City Living, maps

  • By Diane Pham
  • , February 17, 2015

Looking for peace and quiet? Well you aren’t going to find it in NYC–or for the most part, the eastern half of the United States. A fascinating new map created by the National Park Service (NPS) shows us where we can find solace in silence (head for the dark blue) and where to expect sleepless nights (avoid the yellow). The map was generated from 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring, produced from staking out areas as remote as Dinosaur National Monument in Utah to our very own bustling NYC for representative samples to model sound—on an average summer day—across the entire surface of the US. From there, the NPS used algorithms that considered measurements like air quality and street traffic volume to improve the predictions. The quietest places to emerge from the bunch included Yellowstone National Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park where noise levels were lower than 20 decibels—a silence as deep as before European colonization, researchers say. Noise levels in cities like ours averaged 50 to 60 decibels by comparison. The map is ultimately being used to determine how human-made noise is affecting wildlife with hearing more sensitive than human ears, like owls and bats that rely on quiet for hunting.

[Via Science]

[Related: Rudolf Stefanich’s SONO Could Help Block Out City Noise and Keep Your Home Quiet]

Cool Listings, Getting Away, Interiors, Quirky Homes

Live in Your Very Own Lighthouse and Tugboat for $425,000

By Stephanie Hoina, Tue, February 17, 2015

  • By Stephanie Hoina
  • , February 17, 2015

Image via NY Post

Factories, stables, churches—even former department stores—have all found new life as residential properties within the five boroughs, and we’ve had the pleasure of bringing many of those to you as part of our Cool Listings. But every now and again a uniquely special property outside the borders of New York City catches our eye and we feel compelled to let you in on the secret.

More on the lighthouse here

Real Estate Wire

  • Although someone’s rented out the Pierre’s $500,000/month presidential suite, there’s still a one-bedroom available for $120,000/month. [NYDN]
  • Rem Koolhaas will design Related’s new building along the High Line. [Architizer]
  • The Branson at Fifth is the city’s worst ‘illegal’ hotel. [Crain’s]
  • Rafael Vinoly is designing a townhouse on East 64th Street. [Curbed]
  • Teamsters have put a Long Island City development site near 5 Pointz up for sale. [TRD]
  • Demolition at 118 East 59th Street has started to make way for Euro Properties’ first foray into the Manhattan market—a 38-story boutique condo designed by SCDA Architects . [6sqft inbox]

Images: The Pierre apartment up for rent (L); High Line Park. © Iwan Baan (R)

Architecture, Chinatown, Design, Interiors

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 17, 2015

If you take a look at the exterior of this Chinatown tenement building located across the street from Sarah Roosevelt Park, you might imagine that the apartments inside are typical cramped railroad-style units with the token exposed brick wall as a selling point. But this unit, renovated by Buro Koray Duman Architects, looks like it could be in a swanky Miami hotel or sunny LA condo.

When Turkish-born architect Koray Duman bought the residence in 2011, the 750-square-foot corner apartment was a dark, three-bedroom renovation from the 1980s. He and his firm transformed it into a bright, open one-bedroom loft with bold, sculptural architecture and décor.

Tour the home here

Architecture, Getting Away, Starchitecture

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 17, 2015

Calluna Farms © Craig White via Flickr

If you’ve never visited Philip Johnson‘s world-famous Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, you probably imagine it as a single, transparent structure sitting on a vast swath of land. But, in fact, it’s one of 14 buildings on the 49-acre campus, which together made up what Johnson and his partner David Whitney considered “the perfect deconstructed home.” So, the couple didn’t live in the Glass House quite like most of us thought, but rather used it as the focal point of a glamorous weekend retreat.

When the Glass House compound reopens for tours this spring, two of these lesser-known structures will be open to the public–the 1905 shingled farmhouse Calluna Farms, which was used as an art gallery and sometimes as a sleeping spot, and an 18th-century timber house called Grainger that served as a movie room for Johnson and Whitney.

More on the Glass House compound

Daily Link Fix

  • Planning on “summering” in the Hamptons, but want to forgo the dreaded Jitney? There’s a new $2,000/month service that will let you fly between NYC and the Hamptons as much as you want. [Curbed Hamptons]
  • See how the city is spending $480 million on Rockaway Boardwalk through infographics. [DNAinfo]
  • Hudson University, the stand-in fake NYC college for crime shows like Law & Order, is a pretty scary place. [Scouting NY]
  • If you missed the George Washington Bridge getting lit up like the Empire State Building yesterday, here’s some photos. [Untapped]
  • A crumbling staircase in upper Manhattan is all that remains of one of the most important sites in sports history. [Atlas Obscura]

Images: Plane via Pilatus (L); Rockaway Boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy via Rockaway Boardwalk Stairs via photopin (license) (R)


  • By Diane Pham
  • , February 17, 2015

Image via Wikimedia CommonsEZpass nyc

Car-happy city folk are sure to grumble over this latest proposal from MoveNY to toll four East River bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Queensboro) and 60th Street in Manhattan. The group’s plan, backed by former traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz, is looking to raise funds for the MTA’s five-year capital plan (which is about $15.2 billion short of its target), and to make the cost of the city’s transit more equitable. The new program would apply a $5.54 toll each way for bridge-crossers traveling with an E-ZPass, while drivers without an E-Zpass will have to shell out $8 to cross each time. The same tolls would also be applied to all avenue crossings at 60th Street.

Find out more here

Architecture, Major Developments, South Street Seaport, Urban Design

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 17, 2015

Rendering of the proposed tower

Less than a week after it was revealed that the Howard Hughes Corporation paid $31 million for more than 300,000 square feet of air rights at the South Street Seaport, it looks like the entire $1.5 billion redevelopment project could be stalled. The overall plan would breathe new life into the downtown historic district by rehabilitating crumbling piers, preserving and finding new use for landmark buildings and constructing a 42-story waterfront condo tower at the foot of Beekman Street. And it’s this last point that has local officials, civic groups, preservationists and some community residents worried or downright angry.

The 494-foot-tall, SHoP Architects-designed tower has already been scaled back from its original 650 feet, but concerned parties still feel that the building would “obscure views of the Brooklyn Bridge and clash with the low-scaled, early-19th-century brick buildings that make up the 11-block seaport district, once the center of the city’s maritime industry,” according to the New York Times.

More on the debate

Brooklyn Heights, Cool Listings, Interiors

  • By Aisha Carter
  • , February 17, 2015

If you like your city with a side of country, you’ll love this Brooklyn Heights duplex penthouse on Remsen Street, asking $2.675 million. This place is the definition of the best of both worlds: a city pad with a bucolic vibe, original details with modern technology, plus it’s spacious and has a private planted deck while still being close to transportation and neighborhood hot spots. Yes, this penthouse definitely earns the title of most well-rounded.

More pics inside

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , February 16, 2015

It’s not rare to find an amazing historic townhouse in Brooklyn, but this is a first for us–an Arts and Crafts-style home inspired by the original owner’s career as a shipbuilder.

Built in 1914, 26 Winthrop Street is a 20.5-foot-wide, three-story red brick house that sits on an extra-deep lot of 132.5 feet in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. What makes the residence one-of-a-kind is the living room, modeled after a ship’s stateroom and complete with a vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling mahogany wainscoting.

See the rest of the house here


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