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Our Favorite Upper West Side Novels

The atmosphere of the Upper West Side has been a breeding ground for great works of
fiction since the early days of the city. Writers want to sink their teeth into its elegance and
history, and their books both capture and enhance the mythology of the neighborhood. The
books illuminate the experience of walking in its streets—and walking in its streets connects
generations of readers to the spirit of the books.

Located at the heart of this mythic neighborhood, The Chatsworth was made to embody a
New York architectural dream of what was possible in this city when it was built in 1904. It
has been a defining fixture in the neighborhood since the days when it was the largest
building of its kind, forging a new mode of luxury Upper West Side living overlooking the
Hudson River.

J.D. Salinger probably walked past it many times as he grew up in the city, and maybe
Holden Caulfield passed by it on his way to The American Museum of Natural History
(AMNH) at Central Park West and 79th Street in Salinger’s New York City masterpiece, The
Catcher in the Rye. Eager to connect Holden’s New York to his own, writer Thomas Beller
went back to AMNH after rereading the book to better understand how deeply the voice of
Holden had helped create the neighborhood of his childhood. Beller explains that he was
charmed by Holden’s homage to the museum and describes a kind of déjà vu evoked by the
following passage: “’Sometimes we looked at the animals and sometimes we looked at the
stuff the Indians had made in ancient times,’ he recalls. ‘It always smelled like it was raining
outside, even if it wasn’t, and you were in the only nice, dry, cosy place in the world. I loved
that damn museum.’”

Another book which has left its mark on the city forever is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great
Gatsby, a story that solidified the identity of the Jazz Age and the city’s role in that cultural
phenomenon. The narrator, Nick Carraway, goes for a drive in the park with Jordan Baker
and captures the romance of the city in both the images of his descriptions and in the
cadences of his voice, which match the rhythms of the scene before him: “The sun had gone
down behind the tall apartments of the movie stars in the West Fifties and the clear voices
of little girls, already gathered like crickets on the grass, rose through the hot twilight… It was
dark now and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden
shoulder and drew her to me… We passed a barrier of dark trees, and then the facade of
Fifty-ninth Street, a block of delicate pale light, beamed down into the park.” Any resident of
the Upper West Side knows those particular places and times of day when you are in Central
Park but in some ways closer to the city because of the views of the skyline the park
affords—a skyline continuously defined by the ways writers have described it.

Yet another Upper West Side must-read is Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day, a book whose setting
is just a few square Upper West Side blocks, whose small globe of reality becomes an
extension of the hero Wilhelm’s psychological state, as well as a microcosm of the world.
And for a different kind of glimpse of the old New York Upper West Side glamour
embodied by The Chatsworth, read Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, in which the Upper
West Side itself appears to be part of Carrie’s inspiration to chase the American Dream and become a star.

Although Carrie’s story may be tarnished, The Chatsworth luxury apartments
are the perfect embodiment not only of this neighborhood, but of the neighborhood’s past
and the imaginations that have built—and are still building—it.

Late Summer at the Beacon Theatre

As if living in the elegantly redesigned prewar landmark The Chatsworth wasn’t enough, these Upper West Side apartments reside around the corner from one of NYC’s best-loved theaters. The Beacon, has witnessed countless major acts through the years: from the Allman Brothers and George Carlin to Mariah Carey and David Bowie. Make full use of this Neo-Grecian palace of entertainment by scoring tickets to some of the summer’s most exciting shows.

Pimpinela: Tour Hermanos, August 24th

A taste of classic Argentina comes to the Beacon this August, courtesy of the dueling duo Pimpinela. Though you may snicker at some of their earlier wardrobe choices, it’s hard to put down a musical act that has registered 25 million international record sales since 1981. Expect fiery pop duets from Lucía Galán Cuervo and Joaquín Roberto Galán Cuervo, who made a name for themselves performing songs of bitterness and argument, rather than of idealized love. Still, Pimpinela is a guaranteed hit for a romantic night out.

Alice Cooper, September 6th

At 70 years young, Alice Cooper still channels the meaning of rock ‘n’ roll at every single one of his live stage shows. That infamous story of him biting off a chicken’s head may have been vastly exaggerated, but the “Godfather of Shock Rock” invariably packs a punch—with guitar amplifiers cranked up to 11. Sitting in the luxury surrounds of the Beacon while standards like “School’s Out” and “Hey Stoopid” ring out, will be a different but wonderful experience.

