buildings of New York look just like mountains in the snow Kate Bush of Pleasure must have been about ten years ago that I ran into a woman that I know on 57th street, near the Mangia restaurant at 6th Avenue. We chatted and she introduced me to the person who was with here in the usual New York way, is my friend so and so I asked her what brought them up to 57th and she said she was there to show an apartment. high quality replica handbags china She works as an agent for one of largest real estate companies in the city. Without thinking, I blurted out: would want to live on 57th street? It like a cross town highway Her face dropped as she glanced sideways at her who turned out to be her client. It was a classic New York pas which I am not sure that she has ever forgiven me for. Since then, it has become clear that not too many people necessarily want to live on 57th, but for a while the super wealthy definitely thought it was a great idea to own real estate there.
I worked at 140 W 57th street from 2002 until 2014, in a charming building that was built between 1907 and 1909 as both studio and residences for artists. Following the opening of Carnegie Hall in 1891, there was a veritable boom in housing for creatives in the neighborhood. Visual artists primarily lived on the south side of the street where the apartments had spacious rooms facing north onto the wide street, designated as one of the major cross street as early as 1811 in the design of the New York City grid. My office used to be a duplex apartment with a two story tall room in front and beautiful, hard to clean cathedral windows looking out on the Calvary Baptist Church. The office suite still had an inside staircase connecting the two floors, a large kitchen and a functioning full bathroom. Occasionally we would run into Gloria Estefan or Mariah Carey in the elevator on their way to see Tommy Mottola who was the head of Sony Music then and had his office on one of the top floors.
Today 57th street has been renamed Row and while street names rarely stick with New Yorkers, who need their streets to be numbered for life to make any sense at all, this one for the abode uber wealthy have definitely stuck, as the rent for my office space has sky rocketed and the artists have all moved to Brooklyn. Today the street is famous for its random collection of some of the tallest, skinniest and most elitist buildings in the world, with a lot of luxury shopping thrown in, along with over the top fancy hotels and upmarket timeshares. New York nostalgia themed restaurants and bars look like an imaginary version of a New York bar or a steak restaurant, imagined at an architect desk, without a shred of history or authenticity, there to serve the Texans and Floridians who used to breeze in on their private jets aaa replica designer handbags a couple of times a year to shop and see some Broadway shows.
Since I still have my dentist on 57th street, I had a good excuse to go down into the city on the day of one of the recent snow storms. I walked the street from end to end, to see some parts I had never seen and to enjoy the additional quiet that a snow storm always brings to the hustle and bustle. Starting at the Hudson river, I am happy to report that there is at least one new residential building there that I consider interesting. Danish Architect Bjarke Ingels found his way into the New York landscape with a building in the shape of a distorted pyramid that sits on the corner of the West Side highway. It is called VIA57 because the intersection it sits at provides a way to enter the city, via 57th street. The building is not particularly beautiful but with it sloping lines and its different levels it provides much needed relief from the tall thin and pencil straight lines of the newer buildings in the middle blocks near Central Park. And VIA57 is a dream for photographers, because it looks different from every angle and in every possible light. It is very European in that it provides balconies to some of its units, is somewhat human in scale and was conceived as a strongly multi functional community center. Its huge movie theater has come and gone due to the pandemic, but the child care and canine care on the ground floor still hang on.
Between the Hudson and cheap louis vuitton bags from china Eight Avenue this stretch of 57th street is part of Hell Kitchen and that shows in 1:1 replica handbags those typically dark blocks of older buildings that tread the middle ground between brownstones and tenements, so typical of that neighborhood. CBS Television replica designer handbags has its New York Studios here, where you can see TV shows being filmed through the windows, much like the other networks have on 6th Avenue (Fox), in Rockefeller Center (NBC) and near Lincoln Center (ABC), all within easy walking distance from each other. During the tourist season, visitors from out of town used gather outside these studios during live broadcasts of the morning infotainment shows. Before the pandemic, there was often a line outside on 57th where TV audiences were waiting to be shown in to attend a taping of one of their favorite talk shows.
