Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east 50s is a lesser-known architectural treasure. Philip Johnson’s 1950 Rockefeller Guest House is one of a handful of private residences the architect designed for New York City clients. The house is a designated historic and architectural landmark, but a subtle one that’s easily missed on the quiet street–as the New York Times puts it, “the house doesn’t give up its secrets easily.” Once you spot the home’s brick-and-glass facade, though, it’s hard not to be enthralled.
The most amazing thing, perhaps, is that the diminutive building is virtually unchanged since it was constructed in 1950. It’s the best preserved of Johnson’s New York contributions. Inside, the minimalist house has displayed some of the 20th century art world’s most important works.
Begun in 1949, the house was commissioned by Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller, wife of oil scion John D. Rockefeller III and passionate modern art collector, as a sort of auxiliary home gallery for her impressive rotating collection–a mini-MoMA if you will–that included works by Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Alberto Giacometti and Robert Motherwell among many others. Blanchette Rockefeller was an active MoMA member as well, and she used the home as a space to entertain collectors, dealers and artists in the Turtle Bay neighborhood that was home to art world luminaries like Peggy Guggenheim and Max Ernst and the location of Andy Warhol’s factory in the 1960s. She built the home designed by the young architect on a 25-by-100-foot plot of land between her Beekman Place apartment and MoMA for $64,000.
Details like steel framed glass walls, tiled floors with radiant heat and a huge sculptural fireplace would be just as treasued in a custom home today; the glass-walled pond with its fountain and path of large stones “like stylized lily pads” is more rare.
Blanchette Rockefeller donated the Guest House to MoMA in 1958; the museum resold it shortly thereafter. In 1971, Johnson himself rented the home and lived there for the next eight years with his partner, art dealer David Whitney, dining daily at the nearby Four Seasons (whose design was a collaborative effort of Johnson and Mies van der Rohe). His own art collection and art-world soirees were as legendary as those of its first owner. The house was last sold in 2000 for $11.16 million to an unnamed buyer; that price per square foot set a New York real estate record.
Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east ...
While you may have never heard of the term “bioswale,” you have probably seen these curbside gardens throughout the city. A bioswale, or rain garden, is a pit dug into the sidewalk that’s been filled with rocky soil and shrubbery. These gardens absorb polluted stormwater and prevent runoff that could seep into waterways through the sewer system. Despite being an effective solution to water pollution, the New York Times reports that some city residents are crying out against find bioswales, calling them unattractive, messy, and hotbeds for trash and pests.
As storms become more frequent because of climate change, and especially in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has recognized the need for even more bioswales. The city’s sewer system is combined, meaning when a storm comes, rainfall mixes with raw sewage water flowing from homes and buildings. If it rains a lot, the waste overflows untreated into local waterways, like the Bronx River, Flushing Bay, Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay and Newtown Creek. Each bioswale costs about $26,000 to build, and as part of the city’s $1.5 billion investment in green infrastructure, over 3,000 bioswales have been created in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The city is considering placing some in Manhattan.
Critics of the bioswales say not only are they an eyesore in the neighborhood, but they create mud pits perfect for mosquito breeding (the city, however, says the pits drain within 48 hours). Even city official Tony Avella, a Democratic state senator, has voiced his opposition to bioswales. Avella, who represents Queens, has held a couple of anti-bioswale rallies, criticizing the city’s lack of communication with community groups. Last summer, he filed a petition to opt-out of bioswales, and in January of this year, Avella said he wanted to fully opt-out of the program, foregoing soil testing completely.
“I understand the logic,” Avella said. “But that doesn’t mean that anytime you think you have a good idea, you have the right to roll over everybody and do it. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.”
The city plans to continue constructing bioswales, but resistance from locals has led to some changes. Now, residents can choose between swales that either look like lawn grass or ones hidden under concrete. Plus, the city is in the process of hiring more than two dozen workers to maintain the bioswales and dispose of any garbage.
Eric A. Goldstein, the New York City Environment Director for the Natural Defense Council told the Times: “New Yorkers often object to changes in their neighborhoods. But rebelling against the city paying to green up local streets, is really something else.”
While you may have never heard of the term “bioswale,” you have probably seen these curbside gardens throughout the city. ...
Sure, a piano is always a nice touch, especially in a classic Central Park South condo like this. But when that piano belonged to none other than the late David Bowie, that certainly changes things. First spotted by the Post, the Essex House apartment that he and wife Iman lived in from 1992 to 2002 (before moving to Soho, where she still lives) has hit the market for $6,495,000, which includes Bowie’s Yamaha.
Enter through a limestone entry foyer that leads to the 28-foot-wide living room, complete with large picture windows providing views of Central Park and shelves hidden behind movable walls. It’s adjacent to a walnut-paneled office.