Jethro Tull, September 11th

Blues. Prog. Folk. The sounds of Jethro Tull have been many and diverse over the years. Then again, these UK legends have had over half a century to experiment. This show looks back on a career laced with inventive classics, including “Witch’s Promise,” “Farm on the Freeway,” and “Nothing Is Easy.” Oh, and ready yourself for some serious flute solos from the indomitable Ian Anderson.

Neko Case, September 20th

Time and time again, singer-songwriter Neko Case wins plaudits for her hauntingly brilliant indie folk rock. In her time on the circuit, she’s performed as part of Canadian band The New Pornographers, but it’s in her capacity as a solo musician that Case has really shown what she can do. Her latest album, Hell-On, has tallied five stars from prominent publications and is sure to sound even more special in the Beacon’s setting.

Grab your tickets for the Beacon and plant your roots at The Chatsworth. Your luxury Upper West Side home is waiting for you!

Prewar, With a Twist

Prewar buildings have long had cachet in New York, but with decades of wear and tear, apartment layouts that have been cut up over time, and systems that are often outdated, living in them doesn’t always stand up to the romanticized ideal.

Still, for buyers like William and Nazak Savitt, living in a postwar building would be out of the question. “I like a beautiful building,” said Ms. Savitt, like the Beaux-Arts structures she admired while growing up in Paris.

So to take advantage of New York’s prewar history while offering the conveniences of a 21st-century condo at the top of the market, developers are using some of the city’s historic housing stock to create what are essentially new buildings in old shells. The resulting projects aim to appeal to contemporary tastes and expectations while holding their own against a flood of glassy new-construction luxury condos built from the ground up.

The Savitts, for instance, fell for the Chatsworth, a 1904 Beaux-Arts apartment building at 344 West 72nd Street, facing Riverside Park, with a brick-and-limestone facade resplendent in cherubs, elk heads, human busts and garlands, which is being converted to a co-op with condo-like bylaws by HFZ Capital Group.

“I came to the lobby, and it was so impressive,” said Ms. Savitt, 51, a graphic and interior designer. The wide columns and pilasters topped with Ionic capitals caught her eye, as did the carved walnut paneling and detailed plasterwork, both restored and recreated. Where there were once boarded up skylights, the space had been reimagined with backlit LED glass panels, along with sleek modern furniture and enormous glass-rod chandeliers from Italy.

Upstairs, she found an apartment that seemed ideal, with hefty crown molding, paneled doors and a foyer with a tracery ceiling. It was both historic and brand new — a freshly polished take on prewar living that didn’t exist when the building was constructed more than a century ago.

“I thought this layout was very intelligently done, and I just fell in love. And the bathroom and closet,” she said, pausing for a breath while showing a reporter her home, “wait until you see them.”

The reinvented spacious master bathroom had heated herringbone Carrara marble floors, a long lacquer vanity with a Bardiglio marble top, a windowed shower and a free-standing soaking tub by another window. The large walk-in closet in the master suite had three windows, one offering a glimpse of the park.

By the time Ms. Savitt heard about the building’s planned 10,000 square feet of new amenity spaces, including a fitness center, yoga room, games room, media room, wine room and library, there was no turning back.

She and Mr. Savitt, 52, an attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, closed on the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath apartment for about $5.4 million last December. They moved in this past June with their 16-year-old daughter, as construction continues elsewhere in the building.

The building very deliberately combines early 20th-century and contemporary design. The thick exterior walls, beefy floor slabs and lavishly detailed facade are original, but most of the rest — many interior walls and floors; the heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems; the extensive amenity spaces — is new.

Image
The lobby at 100 Barclay Street, a 1927 Art Deco office building, was reimagined by Jeffrey Beers International, and furniture and screens were added to the landmark interior.CreditBrad Dickson for The New York Times

“These moldings, people may think they’ve been here forever, but of course they haven’t,” said Andrew Sheinman, president of Pembrooke & Ives, the design firm that conceived the Chatsworth’s refreshed interiors. “It’s about recreating people’s perceptions of what this building should be.”