Once you cross 8th Avenue, you are definitely in the territory of the super rich. The Hearst office tower on the corner was built on top of the original 1928 six story art deco building, decorated with sculptures that have been restored to the point where they look so modern and clean that they could be brand new. The tower built on top of that base, which was completed in 2006, has triangular patterns that create a textured surface making this a very memorable structure, albeit it one that is challenging to window washers. A special platform was designed to keep the windows clean, but even so there was an incident in 2013 when two of its window cleaners got trapped inside that suspended contraption.
The Hearst Building part 1920 and part 2000 7th and 8th avenue, where Broadway diagonally makes its way across to the Upper West Side, the most prominent building for most of the 20th century was the Arts Student League of New York, an odd looking French Renaissance building designed by Henry Hardenbergh who is most famous for designing the Dakota apartment building and the replica louis vuitton handbags Plaza Hotel. Formally an art school for both professionals and amateurs, the Student league moved here in 1892 from 5th Avenue and 16th street on the edge of Greenwich Village. When developers decided to buy the adjacent properties to build one of the giants of Billionaire Row, the Arts League allegedly signed a very lucrative deal to sell its air rights (the empty space above the building). For many years there were rumors that Nordstrom department store would have a New York flagship that stretched out above the top of the Arts League building. Fortunately developers don always get to build as big as they dream and today the Nordstrom building is fully functioning but it never filled the space above the League building. Scaffolding still hides the old building from view but we can only hope that the money they received is being put to good use and that the building will be beautifully restored once its new face is revealed.
From here on, walking towards the East side, landmarks both old and new come at a dizzying pace, almost as disorienting as the blizzard I was walking through. The corner of 7th and 57th has venerable apartment buildings with famous names on each corner, the Rodin apartments cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk , The Briarcliffe and the Osborne which is one of the oldest luxury apartment buildings after the Dakota and reportedly a favorite with musicians due to its sound proofing and its proximity to Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall, a rather unglamorous pile to look at, sits at the south east corner and has its own tower of studios originally designed for artists. Famous residents included Leonard Bernstein Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags , Marlon Brando, Mark Twain, Marilyn Monroe and many others who worked and lived there. The final artists residing there fake designer bags were evicted in 2007 but there is a treasure trove of pictures and stories of over 100 years of bohemian living available online by doing a simple Google search on lived in the studios at Carnegie Hall?
The inside of Carnegie Hall has been carefully preserved in its almost original state with allowances for modern technology. In non pandemic times, it can be visited during the day for one of the most interesting guided tours in all of New York. Dedicated Carnegie Hall guides take you around its rooms and share some of the endless and fascinating stories about the history of the building, its ground breaking concerts and the political events which were an important source of income for the Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica venue in its early days. Most importantly, the guides will tell you how this temple of music was saved from the wrecking ball in a landmark action led by violinist Isaac Stern in the 1960s. The City of New York became the owner of Carnegie Hall in 1965 and that successful campaign kick started the notion of preserving the historical sites of New York for future generations. It is hard to imagine that a little over 50 years ago developers were planning to tear down one of New York most important cultural landmarks and built an apartment building in its place, but then history may be repeating itself.
While I was working three doors down from Carnegie Hall, in October 2012, one of the gigantic cranes that have become part of the landscape of 57th street, snapped during Hurricane Sandy. For several days, it was hanging precariously over the shut down street, outside of the One57 building, on the north side between Carnegie Hall and my office building. Residents were told to stay inside and office workers were unable to come in to work until the structure was secured and the street was cleared for traffic. It was definitely one of those situation of is no such thing as bad publicity because it made One57 notorious even among those New Yorkers that avoid midtown at all costs. The One57 building finally opened in 2014 and became famous for containing the most expensive residential real estate transaction in history with its top floors selling for over 100 million dollars. The lower part of the building houses the Park Hyatt Hotel, but for now it all looks dark and abandoned, just like the Parker Meridien across the street and the Four Seasons on 57 West 57th street.
