The William Lescaze House in 1934 via MCNY
These days, it’s pretty common for historic townhouses to receive glassy additions, but this contemporary touch wasn’t always so common. In fact, it wasn’t until 1936 that New York City got its first modern residence—the William Lescaze House. William Lescaze was a Swiss-born, American architect who’s credited with pioneering modernism in America. Along with his partner, George Howe, he completed the first International Style skyscraper in the country in 1930, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society (PSFS) Building. Unfortunately, his high-profile career didn’t go much further than this, but he did design several uptown townhouses, one of which was his personal home and office and was the first of its kind in NYC.
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On the eastern fringe of bustling Midtown, the (mostly) pre-war Tudor City complex was built as rentals by Fred French in the 1920s to give office workers easy access to their jobs while enjoying efficient and elegant living conditions. The buildings were converted to co-ops in the 1980s, and they’ve retained their elegance and compact efficiency. Woodstock Tower at 320 East 42nd Street is one of the most charming buildings among them, and this cheerful studio with city views, asking a pied-a-terre-friendly $375,000, is a fine example.
Lots of photos, this way
Screen cap via NYT
Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east 50s is a lesser-known architectural treasure. Philip Johnson’s 1950 Rockefeller Guest House is one of a handful of private residences the architect designed for New York City clients. The house is a designated historic and architectural landmark, but a subtle one that’s easily missed on the quiet street–as the New York Times puts it, “the house doesn’t give up its secrets easily.” Once you spot the home’s brick-and-glass facade, though, it’s hard not to be enthralled.
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Richard Meier’s 685 First Avenue–the starchitect’s largest and tallest building in the city to date–has begun its above-ground ascent, reports CityRealty. The 42-story, 460-foot-tall slab tower is located along the East River at 40th Street, just south of the United Nations, and has gained attention for its dark glass facade, a noticeable shift from Meier’s signature beige aesthetic. Its 408 rentals and 148 condominiums are expected to be completed by early 2019, and now that construction is “craned and above street level,” the project is well on its way.
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How much you love the location of this surprisingly-spacious-for-six-figures co-op at 155 East 49th Street just north of Turtle Bay in East Midtown might just depend on how much you like skyscrapers. Because though the spot is convenient to everything from MoMA and shopping to Grand Central Station and the subway, there are tall towers in every direction and many more, even taller, on the way. But this 10-story co-op does a pretty good job making the case for classic brick amid towers of glass and steel.
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The largest and tallest building in NYC from Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier is rising at 685 First Avenue, just south of the United Nations at 39th Street and First Avenue along the East River. Though developer Sheldon Solow bought the 30,000-square-foot site as part of his Turtle Bay South master plan 16 years ago, construction only kicked off in March. A couple months later, renderings were revealed of the 42-story slab tower’s dark glass facade–a departure from Meier’s typical beige designs and his first ever black building–and now the Times has shared the first interior renderings, along with new details about the residential breakdown (there will be 408 rentals and 148 condominiums) architectural specifics, and amenities.
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This charming top floor apartment is located in the townhouse at 247 East 49th Street, in Turtle Bay. It’s just a few doors down from Katharine Hepburn’s longtime New York home–she lived more than 60 years at 244 East 49th Street. If you’re willing to endure the fourth floor walkup you can also call the block your home, as well as this $4,000/month rental apartment loaded with prewar details.
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This unique condop (financially a co-op with condo-like rules) at 310 East 46th Street in Manhattan’s genteel east Midtown Turtle Bay district is one of those apartments that makes you go, “hmm…” While it has plenty of eye appeal with a stunning glass atrium wall, Chrysler and Empire State Building views, 12-foot vaulted ceilings and custom teak built-ins, the current layout makes it hard to transcend long, narrow studio status, which makes the $825,000 ask seem like less of a deal. What’s here, though, is a sight to behold; and there’s potential. And amenities!
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Photo: Rendering of 685 First Avenue designed by architect Richard Meier for developer Sheldon Solow VIZE/RICHARD MEIER & PARTNERS ARCHITECTS
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier has long been known for his modestly-scaled building designs with exteriors on the whiter side of pale. But for developer Sheldon Solow‘s new 42-story 556-unit residential building, currently under construction at East 39th Street and First Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side, the New York Five starchitect will be designing a tower of black glass.
The developer will be unveiling a residential tower, Meier’s tallest and largest in New York City, according to the Wall Street Journal, that will consist of a rectangular slab with a recessed niche above the midsection, “a polished specimen of neo-Modernist simplicty” in typical Meier fashion–except it will be clad in glassy black. The mix seems to perfectly represent a collaboration between old friends and East Hampton near-neighbors Meier and Solow, who has pointed out that “All my buildings are black.”
Find out more about the new rental, condo and commercial project
There are very few wood frame homes remaining in Manhattan — with some sprinkled throughout neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and the Village — but here’s one at 312 East 53rd Street, in Turtle Bay. It was constructed in 1866, right before the city prohibited further construction of wooden buildings due to the fire hazard. Since then, this home, and its wood-framed neighbor next door, amazingly still stand. Residents of both homes can be traced all the way back to 1866 — No. 312 was once occupied by Lincoln Kirstein, who would go on to found the New York City Ballet. Its latest owners are Jessica and Robert Nacheman, a principal at the engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, who bought it back in 2012 for $2.275 million and put it up for rent.
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