Manhattan West too corporate? Far West Side too bland? Clinton too anodyne? Hell’s Kitchen too imprecise?
“You’ve heard of NoMad, NoLita, and NoHo,” writes Bisnow. “Well, get used to ‘NoChe.’ ” (We’d prefer not to!) “It stands for North Chelsea, pronounced a touch exotically”—because nothing screams exótico like millions of square feet of shimmering class A office space!—”like the Spanish word for ‘night.’ It’s how insiders are referring to the dramatic new area being forged by Brookfield and Related on the Far West Side.”
Tomorrow, Durst/Fetner will go before the Zoning and Franchise Subcommittee of the City Council, one of the final stops in the months-long public approval process for the developer’s angular apartment building at the western edge of 57th Street. Councilwoman Gale Brewer has sent a letter to the developer outlining her demands ahead of the hearing. They largely follow concerns she has had from the start, namely the affordability of the project, community space and an enticing streetscape for the project.
The condo board of the Atelier at 635 West 42nd Street is all hot and bothered. The board claims that strip club kingpin Robert Gans is using his unit for business purposes. Sexy business.
The New York Post reports that the board has filed suit against Mr. Gans, whom they allege is operating an escort service out of his apartment. An escort service is apparently a little too sexy for New York’s sexiest building.
For more than a year now, ever since the very first rental units at the monolithic, magnificent Mercedes House came on the market, Two Trees Management has been debating what to do with the rest of its zig-zagging luxury building on the Far West Side of Manhattan. The massive block-long project was a gamble for the Brooklyn firm, about as big and brash and far away from its home turf in Dumbo as one could get (without going to Godforbid, N.J.).
Mercedes House was built in two phases, a swooping base and a connected tower. There would be two sets of rentals, and, the cherry on top, a contingent of condos crowning the 1.3-million-square-foot building, with better finishes and excellent views, on floors 22 through 32. “Everything was high end,” Two Trees managing director Asher Abehsera told The Observer late last week.
He had called in part to set the record straight about the sale of those condos units in a block to Invesco, the Atlanta-based investment management group, that was widely reported last week.
In an unassuming corner of the city, perhaps the last one left, an under-appreciated brick building is about to undergo a transformation into yet the latest luxury development to hit a city that always seems to have room for another. The tan- and yellow-brick pile sits in the middle of West 50th Street between 9th and 10th avenues, on the border between Hells Kitchen and the neighborhood that suddenly seems to be blossoming along the river as the Dursts, Walentas and others assemble shiny new apartment towers just to the northwest.
Yet 435 50th Street is anything but flashy and new. A throwback in the grandest sense, in that it is a far bit better than the original, the project is the second coming out for Ralph Walker, the long-forgotten AIA president and Art Deco master who dotted the city with at once industrious and luxurious old towers for the New York Telelphone Company. It is noveau prewar of the first order.
Many a New York basement and unventilated bathroom is thick with the stuff; the city’s courts may be next.
A few weeks ago, Manhattan’s appellate court overturned an earlier decision blocking damage claims for health problems resulting from living in moldy buildings, The Journal reports—a decision that could result in a wave of personal injury lawsuits.
The Pershing Square Signature Theater opened today, with the mayor, Ed Norten, Steve Ross and Frank Gehry in tow. The theater was literally finished yesterday, as they installed the box office glass during lunch, among other finishing touches, so there was no official photography yet.
Fortunately, The Observer knows one of the best photographers in the city, William Alatriste, the staff shooter at the City Council. He has a killer eye for drama and scenery, so naturally this was the perfect environment for him. Until you get your hands on some of those $25 tickets, enjoy this photo debut of the Signature Theater.
Prison Yard Workouts
A few months after I became a member of a cheap gym in Hell’s Kitchen, it dawned on me I had visited the place only once—when I signed up. I needed professional help.
The trainer occupies an odd position in our lives: despite often being someone you would have never met outside of the gym, he’s privy to your tenderest intimacies and physical vulnerabilities. Like a parent or spouse, he criticizes your smoking, drinking and eating habits, and you actually feel guilty. You’re his boss, sort of, but he’s also yours.
I’d long thought of trainers as an indulgence of the well-to-do. Paying someone to perfect my body seemed a sexy soupçon of vanity and sloth, as decadent as having a private chef. Then again, I told myself, maybe my suffering would lend the endeavor just enough wholesomeness to preserve my radicalism. Plus, the first session was free.
“Do you work out?” my taskmaster, Bashar, asked me, 15 minutes into our introductory session, as I struggled to bench-press the bar. Since I had not done anything more strenuous, for years, than bounce along on the elliptical for the duration of a medium-length Terry Gross interview and two Rihanna singles, I lied.
And here we thought the Yotel was just popular because of the robot bag boys.
Hellsea is now officially “Midtown West.” Or it will be as soon as Gotham Organization’s massive new development is completed. Representatives from Gotham joined Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and Housing Commissioner Matthew Wambua to break ground at the site earlier today.