All posts by Michelle Cohen

Michelle is a New York-based writer and content strategist who has worked extensively with lifestyle brands like Seventeen, Country Living, Harper’s Bazaar and iVillage. In addition to being a copywriter for a digital media agency she writes about culture, New York City neighborhoods, real estate, style, design and technology among other topics. She has lived in a number of major US cities on both coasts and in between and loves all things relating to urbanism and culture.

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Architecture, Green Design, Top Stories, Urban Design

Metals in Construction magazine has just announced the winner and finalists in the magazine’s 2017 Design Challenge, “Meeting the Architecture 2030 Challenge: Reimagine Structure.” The competition invited architects, engineers, students and designers to submit their visions for combatting global warming in their design for a high-rise building. The winning design, “Orbit Tower,” was created by architects and engineers from ODA Architecture and Werner Sobek New York. The building–though purely conceptual for the purposes of the competition–would be located in midtown Manhattan at 1114 Sixth Avenue on the north side of Bryant Park in place of the Grace Building.

Find out more

Cool Listings, East Village

226 East 12th Street, cool listings, East Village, co-ops

We’re guessing it’s probably just coincidence, that there are so many charming, pre-war co-ops on this tranquil and lovely East Village street, but whatever the reason, here’s another gem at 226 East 12th Street, with two bedrooms and space for a home office, now on the market for $1.2 million. Three exposures, high beamed ceilings, parquet floors and a cool dining alcove with a window to the neighborhood below definitely make this home “unique in today’s plain vanilla box inventory.”

Take a look

Architecture, Cool Listings, Getting Away, Top Stories

543 Scarborough Road, cool listings, briarcliff, westchester, ossining, midcentury modern, modern house, frank lloyd wright, outdoor spaces, waterfall

Nestled in a wooded enclave in the tranquil town of Briarcliff Manor in Westchester County, NY, this striking midcentury modern house was built by noted architect of the day Roy Sigvard Johnson, who may have been an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, according to Curbed–and it’s evident that he admired Wright’s work. The house, one of several east coast modern gems, is unique inside and out, embracing the beauty of the land surrounding it. Most amazing are features–like a stone waterfall that ends in a heated Jacuzzi and a folded glass wall that wraps the home’s stone paths and gardens–where nature and house meet. The 2,574 square-foot four-bedroom house at 543 Scarborough Road is asking $1.1 million.

Take the tour

Midtown West, Policy, Sunset Park

Industry City, Design Week, ICFF, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NYC

At a Manhattan community board meeting Wednesday evening, city officials told garment industry representatives of plans to remove Midtown‘s manufacturing preservation requirement, Crain’s reports. The change to a 1987 zoning rule means that landlords will have the option to rent the formerly set-aside space to commercial office tenants. City officials cited the failure of the preservation effort to meet its goal, highlighted by a reported 83 percent decline the number of garment workers–from 30,000 to 5,100– since it was first implemented. As 6sqft recently reported, the rezoning is seen as “a clear push to drive these businesses toward lower cost space in Sunset Park.”

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Cool Listings, Interiors, Williamsburg

111 South 3rd Street, williamsburg, co-ops, HDFC, restricted sale, cool listings

With a subtle and stylish renovation, lots of irresistible textures like pale wood and whitewashed brick, and tons of sunlight, this two-bedroom co-op at 111 South Third Street in prime south Williamsburg is the kind of home you don’t see every day in this city. Its $665,000 ask, while not dirt cheap, is well below the average market price for two bedrooms in this neighborhood. Some caveats: The apartment is only 680 square feet (though there are indeed two bedrooms); it’s a walk-up though only on the third floor; and it’s an HDFC income-restricted co-op, which is why the price is lower than average. But none of those things make this lovely little apartment seem any less like a charming, chic flat right out of Amsterdam.

Have a look

Historic Homes, More Top Stories, Starchitecture, Turtle Bay

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.

