In 2017, new high-rise developments will continue to define the city’s skyline. There are currently more than 30 high-rise developments under construction and proposed for the waterfront in Queens. In Manhattan, rezoning initiatives promise to bring more high-rise developments to neighborhoods from East Harlem, Two Bridges and Midtown East. And in Downtown Brooklyn, with the 2016 approval of the borough’s tallest tower and a slew of other skyscrapers wrapping construction, the height trend is also well underway. If high-rise developments are on the rise citywide, it is not a surprise. By building up, the City of New York is able to maximize available space and even diversify certain neighborhoods by creating mixed-income housing communities. At their best, high-rise developments can drive economic and social change, but are these buildings also good for our health?
Long before the arrival of today’s supertalls, New Yorkers were already concerned about the potential dangers of high-rise living and not without legitimate cause. When the city’s first skyscrapers appeared in the late nineteenth century, poor air circulation and lack of light posed considerable health risks to high-rise dwellers. Although modern technologies and advanced building designs have improved life above the sixth floor over the past century, the relative benefits and risks of high-rise living and its impact on one’s life expectancy continue to be debated by researchers around the world.
The Risks of High-Rise Living
To be clear, there are no inherent risks associated with living in a high-rise building, but there is a large body of research suggesting that under some circumstances some demographics do report higher mortality rates living on higher versus lower floors. A survey of recent studies reveals that the risks can run the gamut from slower emergency response times to social isolation and depression.
In one widely cited study published in early 2016 in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal,” high-rise living was seen to radically decrease one’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. The study, which involved 7,842 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, concluded that survival was greater on lower floors than higher floors. Indeed, the study found that survival was 0.9 percent above floor sixteen and that there were no survivors above the twenty-fifth floor. The study concluded that lower response times were likely to blame for the decreased survival rates of residents living on higher floors. Unfortunately, this is not where the doom and gloom of high-rise living begins and ends.
In addition to being at higher risk due to the fact that first responders may end up stuck on the ground floor waiting for an elevator, living on a higher floor has been linked to many other health problems. Several recent studies, for example, suggest that during the breakout of a highly infectious disease, such as SARS, high-rise dwellers on all floors are at higher risk than people living in single or detached homes. The news is even worse when you consider mental health issues.
Australian architect Kerry Clare recently warned that high-rise living is harming Australia’s “urban fabric” by isolating people from street life. According to Clare, more people living in high-rise buildings means more people living in social and economic silos where the chance encounters of street life are severely compromised. In many respects, Clare’s position resonates with the thinking of New York’s own Jane Jacobs. In her 1961 classic, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jacobs condemned high-rise living, especially when used as a low-income housing solution. “The corridors of the usual high-rise, low-income housing building are like corridors in a bad dream…creepily lit, narrow, smelly, blind.” Jacobs further lamented, “They feel like traps and they are. So are the elevators that lead to them.”
The social isolation that Clare and Jacobs both associated with high-rise living is often linked to depression and other mental health problems.
View from 432 Park Avenue. Image courtesy of 432 Park
The Benefits of High-Rise Living
Despite the grim conclusions about high-rise living cited above, a growing number of studies suggest that living higher rather than lower may in fact increase rather than decrease mortality rates.
A 2013 study published in the “European Journal of Epidemiology” found that among 1.5 million people living in buildings with four or more floors, mortality from all causes was higher for people living on the ground floor compared to those living on higher floors. Indeed, the study found that mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases declined considerably the higher one’s floor of residence.
Although there is no one factor that appears to account for residents’ health on higher floors, several studies suggest that a key factor driving high-rise dwellers’ health is air quality. After all, residents living on lower floors are frequently exposed to high levels of exhaust from parking garages and street-level traffic. In contrast, residents on higher-level floors typically enjoy cleaner air. When high-rises are set back from the street and surrounded by open green spaces, the benefits are even greater.
Nevertheless, the air quality argument may not entirely explain the health of high-rise dwellers. At least some researchers have concluded that if higher is healthier, it may have more to do with socio-economic than environmental factors. After all, in many European and North American cities, living on a higher floor, especially at the penthouse level, is more prestigious and for this reason, the higher the floor, the more likely one is to have money and access to high-quality healthcare, too.
Inside and atop 550 Vanderbilt
Making High-Rise Living Healthier
Design innovations from green roofs to the “breathable” buildings associated with the Passive House movement continue to transform life in the sky and moving forward, we can expect to see more healthy high-rise options come to the market. In short, the dark and dank high-rises that Jane Jacobs once denounced are being replaced by structures defined by fresh air and light.
