Deborah Nevins

Urban Design

The Sterling Mason Courtyard

Forget the legendary and uber-privileged access to the oasis known as Gramercy Park. The newest wave of private gardens are apparently so exclusive even residents can’t enjoy a stroll through the lush greenery.

Take the 2,400-square-foot courtyard currently being designed at The Sterling Mason, a new Tribeca loft building where an apartment can set you back up to $24 million. In a city where even the tiniest bit of green space is viewed as the ultimate amenity, turning what would have been a barren airshaft into a verdant outdoor sanctuary seems like a terrific idea. Tapping Deborah Nevins, one of the world’s most sought-after landscape designers to do it, an even better one. Keeping residents from enjoying more than a visual inspection of the rich white blossoms, lush green leaves, ivy walls and sculptural stream? Eh, we’re not so sure about that.

What’s up with this off limits trend?