In early 2021, the only people on 57th street appear to be the working classes, not the office kind, but the doormen and women, the cleaning and maintenance people. They were in full force last week, removing snow and cleaning up, giving the entire area a weird kind of Eastern European vibe. Luxury stores that cluster along the blocks between 6th Avenue and Park Avenue like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany are minimally staffed but still open. Many of them seem to be taking advantage of the Covid recession to work on their facades and keep up maintenance. It is hard to think of any reason for the super wealthy to return to shopping here, or living here. It would appear as if the spell has been broken, as if the unstoppable upward momentum of Bloomberg Manhattan has stalled here forever. Some of the pencil thin towers like the one next to the former Steinway piano showroom are still being finished but rumor has it that even if many fake louis bag of the units in these towers have been sold, actual occupancy is down to less than a handful of units. If you get a chance to talk to any of the doormen, they will confirm that gyms and indoor pools are rarely used, even if the maintenance fees are being paid, but only time can tell for how long.
At 432 Park Avenue, one of the tallest towers, at the corner of 56th street, has become a poster child for the downside of living in a 1000 feet (over 300 meters) tall building. Recently the New York Times reported that there were many problems with water damage on the highest floors which led to almost 10 million dollars in covered insurance claims. That in turn has led to a massive increase in home insurance premiums. The in house restaurant, run exclusively for residents by a Michelin starred chef, has increased its minimal fees per year from $ 1,200 to $ 15,000, and breakfast is no longer free. The upper floors are noisy due to the winds that hit the building extra strongly at that height and cause the elevator cables to swing so violently that at least on one occasion the elevator got stuck and one of the residents was stuck in an elevator for more than an hour. It seems as though Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, who bought a $ 15 million apartment there in 2018 and sold it soon afterwards, did the smart thing by getting out before the management companies handed over control of the building to bickering owners on the coop board. Big money will buy you anything except peace of mind.
Continuing down the street towards the East River, there are a couple of blocks of expensive drabness, white whales as we call them, ugly white stone residential buildings that were put up all over Manhattan in the 70s and 80s. They are the purgatory of only wealthy New Yorkers: expensive but faceless, high maintenance and low prestige, and undoubtedly containing a high percentage of empty apartments in the current housing crisis that is unprecedented in modern New York history. Rumor has it that tens of thousands of apartments have become available since the beginning of the pandemic. With the future looking a lot like work from home is here to stay, and with the wealthy having gotten used to the comforts of suburban life, the question is who will come back and move into any of these buildings when things return to normal.
But for lovers of beauty, tradition and panoramic views even 57th street has light at the end of its tunnel. Once you pass the Whole Foods supermarket inside one of the eastern most pencil towers between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, you enter into the realm of old money that will continue and survive no matter what. Sutton Place is not an open space as the name suggests, but it is a convergence of streets close to the East River where both individual residences and apartment buildings have adopted the Sutton Place moniker to further elevate the prices of their property. Conveniently close to the 59th street Bridge which will take them to the Long Island Expressway and their second homes in the Hamptons, the houses and buildings around Sutton Place are as flawless, as tightly pulled and as smooth looking as the faces of the ladies that you might catch a glimpse of as they glide from their town cars to their front doors. They are not going anywhere, but their wealth has allowed them to escape from New York long ago and to swan in like migratory birds whenever the season requires it. Right now there is no such season, so it really is the door men territory now. They even have their own police observation booth on the corner.
As you walk the final stretch to the East River, there is little park that allows residents dog walkers to walk their Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags pets. Movie lovers may remember it from Wood Allen and European travelers may recognize the little replica statue of a wild boar called Porcellino from their trips to Italy. The views over the East River make it all worthwhile, traipsing through the snow for those last few blocks of hum ho New York buildings, as the park looks out on both the bridge to Queens in all its glory, the Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park in the river, and the view south of the old Pepsi Cola sign in Long Island City. Some day in the near future the tourists will be back. New York is waiting.