If you’re thinking about moving into one of the city’s many new high-rise developments, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, look for a smoke-free building. Of course, if you’re living in public housing, as of December 1, 2016, your building has already become smoke-free. Second, consider your needs. If you’re young and healthy, do you need an elevator? Walk-ups are not only more affordable for renters and owners but over time, living in a walk-up can carry significant health benefits. Finally, consider the age of the building and carefully assess the building’s maintenance history—ensure the building has a clear record of health and safety and a dedicated management team.
In 2017, new high-rise developments will continue to define the city’s skyline. There are currently more than 30 high-rise developments ...
On Monday, numbers released by the MTA served to confirm something we’ve all known for quite some time now: NYC subway service sucks. More than 60,000 delays plagued weekday service in November 2016, an increase of nearly 10,000 delays over the previous November. The less than favorable figures are a major sore spot for the agency, which is hoping to approve a 25 cent fare hike this week that would bring the cost of a single swipe to $3.
As NY1 writes, “Trains are breaking down more frequently, riders are waiting longer for trains and on-time performance is slipping. … [and] some of the agency’s own board members said not enough is being done to reduce the delays.”
“Service as a whole ranges in the view of the ridership as somewhere between ‘poor’ and ‘fugeddaboutit,'” said Charles Moerdler, who serves on the MTA’s Audit, Finance, Safety, LIRR, Metro-North, and New York City Transit & Bus boards, NY1 shares.
“When I look at the 5 line, on-time performance is at 37 percent now and we started up in the 80s and 90s in 2013,” said Ellyn Shannon, with the Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
“We’re left without any hint as to what is being done to correct or minimize or refocus [the delays],” Moerdler added. “I don’t want details; I want answers … Any fool can tell you this is a problem.”
Much of the service woes stem from growing ridership, which as 6sqft previously reported, is hitting highs not seen since the 1940s. Currently, 5.7 million commuters board trains daily, and more than 1.76 billion annually.
Moreover, lags are being worsened by trains breaking down more often. As AM NY wrote yesterday, “subway cars are designed to be in operation for 40 years, but some 735 cars have surpassed that benchmark. … The two oldest models, known as the R32 and R42, also break down much more frequently than their younger counterparts. Consider that the R32 fleet broke down once every 32,327 miles over the past twelve months of available data. The fleet-wide average during that time frame was 113,179 miles.”
Currently, 11 of the city’s 12 lines still rely on 24-hour underground “towers” where live dispatchers monitor train locations and movement using light boards and two-way radio reports—“cutting-edge technology at the same time as the Hindenburg airship,” it’s been described. The only train to date using computerized signals is the L train. The 7 is next in line to get the update this year.
Aptly, board member Andrew Albert said, “With the coming fare hike, we really need to be able to tell our riders what’s being done to speed their trips.”
On Monday, numbers released by the MTA served to confirm something we’ve all known for quite some time now: NYC ...
Pier 57 now showing some skin; Photo: CityRealty
Work is moving along at the waterfront development that is rehabilitating and revitalizing Pier 57, Manhattan’s new “SuperPier;” newly-installed, canted glass panels can be seen along the pier’s rows of exterior columns, CityRealty reports. The $350 million transformation of the former freight terminal, a joint venture by Young Woo & Associates and RXR will include 250,000 square feet of offices for Google, a 170,000-square-foot food market curated by Anthony Bourdain and provide an elevated two-acre park with a rooftop movie and performance amphitheater. The project’s design is being handled by Handel Architects and !Melk Landscape Architecture and Urban Design.
As 6sqft previously reported, Google signed on as the pier’s primary tenant in December of 2015; the new expansion office space is expected to bring 1,000 employees to the pier. The food hall will offer more than 100 different stalls with culinary offerings from around the world.
The original 900-foot-long, 450,000 square-foot building opened in 1954 just as New York’s once-booming maritime industries were winding down. After turns as a bus depot and a vacant space that played occasional host to art installations and events, the Hudson River Park Trust leased the site to the developers for 97 years in a deal that could bring in nearly $220 million in revenue. After seeking proposals in 2008 the Trust brought the current team on board.
Google Earth rendering with Pier 57, CityRealty
Nearby, Pier 57 is surrounded by development activity: Just to the south, construction is progressing on the $130 million revitalization of Pier 55, a public park and arts venue project privately funded by Barry Diller with completion expected in early 2019. Site preparation has begun on a 130,000 square-foot office tower designed by Studio Gang and developed by William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital at West 14th Street and Ninth Avenue.
Pier 57 now showing some skin; Photo: CityRealty Work is moving along at the waterfront development that is rehabilitating and revitalizing ...
A year and a half after Austrian-American businessman and investor Gerhard Andlinger scooped up Jon Bon Jovi’s Soho penthouse, he’s put it back on the market. The rocker bought the sprawling duplex at 158 Mercer Street in 2007 for $24 million, then listed it in 2013 for $42 million. After several price cuts, and some interest from supermodel Heidi Klum, Andlinger paid $34 million for the home in June 2015, but it looks like he’s ready to “Runaway,” as LL NYC tells us that it’s re-listed for $38 million.
