When you couple recent uncertain times with the gray February weather and frigid temperatures, it can be easy to get bogged down in feeling a bit melancholy. But today is the day of love, and in honor of that, 6sqft asked 20 New Yorkers–from fellow reporters and bloggers to architects and urbanists–what they love most about NYC. From big-picture things like the skyline and street energy to smaller fortunes like having tea with friends and spotting an old ad on the side of the building, there’s plenty here to lift your spirits and make you fall in love with this great city all over again.
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Sam Golanski gives Park Avenue doormen their moment in the spotlight. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Sam Golanski grew up in a small town in Poland, but has been residing in Manchester, U.K. since 2005. Though he thinks New York is “a tough place to live,” he fell in love with its energy as a child watching films set in Manhattan from the ’60s and ’70s. Now all grown up, he comes to New York frequently to visit friends and work on his urban and social photography projects (“I have to admit I shredded a few pairs of shoes by just walking up and down for days everywhere with my camera bags,” he says). In his series “Park Avenue Doormen,” Sam gives the men who safeguard the Upper East Side’s ritziest buildings an opportunity to step from behind the velvet ropes and in front of the camera.
Interview: Greystone Development’s CEO discusses development in emerging neighborhoods around New York City, Thu, January 19, 2017
Jeff Simpson, the CEO of Greystone Development, is due to celebrate his ten year anniversary with the company this February. In his decade with the real estate firm, founded in 1992, he has overseen Greystone’s reemergence into the New York market by tapping into emerging neighborhoods around the city. Before he joined Greystone, Simpson worked with the Equity Office Properties team, helping reposition a number of their New York City office buildings, and oversaw over $100 million of redevelopment projects for Jones Lang LaSalle.
Simpson has more or less done it all when it comes to real estate, holding roles in investment, construction, engineering and management across all sectors of the market. At Greystone, he oversees the firm’s development team, managing new acquisitions as well as design, construction, sale and leasing. CityRealty spoke with Simpson on how the company has distinguished itself as a New York developer since it ramped up its investments in 2012, taking on projects in City Island, Brooklyn and Harlem. He also filled us in on new projects the company will debut next year—and the one development that’s most meaningful to him.
Skyscraper heights may be what make news headlines, but at the end of the day it’s the call of a stunning interior that gets a contract signed.
Developers of New York City’s most luxurious buildings understand this well, and it’s why the same bold-faced names in interior design are often associated with the most splendid of buildings. One firm that has firmly cemented its place on this esteemed shortlist is Pembrooke & Ives. Established in 1987 by Andrew Sheinman, Pembrooke & Ives has worked on everything from sprawling lodge interiors in Aspen to outfitting private jets for the world’s 1 percent. And here in NYC, the firm has been involved in designing the interiors for a number of much-talked about residential buildings, including The Chatsworth at 344 West 72nd Street, The Astor at 235 West 75th Street, 155 East 79th Street, and what some call the ultimate Manhattan address, 212 Fifth Avenue (In fact, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin recently toured a $16.6 million spread at the building). Ahead we catch up with founder Andrew Sheinman about the evolution of Pembrooke & Ives, what it’s like to work with game-changing developers like Thor and Madison Equities, what influences his firm’s work, and more.
In just 11 more days, Donald Trump will take office as the 45th President of the United States. And just as Trump is gearing up for his four-year term, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump are preparing to take on major roles as well. Last week it was revealed that the pair would be moving into a six-bedroom, $5.5 million mansion in D.C., and now the New York Times reports that Kushner will step down as CEO of Kushner Companies as he transitions from real estate mogul to full-time presidential advisor.
After working for decades advocating for transit equity and environmental justice at various organizations, Ya-Ting Liu came on board as the Executive Director of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. It’s been almost a year since the non-profit advocacy group first released a proposal for a streetcar to run along the borough’s waterfront, and since that time the city has stepped in to back the estimated $2.5 billion project, even appointing a director and creating preliminary maps of the streetcar’s possible routes. As one of several transportation undertakings on the table, the BQX certainly has a big year ahead. 6sqft recently sat down with Ya-Ting To get the scoop on what’s to come, as well as some insider thoughts on the streetcar’s common misconceptions.
