Recent reports show that NoMad has taken over the top spot for priciest neighborhood in the city in which to rent, with a one-bedroom unit going for an average of $4,270/month. For most real estate aficionados this isn’t shocking, as the neighborhood has been growing into one of the city’s hottest spots for the past several years, but few know of the area’s fascinating past.
Named for our fourth president, James Madison, the 6.2-acre Madison Square Park was first used as a potter’s field, then an army arsenal, then a military parade ground and finally as the New York House of Refuge children’s shelter, until it was destroyed by a fire in 1839. After the fire, the land between 23rd and 26th Streets from Fifth to Madison Avenues was established as a public park enclosed by a cast-iron fence in 1847. The redesign included pedestrian walkways, lush shrubbery, open lawns, fountains, benches and monuments and is actually similar to the park that exists today.
Find out how our beloved madison square park came to be
Broadway between 26th and 27th Streets, part of the current Madison Square North Historic District, via Wiki Commons
Over the past few years, NoMad (north of Madison Square Park) has been the subject of countless articles looking at its rise to becoming a go-to place for culture, food, business, and residential opportunities. In fact, as we reported last June, since 2009 the neighborhood has seen price-per-square-foot averages rise by 40 percent. But not everyone looks at this neighborhood as the next frontier. Local residents and preservationists see the area as a relic of the late 19th century, when it was home to the city’s most opulent hotels and mansions and brownstones occupied by New York’s elite, as well as of the Roaring Twenties, when the community boomed as a commercial hub. For these cultural reasons and for NoMad’s wealth of industrial and gilded architecture, a proposal will be heard tonight in front of the landmarks committee of Community Board No. 5 to extend the Madison Square North Historic District.
NoMad property owners and developers don’t agree with the proposal, citing that the area’s building stock has been significantly altered over the years. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “The face-off is significant because it is centered in an area that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment, with new hotels and apartment buildings breaking ground, and new stores and restaurants opening almost weekly. In the eyes of real-estate executives, it would freeze growth in a rare section of Midtown Manhattan still ripe for development.”
With the debut of their newly-sharpened website, the visual-realization whizzes at AJSNY are seeking to steal some Apple Watch buzz with this stunningly whimsical rooftop addition atop the now-under-conversion 212 Fifth Avenue in Nomad.
The conceptual vision, designed by the rendering team themselves, shows a bronze-clad, multi-story addition wrapped with sinuous ribbons framing an enormous south-facing clock. Below the steampunk-esque penthouse, AJSNY depicts a standard condo-conversion affair of open layouts and double-height spaces for the 1913 neo-medieval tower. The team’s images also give us an idea of what the official owners–Madison Equities, Thor Equities, and Building and Land Technology–have in mind for this quintessential Manhattan address. The scheme is not official or approved, but it certainly is creative.
More details on the proposed design ahead
That’s what developers of a new condominium at 212 Fifth Avenue are hoping. The prestige of Fifth Avenue is world-famous (it also adds a 5- to 10-percent premium to the price of an apartment), and as anyone who was around back in the days of analog phone exchanges knows, 212 is synonymous with Manhattan. Reporting on the “New York-iest address,” the Daily News mentions how even “Seinfeld”‘s Elaine steals her dead neighbor’s 212 phone number after she gets changed to a 646 area code. “The bearer of a 212 phone number looks like a longtime New Yorker. It’s the ultimate luxury accessory,” the paper says.
Is all the fuss justified?
If you’ve walked along lower Fifth Avenue, then the Museum of Sex most certainly has caught your eye; maybe you’ve even visited it and seen a few of the exhibits curated by Sarah Forbes.
Sarah is the museum’s sole curator, which means it’s her job to conceive and oversee exhibitions on a myriad of topics related to sex. Her goal is the same as the museum’s goal: to expand visitors’ horizons and to dispel myths and misconceptions that are out there. Beyond educating the public through its oftentimes provocative exhibits, the Museum of Sex is dedicated to sharing information and artwork through its permanent collection of over 15,000 artifacts as well as its research library and media archive.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, we couldn’t think of a better time to chat with Sarah to find out more about New York’s relationship with sex, how the museum helps the city understand it differently, and why it’s the perfect spot to celebrate the holiday.
Read on for our interview with Sarah
After lying fallow for years, the site of the city’s first Commune Hotel at 11 East 31st Street is abuzz with construction activity and has risen to street level. Developed by Simon Development Group, Cube Capital, and Eagle Point Hotel, the 250-room, 32-story hotel situated between Fifth and Madison Avenues will be among a dozen new residential and hotel developments slated to transform the once-sleepy NoMad neighborhood.
With Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects serving as the design architects and Mancini-Duffy Architecture as the architects of record, the slender 335-foot tower will feature a 125-seat restaurant, lounge, and a rooftop bar providing sweeping skyline vistas and front-row views of the Empire State Building.
More on the hotel and construction progress ahead
Another exclamation point in a year of seemingly endless skyscraper unveilings has appeared on the city’s “to-build list” with a possible rendering of a long-proposed mixed-use tower slated for the heart of NoMad. This exclamatory statement comes from the Mexico-based office of Fernando Romero EnterprisE (FR-EE). Never heard of them? Then check out their website and browse the bold work we New Yorkers too often miss out on.
If the selection of FR-EE is official, Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital would join a growing list of New York developers bitten by the design bug. Developers like Hines, Rosen, Related, and Extell have led the way in commissioning big name, often foreign, architects to pen skyline-shifting projects aimed at the top of the market. HFZ also commissioned British-based David Chipperfield Architects to design a dignified 30-story tower along the southern edge of Bryant Park.
More details on the 50-story tower here