Competition in new construction is fierce, as the city’s building boom continues. The real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel expects 2,800 new condo units to have entered the Manhattan market this year, and 3,000 more to follow in 2018. Those pile on top of 5,400 new condos in 2015 and 4,000 in 2016.

Among sales of new Manhattan condos above $2 million over the 12 months ending in September, new-construction projects fetched an average of $3,116 a square foot compared to $2,686 a square foot for new prewar conversions, said Jonathan J. Miller, president of Miller Samuel.

Most of that price difference, he said, can be attributed to the higher floors in today’s vertiginous skyscrapers, which command a premium for each additional story that rises into the sky.

Although prewar buildings often can’t compete on height, one of the reasons developers are completing such elaborate Sheetrock-to-steam-shower overhauls in prewar conversions is to appeal to the largest pool of upscale buyers possible.

“You have particular buyers who will not live in a renovated building because they want to be in a new glass tower, and you have people who only want to live in prewar or historic, architecturally significant buildings,” said Ziel Feldman, the chairman and founder of HFZ Capital Group, which is developing the Chatsworth as well as converting the nearby Astor and Belnord apartment buildings to condos. “If I can somehow combine that attraction people have to a brand-new tower, but create it with a historic turn-of-the century building, I think you’ve got the best of both worlds.”

Part of the challenge in updating older buildings is that their original layouts catered to a different lifestyle, and a time when many wealthy people had live-in help and the kitchen was considered service space rather than a family gathering area.

“A lot of these prewar buildings had a lot of little rooms,” said Nancy J. Ruddy, a founder and managing principal of the architecture and design firm CetraRuddy. “The living rooms were grand, and the foyers were grand, but then they had little maids’ rooms, tiny bathrooms, a lot of bedrooms without closets and kitchens that were mostly designed for a cook.”

Such was the case when CetraRuddy began designing the renovation of 360 Central Park West, a limestone apartment building designed by Rosario Candela in 1929 that is being converted by Argo Real Estate, where available units start at $2.995 million.

To move and expand the kitchens, enlarge the bedrooms, and add closets and laundry rooms, the development team is combining roughly two old units for every new one.

“Originally, there were 146 units, and we will probably end up with around 70,” said Jeffrey Stockwell, an associate broker with Stribling Marketing Associates, which is handling sales and marketing, noting that the development team is working around rental tenants who remain in some of the apartments.

100 Barclay Street has 40,000 square feet of amenity spaces, including two new pools on a lower level.CreditBrad Dickson for The New York Times

CetraRuddy also convinced the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to allow workers to punch 34 new windows in the facade facing Central Park. “It enabled us to have corner living rooms with great windows on both 96th Street and Central Park West,” Ms. Ruddy said. “It was a game changer.”

At the same time, the building’s operating systems are being replaced. Mr. Stockwell said a new “four-pipe” central heating and cooling system will eliminate the need for window-mounted air-conditioners and allow the rooms to have independent temperature control.

Even with changes like these, apartments in prewar buildings typically have a different character than those in new buildings because they have traditional double-hung or casement windows rather than floor-to-ceiling glass, and a progression of defined rooms rather than wide-open spaces.

Jodi Balkan and Chris Dickerson were surprised at the difference when they bought an apartment at 88 & 90 Lexington Avenue. A conversion project from HFZ, it combined a 1927 limestone building at 88 Lexington with a 1958 building at 90 Lexington; available apartments there range from about $2 million to $5.875 million.

Designed by Workshop/APD, the renovation retained the facade of the older building but replaced that of the 1958 building with a new one featuring full-height windows, giving it the feel of a new-construction tower.

At first, Ms. Balkan, 50, the founder of the beauty-focused public relations company Bold PR, and Mr. Dickerson, 43, an actor, went into contract on a one-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the newer tower in September 2015. But a few months later, they upgraded to a larger two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit in the older tower, after falling for its traditional charm. They closed for $3.4 million last June.

“The layout in 88 is just more homey and has that prewar feeling, as opposed to new construction, which has adjoining rectangles,” Ms. Balkan said. “You walk into a rectangle, and then there’s just a rectangle for one bedroom and another rectangle for the other bedroom — that’s what most new builds look like.”