In the pass-through kitchen you’ll find top-of-the-line appliances, polished granite counters, and custom cabinetry.
Both bedrooms are master-sized and have custom en-suite baths, but the formal master has a separate paneled dressing area that was custom built for Iman. The master bathroom panic room that Bowie created, fortunately or unfortunately, has been removed.
When Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates designed the 59-story tower in 1973, they included the public space in exchange for building a taller structure. Currently, it serves as a connection to the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street subway station, and its open corner location allows passersby to take in the building’s iconic, 100-foot-tall “stilts.” In fact, architecture critic Paul Goldberger referred to the Citicorp Center as “probably the most important skyscraper built in New York in the 1970s because of its elegant and memorable shape, but also because of its engagement with the city at the base.”
Though said in reference to Stubbins’ death in 2006, the Sasaki-designed plaza is indeed part of this equation, and it was included in the LPC designation. However, a clause in the designation report says changes to the plaza will fall under the purview of the City Planning Commission, thereby leaving the LPC out of the equation and angering preservationists who feel the space should be left intact. The LPC says the planned changes from co-owner Boston Properties and the designers at Gensler were approved by City Planning prior to the landmarking and that alteration permits are already filed with the Department of Buildings. Though the Architect’s Newspaper hasn’t been able to locate these, the latest set of renderings show the plaza without the fountain.
Of the possible loss, Sasaki principal emeritus Stuart Dawson, who designed the plaza, said:
I was and am incredibly proud of the work we did on the sidewalks, plaza, cascading fountain, and interior atrium of the Citicorp Center… As the fate of this work is up in the air I cannot help but to return to the original idea that carried through all aspects of the project: the idea of connection. At the time, we asked why not carry the fountain and broad steps all the way from street level; to chapel and atrium entrance level; to the subway level?… It was a first! And today, as I learn that the plaza we designed is in danger of demolition I ask that we consider connection once more. I would like to see the plaza live on, connecting one era of design into the next.
Earlier this month, 6sqft revealed renderings of 601 Lexington Avenue‘s (the Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center) new ...
In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Ahead Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer shares her top picks for 6sqft readers!
See the newest of American art according to curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks at the Whitney Biennial, then check the original intent of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s collection at the museum bearing his name. Put your arty dancing shoes on for a party at the Knockdown Center, then celebrate fashion at the House of Yes. Get an insider’s look at Daniel Gustina’s designs for Old Hollywood at FIT, and check out Ventiko’s sanctuary at Chinatown Soup. Finally, spend an evening with funny artists at Muchmore, or indulge in your favorite French things at a screening of Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.
Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim ↑
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Avenue
Through September, 2017
Collector Solomon R. Guggenheim and artist Hilla Rebay aligned in 1929 to begin his art collection grounded in non objectivity. This exhibition, curated by Megan Fontanella, examines over 150 works that Guggenheim acquired himself, including Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky.
Whitney Biennial ↑
Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street
Through June 11, 2017
The 87th year of the celebration of American art features 63 artists this year, including a structure covered with rotting, dripping bologna and a VR piece of a guy getting the crap beat out of him.
Tour of “Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond” ↑
Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street
Thursday, March 23, 1:00-2:00pm
Curator Daniel Gustina gives an insider’s tour of Wizard of Oz costumer’s Gilbert Adrian’s costumes from Old Hollywood.
Ventiko-Phos Hilaron: From the Masses Rise the Saints ↑
Chinatown Soup, 16 Orchard Street
Friday, March 24, 6:00-8:00pm
Ventiko’s three-part exhibition is an art action of exaltation and togetherness countering the current socio-political landscape, which includes the Chapel, the Reliquary and the Altar.
FABULOUS: Fashion Dance Party ↑
House of YES, 2 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 25, 10:00pm
Design your best life, flaunt your ferocious fashions and absurdist adornments for an evening of extreme extravagance, elegance and high vibe wearable art- and dancing!
Marie Antoinette with pastries & champagne ↑
Videology Bar & Cinema, 308 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 26, 7:00-9:00pm
Indulge in the decadence that is Sofia Coppola’s visual masterpiece, while sipping on complimentary champagne and pastries from Ladurée.
Zines and Comedy with AJ Wright ↑
Muchmore’s, 2 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn
Sunday, March 26, 9:00pm
Five artists combine two unlikely things, zines and comedy, for a fun evening hosted by Jennifer Vanilla.
