In New York City, where buying and selling real estate is a high-stakes endeavor, the topic of historic and landmark designation is frequently raised. There are heated discussions on the subject of listing neighborhoods or buildings on the State and National Register of Historic Places or having them designated by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. It’s important to know what those organizations do and the distinctions between them. You could even be eligible for significant financial aid for your renovations if you own property in an historic district.
New York City has always been a hub for writers. Whether they were living in luxury or getting their start as starving artists, famous writers have lived and worked all across New York, and you can still see many of these writerly abodes today. Whether you’re a fan of the Beat Generation, Sci-Fi, or even Southern Gothic, you might be interested in tracking down a famous writer’s home.
Photo © Cameron Baylock
Among neighborhoods primed to be the next untapped frontier, Ridgewood isn’t a newcomer. This low-key community on the western border of Queens has seen a steady migration of L-train riders, including the young and restless fleeing Williamsburg and professionals looking for a safe, accessible, quiet ‘hood to call home. In New York City, where every square foot vies for “next big thing” status, Ridgewood is a smart alternative to its headline-stealing North Brooklyn neighbors, Bushwick and Williamsburg, for anyone looking to invest in an up-and-coming residential area.
It isn’t unusual to see old warehouses, churches and banks converted into luxury multi-unit condos and apartments. But far more rare, and often shrouded in myth and mystery, are one-of-a-kind buildings that had former lives as banks, schools, a synagogue, a public bath house, a Con Ed substation, even a public restroom and a hillside cave–and have more recently served as home and workspace for a lucky handful of bohemian dreamers (and hard-working homeowners).
Image credit: MAAP
The Fraunces Tavern Museum at 54 Pearl Street in FiDi has a long history of use, changing hands and purpose countless times since it was constructed back in the 18th century. What started as a simple rental home was later turned into a dance studio, eventually finding itself as a popular tavern-slash-boarding-home-slash-community center throughout and after the Revolutionary War. The building even had a stint as the first offices of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, War and Treasury. But it wasn’t until 1904 that The Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, Inc. took over and decided to restore and preserve the historic building as a museum and restaurant. Our friends over at Find Everything Historic recently sat down with the Fraunces Tavern Museum’s executive director Jessica Baldwin Phillips to chat about what it’s like to maintain a storied building in a constantly changing city.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is an immortal novel about Long Island millionaires in the Roaring Twenties, inspired by actual parties Fitzgerald attended at the time. The Jazz Age mansions of Long Island’s “Gold Coast” certainly represent a bygone era, but you can still visit several of these Gatsby-esque architectural relics today.
It’s a common saying that money can’t buy good taste, but Peter Brant proves that old adage doesn’t apply to billionaires. According to city records, the American industrialist and businessman just closed on a former Con-Ed substation located at 421 East 6th Street for $27 million—$2 million above asking.
Constructed in 1920 to serve the city’s power needs, the building was altered in the 60s and again in the 80s to accommodate a live-work space for a famed sculptor Walter de Maria. Even with more than a century of history behind it, today the structure still keeps many of its original relics and the overall gritty aesthetic of its industrial past. As a lover of art himself, we’re curious to know how Brant will go about redesigning the space—if he does. Brant, who also happens to be married to supermodel Stephanie Seymour, is the publisher of both Interview and Art in America magazines and has been previously been called a “Donald Trump with taste” by the New York Times.
Banking made this town, and the bank buildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries continue to house some of New York’s most classic architecture and design. Greek, Roman, and even Byzantine Revival architectures were the style of choice for bank buildings, and those great stone pillars are still worth visiting today. Ahead are some of the most beautiful former bank buildings in New York City.
Everyone knows Manhattan is all about high-rise condos, tall apartment buildings, and any other kind of building in which people live above other people. But it wasn’t always that way. A hundred years ago, there was still room on this small island for the ultra-rich to build mansions all to themselves, single-family homes with the square footage of a castle. Today many of these buildings, all “Millionaire’s Row” mansions in the Upper East Side, belong to museums and schools, but the question remains: What are the biggest buildings in Manhattan today that were built as single-family homes?