Their apartment, by comparison, is more rambling, with an entrance hall leading to a kitchen that is only partially open to the living and dining room, a separate hallway leading to the bedrooms and a study tucked in a corner.

“The prewar building is pretty special and has great proportions,” said Matthew Berman, a principal of Workshop/APD, noting that 88 Lexington has expansive floor plans with room to spare. “You end up with a lot of really generous spaces, like big foyers and bonus spaces.”

Nothing else about the project is old fashioned, however. On the ground floor, Workshop/APD has connected the buildings with a new shared lobby that is thoroughly contemporary, with perforated metal wall panels, neon signage and a faceted terrazzo-and-wood reception desk.

A staircase leads down to 8,000 square feet of new amenity spaces, including a large gym, screening room, lounge, playroom and spa with a lap pool that was carefully dug out between existing footings.

A similar mix of old and new is apparent at 100 Barclay Street, where Magnum Real Estate Group and CIM Group have carved out 157 condos on the top 22 floors of a 1927 Art Deco office building designed by the architect Ralph Walker (Verizon occupies the lower floors). Available units range from about $4 million to more than $14 million.

To reach the apartments, residents pass through a cozy new residential lobby designed by Jeffrey Beers International, with marble herringbone floors and salon-style displays of contemporary art, before emerging into the cavernous landmark lobby, which has ceiling murals depicting the history of communication and original bronze elevator surrounds blossoming with flowers and vines.

“You enter here and begin to see all the craftsmanship. Look at all these creatures,” said Stuart Marton, the executive vice president of Magnum, gesturing toward pewter squirrels adorning ornate elevator doors. “That’s something that can’t be replicated.”

Upstairs, contemporary corridors have carpets and wallcovering with Art Deco-inspired patterns, and lead to apartments with white oak floors, Calacatta Gold marble counters and Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances.

The building offers a dizzying 40,000-square-foot spread of amenity spaces, split between the full 18th floor, where there are four outdoor terraces, lounges and playrooms designed for residents of various ages, music practice rooms and a wine room, and two lower levels where there are two new pools, a fitness center, spa treatment rooms and yoga and Pilates studios.

“It’s a brand-new building within an amazing existing structure,” Mr. Marton said.

“It’s much, much easier to build a building from scratch,” he continued. With conversion projects, “all the electrical conduit, water pipes, steam pipes, gas lines are brand new, but you have to deal with existing slabs and take out the old systems.”

How much more difficult are these elaborate conversions compared to new construction? “About 10 times more,” said Robert Gladstone, the chief executive of Madison Equities, which is converting the 1912 neo-Gothic commercial building at 212 Fifth Avenue into condos designed by Pembrooke & Ives and Helpern Architects, in partnership with Thor Equities and Building and Land Technology. Mr. Gladstone recounted how parts of the building’s facade had become so unstable that they were lying in pieces on one of the upper floors when the project started.

On a recent morning, he pointed up at the restored facade from the sidewalk across West 26th Street. “Do you see the frieze of faces?” he asked. “Every single one had to be cleaned.”

And because the steel structure underneath that facade didn’t rise with straight lines, he said, the layout of some bathrooms had to be tweaked on almost every floor.

Mr. Gladstone said it was his company’s first — and last — conversion project: “I’m not running to do it again.”

But there was at least one recent turn of events that promised to make it all worthwhile. The triplex penthouse, which has five bedrooms and five full and three half bathrooms across 10,079 square feet, along with 5,730 square feet of outdoor space, was finally completed. The price: $73.8 million.

A sale of that size might be enough to make any developer reconsider.

Summer Fun in Riverside Park

For New Yorkers, summer often means an extended exodus to the beach. Sticking around in the city may sometimes require a little extra motivation, but committing to a staycation in the luxury Upper West Side apartments at The Chatsworth is easy.

 

Life at The Chatsworth means indulging every day in its bespoke amenities, but with an added bonus only Upper West Side residences in NYC can provide: easy access to Riverside Park, a swath of green running parallel to the stately Riverside Drive from 59th Street to 155th Street and the glacier-cut Hudson River to the west. Here, you’ll find a plethora of warm-weather activities—from Pilates to Shakespeare to film noir, all under the New York sun.