In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
Mikhail Baryshnikov, who fled the Soviet Union in 1974 and landed in Canada is today considered one of the greatest ballet dancers in history (closer to home, he also starred in “Sex and the City” as Sarah Jessica Parker’s penultimate love interest). Nearly six years ago, he and his wife, former ballerina Lisa Rinehart, relocated to Harlem from the posh upstate enclave Snedens Landing, and they’re clearly happy with this move, as they also recently bought a $1.4 million condo at the Strathmore, located at 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (h/t NY Post). Their new prewar abode, originally listed for $1.32 million, boasts three bedrooms, a cozy layout, and high ceilings.
Large windows let lots of natural sunlight in to the generous living and dining rooms, which include plenty of space for entertaining. The beautiful Mount Neboh Baptist Church and tree-lined boulevard make for a great view.
The open layout and hardwood floors featured throughout give this unit a cozy feel. The kitchen includes Hansgrohe fixtures and stainless steel Whirlpool appliances.
The 1,340-square-foot condo has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which include sunflower shower heads and recessed medicine cabinets.
The building’s prewar character remains visible with its brick and limestone exterior, and a wrought iron gate. This unit in the Strathmore sits at a convenient location to both Central Park and Morningside park, with an abundance of restaurants and shopping nearby. Plus, it’s easy to get anywhere you want, as the 2, 3, 6, B and C subway lines are within walking distance from the Strathmore.
Mikhail Baryshnikov, who fled the Soviet Union in 1974 and landed in Canada is today considered one of the greatest ballet dancers ...
Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding more countdown clocks, contactless payment by next year, Wi-Fi at all stations (mission accomplished, here), and other high-tech features. It also included news that 30 stations would be revamped, requiring them to shut down entirely for six to 12 months, instead of just on nights and weekends. As of Monday, as amNY tells us, the first three on this list– the R train stations at 53rd Street in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge Avenue, and Prospect Avenue–will close for half a year for a combined $72 million renovation.
These 102-year-old stations will receive new features like canopies over station entrances, new granite tiling, glass barriers flanking turnstiles, digital wayfinding screens at street level, and LED lighting on the mezzanine and platform levels.
The 53rd Street station will be the first to close on Monday, March 27, re-opening in the fall. Bay Ridge Avenue will close on April 29 and Prospect Avenue on June 5. “By using the design-build method, we are putting the onus on one contractor to get the work done seamlessly and on time,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. The emphasis is on giving them complete access to the stations and the ability to get in, get done and get out as quickly as possible.”
The MTA will soon issue an RFP for the second group to close–the Broadway, 30th Avenue, 36th Avenue and 39th Avenue stations in Queens.
Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding ...
For the first time in decades, an apartment in The Campanile, an exclusive co-op building in the Beekman/Sutton Place neighborhood, is for sale. As the New York Times reports, the sprawling fifth-floor home belonged to Greta Garbo, the late Hollywood starlet, and hit the market this week at an asking price of $5.95 million, in an all-cash offer. Garbo bought 2,855-square-foot, three-bedroom residence in 1953 and lived there until her death in 1990, enjoying its private location and the fact that it was “very reminiscent of where she grew up in Stockholm — close to the water and with lots of sunlight,” said her great-nephew Derek Reisfield. But with the apartment now largely vacant, her family has decided to sell.
The large, L-shaped 34-by-20-foot living room, with wall-to-wall pine wood paneling, includes a working fireplace and leads to a library. Several oversized windows bring in an abundance of natural light and spectacular views of the New York Harbor.
On the north side of the apartment, there is a formal dining room, described as having “Scandinavian ethos,” and an eat-in kitchen which gives another great view of the water. The large kitchen, recently renovated, has granite countertops and Miele appliances. Just off the kitchen, there is storage space which includes locking silver and wine cabinets.
Garbo decorated the walls of the master bedroom and the bed’s headboard with rose-colored Fortuny silk. The paneling on the walls come from an old Swedish armoire, imported from her country house near Stockholm. All three bathrooms, including the master bath, were recently renovated.
One bedroom features one-of-a-kind, brass lattice encased bookshelf. All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms. On top of incredible river views, each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom.
After Garbo’s death, Mr. Reisfield’s mother Gray Reisfield acquired the apartment as the sole heir to her estate. She and her husband used it as a pied-à-terre and ultimately a permanent residence from 1992 to 2013, leaving it largely untouched. Mr. Reisfield told the Times that the family is sad to part with the apartment of their glamorous aunt, as many memories took place there. While some remember Garbo as a private person, Reinsfield said she was “hardly a hermit.”
“If you look at her date books, you see she was going out to lunch and dinner and had a fairly active social life,” he told the Times. “She just wanted to live her life on her own terms and never wanted to participate in the whole P.R. circus of Hollywood. She loved New York and found she could go out with relative anonymity.”
