When 6sqft first got a look at Bjarke Ingels’ curved East Harlem rental, it sported a red corten steel facade reminiscent of the surrounding brick buildings, but a new set of renderings shows a blackened stainless steel exterior that the Danish starchitect told Curbed is “inspired by an elephant’s skin” and will capture and reflect sunlight. Now dubbed Gotham East 126th Residential, the 11-story structure from Blumenfeld Development Group broke ground yesterday, beginning its journey to offer 233 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, 46 of which will be affordable.
The building will rise at 146 East 126th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, its T-shaped body cantilevering over 125th Street’s Gotham Plaza retail center, which is another project of Blumenfeld (as is Harlem’s East River Plaza). It will offer retail space on the first and second floors along 126th Street.
Inside, the common spaces feature “bursts of [Caribbean] color and patterns” inspired by Ingels’ recent trips to Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. The apartments will be more subdued and customizable as the architect explained to Curbed that “the thing about color is that it’s incredibly personal.”
Amenities will include a fitness center, game room, lounge, and roof garden with seating that looks similar to the slatted benches on the High Line.
When 6sqft first got a look at Bjarke Ingels’ curved East Harlem rental, it sported a red corten steel facade reminiscent ...
These days, New Yorkers are going to great lengths to get Trump’s name off their buildings, and even his company itself has personally shed his moniker from their hotel brand amid declining bookings. But back in the ’80s and ’90s, the Donald would freely slap his name on just about anything he wanted. That is until 1996, when the Giuliani administration (sense the irony here?) denied his request to brand the giant globe outside the Trump International Hotel & Tower. The Times recently got its hands on a 20-year-old City Planning Department memorandum that outlines how the agency deemed any lettering on the sculpture illegal.
The entrance to the tower is not lacking branding, via booking.com
The condo was completed in 1997, converting a drab office tower to a glassy beacon at the intersection of Columbus Circle. The year prior, the huge silver globe in front of the building was being planned, and Trump wanted the 30-foot-wide piece–modeled on the 1964-65 World’s Fair Unisphere in his childhood borogh of Queens–to be adorned with three-foot-high letters reading “Trump International.”
But if you look at the globe today, all you’ll see is “the world’s land masses silhouetted on a spherical framework of latitudinal and longitudinal struts… encircled by three orbital rings,” along with a small plaque on the base reading “Brandell Miami” for sculptor and designer Kim Brandell. He previously made a smaller version of the unisphere for the short-lived Trump World’s Fair casino in Atlantic City, and this version prominently wore Trump’s name.
But when it came to the NYC version, Richard Barth, then director of City Planning’s Manhattan office, and Douglas Woodward, an urban designer who was working on the redevelopment of Colubus Circle, wrote to the Department that “there is no question that the globe with lettering is a sign and is not a permitted obstruction.” The Trump Organization argued that a branded globe still classified as an ornamental fountain or statuary and therefore was legally permitted to obstruct views at a public plaza, but when Jerold S. Kayden, founder and president of Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space, had to make a determination, he simply stated, “Slapping one’s name on a work of art doesn’t make the name part of the artwork.”
These days, New Yorkers are going to great lengths to get Trump’s name off their buildings, and even his company ...
After nearly a year and a half of yo-yo-ing back and forth between stop work orders and lawsuits, the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 park can finally move ahead freely. The New York Law Journal reports that yesterday the state Court of Appeals denied the City Club of New York’s appeal of September’s ruling in favor of Pier 55 and the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) that said construction could continue on the 2.75-acre offshore park, dismissing the opponents’ claims that the park failed to go through adequate environmental impact evaluations and violated the public trust doctrine by planning to host private events.
upholds a lower court’s decision that HRPT and Pier55 Inc. did in fact do a proper environmental review, and moreover, that HRPT was not required to put out an RFP to solicit other ideas for the site from other developers—another major point of contention. The court also decided that the park reserves the right to use the space for non-public events like ticketed concerts, although it is noted that “the lease requires that 51 percent of the performances be free or low-cost.”
Though this was likely the last straw for the City Club, there are still two pending legal challenges against the club, one by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation disputing an environmental permit and one by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that says the project violates the Clean Water Act.
After nearly a year and a half of yo-yo-ing back and forth between stop work orders and lawsuits, the Barry Diller-funded ...