Most of the world large metropolitan cities are made up of smaller communities that were absorbed into the version of the economically dominant neighborhood. New York City is, of course, no exception to this rule. As New York City grew up from its original location on the southern tip of Manhattan, it was surrounded by a couple of challengers to its cultural dominance. Before the consolidation of the city into Greater New York in 1898 dolabuy , Brooklyn and Harlem were vibrant and affluent population centers. Even today those two areas are the parts of the city that live most vividly in the world idea of what New York City is. I don mean to look down on Queens, or The Bronx or Staten Island, which is the only Borough where they actually like the outgoing President. But they can compare to the fame, the history and the myths that are attached to the original Dutch trifecta of Amsterdam, Haarlem and Breukelen.
In the 17th century the power of Amsterdam was such that it was only natural that settlements around New Amsterdam would be named for locations as they related to the original Dutch city. Brooklyn to the south east and Harlem to the north west. Back in 1609 you could follow a well established country road to get from Amsterdam to the ancient trading city of Haarlem. But on the island of Manhattan, you had to cross the wilderness on an Indian trail to get to country settlements by the name of Harlem and Bloomingdale (Bloemendaal is next to Haarlem in Holland too). And while the higher ground surrounding Harlem was the location of some significant military encounters of the War of Independence, the community itself was rural and agricultural, and provided a country escape to the players from the raucous and dirty city of southern Manhattan on the Hudson Bay.
Harlem geography is as unwieldy and hard to pin down as some of its history. For an aspiring New York City tour guide like myself, it took many visits and multiple friends to introduce me to its diversity, its scope and its beauty. When you first arrive in New York, you are encouraged to identify Harlem with 125th street. For most of my twenty years here, I used to dread taking visiting friends to that ugly thoroughfare, whose single point of beauty is on its western end, where the huge arch of the 1 train viaduct imposes itself on the view of the Hudson, like a rainbow made of steel.
Walking east, on 125th, I used to laugh at groups of German tourists, always eager to show their non racist bona fides by visiting the black area of the city. They would come off the A train at 125th and 8th, which is called Frederick Douglass Blvd here, because they say that this was the quickest way to get to Harlem. You would see them standing there, not knowing what to make replica louis vuitton of the ugliness and ill assorted buildings all around them. Further east on 125th, there is of course, the hub of the Apollo Theater, the Hotel Theresa and the Federal Building named after Adam Clayton Powell Jr, but the overall impression is of ugly storefronts with cheap awnings. Like many Manhattan cross town streets, 125th street is lined with shops exploiting the very poorest, Dollar General, Rainbow clothing, Dunkin Donuts and grubby looking, greasy smelling soul food places or all you can eat restaurants.
Even further East, the Harlem Metro North Station is only minimally maintained, surrounded by homeless people and drug addicts, and gives way to the real squalor of East Harlem. The divide between the poor on the East side and the wealthy on the west side of the track was clearly marked ever since the cheap Italian laborers were brought there to build the train tracks in the 1870s, soon followed by others nationalities, German, Irish, Jewish, finally Puerto Ricans. First the workers lived in shantytowns with gasworks and garbage dumps round them, but eventually that gave way to tenements where the laborers could live with their families. By the 1890s that gave rise to organized crime of all ethnicities, sometimes mixed, but also to one of the first Settlement Houses in New York, where the poorest of the poor had access to community based programs, boys and girls clubs, sewing classes and adult education.
But then there is the river, the place where the Harlem River and the tidal estuary of the East River meet around the Triboro Bridge. There is the bulk of Randall Island and no less than 5 bridges connecting Harlem to the mainland, to the South Bronx location of the farmhouse of Jonas Bronck after whom the Bronx was n.