 

With tranquil breezes from the river and a host of park-sponsored classes and activities, you can break a sweat without hitting a fluorescent-lit boot camp class. On Sundays, try your hand—and balance—with the Chinese martial art Tai Chi at 89th Street and Riverside Drive, or elongate and tighten your limbs with Pilates in the Park every Tuesday at the Plaza at 66th Street. And, of course, there’s always Citi Bike for a quick pedal by the river.

 

School may be out for summer, but you and your family can still sneak in some interactive learning at the park as well. You can satisfy your inner-astronomer (or the family’s younger NASA astronauts-in-training) with the help of the Amateur Astronomers Association during Sun Gaze on Saturday, July 23, where you can view the sun and the summer sky through a telescope that will filter out any rays that could damage your eyes.

 

Fans of French cinema will be très pleased with the French Embassy’s screening of the Jean-Pierre Melville detective classic Un Flic on July 15th at Pier I near 70th street—part of the park’s Films on the Green series.
And if all this activity seems a little taxing for you on a lazy summer day, there’s always the simple pleasure of walking out of The Chatsworth and watching the tangerine-painted sunset over the Hudson River blue.

Summer at Lincoln Center

Living in The Chatsworth’s luxury Upper West Side apartments has ample advantages: modern amenities in a New York City landmark that features Beaux Art architecture with expansive floor plans and renovated interiors. But few New York City apartments can boast these benefits along with the added perk of proximity to one of the city’s premier cultural institutions: Lincoln Center, a nexus of world-class performances between Broadway and Columbus Avenue and just a short walk from the Chatsworth. Whether you’re looking for a black-tie gala or an outdoor festival, Lincoln Center will likely be hosting it this calendar year. Here are just a few of the happenings taking place there this spring and summer.

Lincoln Center Festival | July 13 – July 31

With the razzle dazzle of classical dance, modern multimedia, and ancient theater, Lincoln Center’s keystone festival brings together performers across disciplines and countries. This season, the National Ballet of Canada interprets Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, and one of Japan’s oldest Noh theater companies, Kanze Noh, performs Okina, a “dance-based spiritual rite.” A highlight of the festival is sure to be hundred-year-old Japanese theater company Takarazuka Revue’s all-female version of the Broadway hit Chicago.

Midsummer Night Swing | June 21 – July 9

Every summer, Midsummer Night Swing takes over Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center, transforming the sleepy plaza into a crowded dance hall with live music from bands performing genres ranging from salsa to rock n’ roll to swing. Wear comfortable shoes and get ready to jitterbug and jive alfresco from 6 until 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Don’t worry if you can’t “cut a rug”each evening there’s a group dance lesson.

Out of Doors Festival | July 20 – August 13

Culture doesn’t have to be confined to hushed theaters and recital halls. With the “Out of Doors Festival,” you can enjoy the country’s longest-running free arts festival, under the summer sun and in Lincoln Center’s outdoor spaces. Local and international performers fill the complex with music, poetry, dance, and spoken word. Past performers include Randy Newman, the Dorrance Dance Group, and Patti Smith, and screenings of a late-night, “silent” version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  This year, on Saturday, July 30, Laurie Anderson curates a day-long tribute to her late husband, Lou Reed, with screenings of Reed’s film Berlin, a sound installation of his guitar riffs, and a demonstration by Tai Chi Master Ren Guang-Yi.

Mostly Mozart Festival | July 22 – Aug 27

Fans of classical music wait all year for this annual celebration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with orchestras, soloists, and ensembles gathered from Austria to Austin, Texas. Now in its fiftieth year, “Mostly Mozart” is a New York City institution. In addition to the requisite performance of Mozart by the orchestra-in-residence, the Mostly Mozart Orchestra, the festival includes classical and modern acts, like last year’s contemporary compositions by Dai Fukijura or Mendelson played on period instruments by the Academy of Ancient Music. For those who like their music well after dinner and drinks, the late-night program, “A Little Night Music,” hosts recitals of soloists and chamber groups in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.

