Photo: Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint by Premshree Pillai cc
From “coffices” to lab-like minimalist gourmet coffee meccas to cozy neighborhood hangouts, neighborhood cafes are a fine example of the essential “third place” mentioned in discussions of community dynamics: that place, neither work nor home, where regulars gather and everyone’s welcome.
Along with yoga studios, art galleries, community gardens, vintage clothing shops, restaurants with pedigreed owners and adventurous menus and, some say, a change in the offerings on local grocery shelves, cafes are often the earliest sign of neighborhood change. The neighborhood cafe serves as a testing ground for community cohesiveness while adventurous entrepreneurs test the still-unfamiliar waters around them. Beyond the literal gesture of offering sustenance, cafes provide a place where you can actually see who your neighbors are and appreciate the fact that at least some of them are willing to make an investment locally.
Get a fleeting glimpse of old New York City cafe culture in the West Village, meet the future of coffee distribution in Red Hook.
Many wonder why such a prolific and famous architect as Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t have more buildings in New York City. It’s safe to say he wasn’t a huge fan of urban density, but how could one possibly create something as iconic as the Guggenheim’s spirals without getting any other work in the city? As we showed in a previous post, two Wright designs have actually been demolished. Now, we will look at the two buildings Wright intended for the New York area which were never fully realized—at least, not in Manhattan.
See the Frank Lloyd Wright designs here
Amongst the endlessly expanding restaurant options in Greenwich Village, there is another culinary experience cooking on West Tenth Street. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is devoted to out-of-print cookbooks of all shapes, sizes, and cuisines. And while Bonnie isn’t offering the latest cronut-esque obsession, she provides New Yorkers, and customers all over the world via the internet, something much more special–a chance to leaf through bygone cooking eras and own a piece of culinary history.
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks has been a go-to location for out-of-print books since opening in 1997 in a Village basement, when perusing the stock was by appointment only. In the current location, shelves are brimming with books from all over the world that date as far back as the 18th century. Bonnie was even called upon to provide cookbooks for the film Julie & Julia starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child.
6sqft recently stopped by to speak with Bonnie about the world of out-of-print cookbooks and what it means to live and work in Greenwich Village.
Read our full interview with Bonnie
When it comes to New York City real estate, many people liken fluctuating prices to the chicken-or-egg phenomenon: does a building transform a neighborhood or does construction follow the most up-and-coming areas?
In the case of One Madison, the super sleek 60-story, high-rise tower that is home to a media mogul, a supermodel, and star quarterback, gentrification had already taken hold in the larger NoMad area when construction began on the building in 2006.
Take a look at the towering building and how it became one of the city’s top-sellers
No need to rub your eyes, if Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon look familiar, it’s probably because you’ve spent a season watching them run around Manhattan showing multi-million dollar properties to some of the world’s richest. The pair, who also share a Broadway past, were one of the first to bring real estate reality television to the masses with HGTV’s hugely popular Selling New York. But there’s more to Tom and Mickey than their stage sheen.
To date, the “Dream Team” has brought in over a $1.5 billion dollars in sales at CORE, securing the firm’s spot as the #1 brokerage in town, and earning themselves CORE’s 2013 Top Producer Award while at it. Charismatic and capable, it comes as no surprise that Tom and Mickey are a prime pick amongst developers and celebs looking for record-breaking results (David Sanborn, Lady Gaga, Jim Carey and Joan Collins are just a few of the names that make up their roster). We recently chatted with the powerhouse pair who gave us the scoop on everything from their first sales, to bringing what they learned on Broadway to the real estate business, to one of their most memorable closings involving a 7-foot fiberglass replica of the Statue of Liberty!
Read our interview with the dynamic duo here
The Rembrandt at 152 West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues was built as Manhattan’s first co-op in 1881. Apartment ownership was already in fashion across the pond, particularly in France and Britain, but the concept of a resident-owned building was still an unknown to most of us. Developed by a syndicate led by Jared B. Flagg, a clergyman with an avid interest in real estate, and built by the notable architectural firm of Hubert & Pirsson, the group had come to the conclusion that potential buyers would be drawn to a building where they would have control over expenses. For instance, buying coal and ice in bulk in order to keep prices down, and hiring a full-time communal staff to take care of the owners’ laundry, cooking and the running the elevators.
Built as a brick and brownstone building with terra-cotta trim and jerkin-head gable windows at the top, the unit mix—a result of an interlocking system of staggered floor heights to allow for very tall art studio spaces—included a few duplex apartments with as many as 12 rooms. Original brochure prices reportedly ranged between $4,000 and $5,000, with monthly maintenance as low as $50. Confident in the ultimate success of co-operative living, Mr. Flagg with Hubert & Pirsson continued to develop another six co-op projects that very same year.
The history of co-ops and their rise, fall, and rise again into popularity
American diners are neon-lit time capsules of architecture and design. They are the ’57 Ford Thunderbird of restaurants, shaping post-war optimism and far too much metal into something beautiful and quintessentially American. Best of all, you can still find plenty of little diners doing what they have always done, among the rising skylines and property values of New York City.
See our diner photos here
New York is known for having spectacular weddings of all shapes and sizes at every venue imaginable. Aside from the bride, the groom and the dress, flowers are often the center of attention at these affairs. And if you have attended one such wedding, Lilli Wright’s centerpieces may have graced your table. As the owner of Mimosa Floral Design Studio based in Crown Heights, Lilli has become one of the city’s most sought after florists. She recently did the flowers for a ceremony at the New York Public Library, and on another weekend she found herself designing flowers for five different weddings.
Lilli—whose full name is Lillian—has always had a flower in her name, but it wasn’t until a friend asked the then-actress to handle flowers at a wedding that she found her true calling. After a slew of floral-related adventures throughout the city, in 2010 Lilli became a bonafide Brooklyn entrepreneur when she started a flower business right out of her apartment. In June of this year, Lilli opened up a brand new storefront studio on Kingston Avenue.
6sqft recently caught up will Lilli at her Brooklyn studio to find out more about her new shop, Crown Heights’ renaissance, and why the New York wedding scene is like no other.
Read our full interview with Lilli here
We often think of the street grid as New York’s greatest “master plan.” Officially known as the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, this put in place the original, gridded street pattern that we still know today. But there have been several other master plans that took shape on a smaller scale within the linear configuration of Manhattan. These planned communities were largely conceived to transform blighted or underutilized areas into suburban enclaves or peaceful oases within the big city. And just like the neighborhoods that grew organically among the street grid, these master-planned areas each have a unique character. They’ve also influenced a new crop of developments, currently under construction on the West Side and in Brooklyn.
We take a look at planned communities that historically changed the fabric of the city, as well as those on the horizon
With a prime location overlooking Gramercy Park, accessible solely to those with keys, the 183-year-old Renaissance revival Gramercy Park Hotel was built on the site of infamous architect Stanford White’s home (which had replaced the house where novelist Edith Wharton was born) nearly 90 years ago. The neighborhood, the park, and the hotel date as far back as the 1830s, when more than 60 swampy lots were allocated to developers looking to lure downtown city folks to a new “uptown” community. In time, those lots were transformed into what is now 39 dwellings surrounding a leafy park reserved for a select few lucky enough to live in luxurious homes framing the two-acre park between 20th and 21st Streets at Irving Place. But it wasn’t until 1925 that the stately hotel opened its doors at 2 Lexington Avenue. By 1930, it was extended westward along the park frontage on 21st street, and today it is one of the city’s most coveted quarters.
More on the history of Gramercy Park Hotel here