Castro at the U.N. General Assembly
Just four months after Cuban President Fidel Castro led a successful revolution to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he visited New York City for 11 days on an invitation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. With his signature green army uniform and boots, bushy beard, and exuberant nature, Castro reportedly hired a PR firm (though it seems he hardly needed to), enjoyed the city’s famous hot dogs, and “kissed ladies like a rock star, and held babies like a politician,” according to Mashable. During a tour of the Bronx Zoo, which he called “the best thing New York City has,” Mr. Castro is said to have jumped a railing and stuck his hand into a cage to pet a Bengal tiger.
Image Kushner Co./LIVWRK
Our newest president’s right hand man got his start—much like Donald Trump—as a New York real estate developer. Kushner Companies is a private family real estate company now run by Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and son of Charles Kushner, who founded the firm in 1985. Kushner, as Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was an early partner in his presidential campaign, ultimately serving as a chief advisor. Now that President-Elect Trump has won the White House, the future of Kushner Companies might be up in the air, given Jared’s possible involvement in the new administration. But under him, the firm has evolved from a New Jersey-focused development company to a major New York powerhouse that’s taken on ambitious, high-profile projects across the city.
Outspoken starchitect Frank Gehry is taking the whole “I’m moving if Trump wins” thing quite literally. The Canadian-born, LA-based architect told French paper La Croix just before the election that President Francois Hollande assured him he could go into exile in France if Trump became president. But as ArtNet points out, a possible relocation may have more to do with a personal beef than political leanings. In 2010, Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street surpassed Trump World Tower as the city’s tallest residential building, and we know how feisty the Donald gets when it comes to size…
Some architects just consider the building they are working on. But Eran Chen, the founder and executive director of ODA, Office for Design and Architecture, takes a broader view. Not only does he focus on the specific architecture for each building project but he considers the spaces the building creates, the way the architecture can affect people on emotional levels, and the vitality of the city, all as equally important. Chen’s work evokes cities of the past when amenities were provided by the built environment, not the buildings themselves. He designs with an innovative and sleek modernity while seeking to recreate cities that function as a whole versus disassociated parts.
Ahead CityRealty interviews Eran Chan about how his philosophy fits into his New York City designs.
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends, family and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Westbeth Artists Housing in the West Village. Want your home to be featured here? Get in touch!
When the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building was transformed to the Westbeth affordable artists’ housing in 1970, one of the original creatives to move in was Ralph Lee, a theater jack-of-all trades who is best known for his larger-than-life puppets and masks. His whimsical creations served as the props for the very first Village Halloween Parade, an event that has since grown into an annual, nationally-known event. Today, his characters from the early days of the parade adorn his eclectic live/work studio in Westbeth, where he still lives and continues to make puppets and masks for his company the Mettawee River Theatre. Ralph recently invited 6sqft into his space, where we got up close and personal with the puppets and were able to see how the magic happens.
When hedge fund manager Bill Ackman closed on a $91.5 million penthouse at One57 in April 2015, he had already boasted that he had no intention of ever living in the place, but that he’d host parties there and eventually flip it as a “fun” investment. It seems that over the past year and a half, Ackman, whose net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion, has gotten even more optimistic, as a source close to him told Vanity Fair that he thinks he’ll be able to sell the 13,500-square-foot duplex for $500 million. As The Real Deal notes, this claim comes despite the fact that other units in the building have been recently listed at a loss and that his fund Pershing Square Capital is down to $11.4 billion under management from $20 billion in March of 2015.
If you’ve ever visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art and watched an artist working at a canvas or sculpting amongst the museum’s larger than life pieces, then you’ve seen the Copyist Program in action. Founded in 1872, two years after The Met first opened, the program has provided countless artists the opportunity to copy the great works that fill the museum’s numerous galleries.
The Copyist Program is overseen by The Met’s Department of Education, and Maya Valladares, an artist focusing on textiles, serves as the its Assistant Educator for Public Programs and Creative Practice. Her role requires her to create holistic experiences through the museum’s public programming, and through the Copyist Program, she works to enhance the experience of copying for the students and cohorts that come through the museum’s doors.
6sqft recently spoke with Maya, who shared details about the program’s rich history, what copying offers artists, and what it’s like to duplicate the works of a world-class museum.
In a city with a museum in an elevator shaft and another all about transit history, it should come as no surprise that there’s a museum dedicated to math. Located across from Madison Square Park, the National Museum of Mathematics is an institution devoted to the numerous possibilities that numbers hold. Since opening in 2012, MoMath has been a place for visitors of all ages to gets hands on with the subject through interactive exhibits that explore conundrums like how it’s possible for a square-wheeled tricycle to pedal on a circular, curved surface. And as of last week, the museum offers the chance to drive remote-controlled cars on either a Möbius strip or a trefoil track in the newly opened Twisted Thruway.