The current listing has no accompanying photos, but those from the previous listing show the 7,837- square-foot pad in all its glory. An elevator opens directly to the entry foyer, which then leads to the great room, boasting a wood-burning fireplace, dining area, and high-end kitchen.
The master suite–complete with 11-foot ceilings, arched west-facing windows, a large marble bathroom, and walk-in closets and dressing room–is also on this floor, as are a laundry room, staff bedroom, two more bedrooms with en-suite baths, and a bonus room that could be yet another bedroom or a sitting room.
Upstairs, a glass-encased living room has another wood-burning fireplace, and there’s also another dining area and second kitchen. There’s also a full screening room/office, gym, and one more bedroom.
Through the glass doors are the amazing roof terraces, with separate areas for lounging and dining.
A year and a half after Austrian-American businessman and investor Gerhard Andlinger scooped up Jon Bon Jovi’s Soho penthouse, he’s put it ...
Two Manhattan gallerists, one six-story Brooklyn townhouse—you’d think it would be a match made in heaven. But the home’s current owners—his Madison Avenue gallery specializes in Surrealist and Modern art, her company looks out for new talent and helps clients build contemporary art collections—bought the house in 2015 for $4 million, and they’ve just listed it for $6.5M. 124 Congress Street is one of nine units that comprise the Morris Adjmi-designed Cobble Hill Townhouses. Completed in 2014, the development features a mix of restored and newly-constructed homes. With four bedrooms, a private garden and a roof terrace with Manhattan views—but no elevator—the home’s interiors were clearly designed by a pro, but they’re surprisingly low-key given the sellers’ contemporary art milieu.
On the home’s open and spacious parlor floor you’ll find a custom kitchen with all the trimmings including Calacatta Gold marble countertops, custom wood cabinetry and big shiny appliances. Also on this floor is a light-filled formal dining area and a laid-back living room.
One flight up is a second living room, a gas fireplace and a custom bar complete with oak drawers, an antique mirror backsplash and a beverage drawer.
You can duck into the library, grab a book from the room’s built-in shelves and hide for an afternoon.
Fourth floor? That would be three good-sized bedrooms and two full baths, all light-filled and closet-blessed.
If you’ve made it to the top floor, collect your prize: A treetop master suite is a pleasant surprise of city and river views right from your bed, the tub—or from the lovely terrace that’s just outside the bedroom door.
Back down at the garden level you’ll find a playroom/media room, a full bath and an oversized laundry room. Dig even deeper (to the finished cellar) for two more enviable private amenities: a home gym and a wine cellar that accommodates several hundred bottles.
Two Manhattan gallerists, one six-story Brooklyn townhouse—you’d think it would be a match made in heaven. But the home’s current ...
It appears the Secret Service and NYPD are indeed taking measures to minimize the disruption caused by Melania and Barron staying put in NYC. TMZ writes that instead of implementing full street closures any time the young Trump moves to and from school, streets will be blocked off in a rolling pattern to accommodate the boy’s armed motorcade.
According to TMZ’s sources, the plan would only require that streets be closed off for a few minutes as the car carrying Barron passes. Moreover, the route would be changed regularly for security purposes and the NYPD will help ensure that roads reopen in a timely fashion.
In tow, of course, will also be Melania who dutifully escorts her son to his private school every day without excuse. As we wrote previously, Melania opted to stay in the city—much to the chagrin of New York taxpayers—so that Barron could finish out the school year. Come summer, the pair will reportedly transition to D.C.
Barron will return to school on Wednesday, and we’ll see then if this all works out as planned.
It appears the Secret Service and NYPD are indeed taking measures to minimize the disruption caused by Melania and Barron staying ...
For New York home buyers, a lot can change in a year. A neighborhood that was considered affordable can all of a sudden become out of reach, whether it be from new developments like a subway or good old fashioned gentrification. For this reason, Fast Forward Labs created an interactive map that predicts the price of real estate in 2018. As Google Maps Mania explains, “The map allows you to input a housing budget and see how likely it is that you will be able to afford to buy a property in different New York neighborhoods during different future time periods.”
Of course these are merely predictions, but they’re based on Fast Forward Labs’ Probabilistic Real Estate Prototype, a system of developing hierarchical models by grouping together observations and studying their similarities. For neighborhoods where less data was available, they filled in the holes by looking at similar areas. For example, if the West Village was lacking, they’d use data from the East Village and Brooklyn. For the most part, though, the predictions assume that past and current trends will continue, which is why you can toggle the years back to 2010; this also provides a way to visualize a neighborhood’s trajectory over the past seven years.