Find out more and take a video tour

City Living, infographic, Transportation

In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city’s commuters. Among the findings: New York City’s transit system isn’t the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
Read on for more insight on the cost of a commute

Cool Listings, West Village 

9 Barrow Street, West Village, co-ops, cool listings, studios

This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of living space, but it definitely has an artistic side and plenty of warmth provided by details like exposede brick and hefty wood beams. Situated in a heavenly, tree-lined stretch of the heavenly, tree-lined Village, the doorman/elevator building is a top choice for location as well–and we’re guessing it’s the reason for the $675,000 ask.

Get a closer look

Featured Story

Features, History, Policy

Remembering New York City’s days of deadly smog

By Michelle Cohen, Wed, March 22, 2017

Smog covering the Empire State Building. New York, NY, US, November 21, 1953, LIFE Magazine.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1966, the layer of smog that hung above New York City killed about 200 people. An estimated 300–405 people died during a two-week smog episode in 1963. In 1953, as many as 260 died from breathing the city’s air over a six-day stretch.

6sqft reported recently on Donald Trump’s proposed budget and subsequent concerns about the impact significant funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency totaling $2.6 billion or 31 percent–including staff reductions and program eliminations–might have on the city’s drinking water and air quality. A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio assured us that these federal cuts won’t impact NYC’s high quality water supply. But what about the air?

But what about the air?

Brooklyn Heights, Cool Listings

135 Hicks Street, co-ops, Brooklyn Heights, Cool Listings

It’s not every day a New York City apartment listing invites us to “Sleep safely and quietly with your doors wide open in the summertime,” so we definitely took notice of this top-floor co-op at 135 Hicks Street, located in a historic brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. You’ll have to hoof it up three flights to get to the serenity of this “Zen-like” one-bedroom home, but once you see the terrace, complete with Japanese garden, you’ll be glad you did. Eastern-inspired details include bamboo floors, grasscloth walls, and a rustic slate fireplace, all yours for $799,000.

More Zen vibes and a Mai Tai or two, this way

Midtown East, Starchitecture

A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue. Credit: Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects

As 6sqft previously reported, 666 Fifth Avenue owners Kushner Companies and Vornado Realty Trust have been seeking financing for a new skyscraper planned for the site of the Midtown office tower that Kushner purchased for $1.8 billion in 2007; Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group is said to have been considering a substantial stake in the tower. Though it was reported that the redevelopment could be valued at $7.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal now cites sources who say the value could be as much as $12 billion, and that a reported deal with Anbang may be far from a sure thing. That huge number represents the projected value of what Kushner envisions as a 1,400-foot-tall mixed-use luxury tower with a design provided by the late Zaha Hadid in 2015, nine floors of retail, a hotel and big-ticket luxury condos on its upper floors.

Find out more about the possibly maybe very big deal

Art, Financial District, More Top Stories

The creator of the iconic Wall Street “Charging Bull” is snorting mad over the appearance of the bull’s new companion, artist Kristen Visbal’s bronze “Fearless Girl” statue. 76-year-old Arturo di Modica, the artist who made the iconic sculpture that, like its young challenger, was installed in the wee hours, says the girl is “an advertising trick,” reports MarketWatch.

Find out more

Cool Listings, Hamilton Heights, Top Stories

If this home is, as the listing calls it, “the jewel of this historic neighborhood,” the three-block historic Harlem enclave of Hamilton Terrace is a treasure trove, anchored by the Hamilton Grange home of Alexander Hamilton. Listed at $5,495,000, the limestone and terra cotta mansion at 72 Hamilton Terrace is recognizable by its mansard slate roof punctuated by dormer windows and the original wrought iron fencing that surrounds it. This nearly-5,000-square-foot home offers five stories of newly-renovated modern living, including a finished cellar with restaurant-style bar and a wine cellar. The home’s $5.495 price tag makes it the priciest single-family listing in the neighborhood; if it sells for that much it may be Harlem’s most expensive sale ever.