6sqft recently visited the museum to speak with Executive Director and CEO Cindy Lawrence about the importance of making math interactive and most importantly, fun.
Photo courtesy of Emptymansionsbook.com.
Reclusive copper heiress Huguette M. Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104; in the years preceding and after her demise, obsessive followers of her story puzzled over her decision to remain in a small hospital room for the last 20 years of her life after having rarely left her apartment in the decades before. In this day of heiresses who run fashion companies and give house tours, Huguette Clark’s wealth and her retreat from the public eye—despite being by all accounts entirely lucid—have made her the target of endless fascination. But almost as fascinating are the storybook-grand properties that still stand as remnants of a gilded age long past and what remains of one of its biggest fortunes, barely touched and preserved as if in aspic until their recent acquisition by a new generation of magnates and heirs.
Catie and Jon Hamm by Andrew Walker courtesy of Shutterstock
Catie Lazarus might have one of the coolest jobs in New York, interviewing the likes of actor Jon Hamm, singer Patti LuPone, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, and even a hand model. As the host of Employee of the Month, a live interview series at Joe’s Pub, Catie delves deep into her interviewees’ careers, adding in some of her own fun (she used to be a stand-up comic) alongside Lin Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip hop host band, and a sketch illustrator. 6sqft recently reversed roles, offering Catie the chance to be the interviewee and talk about her job.
Now that school is back in session, 6sqft decided to take a look at the public school buildings of C.B.J. Snyder. An architect and mechanical engineer, he served as Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education between 1891 and 1923. It was this work that Snyder is known for, having transformed the construction process, design, and quality of the city’s school buildings. He oversaw the creation of more than 140 elementary schools, ten junior high schools, and 20 high schools, incorporating his innovative H-shaped layout, three-tiered windows, and mid-block locations. Working mainly in the styles of Renaissance Revival and Beaux-Arts, Snyder created structures that not only revolutionized the way school design was approached, but that were beautiful works of design.
Meet Jonathan, a freelance filmmaker who hails from Texas looking for not one, but two roommates to share his huge Fort Greene apartment with. Jonathan has been in NYC for over six years and has always found himself in living collaboratively with folks in oversized spaces (he shared an artist’s loft with eight other people at one point). Now that two of his current roommates are setting out on their own, he’s on the hunt for two new folks to move into their rooms.
This home hits all the right notes; not only is it located in one of Brooklyn’s most coveted neighborhoods, but it’s got some great historic details, it’s blindingly bright and did we mention that it’s gigantic? Believe us, you’d be hard pressed to find such a fantastic room—let alone two—in a 2,000-square-foot apartment at just $1000 a month.
Cary Tamarkin is the founder and president of Tamarkin Co., an architecture and real estate development company established in 1994 and based in New York City. He worked as an architect exclusively for many years before deciding to go into development. As it turned out, he was able to combine his passion for both architecture and business by designing the buildings he develops.
His notable projects include the renovation of Anderson Cooper’s Greenwich Village firehouse, 10 Sullivan Street, 456 West 19th Street, 508 West 24th Street, which is adjacent to the Highline, and 550 West 29th Street, also near the Highline. His designs use materials reminiscent of old New York, such as industrial steel windows, corbelled bricks, outdoor loggias, and oversized casement ribbon windows, however, he’s not interested in mimicking existing architecture. Nor is he looking to create a “self-contained statement.” Ahead he discusses his career path, his inspirations, and the meld of architecture and development that he balances today.
If you’re walking on East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A or in the West Village on 7th Avenue near Christopher Street and see a long line on the sidewalk coupled with smiling faces walking by with ice cream cones, you’ve found Big Gay Ice Cream. The two shops are places where ice cream is not scooped, but swirled, in offerings that have become famous not only for their imaginative ingredients, but their fabulous names. There’s the Bea Arthur, named after the “Golden Girls” actress and activist, comprised of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed ‘nilla wafter; the Cococone with chocolate ice cream and toasted curry coconut; and perhaps their most well-known, the Salty Pimp, made up of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and a chocolate dip.