For the first time in decades, an apartment in The Campanile, an exclusive co-op building in the Beekman/Sutton Place neighborhood, ...
In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city’s commuters. Among the findings: New York City’s transit systemisn’t the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
All cities with over 5,000 workers 16 and older who made use of public transportation to get to and from work were included in the study, which took a look at 73 cities across the U.S., comparing the cost of the least expensive monthly passes in each to the income of those who use the public transit system.
The standards for “affordability” were based on how much of the average commuter’s paycheck goes towards taking a bus or train to work. The price of passes and incomes varied widely from city to city, making that percentage a lot different even though the price of a card might be almost the same.
Fares in New York City are among the highest in the country. However, because the city’s commuters pull in higher incomes compared to most cities, they can more easily afford the high fares: The city’s commuters spend 3.62 percent of their average monthly income on a pass, which is only slightly above the national average of 3.2 percent, putting New York in the middle of the pack among all the cities analyzed.
Monthly passes in Los Angeles and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale cost more than 8 percent of the average commuters’ income (though the residents of those cities have higher incomes as well) making them the least affordable transit systems of all. The most affordable cities for commuters overall included Washington D.C. (the only big city on that list), Trenton NJ, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, where riders only had to part with between one and two percent or so of their incomes for a monthly pass. Other cities that scored high for affordability–Albuquerque, NM and Durham, NC, for example–were low to medium in affluence, but offered passes that were a serious bargain at only $20 to $30.
The analysis shows that some cities are relatively unaffordable because “commuters who make far less than New Yorkers are forced to pay New York-like prices.” In Cleveland, Portland, Atlanta, and Denver, passes cost around $100. In some cities–El Paso, Springfield MA, and Dayton OH–commutes ring in at below-average costs, but commuters are also notably poor.
But what about the quality–or even quantity–question that wasn’t mentioned in the study? New York City’s MTA system may cost a lot to ride, but it goes pretty much everywhere, it runs 24/7 with some exceptions, and with the usual gripes and snafus aside, is safe and clean given the size and territory covered. Among the winners in affordability, neither San Francisco nor Boston trains run late at night, which effectively removes them as an option though you’re still paying for the service with a pass. Top contender D.C. has been showing us all up lately: A recent bike share report showed that city’s bike sharing program as being the nation’s most well-stocked and widely-used.
In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks ...
This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of living space, but it definitely has an artistic side and plenty of warmth provided by details like exposede brick and hefty wood beams. Situated in a heavenly, tree-lined stretch of the heavenly, tree-lined Village, the doorman/elevator building is a top choice for location as well–and we’re guessing it’s the reason for the $675,000 ask.
Dark stained hardwood floors, oversized windows that look out on the Sheridan Square gardens, original barrel vaulted red brick ceiling and original cast iron columns make any loft feel spacious, and a custom-built Murphy bed utilizes space efficiently and makes room when it’s needed. Also custom-built, a well-organized kitchen features stainless steel cabinets, black granite countertops, a built-in microwave, an under-counter SubZero refrigerator and a Gaggenau two-burner gas stove.
With sleeping and cooking covered, that leaves lounging and entertaining, and it looks like creativity goes a long way when carving out cozy relaxation space.
Last but not least, a remodeled bathroom offers a lovely space to start the day with walls of sparkling white and a rustic wood sink topped with a hefty slab of marble.
This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of ...
This furnished rental at 527 East 12th Street in the East Village is downright dreamy. The exposed brick has been painted white and the walls are lined with greenery. It’s a studio but has enough space to fit a large bed, couch and office nook. And if you like the decor you’re in luck–this apartment comes fully furnished and it’s now asking $3,200 a month.
The white bed and exposed brick are offset by wood-beamed ceilings, remnants from this prewar apartment building, as well as custom teak furniture. The studio has also been outfitted with some inventive, space-saving storage, like drawers built into the bed and a desk with floor-to-ceiling shelving above it.
The kitchen is surprisingly spacious and boasts some new appliances and white cabinetry that matches the rest of the apartment. It is separated from the rest of the studio by a half wall of storage space–which also serves as a good spot to keep plants.
They’ve even managed to fit a laundry machine into the cozy kitchen! And we can’t say no to more exposed brick and wood beams within this space.
Building residents all have access to a terraced roof deck with views across the East Village. The building itself, located between Avenues A and B, is two blocks away from the L train at First Avenue as well as Tompkins Square Park. If you’ve fallen hard for this building and the lovely studio inside, the rental is being offered as a 12-14 month lease that begins on May 1st.
[Listing: 527 East 12th Street, #F2 by Geoffrey Garcia for Bryan L Rozencwaig, LREB]