Here in the big apple one might assume the
bigger the better. However at least in our
neighborhood less is more. And by that I
don't mean lower prices. Rather I mean the
new phenomena of leveraging a minimum
physical footprint for maximum profit. You
see across the blocks near our apartment,
developers are replacing diminutive low
rise buildings with super thin slivers of
luxury that rise far above the rest, Each of
which offer prestigious addresses, amazing
views, and decadent amenities at baffling
purchase prices plus added assessments.
Slowly but surely this upper end of tried and true
midtown is becoming the most expensive place in
which to live in Manhattan. While not as hip as the
West Village, Soho, or Tribeca, it long ago lost it's
luster post commerce usurped mansions on Fifth,
Madison, and Park Avenues. However post the
development and record breaking real estate sales
at 15 Central Park West - suddenly the core of the
apple is chic once more. And while few locals like
living in the midst of construction barricades and
cranes isn't exactly fun, it's exciting to see things
moving in the right direction. Now if the tourists
would only go somewhere else to sightsee!
Our last apartment was on East 55th between
Madison and Park. Thus we had a primo view
of the building of 432 Park Avenue. The first
of it's kind midtown, as of now it's the tallest
of the skinniest residential buildings. Rising
to over a quarter of a mile from the pavement
(1,396 feet to be exact) it tower covers 8,233
square foot with 92 stories and 125 residences.
Each floor's exposure is lined with a wall of'
ten foot square windows and 360 degree views.
The penthouse sold for $87.66 million. Rumor
now has it that some units can be grabbed for
millions off the list price. Time to get high?!
Over the top
Just a few blocks north sits 520 Park Avenue.
Entered via East 60th it spans a 4,631 square
footprint. Only due to the purchase of the air
rights over Christ Church on Park (for $30
million) can it claim that address and rise up
781 feet (54 stories). Clad in limestone it is
modeled after those posh pre-war coops that
lack it's unsurpassed views of the entire city,
Central Park, the Hudson and East rivers.
Units start at $16.2 million for home on a full
lower floor. Or you can spend $130 million
for the triplex high atop this tall order. How
high is high? A $51,000 monthly assessment!
Just west of our apartment on 57th are four
skinny sisters in process. The thinnest of the
group is also the nearest. 111 West 57th will
float above the landmarked Steinway Hall
built in 1925. Soaring at 1,439 feet it will
encompass 90 stories and 69 units. However
at a ratio of 1.23 to it's height, it will be the
most slender hi-rise in the world. Faced with
an inundating facade of bronze and textured
terracotta it's certain to become one of New
York's most famous buildings. However the
new tiered structure will sit behind the old
building to showcase it's architectural legacy.
Completed in 2014, One 57 is the grand dame
of slenderisers. Standing at 1004 feet it houses
168 apartments on 90 stories. Clad in a skin of
curvaceous reflective blue glass, it's not nearly
as elegant as some of the newer up and comers.
However somebody must appreciate it given
the penthouse sold for $100 million in January
of 2015. With a Park Hyatt at it's base, it offers
a variety of unsurpassed amenities. However
given it sits on Fifty Seventh, who knows how
long it may be before somebody builds along
58th and blocks their view of the park. How
quickly the high and mighty fall from grace.Room with a view
Soaring slivers serve a purpose. The Art
Student's League won big post selling
their air rights to the Central Park Tower.
At 1,599 feet it will sit at the top of the
heap with 99 floors, 183 units, a hotel,
plus the first Nordstrom in Manhattan.
However it's views may be compromised
by it's neighbor at 220 Central Park South.
After hearing of plans for said structure,
the tower developer grabbed a building
that impeded 220's progress. $194 million
later, a deal was cut that improved their
outlook. Timing is everything isn't it?!
220 Central Park South is actually two connected
buildings. Directly on the park will sit the villa
at 17 floors scaled to compliment it's neighbor
the historic Gainsborough Studios. Rising behind
at 66 stories above 58th street is the larger "tower."
However both edifices will only house 83 luxury
residences. Architect Robert A.M. Stern designed
this limestone clad deco homage to compliment
his prior success at 15 Central Park West. This
edifice will have much better park and city views
All the reason to price it's triplex penthouse at
$250 million. If they get that, a higher standard
will be set. Location, location, location!
While the very idea of purchasing some extra
air for millions may seem horrific to many of
you, it's actually a good thing. This slimming
trend insures historic structures live on rather
than become shadows of their former selves.
However one wonders what a billionaire will
do should a fire start one thousand feet below.
Or what will happen when these building age
to a point where repairs are necessary. We can
only hope that in this city where money buys
almost everything - each of these new abodes
comes with an exit strategy and a long term
maintenance agreement. Caveat emptor!
432 PARK AVENUE
520 PARK AVENUE
111 WEST 57TH STREET
220 CENTRAL PARK SOUTH
CENTRAL PARK TOWER