Step inside and take a look

Midtown West

43,000-square-foot Target store headed for Herald Square

By Michelle Cohen, Mon, March 20, 2017

Big-box retailer Target is opening its newest store across from Macy’s in Herald Square. The store will be the anchor tenant of a 92,000-square-foot retail complex owned by Empire State Realty Trust that will offer more of the usual suspects, in this case Sephora, Swatch and Foot Locker, all behind a new Studios Architecture-designed curtain wall, according to the New York Post.

find out who else is getting a Target

Chelsea, Cool Listings

121 West 20th Street, cool listings, chelsea, lofts

The first thing you’ll notice about this 1,700-square-foot Chelsea loft at 121 West 20th Street is the current owner’s fabulous hoard of classic movie memorabilia. The listing tells us that it’s been used as a live/work/gallery space to show off the “impressive pop culture collection of Elizabeth Taylor, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret and David Bowie, just to name a few.” Then you’ll notice that for the ask of $2.2 million, you’re getting lots and lots of wall space for a gallery-worthy collection of your own. The “work” part of that equation is covered by a home office that hovers above the main living space, which is really not a bad commute from the bedroom or kitchen below.

See the rest of the loft

Cool Listings, Interiors, Park Slope

548 8th Street, cool listings, park slope, townhouses

A dapper ebony cornice, a three-sided bay front, and a two-part stoop distinguish the house at 548 8th street from its Park Slope neighbors. Half a block from Prospect Park, this landmarked limestone townhouse was built at the turn of the 20th century by prolific local architect Benjamin Driesler. The three-story, two-family home has only changed hands once before, and it’s currently on the market for $3.25 million.

Take the townhouse tour

Design, Events, Starchitecture

The Van Alen Institute announces their fourth annual Auction of Art + Design Experiences, offering a rare international sampling of curated events with leading names in the creative world. Like an omakase of “distinctive experiences” with some of today’s most notable innovators in the architecture, design and culture spheres, the benefit auction, available via Paddle8, offers a Robert A.M. Stern-led VIP preview of the architect’s addition to the Yale University campus, an afternoon in the archives of Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro outside São Paulo, a workout at Medellín Sports Coliseum with its architect, Giancarlo Mazzanti, a visit to a collection of stilted Miami beach houses with architect Terry Riley, meditation studio time with Winka Dubbeldam and a tour of John Lautner-designed horror story homes in the Hollywood hills, to name just a few.

More cool experiences to bid on, ahead

Cool Listings, Interiors, Tribeca

161 Hudson Street, condos, cool listings, Tribeca, interiors, decorating trends

Besides being a gorgeous light-filled three-bedroom (with room for a fourth) corner loft in trendy Tribeca, this $4.95 million condominium at 161 Hudson Street is, as the listing puts it, “the epitome of chic downtown style.” Unobstructed sky views, sound-proof windows, central HVAC, a laundry room and a gracious layout with bedrooms on opposite sides for privacy are part of the infrastructure. But when it comes to fixtures, finishes, materials and design, the 2,315-square-foot loft is a perfect opportunity to see today’s top decorating trends–all in one place.

What’s having a serious moment in home decor? Let’s take a look

Cool Listings, East Village

50 Avenue A, cool listings, east village, co-ops

In the heart of it all at 50 Avenue A, this fully-furnished sublet is a walk-up on the third floor of a building known as Hearth House. Built in 1929, its quirky architecture fits right in with mid-century gems like the Burger Klein building just up the street; the building’s terraces add a rare and fun way to survey the neighborhood from above. Unlike many East Village apartments, this one has two real bedrooms, two full baths and plenty of room for living.

Take a look around

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Queens

20 Ingram Street, Forest Hills, cool listings, grosvenor atterbury, frederick law olmsted, jr, modular, prefab, planned community, queens

It’s also more modern than you might think. In 1909, noted architect and urban planner Grosvenor Atterbury, employed with the firm McKim, Mead and White, was, with partner Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (son of the famous landscape architect) commissioned to plan a new community in Forest Hills, Queens. The result was one of the first–and most successful–uses of the prefabricated housing process that we’ve seen to date. These rarely-on-the-market homes–like this semi-detached brick townhome at 20 Ingram Street–have withstood the test of time, possessing both a timeless quality and, in this case, a fascinating sense of an early modern era long past but still somehow present in these unique rooms.

Get lost among the rooms and the garden

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