One of the visionaries behind Big Gay is Douglas Quint, who, along with Bryan Petroff, founded the business in 2009. While it started out as a summer experiment when the two opened an ice cream truck, it quickly developed into something much bigger (a third location recently opened in Philadelphia and the duo published a cookbook last year). 6sqft recently spoke with Douglas to discuss all the magic that takes place at Big Gay, including how the flavors come to be, their three locations, and the best time to stop by for a cone.
Industry City is a six million-square-foot, 30-acre industrial complex on the Sunset Park waterfront. Its 16 buildings made up the former Bush Terminal, a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution center that opened in 1895. After falling into disrepair over the past few decades, in 2013, a new ownership team led by Belvedere Capital and Jamestown began their $1 billion undertaking to update the complex while cultivating a diverse tenant mix that fuses today’s burgeoning innovation economy with traditional manufacturing and artisanal craft.
Today, there are more than 4,500 people and 400 companies working in Industry City, and 6sqft recently paid a visit to four of them (a handbag designer, lighting designer, candle company, and chocolatier) to learn why the complex makes sense for their business and what unique opportunities it’s afforded them. We also spoke with Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball about the unprecedented success of the complex and his visions for the future, as well as took a tour of the buildings and their wildly popular public amenity spaces such as the food hall, outdoor courtyards, and tenant lounge.
With increasing concerns about rising sea levels and the large quantity of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere, Radley Horton‘s work is more important than ever. As a climate scientist at Columbia University, he’s working on the applied end of climate change by examining data to make projections about the possibility of extreme weather events. Based on the data and ensuing models, he then considers the impacts these potential events and the overall changing climate might have in a variety of contexts that range from airports to the migration of pests. Radley is on the forefront of understanding what might happen and how cities, countries, and other entities can prepare even in the face of uncertainty.
6sqft recently spoke with Radley about his work, areas of climate concern in New York, and what we all can do to combat a changing planet.
The opening ceremonies for the 2016 Rio Olympics are a week away, and for many of us it’s all about the swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. But for Tim Morehouse, the main event is fencing, a sport with three weapons (sabre, foil, and epee) that has tremendous depth internationally. In 2008, Tim was part of the US men’s sabre team that won silver in Beijing, and in 2012 in London, he reached the quarterfinals in the men’s individual sabre event.
Four years later, Tim has transitioned from a competitor to a fencing ambassador, aiming to raise the sport’s profile in the United States. To accomplish this, he founded and runs Fencing in the Schools, a non-profit organization that teaches physical education teachers the basics of fencing so they can introduce it to their students – especially those who might otherwise not have the opportunity to try it – with the hope of a few of them wanting to take it beyond gym class. In November 2015, Tim continued his mission by opening his own sabre club on the Upper West Side. Though less than a year old, the club is already making a name for itself on 91st, as well as way beyond; at the recent United States Fencing Association‘s National Championships in Dallas, two of club’s students medalled.
6sqft recently spoke with Tim to discuss the Olympics, starting his own club, and his goals of making fencing accessible to everyone.
Photo Credit: Fine Art America
Westbeth Artists Housing at 55 Bethune Street in the West Village opened in 1970 to provide affordable live/work spaces for artists. A young Richard Meier took the project on as one of his first commissions, transforming the former home of Bell Laboratories into 384 units open to artists of all disciplines. Today, Westbeth remains home to many original residents, as well as others who arrived between 1970 and 2007 when the community closed its waitlist. In the process, the complex has evolved from a freewheeling haven for hippie artists to a somewhat calmer complex where the average age of residents is now well over 60. CityRealty.com talked to the George Cominskie, the President of the Westbeth Artist Residents Council, about the community’s history, the decision to close the waitlist for units, and the future of artist housing in New York City.
New York is fortunate to not only have two Major League Baseball teams, but two Minor League teams—the Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones and the Yankees-affiliated Staten Island Yankees. The latter is based right near the Staten Island Ferry in St. George, and for 15 years, it’s been a team for Yankees players who are tuning up after rehab or future Major League players to get their start. Unlike the Major Leagues, the SI team has a shorter season that runs from mid-June until September, and the focus at games is all about the entertainment factor. This is where John D’Agostino comes in.
John grew up a Staten Island Yankees fan, but now serves as the team’s Director of Entertainment, where he’s responsible for making sure every game has a range of fun programming that gets fans laughing and cheering. 6sqft recently spoke with John to learn all about baseball on Staten Island and why more New Yorkers should hop on the ferry and head to a game!
