Terra-cotta, Latin for “fired earth,” is an ancient building material, made of baked clay, first used throughout early civilizations in Greece, Egypt, China the Indus Valley. In more modern times, architects realized that “fired earth” actually acts as a fire-deterrent. In the age of the skyscraper, terra-cotta became a sought-after fire-proof skin for the steel skeletons of New York’s tallest buildings. In the early part of the 20th century, the City’s most iconic structures were decked out in terracotta.
You’ll find terra-cotta on famous facades from the Flatiron to the Plaza, but the material often flies under the radar of pedestrians and architecture buffs alike because it can mimic other materials, like cast-iron or carved wood. Now, this long-underappreciated material is getting its due. On October 24th, the Historic Districts Council will present its annual Landmarks Lion Award to the terra-cotta firms Boston Valley Terra Cotta and Gladding, McBean, which work to keep terra-cotta alive worldwide, and to the preservation organization Friends of Terra Cotta, which has worked to preserve New York’s architectural terra-cotta since 1981. The ceremony will take place at Grand Central’s Oyster Bar, under the magnificent Guastavino terra-cotta ceiling recently restored by Boston Valley Terra Cotta. Fired up about finding “fired earth” around town? Here are 10 of the most impressive examples of New York terra-cotta!
Learn more about New York’s Terra Cotta Treasures
Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr
In May, the minority owners of the iconic Plaza Hotel, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, went into contract on the landmarked building, matching the $600 million offer made earlier in the month by a separate group of investors. However, reports out today tell us that the deal closed on Monday, with Katara Hospitality, a subsidiary of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, buying the minority owners’ 25 percent stake, along with Indian business group Sahara’s 70 percent stake and hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal’s five percent stake. Katara is the Qatar Investment Authority’s hotel division and this is their first foray into the NYC market. According to sources referenced by The Real Deal, the minority group decided to drop its bid because Katara offered greater “certainty” of closing.
The long road to selling the Plaza
Photo via Creative Commons
Update 5/8/18: Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. will buy the Plaza Hotel for $600 million, besting a previous offer made less than a week ago, according to the New York Post. While it was reported White City Ventures and the Kamran Organization were in contract to buy the iconic building, the prince and Ashkenazy, as the minority owner, had the option to acquire the hotel if they matched the $600 million offer. The deal is expected to close this summer.
A deal to sell the historic, 111-year-old Plaza Hotel has finally been reached, after the New York City landmark sat on and off the market for years and changed hands numerous times. As the Real Deal reported, a group of investors including Shahal Kahan of White City Ventures and Kamran Hakim of the Hakim Organization, are in contract to buy a majority share of the hotel for $600 million. While reports in March said the group was considering paying for part of the purchase with cryptocurrency, the deal instead is being made up of equity from investors and a $415 million loan from a pair of British billionaires, David and Simon Reuben.
More details here
Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr
Cryptocurrencies make the wild west look tame. Yet despite their volatility, they’re becoming more of a presence in NYC real estate. Five days ago, when we reported on the first Bitcoin closings in Manhattan, the value of Bitcoin was $8,592. It is currently $7,999. According to a CNBC report, Chimera, a group of foreign investors interested in buying the Plaza Hotel, is considering offering partial payment for the transaction in a new cryptocurrency. Chimera has proposed the creation of the “Plaza Token,” an asset-backed securitized token, to raise more than $375 million. They are being advised about this initial coin offering by a company called Securitize. “This would give cryptocurrency investors the chance to diversify into luxury real estate and receive certain concessions inside the Plaza Hotel,” CNBC reports.
Cronuts. Raclette. Poke bowls. Avocado toast. While the list of trendy cuisines making a splash in New York City’s food scene appears endless, food halls are making it easier for New Yorkers to try a bit of everything all under one roof. The city is experiencing a boom in this casual dining style; real estate developers opt to anchor their buildings with food halls, as all-star chefs choose food halls to serve their celebrated dishes. Ahead, follow 6sqft’s guide to the city’s 24 current food halls, from old standby Chelsea Market to Downtown Brooklyn’s new DeKalb Market, as well as those in the pipeline, planned for hot spots like Hudson Yards and more far-flung locales like Staten Island.
More this way
, Mon, September 11, 2017
After making several attempts to sell his pad, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is relisting his lavish penthouse apartment in the Plaza for $50 million. Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleepo, first listed the apartment at 1 Central Park South in 2013 for $80 million. After dropping to $75 million in March 2015 and then $69 million, the most recent relisting had the property on the market for $58.9 million in April (h/t Mansion Global). The couple paid roughly $20 million in renovations for the 5,600-square-foot duplex, which features marble-clad rooms, vintage limestone fireplaces from England and a domed room that features a custom-designed “Elouise” mural designed by the children book’s illustrator Hilary Knight.
All-American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger bought three separate condos in the Plaza in 2008 for a combined $25 million. He and his wife Dee Ocleppo then embarked on a very internationally influenced, $20 million renovation that combined the units into one opulent, 5,600-square-foot duplex, complete with marble-clad rooms, vintage limestone fireplaces from England, and a domed room inside one of the building’s iconic turrets that features a custom-designed “Eloise” mural by the books’ illustrator Hilary Knight. The couple listed the apartment in 2013 for $80 million, but despite its lavish interiors, it’s been on and off the market since then, its price dropping to $75 million in March 2015 and to $69 million a few months ago. The Wall Street Journal now reports that it’s reappeared with even sharper discount, dropping 26 percent to $58.9 million.
Take a tour of the incredible home
It is well known that Eloise lived in The Plaza. But the book was published in 1955, well before Manhattan real estate skyrocketed. So what would her apartment be worth today?
In fact, many children’s books have been set in New York City—think “Harriet the Spy” or “Stuart Little.” In this day and age of record-setting prices, how much would those fictional characters have to pay to live in their homes today? Who would have seen the most appreciation, Eloise or Lyle Crocodile?
Much detective work (à la Harriet) reveals the residences of a boy-mouse and a anthropomorphized girl dog span various neighborhoods including the Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, and Park Slope. What follows is a survey of six iconic picture books set in New York City and the current valuations of their fictional homes.
Check them out here
Illustration by Hilary Knight, courtesy of Simon and Schuster
Remember the story of Herbert J. Sukenik, the famous Central Park West “hermit holdout?” Developers paid the rent-controlled curmudgeon $17 million and gave him a free massive pad overlooking the park in a legendary buyout. His female counterpart might be one Fannie Lowenstein, whom none other than Donald Trump is said to have ended up bestowing a sprawling suite in the venerable Plaza Hotel at 1 Central Park South, complete with a Steinway grand piano and maid service. For zero dollars a month. For life. Here’s how the story of the woman the hotel staff referred to as “the Eloise from Hell” became yet another Manhattan rent regulation legend, as told by Vice.
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A gracious layout, unique pre-war details–including the signature bathroom finishes–and amenities unmatched in any Manhattan building make this one-bedroom condominium in the legendary Plaza Hotel and Residences at 1 Central Park South as enviable now as ever.
Currently asking $2.389 million, this perfectly maintained apartment offers all the cachet of Plaza living and every modern convenience. The home’s floorplan–offering a spacious entry foyer and a huge living/dining space–could even handle the addition of another bedroom or any number of alternative configurations. The unit faces the garden, and oversized windows allow warm light to infiltrate every corner.
Tour this classic Central Park South home