Families looking to buy apartments in the Big Apple often have a standard list of demands: safe area, family-friendly neighborhood, and space to accommodate their children. But perhaps most important is the desire to be close to a top school. Though not a new idea, this trend appears to be growing among international buyers who are actively seeking homes close to international private schools, hoping to preserve their native language and culture within their children’s upbringing. One area where new apartment buildings are benefitting from this trend is the Upper East Side, specifically in Lenox Hill, which is host to Lycée Francais de New York and La Scuola d’Italia. And downtown in Nomad, the Ecole Internationale de New York and the United Nations International School are having a similar effect.
Families looking to buy apartments in the Big Apple often have a standard list of demands: safe area, family-friendly neighborhood, ...
It’s no secret that we’re huge fans off all things map related, and that’s especially true when it comes to wall decor and t-shirt design. Alex Szabo-Haslam, a designer from Sheffield, England, recently launched a campaign for “Citee,” an exclusive collection that includes exactly these items. In phase one of this project, Alex printed highly detailed maps of 80 cities onto t-shirts, and now he’s using Kickstarter to fund round two where he’ll expand his line to include another 150 locations.
Alex uses open street map data to create his highly detailed designs, and each graphic is printed onto an American Apparel t-shirt using dye-sublimation. With this special printing process, Alex is able to print flush on the total surface of the tee, including the seams and sleeves. And unlike a lot of screen-printed clothing, Alex’s t-shirts won’t crack or peel over time.
To get your own tee or framable print, check out Alex’s Kickstarter campaign. So far he’s raised over $9,800, surpassing his $1,216goal, and he’s still got another two weeks to go!
Soho’s beloved Pearl River Mart closed its doors in February after nearly 50 years in business, but it will reopen ...
Fifth Avenue is known around the world as the high-end shopping address, but rising rents are leading to an increase in vacant space along the retail corridor. According to data from Cushman & Wakefield reported by Crain’s, the availability rate spiked to 15.9 percent in the third quarter of this year, up 10 percent from the same time last year. On the stretch that has the world’s highest rents, from 49th to 60th streets, retail space is listed at an average of $3,213 per square foot, up from $2,075 in 2011. To put this in perspective, current rents in Times Square are $2,104 per square foot after tripling over the past four years.
This rise in empty storefronts is actually occurring across Manhattan. According to Richard Hodos, a vice chairman at brokerage CBRE Group, “Property trades are being based on achieving ever-higher rents, and nobody ever really looks at what retailers can afford to pay. In some cases, rents need to come down 30% or more for rents to be at levels where retailers are able to make sense of them again.”
6sqft previously explored this trend with Justin Levinson’s Vacant New York map, which noted how the issue is twofold. First, small businesses can’t afford skyrocketing rents (if a small Lower East Side storefront costs about $8,000 a month, a Fifth Avenue address is definitely out of the question), and second, even when huge chains can afford these rents, the negotiation process is often so slow that potential tenants back out.
But there still may be hope for Fifth Avenue. Patrick Smith, a vice chairman of retail brokerage at Jones Lang LaSalle, thinks these empty stofrefronts “will eventually be absorbed,” but the way the space is used will change to focus on the experience as well as the actual merchandise, pointing to how Lululemon offers yoga classes in its stores.
Fifth Avenue is known around the world as the high-end shopping address, but rising rents are leading to an increase in ...
With one location each in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and seven in Manhattan alone, Bronx leaders are urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to consider their borough for a potential retail store. “An Apple Store in The Bronx would complete your company’s presence within New York City, while also allowing your company to become part of the continued positive transformation of our borough,” a letter to Cook dated Oct. 13 and signed by 26 borough leaders said.
With one location each in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and seven in Manhattan alone, Bronx leaders are urging Apple ...
This two-bedroom loft six floors above a cobblestoned Soho street may just be the perfect downtown spot to call home for an extended visit to New York City. The short-term rental, available beginning in December through January 15th, is right smack in the middle of the city’s chicest shopping zone, but is enough floors up to get peace and quiet, great light, and a chance to enjoy the quintessential loft interiors that come with the 1870 building. Also, your holiday HQ at 108 Wooster Street, asking $10,000, comes fully furnished: You’ve been warned.
The sprawling, 1,700-square-foot loft has a big, sunny living room with a gorgeous skylight, tons of exposed brick and dark wood floors.
An open renovated kitchen is fully stocked, and there’s a washer/dryer in the apartment.
This two-bedroom loft six floors above a cobblestoned Soho street may just be the perfect downtown spot to call home for an ...