Sailing is an expensive sport and often requires a formal introduction at a young age. For many young New Yorkers, particularly those in underserved communities, the chances of getting this exposure are very limited, which is where Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS) steps in.
The eight-year-old organization’s Sail Academy in Chelsea teaches sailing to 150 students from nine public high schools in the neighborhood. The students enroll in a four-year program during which they earn math and science credit as they learn how to sail, study the marine environment, and build boats. In addition to its work with high school students, HRCS offers Community Sailing, where New Yorkers of all ages can come out and learn to sail.
6sqft recently spoke with HRCS’s Executive Director Robert Burke to find out more about this unique program and what students are learning on the Hudson, and more importantly, beyond it.
There’s only one developer in New York currently tasked with building an entire city neighborhood, and that’s the Related Cos. In 2008, Related embarked on Hudson Yards, a type of project never before tackled in New York—28 acres of apartments, office space, retail, parkland (and a subway stop, to boot) on top of the West Side Railyards in Manhattan. It’s one thing to build all that on Manhattan bedrock; it’s another to build it on a platform designed to top the yards. The impressive scope of the project—considered the largest private development in U.S. history—didn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s the crowning achievement, many might say, of a development firm, and its billionaire founder Stephen Ross, after decades of building and investing in New York.
L to R: Alex Gomberg, Kenny Gomberg, Irv Resnick
When Alex Gomberg says “I have seltzer in my blood,” he’s not referring to the quantity of seltzer he drinks, but rather describing how deep the seltzer tradition runs in his family. It began in 1953 with his great-grandfather, Moe Gomberg, who opened up Gomberg Seltzer Works, a seltzer bottling plant in Brooklyn. The term seltzer man may be new to some, but it refers to someone who delivers seltzer in glass bottles right to your door; no supermarket needed.
Over the years, seltzer delivery went out of favor and the family business, currently run by Alex’s father Kenny Gomberg and uncle Irv Resnick, continued to bottle for others, but was no longer doing delivery routes themselves. Four years ago, Alex joined Gomberg Seltzer Works and felt strongly that company should return to its delivery roots. He helped developed a delivery branch, aptly named Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, and today, Alex is well on his way to becoming many New Yorkers’ 21st century seltzer man. His idea of returning to delivery service was right on the mark as the company is benefitting from a myriad of factors including nostalgia, a focus on curated, well made items, and the popularity of home delivery. 6sqft recently spoke with Alex to find out about Gomberg’s seltzer, what it’s like to be a seltzer man, and how he’s bringing seltzer delivery back to New York.
When America celebrates her 240th birthday on Monday, Gary Souza will be marking the occasion in a very big way. As a fireworks designer for Pyro Spectaculars, he is responsible for creating and overseeing the wondrous fireworks that make the nation ooh and aah during Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. This year’s show will be Macy’s 40th annual production, a huge milestone for the department store, and will take place over the East River in Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
Pyro Spectaculars is a multigenerational family business begun by Manuel de Sousa after he immigrated from Portugal to the San Francisco area in the early 1900s. Over the years, the business has grown tremendously from creating small fireworks displays to a company that now spans five generations and is responsible for providing fireworks for some of the biggest names in the sports and entertainment industries, including the Winter and Summer Olympics, Super Bowls, Disney, and at concerts for icons such as the Rolling Stones. When it comes to Macy’s, Pyro Spectaculars has a 35-year collaboration with the store that has propelled the fireworks company to develop technology that allows for safer, more elaborate firework creations to come to life.
6sqft recently spoke with Gary to learn about the magnificence of fireworks, what it takes to produce the Macy’s show, and some of the exciting new elements at this year’s display.
In a city where ever-rising rents often hamper potential small business owners from opening a storefront, mobile retail has become a popular alternative. Food trucks certainly led the way over the last few years, but the business model has spread beyond the culinary world and now includes a flower shop on wheels.
A year ago, Ashley Custer and Kristin Heckler introduced New York to Uprooted Flower Truck. The business parks in neighborhoods around Manhattan to sell their New York-inspired, hand-tied bouquets available in three sizes: studio, loft, and penthouse. The driving force behind Uprooted is to not only bring flowers directly to New Yorkers, but to help people engage with and hopefully gain a deeper appreciation for them. 6sqft recently spoke with Kristin to learn more about this budding business and how it’s developing a unique identity in the city.