of the neighborhood, includes a pool and a field for flag football, baseball, softball and soccer. The nonprofit also has yoga, pilates, martial arts and other programs for adults and children. Schools: Yorkville’s schools are in District 2 and include M.S. 114 East Side Middle School, which just opened. It has a gifted-and-talented program, a peer tutoring program and a book club. P.S. 198 Isador E. Ida Straus, at Yorkville’s western boundary, has an ESL program and partnerships with Vivendi Universal, which provides the school with mentors. It also has programs with the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center Arts Connection and the Center for Arts Education.

math exam, and 85.8% 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. Yorkville’s private schools include the all-girls Brearley School, which was founded in 1884 and moved to Yorkville in 1929. The nondenominational school has about 700 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The St. Joseph’s School-Yorkville, founded in 1880, is a Roman Catholic school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The Trevor Day School currently has three buildings for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and has a focus on activity-based education. Dining: Yorkville has several restaurants that hearken to the neighborhood’s German and Eastern European roots, including Heidelberg Restaurant and Andre’s Café, a Hungarian restaurant and bakery. Also try the Ethiopian Restaurant, Ruby Rocks Asian Eatery, Panorama Café, Italianissimo or Hummus Kitchen.

For dessert, try cakes, pies, scones or cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens, an American Bakery. Also try the café at the Vinegar Factory, a 9,000-squareIn 2009, 92.6% of students in District foot food market that Eli Zabar 2 received a proficient score on the opened in 1993. Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™ - 15

SOHO Starting To

STINK! Gandolfini’s Nightmare Realized as City Buys Soho ‘Dump’ for $116 M. Not sure if James Gandolfini checks there’s basically nothing they can do city records, but, if so, he might have about it, despite a spiritedcampaign had a Panic attack on Friday night. against the garage — including the celebs’ own counter-plan for a pubThat was when the city completed licly accesible garage that doubles its purchase of a UPS parking lot on as a park (albeit it with fewer truck West Street, at the corner of Spring spots). Street, for which the city paid $116 million. That is across the street from The Bloomberg administration has the Urban Glass House and a number been insistent that each neighborof other tony “West Soho”/”Hudson hood, no matter how well-to-do, Square” condo buildings (505 Green- must carry its fair share of the city’s wich Street among them). Beside Mr. sanitation burden. In this case, can Gandolfini, boldface residents in- it even be that bad? The architects clude couples Lou Reed and Laurie have told the Real Estate Desk it’s Anderson and Jennifer Connelly and costing millions of extra dollars just Paul Betany plus Mad Men’s John to make the facade — designed by Slattery. Dattner Architects and WXY — not detract from the neighborhood. The The plan is to replace the two-acre celebs might want to just be grateful lot with an eight-story parking ga- they’re not living in Staten Island or rage. For garbage trucks. Not surpris- the Bronx, where residents contend ingly, the celebs and their neighbors with actual dumps and transfer staare not pleased, but at this point, tions. 16 - Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™

Longest Running Broadway Shows & Longest Running Listing Pay$ Off

Andrew Lloyd Weber has finally sold his Trump Tower duplex for $16.5 million. It has been on the market for more than a decade, but like the lead in one of Mr. Weber’s musicals, the composer just kept belting it out. As Mr. Barbanel notes, “The selling price worked out to more than $3,100 a square foot-a hefty figure, but below the asking prices for the apartment the last two times it was listed. It also was quite a bit below the prices achieved in recent months at 15 Central Park West, a few blocks away.” The 5,300-squarefoot home was first purchased in 1987 for $5.5 million. Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™ - 17

Design Trends 2010 1. UNIQUELY ME CHIC Personalized and eclectic approach to design. Re-emergence of styles like Hollywood Regency where furniture and decor is mixed and matched to suit the homeowners personality and showcase decor they have collected “along the way”.

the artisan, hand-crafted products for the home.

2. ARTISTIC LOVE Desire for one-of-a kind items and an appreciation for

4. STYLE SHOCK Mosaics and patchworks on everything from soft textiles

3. PATTERN PRIDE An increasing movement toward Art Deco and Art Noveau inspired shapes and patterns, paisleys, geometrics, floral, botanicals, animal prints and birds.

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to furniture. One of my favorites and rather ambitious mix of styles, mate- 8. DESIGN WITHOUT BORDERS Mergrials and patterns is the Bellini Chair ing of multi-cultural designs - Infrom Versace Home. spired from cultures and nations across the globe - with specific 5. LUXURIOUSLY GREEN Silky ecofocus on China, Russia, Morocco, bedding and other high-end obseveral Latin American countries jects get the Green Treatment. and India. Green goes Luxe will be huge for 2009 and beyond with companies 9. LIVE RESPONSIBLY Green, Sustainlike Anna Sova and SDH Linens able and Fair Trade in products for bringing to market eco-linens that the home. Consumers want more feel like and look like silk. than a “Green” label they want the story behind the product. They want 6.MODERN EMBRACE Not really a proof that what they buy meets new trend, in itself, but rather a their Green Standard and allows for continued movement toward consocietal responsibility. One compatemporary design at home. A fun ny of several that I like to highlight stylistic twist gaining prominence that produce “Live Responsibly” and becoming “mainstreamed” is products is Malaika. Their linens are the re-interpretation of class period created from organic cotton that pieces in new , fresh vibrant forms is grown, spun, woven, sewn and and designs. One personal favorite embroidered in Egypt by underpriviis Louis XVI Medallion Chair (Gilles leged women who are taught how Nouhailhac) painted a modern to embroider. color and wearing an updated 21st century upholstery. 10. SANCTUARY HOME Designing and decorating the home in sooth7. FASHIONISTA FINERY Dressmaker ing earth inspired colors and creatdetails on soft textiles brings the ing a serene, secure and happy glamour and beauty from the fash- environment (through design) in ion runways home. Accent pillows which to retreat from the crazy ecowill be wearing belts, crystals, senomic upheaval, global conflicts quence, 3d floral embellishements and the multitude of stresses outside and other details that will make the the door of your home. Fashionista in you swoon. Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™ - 19


New York Street Signs to Receive a $28 Million Dollar Copy Edit

and was designed for this purpose. The changed signs should be easier to read, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who also pointed out that “on the Internet, writing in all caps means you are shouting.”

New York City has begun a federally mandated project that will replace the all-capital lettering on the city’s street signs with a correctly lowercase version in a new font . The effort began earlier this year, and should cost $27.6 million by the time it’s complet- The city replaces 8,000 street signs ed in 2018. a year due to wear and tear, so replacing the city’s 250,900 signs in that The new font is called Clearview, time period isn’t a Herculean task. 20 - Inside Vertical Living - OCTOBER 2010 | Real Estate is A Lifestyle™

Inside Vertical Living - October 2010  

Inside Vertical Living - October 2010

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