Forget the legendary and uber-privileged access to the oasis known as Gramercy Park. The newest wave of private gardens are apparently so exclusive even residents can’t enjoy a stroll through the lush greenery.
Take the 2,400-square-foot courtyard currently being designed at The Sterling Mason, a new Tribeca loft building where an apartment can set you back up to $24 million. In a city where even the tiniest bit of green space is viewed as the ultimate amenity, turning what would have been a barren airshaft into a verdant outdoor sanctuary seems like a terrific idea. Tapping Deborah Nevins, one of the world’s most sought-after landscape designers to do it, an even better one. Keeping residents from enjoying more than a visual inspection of the rich white blossoms, lush green leaves, ivy walls and sculptural stream? Eh, we’re not so sure about that.
The Sterling Mason courtyard plan view
The Sterling Mason joins a growing list of upmarket buildings offering garden views without garden access, such as The Schumacher, a printing plant on Bleeker Street dating back to 1885 which is being converted into luxury condos ranging in price from $4 million to $25 million. To ensure residents won’t have to look out onto an empty concrete shaft, landscape designer Ken Smith was brought in to do a conversion of his own. Soon a Hanging Gardens of Babylon-inspired courtyard replete with ivy climbing six stories to the roof will be a perk of residency in the Nolita building — well, at least viewing it will be.
Apparently, this trends towards “off limit” outdoor space stems from the current post-bubble market which has led to smaller boutique projects offering larger living space, diminishing the need to move entertaining from a cramped apartment out onto a terrace or shared courtyard. And wealthy owners more than likely have a place or two to spread their wings elsewhere.
While the almost zoo-like concept of “look but don’t touch” seems odd to us, maybe even a little cruel (access to green space in the city is scare as it is!), Ms. Nevins counters that simply “catching a glimpse of greenery in the city can bring a sense of calm.” That may be so, but thankfully, we can still get totally immersed in nature at New York City’s ultimate garden, Central Park, where finding your own little private oasis is not as hard as you think. We happen to like the smell of roses and the feel of grass between our toes.
[Via The New York Times]
Lead image: A rendering of the “look but don’t touch” courtyard to be built at the Sterling Mason