All posts by Emily Nonko

Emily is a Brooklyn-based writer who has covered New York City real estate, architecture and design for Brownstoner, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell and other publications. You can follow her on Twitter @EmilyNonko.

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Cool Listings, Interiors, Upper West Side 

This quaint Upper West Side one bedroom comes from the Central Park Studios, an apartment cooperative built in 1905 by artists and writers for the purpose of creating living and studio space for their creative endeavors. Unsurprisingly, this apartment has its own creative history: it served as the writing studio to Elizabeth Hardwick, acclaimed author and co-founder of the New York Review of Books. She lived here with her husband, the poet Robert Lowell, until her death in 2007. The present owner, according to the listing, then wrote his first published book here. So who will be the next writer to continue the apartment’s creative energy, for the asking amount of $1.42 million?

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Connecticut, Getting Away, Places to Stay

Airbnb offers no shortage of unique vacation rentals, but this geodesic dome is really something. The 165-square-foot hut is located on a farm in the woods outside Bethlehem, Connecticut, there’s no power, heat or air conditioning, and the kitchen and bathroom are located about 100 feet away inside the property’s main house—imagine it as a form of camping. While you may be “roughing it” during your stay, you’ll also be surrounded by forest in a mesmerizing dome built of pine sourced right from the property. As the owners put it, it’s a “very peaceful space where you can get in touch with nature and yourself.” The vacation rental is asking $46 a night.

Take a peek inside the dome

Getting Away, Places to Stay, Upstate

If you’re looking for a unique summer retreat not far from NYC, here’s your answer. This cozy treehouse is nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, nine miles from the upstate town of Saratoga Springs. In this quiet, remote locale, a winding staircase takes you from a patio up the tree and into a wood cabin. It’s outfitted with everything you’d need, including a bathroom, lofted bed, and built-in storage. And right outside the sleeping quarters is a covered porch perfect for reading or writing. For such a quiet, private retreat, it’ll cost $179 a night.

See inside the tree house

Featured Story

Architecture, Brooklyn, Features, History, More Top Stories

Top 10 secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge

By Emily Nonko, Wed, May 24, 2017

134 years ago today, throngs of New Yorkers came to the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts to celebrate the opening of what was then known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people total crossed what was then the only land passage between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The bridge–later dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge, a name that stuck–went on to become one of the most iconic landmarks in New York. But there’s been plenty of history, and secrets, along the way. Lesser known facts about the bridge include everything from hidden wine cellars to a parade of 21 elephants crossing in 1884. So for the Brooklyn Bridge’s 134th anniversary, 6sqft rounded up its top 10 most intriguing secrets.

All the secrets right this way

Cool Listings, Interiors, Williamsburg

This expansive Williamsburg triplex was once a part of the flagship retail space for a children’s clothing manufacturer–when the cast iron building was constructed in the 1880s, the first floor held retail while the sewing machines, shears and bosses occupied the upper floors. Now the building, located at 138 Broadway, is known as the Smith Gray condominium, and this apartment is asking $2.3 million. Over 2,300 square feet, you’ll spot tin ceilings, Corinthian columns and exposed structural brick. While those are pretty typical loft details, this apartment boasts one of the more unique lofts in Brooklyn. It’s clad with reclaimed cedar from New York’s iconic wooden water towers, which results in a cozy loft enclosure that can be opened via specially-designed casement windows.

See more of the apartment

Featured Story

Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Features, Interviews

134 years ago, the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge transformed the Brooklyn waterfront, not to mention the entire borough, by providing direct access into Kings County from Lower Manhattan. The opening only boosted Brooklyn’s burgeoning waterfront, which became a bustling shipping hub for the New York Dock Company by the early 1900s. Business boomed for several decades until changes in the industry pushed the shipping industry from Brooklyn to New Jersey. And after the late 1950s, when many of the warehouses were demolished to make way for construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the waterfront fell into severe decline.

New Yorkers today are living through a new kind of Brooklyn waterfront boom, heralded by the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Ideas to transform the abandoned, run-down waterfront into a park seemed like a pipe dream when the idea was floated in the 1980s, but years of dedication by the local community and politicians turned the vision into reality. Today, the park is considered one of the best in the city.

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Architecture, Design, Upstate

Steven Harris Architects designed this modern upstate retreat for Steven Harris himself and his partner Lucien Rees Roberts, a British interior designer, who together own the 50-acre private estate. The land, known as Kinderhook Retreat, is located atop a hill between the Catskills and the Berkshires. Not to overwhelm the pastoral landscape design, the minimalist buildings were outfitted with a modernist white-shingled design. The design has evolved since the construction of the first building, in 1992, and even includes a croquet stadium and two-acre man-made lake.

