Our series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Cristiana Peña’s Prospect-Lefferts Gardens apartment. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
Cristiana Peña is one of those people who will make you feel like you’ve known her for years when you’ve only just met her–especially when you visit her at her equally warm Prospect-Lefferts Gardens home. After growing up in Rapid City, South Dakota (her father was in the Air Force) Cristiana moved to NYC for grad school in 2006 to study preservation. She quickly became a force in the field, working at Woodlawn Conservancy and Cemetery and lending her expertise and advocacy skills to countless groups across the city. Today, Cristiana also works as a social media strategist, a perfect fit for her creative and snappy personality and natural knack for striking up a conversation. So it comes as no surprise that her pre-war apartment is also full of personal stories. From a mobile that her dad got while deployed in Saudi Arabia to a lobster-shaped wine decanter she found while on a trip to Maine, nearly every eclectic find in Cristiana’s home comes with a childhood memory or a great tidbit about an antiquing outing.
Get to know Cristiana and take a tour of her home
Eight years ago, then 71-year-old Alex Schibli bought an entire NYC island for $160,000. If you’ve never heard of Rat Island, it’s a 2.5-acre land mass off the coast of City Island in the Bronx, where Schibli and his wife live. Originally, he said he had no plans to alter it, but a few months ago, he received a phone call from architect Pablo Jendretzki. “I read an article on him and the island a few months ago and called him to offer to design a project. We met the next morning,” Jendretzki told 6sqft. Schibli had expressed a desire to build a self-sustaining hotel that takes advantage of the island’s natural surroundings. In response, Jendretzki designed this series of off-grid eco pods that would function as a sort of glamping experience.
Learn more about the proposal
Louise Phillips Forbes moved to NYC from Nashville to further her dance career on Broadway when she was in her 20s. When an injury forced her to change her plans, she fell into real estate, quickly realizing that not only had she found her home in New York, but also her true passion. For close to three decades now, Forbes has been a powerhouse in the real estate field; in fact, her sales team is the number one at Halstead with more than $3.5 billion in career sales.
But Louise has the highly coveted ability to truly balance her work and personal lives. At home, everything is about her husband and two sons and their time together. And when she renovated her Upper West Side apartment, this comfortable, welcoming feel was her number one priority. When she’s not closing sales or watching her sons’ hockey games, Louise can be found at her local Soul Cycle or serving on the board of Change for Kids, as well as the advisory committees for several non-profit arts organizations. To get a glimpse into how she does it all, 6sqft recently visited Louise, took a tour of her home, and got to know her a little better.
Take the tour and meet Louise
Photo via Max Pixel
“I see the building as a Sleeping Beauty: It needs to be woken up and revitalized,” developer Aby Rosen told the Post about his plans for the Chrysler Building. His firm RFR Realty, in partnership with Signa Holding, bought the landmark for $150 million last month . His plans include restoring the 1930s Art Deco interiors by way of a series of restaurants that will take inspiration from Chrysler’s original Cloud Club, as well as adding a ‘”fashionable food hall” (of course) and retail spaces. The biggest news, though, is that he also wants to incorporate a new observation deck, joining the ranks of 30 Hudson Yards, One Vanderbilt, and Chrysler’s one-time rival the Empire State Building.
Find out more
6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Battery Park office of architecture-interior design firm CetraRuddy. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
Husband-and-wife team Nancy Ruddy and John Cetra started architecture/design firm CetraRuddy in 1987, and after working from an office in Soho for 25 years, the firm moved to One Battery Park Plaza a year-and-a-half ago. Now with 100 employees, they had outgrown the space and wanted to use the move as an opportunity to revamp and improve the things that didn’t work. They were first attracted to the space’s light and views, but the firm was also able to occupy the entire floor, meaning they could design the entire office space, as well as the corridors.
After recently interviewing Nancy about CetraRuddy’s many successes, 6sqft paid a visit to their new offices, where we received a tour from Eugene Flotteron, Director of Architecture. Eugene has been with the firm for 17 years and has been a partner for five, so he’s had the opportunity to see them grow and transform over the years.
Take the tour
To the dismay of many New Yorkers, the Waldorf Astoria closed its doors in 2017 for a huge renovation project that will ultimately create larger hotel rooms and add a new set of luxury condos. After the plans were announced, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the hotel’s first three floors as an interior landmark, meaning the new owners will need to preserve the 1931 Art Deco spaces. But after a four-year hiatus (the hotel will reopen in 2021) and a completely new vibe, it’s not clear if those interiors will have the same glamorous, old-school New York vibe that they were once famous for. Luckily, photographers James and Karla Murray captured the Waldorf in all its glory before it closed its doors. Ahead, take a tour of the old Waldorf, from its iconic, two-ton lobby clock to the three-tiered grand ballroom.
Take the tour
Renderings courtesy of Citi Habitats New Developments
Back in June, an affordable housing lottery launched for 65 apartments at one of Spitzer Enterprises’ trio of rental buildings along the South Williamsburg waterfront known as 420 Kent. These apartments were located in the northernmost of the ODA-designed glassy towers. Now, a second lottery has come online (20 percent of the development’s 857 units are affordable) for 121 low-income apartments at the southern piece of the complex. These residences are reserved for households earning 60 percent of the area median income and range from $867/month studios to $1,123/month two-bedrooms.
Find out if you qualify
The Cipriani food market, courtesy of Waterline Square
Earlier this year, we got the first taste of what’s to come at Waterline Square‘s Cipriani-branded Italian food hall, including a pizza bar, pastry shop, and full-service restaurant. And now, we’ve got the first look. The vision of hospitality designer Martin Brudnizki, the 28,000-square-foot “experiential food market” appears to have a retro-glam vibe, complete with old-school banquettes, wood paneling, architectural light fixtures, and, as any true Italian food market would have, a display of hanging cured meats.
More details and another look
Photo via Wiki Commons
Nearly 50 years ago, the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building at 55 Bethune Street in the Far West Village was converted to affordable live/work housing for artists, courtesy of a young, then-unknown architect named Richard Meier. Because of the building’s prime Hudson River-front location, storied creative past, and collection of 384 units–most of which feature open, loft layouts and high ceilings perfect for a working artist–Westbeth Artists Housing has become one of the most coveted addresses in NYC. For the first time since 2007, the community has reopened its waitlist for working artists and their families. The annual income range starts at $69,445 for one person to $114,950 for a six-person household, and the units go from $900/month studios to $2,400/month three-bedrooms.
All the details
It’s been nearly two decades since city officials began plans and rezonings for Manhattan’s West Side Yards and seven years since construction began on the selected $20 billion project, Hudson Yards. And as of today, the largest private development in the nation is officially open to the public. New Yorkers can visit the public squares and gardens, the one-million-square-foot shops and restaurants, and probably most anticipated, the Vessel, the 150-foot-tall, climbable public art piece. Ahead, watch a time-lapse video of the 28-acre development under construction and learn more about what’s open and what’s yet to come.