The map has two interfaces: Probability mode, where users can input a price and see the likelihood that they’ll be able to afford a property in a neighborhood; and Price mode, where you can see how much cash you’d need to have a high, medium, or low chance of purchasing a home in each neighborhood. After zooming in to a neighborhood, there are graphs that show how a given neighborhood has evolved since 2010. There’s also the option to zoom in further and select a specific segment of an area to get data that’s nearly down to the block.
For New York home buyers, a lot can change in a year. A neighborhood that was considered affordable can all ...
The most interesting thing about Soho lofts is often the people who inhabit them; all begin as hangar-sized white spaces with historic bones and impossibly high ceilings, but they end up as diverse and unique as their residents (who are likely to be artists of one kind or another). This 2,000-square-foot example of original loft loveliness at 62 Greene Street belongs to multiple-prize-winning photographer Neal Slavin, whose work is part of the two-bedroom apartment’s colorful mix of art, antiques and cozy furnishings. The home is now up for rent for $9,995 a month.
A key-locked elevator opens to a huge private floor with 14-foot original tin ceilings, columns and maple floors. Like most lofts, this one is filled with sunshine from walls of windows.
Far from cold and minimal, the furniture and accessory choices throughout the home provide as much soft and cozy as you’d find in a country cottage.
A spacious and tidy renovated kitchen has the added perk of a washer/dryer; the home’s full bath is newly renovated in a style that’s both rustic and modern, with multicored ceramic tiles, a free-standing tub and an enormous marble-topped custom vanity.
Up the stairs are the home’s two lofted bedrooms and a half bath. All are spacious and make use of original details wherever possible.
The lease terms are six months to a year, the furniture stays (though why would we mind?) and the approval process is fast and easy according to the listing.
The most interesting thing about Soho lofts is often the people who inhabit them; all begin as hangar-sized white spaces with ...
Even when all hope seems lost—there’s nothing like a free cheeseburger to raise morale. Shake Shack is celebrating the launch of their new iOS app by giving complimentary ShackBurgers to first-time downloaders. The offer is valid at all U.S. locations, with the exception of ballparks and airports, now through February 28th.
Penn Station’s archaic-yet-iconic Amtrak departure board is officially coming down today to make way for a series of updated, smaller ...
City Water Tunnel No. 3, one of the largest capital projects in the city’s history; Images: NYC DEP
Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially announce Tuesday that $300 million will be allocated toward the completion of the city’s third water tunnel (known as Water Tunnel No. 3) which will bring drinking water from upstate to the city’s taps. The mayor’s announcement backs up assurances he made in April that the tunnel will be ready for activation in an emergency by the end of this year, and fully operational by 2025, Politico reports. The allocation, along with an additional $3 million to disinfect the Brooklyn/Queens section of the tunnel, is part of the city’s 10-year capital plan and will speed up the timeline for completion of the project.
The new third tunnel is meant to function as a backup in case the city’s two older tunnels fail. It’s already bringing water to Manhattan and the Bronx, but segments that would supply Brooklyn and Queens are still waiting for the construction of two deep shafts. The mayor’s office also announced that the tunnel will be connected to one that delivers water to Staten Island.
As 6sqft previously explained, the construction of the third tunnel is one of the biggest capital projects in NYC history; by the 2020s the tunnel is expected to carry water to all five boroughs, freeing up tunnels one and two, built in 1917 and 1936, respectively, for easier inspection.
City Water Tunnel No. 3, one of the largest capital projects in the city’s history; Images: NYC DEP Mayor Bill ...
Emmy-winning actress and animal-rights activist Doris Roberts (you probably know her best as Marie Barone from “Everybody Loves Raymond”) passed away in April at the age of 90, and her estate has now put her classic duplex co-op on the market for $3,295,000. The five-bedroom apartment at 200 Central Park South boasts a marble foyer, two terraces with partial park views, and oversized windows.
The apartment has new hardwood floors and windows throughout. The open living/dining area is perfect for entertaining thanks to a terrace, built-in banquet, bar area with wine refrigerator (this isn’t pictured) and proximity to the kitchen, which has more built-in seating and plenty of cabinet space.
A curved staircase leads to the second floor, where the master suite is located. It has a good amount of closet space, an en-suite marble bath, and a terrace. The second bedroom also has a marble bath and terrace access.
According to the listing, the residence “incorporates the luxurious lifestyle of a white-glove cooperative with townhouse elegance.” The building is actually quite recognizable for its curving corner, bands of balconies, and location at the corner of Central Park South and Seventh Avenue. It has a 24-hour doorman, laundry room, gym, on-site garage with valet service, and roof observatory with amazing park views.