The New New School
A week before the New School was set to open its new 375,000-square-foot University Center at 65 Fifth Avenue, a water main burst at the corner of Fifth and 13th, flooding the new building’s cafe/event space and ground-floor classrooms—necessitating several months of extra work on the flooded areas. Nonetheless, the 16-story brass and glass building, which represents the largest construction project in the university’s history, will open its doors on Thursday. (Meanwhile, city workers continue their efforts to repair the broken water main out front, laboring in a giant pit that has shut down Fifth Avenue for more than a week.)
If you’re lucky enough to be invited inside Howard Slatkin’s elegant Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre, you will most likely be greeted with a flute of Cristal. The famed interior designer wants you to be as comfortable as possible in his home, which is crammed with antique vases, statuettes, porcelain flowers and embroidered curtains from India. Read More
Of Real Estate and Politics
Fifth Avenue again lost out to Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay in a ranking of the world’s priciest retail locations, according to a report released today by the retail research division of Cushman & Wakefield.
The 25th annual edition of the Main Streets Across the World ranking found a 14.7 percent growth in rental values–to an average $3,017 per square foot–along Causeway Bay, with Fifth Avenue trailing at an average $2,500 a foot. That figure was right on par with last year’s. Paris’s Champs Elysées rounded out the top three at $1,601 a foot rental value, an impressive 38.5% surge from last year for the tourist mecca, which has recently been trying to restore some of its long-vanished class and exclusivity.
The political divide that runs down the middle of Central Park, dividing the very blue Upper West Side from the very red Upper East is considered as unyielding and insuperable as the Berlin Wall. During the last presidential election, the top two fundraising zip codes for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were on the Upper West Side (10024) and Upper East Side (10021) respectively, an ideological division that has held fast all these years despite all that is shared between the fabulously wealthy residents who live in the sprawling, pre-war co-ops lining either side of the Park.
However, as the results of the most recent mayor’s race reveal, the political leanings of the East and West sides are not as uniform as they seem at first blush—in fact, during an analysis of The New York Times‘ election district results, The Observer discovered that there are some surprising bastions of conservatism in a few of Central Park West’s most storied buildings (alas, no corresponding pockets of liberalism can be found in the posh precincts that radiate out from Fifth Avenue).
For the past eight months, visitors to St. Patrick’s have entered the historic cathedral through two decidedly uncelestial stainless steel doors, giving the entrance of the 134-year-old church all the mystery and beauty of the walk-in freezer at Fairway.
Late last year, the building’s old bronze doors, which were decorated with unusual sculptures of saints but had corroded and, at one point, been covered with paint in an ill-fated preservation attempt, were removed in the wee hours of night. (Fifth Avenue had to be closed for their removal.) After more than six decades of welcoming the faithful, the doors were taken to the Long Island City workshop of Remco Maintenance, a firm specializing in large-scale restoration and installation projects.
Tales of Retail
Clementina “Tina” Santi Flaherty won’t be leaving the penthouse after all at 1040 Fifth Avenue, the fabled limestone building that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis also called home.
Business trailblazer, socialite, author and self-declared “powerchick,” Ms. Flaherty is keeping the duplex penthouse that she and her ex-husband William Flaherty, a zinc magnate, purchased in happier times. She is paying $13 million for the privilege of staying, according to city records.
It is a POPS done right.
The Apple Cube on Fifth Avenue managed to transform a windswept plaza at one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan into a destination known the world over—one that became a shrine to its creator when Steve Jobs passed away earlier this week. The Journal‘s Eliot Brown (an Observer alum!) talked with reclusive developer Harry Macklowe about how the cube came to be. Like all things Apple, it wasn’t his idea but Jobs’.
Fifth Avenue has long have been the summit of Manhattan retail. But high-end gear shop The North Face was initially wary of setting up on the glitzy strip. Nonetheless, the California retailer, which makes adventure apparel for the suburban set, is searching for space to open a new store on Fifth Avenue, a source said. Read More
Time for Squares
Think twice before you elbow a tourist in Times Square. Rents in the wanna-be hotspot just soared 21 percent, thanks to the city’s tourism boom.
Retailers in the area are now paying upward of $1,700 a square foot annually, according to a quarterly report from the Real Estate Board of New York that came out this morning. That’s Read More
The Times sat down with retail maven Robert K. Futterman yesterday to discuss his work in the city. He talked about the reliability of Soho and Fifth Avenue during the recession, that neither has seen a rent dip (our guess is all those foreign tourists), as well as two especially intriguing projects Read More