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to the longtime East Village apartment of acclaimed photographers James and Karla Murray. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
You might not immediately recognize their names, but there is no doubt you know their work. Photographers James and Karla Murray burst onto the scene back in 2008 with the release of their seminal book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” a work culling hundreds of images of the bygone retail graphics that once covered the city—and jointly, the mom and pop businesses that vanished alongside them. Since then, the Murrays have released two more tomes of the same vein, and collected countless awards and accolades for their documentary work along the way. In fact, their photographs can now be found in the permanent collections of major institutions around the world, including the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the New York Public Library. Their images also decorate the homes of countless celebrities, among them Sarah Jessica Parker, Ralph Lauren, Alicia Keys and Roseanne Barr.
In this week’s My sqft, 6sqft visits this warm and spunky husband-and-wife team in their East Village home to talk about their tenure in the city (they moved downtown in the 80s—though Karla is from the Bronx) and their ongoing efforts to chronicle what remains of “old New York.” We also get a peek inside their studio apartment/workspace of 22 years, which as Karla and James share ahead, has some crazy stories of its own.
How did you two meet and end up working together?
We were introduced by mutual friends in the late 1980s. We both had similar interests in photography, urban exploration, and graffiti art. After over six years of friendship, we finally had a “real date” and soon afterwards (less than three months) we were married. At first we each had separate and multiple jobs to make ends meet but eventually decided to work together as photographers, taking our passion into a business reality.
Have you always done photography and shot storefronts? Did you think you series ‘Store Front’ would blow up like it has?
We both have had a love of photography since we were children and owned many different film cameras. Although we were not working as photographers when we first married, we often would spend our free time and weekends going on photo “safaris” walking different neighborhoods of the city and capturing its street culture.
The idea to capture the disappearing storefronts came about when we were photographing the city’s streets for an entirely different project. During the mid to late 1990s, we were combing the streets of NYC searching out and documenting its graffiti art scene for a book we were making that involved large-scale photography, “Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC.” We were traveling to many distant neighborhoods of the city because most graffiti is not found in the center of Manhattan, but in its boroughs. The nature of graffiti art is such that it constantly changes as new art covers what had been there before. We would often return to the same location and see new artwork, so we often had to make many trips to the same block. Despite the short time frame between visits, however, we noticed that some blocks looked drastically different.
Karla and James’ dog Hudson, a pit bull they rescued from death row three years ago (top); A poster advertising their 2012 solo gallery show in Munich, Germany and a giant bulb from the Newton Creek Power Plant (bottom right); A real Eames chair that Karla collaged with NYC storefront signs. The chair is actually the second she’s made, the first she created for a Design Within Reach charity event at Barney’s. She had a hard time parting with it and thus decided to make another
Coming from a graffiti background, which is a letter-based art form, we were always looking at store’s signage and window displays and how the lettering was manipulated or styled. Many stores in these distant neighborhoods had closed, or we would come across “old” stores, still in business, but somehow different. They were either refaced, remodeled, or original signage had been substituted with new, bright and shiny plastic awnings using generic type faces. The whole look and feel of the neighborhood had changed and much of its individuality and charm had gone. We were witnessing first hand the alarming rate at which the shops were disappearing, and decided to preserve what we could of what remained.
We had no idea when we started our “Store Front” project that anyone besides ourselves would have an interest in it. We were primarily driven by visual aesthetics. We were at first visually attracted to the mom-and-pop shops original signage, including both hand-painted signs and neon signs, architectural adornment, and hand-made window displays. But even though the project was initially primarily driven by visual aesthetics, after speaking with only a handful of the storeowners, the scope of the project became larger as we discovered that many of the shop owners had fascinating stories to share about the joys and struggles of surviving as a family business in New York City. After initially posting some of our storefront photos on the web and hearing positive feedback from so many people, we saw the opportunity to publish a book and have the project act as an artistic intervention to help draw attention to and preserve the small shops whose existence is essential to the unique and colorful atmosphere of the city’s streets.
The pair’s office/workspace. Their walls are covered with some of their favorite storefront photos
You’ve been in your building 22 years now. How did you find this apartment and how have things changed during that time?
We were searching for an apartment for a while and knew we wanted to be south of 14th Street, but were on a budget. The realtor showed us many “unique” apartments including spaces where there was no kitchen, just a microwave on a cart and a refrigerator in a hallway, and others with the shower in the kitchen area. We also saw some small “loft” spaces which really were just tiny apartments with a sleeping platform built to create more space—not really wasn’t suitable for James who is over 6’2″. Our realtor eventually decided to show us our present apartment, which although needed “work” had good views and an even better price.
When exiting the elevator to the 10th floor of this building, we noticed remnants of police crime scene yellow tape sealing the door, but our realtor quickly ripped it away, muttering something like “this should have been gone by now.” We quickly forgot about the tape when we saw the sweeping open views of the East Village from the south-facing wall of windows lining the entire width of the L-shaped studio. We not only had a view of blocks and blocks of four and five-story tenement buildings in our East Village neighborhood but also had a great view of a nearby water tower as well as views of iconic downtown lower Manhattan and Financial District buildings and all three bridges crossing the East River.
