We wonder if the staff of 15 Central Park West knows that New York City’s swankiest new building will eventually have retail tenants like Best Buy and West Elm. Based on their reaction to a Starbucks cardboard coffee cup, we presume they may be in for a surprise.
Vanity Fair penetrated 15 Central Park West’s limestone facade for its September issue, and architecture critic Paul Goldberger had no shortage of praise for the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building–"The striking thing was the extent to which the building attracted New Yorkers who were ready for a change and didn’t want to live in a tower of glass"–and for its developers. "The Zeckendorfs had figured out that nothing appeals to people, particularly rich people, like something new that doesn’t look too new."
Nonetheless, he found that there have been a few hiccups now that residents are settling in.
Some of the tenants have already moved in, and the staff is trying to give the impression that it, like the limestone façades, is just like what you would find in the great old buildings. Some of them try a bit too hard.
The other day, someone walked into the lobby carrying a paper coffee cup from Starbucks, and the staff gave her disapproving looks, as if the building’s high tone were so fragile that a paper coffee cup could shatter it.
Meanwhile, the condo owners who are not partial to Mr. Stern’s standard kitchen and bathroom layouts have gutted their brand-new apartments and are reconstructing them to their own specifications.
One owner I spoke with was less than thrilled when she discovered that the walls are made of plasterboard, which was most definitely not the way the walls were made at 740 Park Avenue, and that some of the light switches and electrical plates didn’t line up as they should. There are limits, it appears, to how completely you can fake a 1920s building in the 21st century, and behind all that limestone, this is very much a new building. She will take a year to rebuild her apartment, and then she and her husband will move in.
Michael Gross, author of 740 Park, wrote about 15 Central Park West for The Observer last summer.