Take the tour

Cool Listings, Interiors, Prospect Heights

This charming pad comes from the top floor of 786 Washington Avenue, a 16-unit prewar co-op in Prospect Heights. Interior details include 11-foot ceilings, exposed brick, and hardwood flooring throughout. But the real perk is exclusive rights to the portion of the roof directly above the apartment, which is currently outfitted with a deck and custom bench seating. This appealing combo of indoor and outdoor space, plus the nice Brooklyn location, is on the market for $625,000.

This way for a tour

Boerum Hill, Cool Listings, Interiors

With the weather heating up and summer around the corner, it’s time to start drooling over private outdoor spaces up for sale. A deck, backyard and roof deck designed by a landscape architect adorn this Boerum Hill townhouse at 459 Pacific Street, now on the market for $2.996 million. The 19th-century townhouse was gut renovated into a modern owner’s triplex, with a separate one-bedroom apartment with its own entrance under the stoop. An open floorplan, built-in shelving, and fancy appliances complete the interior.

Check it all out

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Long Island City

Long Island City isn’t known as a neighborhood of historic townhomes–especially considering all the new development–but it does boast the impressive Hunters Point Historic District, lined with incredible residential architecture. One such building in the historic district is the Italianate townhouse at 21-20 45th Avenue built by developers Root and Rust in 1870. It’s now on the market for $3.5 million. According to the listing, the exterior use of Westchester stone–a durable sandstone resembling marble–“has allowed this and other townhouses along the row to survive almost 150 years looking almost as good as the day they were built.” Inside, there’s tin ceilings, marble mantels and exposed brick, as well as a sunroom that leads out to a truly incredible backyard.

Go see it

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Sutton Place 

This $8.5 million townhouse at 19 Sutton Place boasts an interesting backstory dating to the 1920s. The home–like most others in the area–was built as an unassuming brownstone in the late 1800s. In 1920, the wealthy literary agent Elisabeth Marbury, with her partner Elsie de Wolfe, a well-known decorator, moved to the block and hired an architect to transform a nearby townhouse into a neo-Georgian townhouse. Millionaires followed suit, moving in and redesigning the homes of Sutton Place. At 19 Sutton, banker B. Stafford Mantz transformed the brownstone into a “provincial Louis XVI townhouse of grey and brown brick” according to Daytonian in Manhattan. And today, the interior boasts elegant spaces with high ceilings, five wood-burning fireplaces, and its own elevator.

Take a look around

Cool Listings, Interiors, Tribeca

This apartment comes from the gorgeous Tribeca co-op building 165 Duane Street, also known as the Duane Park Lofts. The Romanesque Revival-style, 11-story warehouse was designed by Stephen Decatur Hatch in 1880 and converted in 1980 to 36 co-ops. This one bedroom is all exposed brick, with some timber beams, and it’s now asking $2.15 million. Large eastern windows look out over Tribeca’s rooftops and other great buildings, like the landmarked Western Union Building and FiDi skyscrapers to the south.

See the inside

Cool Listings, Hamptons, Historic Homes, Interiors

Talk about a living arrangement that’s holier than thou. This chapel is part of the former Edwin Denison Morgan III estate in Old Westbury, Long Island. The impressive estate, complete with gardens and fountains, was designed by the great Stanford White in the late-19th century, and now its chapel is on the market for $3.25 million. (It’s a price decrease from last year, when it hit the market for $4.3 million.) Amazingly, the chapel was once connected to the estate’s other buildings by tunnels, though it was converted a while back to a four-bedroom home. Cathedral ceilings, stained-glass windows designed by John La Farge–the stunning space has got everything, not to mention a heated gunite pool and putting green outside.

Take a look inside

Cool Listings, Interiors, Park Slope

This 1890s limestone and brick mansion at 45 Montgomery Place, in Park Slope was built–and renovated–to impress. It’s also asking an impressive $13.25 million after last selling a few years back for $10.775 million. (The last asking price, in 2013, was set at $14 million.) An impeccable renovation covers all 7,500 square feet of the 30-foot-wide home; everything from a refurbished, classic Otis elevator to restored stained glass to a wine cellar awaits in this townhouse, which was featured in the April issue of the French publication Marie Claire Maison.

Now see it for yourself

Featured Story

Features, History, Interviews, Landmarks Preservation Commission

Joan Geismar boasts a job that’ll make any urban explorer jealous. For the past 32 years, she’s operated her own business as an archaeological consultant, digging underneath the streets of New York City to find what historical remnants remain. Her career kicked off in 1982, with the major discovery of an 18th-century merchant ship at a construction site near the South Street Seaport. (The land is now home to the 30-story tower 175 Water Street.) Other discoveries include digging up intact remnants of wooden water pipes, components of the city’s first water system, at Coenties Slip Park; studying the long-defunct burial ground at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and working alongside the renovation in Washington Square Park, in which she made a major revelation about the former Potter’s Field there.

With 6sqft, she discusses what it felt like unearthing a ship in Lower Manhattan, the curious headstone she found underneath Washington Square Park, and what people’s trash can tell us about New York history.

The full interview ahead

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