A few weeks later, we met the co-op board to obtain approval and when asked what apartment we were interested in, they all gave each other side long glances and their eyebrows shot up when we told them the apartment number. They quickly approved us and we moved in. Just a few days later, we met our neighbor who lived at the end of our hall and curiously had a very large steel entry door with a huge security bar and lock going across it. He told us that our apartment used to belong to one of his “clients” who had overdosed in the bathroom. That explained the police tape, the raised eyebrows of the co-op board as well as the great price we got on the apartment!
The view from their apartment in 2007 versus 2016
In the years we have lived here, we have seen our own building and the surrounding neighborhood change drastically. Crime has gown down and many new taller buildings have been built, blocking parts of our view, and at the same time many of the small unique mom-and-pop shops that we used to frequent have disappeared.
What are some of your favorite spots current and bygone?
We always liked to look at and buy books from St. Mark’s Bookshop on the corner of Third Avenue and Stuyvesant Street. We would always say to ourselves, “How amazing would it be to have a photography book of our own for sale here?” And in 2002, our first graffiti book “Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC” was not only on display in the front window but also a popular seller on the front table of the store, as was “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” in 2008 and “New York Nights” in 2012. We often would stop by to sign copies and talk to Bob, the co-owner. He would let us know how well our books were selling and also give us recommendations on new releases and other books he thought would be of interest to us. He also confided in us when rising rents were forcing him to close the store and downsize to a small, off-the-beaten track location on East Third Street, which sadly closed less than two years later.
We also have great memories of going to DJ parties and art shows in the basement of the old P.S. 64/El Bohio/CHARAS building and going to clubs like the World, the Gas Station on Avenue B and Carmelita’s Reception House on 14th Street and also buying music at Throb on 14th Street. All of these have long ago closed.
Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A. Image courtesy of James and Karla Murray
We also have memories of going to Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A across the street from Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s to get a coffee or egg cream late at night. We still frequent the shop to this day to talk to the amazing owner, Ray Alvarez, who still works the night shift!
Another favorite spot of ours is the 2nd-floor Bangladeshi restaurant Milon on First Avenue near East 6th Street. We have been getting our favorite Chicken Tikka Bhuna Masala and Alu Paratha almost every week since the early 1990s. Not only do they have amazing food at great prices, but also a very unique atmosphere filled with thousands and thousands of tiny, twinkling lights from walls to ceiling.
To satisfy our sweet tooths, we go to Veniero’s Pasticceria on East 11th Street. We’ve been going there since we moved to the neighborhood in the 1980s. Everything they sell, from their authentic Italian pastries and cookies to their cheesecakes, are baked on site fresh daily!
Is there a time in NYC you’d like to revisit?
We wish we had taken more photos of our own neighborhood and its street culture in the early days, as well as Times Square in the 1980s. But since we already have a storage unit filled with our slides and negatives of thousands of storefront photos, we are happy with what we have documented.
How would you describe your interior and personal style?
We have always been attracted to more industrial styles and also try to remain as clutter free as possible in the small space we live in. Our decorating style is utilitarian and also business-friendly in that are walls are lined with framed storefront photos in a variety of sizes that we can show to clients who are interested in purchasing prints for their own business or home. Our personal style is simple and functional; Karla tends to dress in a lot of black and muted tones and we both have a large collection of t-shirts from local mom and pop businesses that we support.
Their Remington Rand Model Standard No. 17 typewriter (top); Their collection of vintage cameras and a seltzer bottle they picked up on the Lower East Side. The bottle still has the original water in it because it’s not clear how it’s opened (center); A Nixie Clock, which uses vacuum tubes (bottom)
What are a few of your favorite personal items?
We love our 1946 Remington Rand Model Standard No. 17 typewriter that we found in the trash outside the old Stuyvesant High School around the corner from our apartment. We restored it to working condition.
We also love collecting vintage film cameras including our favorite Graflex 1949 Pacemaker Speed Graphic 4 x 5″ camera. We often use this camera when shooting personal projects including black and white street scenes and turn-of-the-century architecture. This camera is especially meaningful to us because many photographers who we admire, like Man Ray, Berenice Abbott and Weegee, used a Graflex camera at one point in their career.
Another favorite item we have on display is our “J” and “K” vintage marquee lights. They bring a little bit of old Broadway into our own apartment.
Any other upcoming projects you’d like to share?
By the time we wrote our introduction to our book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” in 2008, over one-third of the stores we had photographed had already disappeared and today, over 75 percent are no longer in business. As a result, we started re-photographing the locations of all the mom-and-pop stores which appeared in our first two book [“Store Front” and “New York Nights”] after almost a decade had passed. We felt this was a sufficient amount of time to really bring into focus the commercial changes and resulting loss of character and decreased sense of community the neighborhoods were experiencing. The purpose of the photos in the before and after project is to clearly spell out and provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost but also what is often lacking in the commercial space’s replacement. Until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss experienced by the neighborhood.
The trend we noticed very early on while photographing the original stores was that if the owner did not own the entire building, their business was already in jeopardy of closing. The owners frequently acknowledged that they were at the mercy of their landlords and the ever-increasing rents they charged. Due to the commonality of high rent increases, after the business had closed, it was often replaced by a chain-type store or banking institution, which could afford the higher rent, or the whole building was converted into a luxury condo. If the location had too small a footprint or the locale was deemed undesirable by a chain-type store, the space often remained vacant, sometimes for years.
PHOTOS FROM KARLA AND JAMES PREVIOUSLY FEATURED ON 6SQFT:
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. ...
Back in December, before he became known to the world as Donald Trump‘s “locker room” buddy, Billy Bush bought the townhouse at 224 West 22nd Street in Chelsea. The anchor previously lived in LA, but needed a NYC residence for his new “Today” show gig. Though the Post reported earlier this week that Bush was listing the home now that he’s been ousted from the NBC morning show, it actually hit the market in April for $8,995,000. However, as The Real Deal points out, just yesterday it got a price chop to $8,250,000, which means the disgraced Bush is probably hoping to make a quick getaway.
The home has its own website, which describes plans to create “a stunning modern take on a classic townhouse.” The prior owners, Empire City Realty’s Steven Ostad and business partner Andre Sakhai, tapped of-the-moment firm ODA Architects to create the contemporary renderings and received permits in January 2015 for a gut renovation. They then sold the vacant townhouse to JLM Trust, a Massachusetts-based entity associated with the Bush Crew, for $8.8 million, setting a neighborhood conversion record.
There are no current photos of the space, which could mean Billy didn’t quite get around to fixing the place up like he planned, but it does offer 7,248 square feet, a heated stoop, 22-foot ceilings, a double-height living room that opens to the balcony and garden below, and a roof deck complete with a plunge pool, Jacuzzi, lounge area, and outdoor kitchen, and an excavated basement that could hold a movie theater, wine cellar, or gym, according to the listing.
Back in December, before he became known to the world as Donald Trump‘s “locker room” buddy, Billy Bush bought the townhouse ...
For those who prefer the water to the actual city, here’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The MacKenzie-Childs Yankee Ferry is up for sale and could actually be your next home. Built in 1907, the ferry served in World War One before it was acquired in 1921 by U.S. immigration services to serve as the Ellis Island Ferry until 1929–it is now the oldest existing Ellis Island ferry still on the water. It sold again in 1929 for use as a tour boat, served in World War Two, and then finally sold to a private owner in 1990 who began a restoration. In 2003, the ferry ended up with its latest owners, Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, who founded the design firm MacKenzie-Childs in 1983. The couple moved it to Pier 25 in Hoboken, New Jersey to continue an oddball restoration that’s brimming with personality. It is now outfitted as a bona-fide house boat, and for $1.25 million you could be part of the ferry’s incredible history.
A plaque celebrates the unique history of this ferry. As you might guess, the ferry comes with tons of outdoor space along its decks–and the view from Hoboken is not to shabby. This trumps any typical New York terrace.
It’d be one thing just to throw a bunch of furniture in a boat and call it a house boat. But you can tell the owners have spent years decorating the interior, adding quirky details, and making it into one of the most unique New York homes ever.
What to do with a sprawling upper deck? Transform it into a sprawling, open living space (that’s flanked by deck seating on both sides). We love how dock rope has been incorporated into the interior–there’s rope holding the table from the ceiling, while it serves as a curtain around the piano.
This is far from a modernized kitchen, but it gets points for personality.
Other areas of the house boat still have their original wood floors, with wood ceiling beams.
If you were wondering if the bedrooms are just as quirky as the rest of the space, here’s your answer. The master has its own ceiling mural. Another bed was built right behind the boat’s steering wheel.
If all the decor was a distraction, here’s a reminder this was once an operating ferry. With all its history and the current design, we think it wins the title for the most unique ferry, ever. Check out the gallery for more photos.