Kids at Lincoln Center | June – September

Ease your children into the world of art without making them sit through Wagner’s The Ring Cycle or subtitled film screenings: Kids at Lincoln Center has offered the tiniest cultural connoisseurs live performances of NYC’s first all-woman mariachi band Flor de Toloache and a clown circus, and this spring, will bring in children’s author Todd Parr to the Atrium at Lincoln Center to read from his book Teachers Rock! Every year the organization pairs with the Philharmonic to host the Young People’s Concert, where the ever-charming opera sensation Eric Owens explains how operas come to life through interactive audience discussions and demonstrations from the orchestra.

Image Courtesy of  ©iStock.com/DejanSredojevic

The Complete Package

The Chatsworth, a landmarked 1904 Beaux-Arts mansion, fulfills the dream of living in an earlier, more elegant era while enjoying 21st-century amenities. Add to that its proximity to arts, culture, and recreation, and The Chatsworth presents a complete package when it comes to luxury living on the Upper West Side.

At the regal entrance of The Chatsworth, residents and visitors are greeted by the coat of arms of the Duke of Devonshire, whose home in England gave this New York building its name. It soon becomes clear why The Chatsworth stands out as a rare example of a restoration that pays homage to its history while looking toward the future. Every common space is designed to provide a popular service at a level of style and elegance that is hard to find, even in Upper West Side condominiums. The lounge room, for example, boasts a vaulted brick ceiling as well as ambient lighting and uber-plush decor to rival the best private clubs of England. If you prefer to unwind with a game of table tennis or pool, all that can be enjoyed in The Chatsworth’s game room, which is attached to a private screening room.

Designers Pembrooke & Ives also paid careful attention to how families actually live in this day and age and incorporated amenities that suit adults and children alike. It’s no surprise, then, that the colorful children’s playroom was given the same thoughtful treatment as other spaces located throughout the building. Children have different needs and interests at different stages of their lives, and even throughout each day. Adult types will find this room incredibly useful through the years thanks to a glass partition that separates its two areas into a tranquil side with tables and chairs for quiet reading, drawing, or homework sessions and an active side where kids can be more rambunctious. A television is provided and the entire area is visible from the lounge room, so grownups can take a break while kids play.

The residences at The Chatsworth are also a top draw for discerning Upper West Siders. Outstanding features include open floorplans with herringbone or wide oak plank flooring, coffered ceilings, abundant natural light, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, and top-end finishes. Each home has marble surrounds and custom cabinetry with sleek stainless steel hardware, and several apartments present views of Riverside Park and the Hudson River. With all that The Chatsworth offers indoors, one might forget for a brief moment that beauty, culture, and excitement lie just outside its doors as well.

Romantic Restaurants on the UWS

A romantic evening out just may be the perfect finish for a long day. There’s no need to travel far from one’s luxury residence at The Chatsworth for the ideal evening repast—several establishments nearby serve up the ideal blend of intimacy and atmosphere, delicious dinner fare, and timeless cocktails.

Shalel Lounge, 65 W. 70th Street, is rated by guests as one of the most romantic destinations on the Upper West Side, and just about anywhere. Rose petals grace the stairs and the tabletops alike. Candles serve as the main source of light at each table for the ultimate amorous ambiance. Shalel Lounge also features hidden nooks and private rooms complete with couches and comfy chairs for relaxed conversations. The menu includes an assortment of Mediterranean fare from appetizers to main courses, and a prix-fixe menu is also offered.

’Cesca, 164 W. 75th Street, is an upscale yet rustic establishment serving seasonal fare made from fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Plush velvet on the bar stools, chairs, and booth seats adds to the lush vibe, which is complemented by custom iron lamps and chandeliers. Enjoy a table for two in an elegant, relaxing environment as you indulge in one of the restaurant’s interpretive Italian-American dishes with your dining companion. Round out the evening with an artisanal cocktail or a sampling from ’Cesca’s impressive Italian wine list.   

Riposo 72, 50 W. 72nd Street, is a brief half-mile jaunt up the road from The Chatsworthone of the premier luxury apartment locations on the Upper West Side. Take a romantic walk to Riposo for a glass of wine or a shared small plate, flatbread, or dessert. Riposo’s offerings are perfect for those nights when light fare is all that’s needed.

Osteria Cotta, 513 Columbus Avenue, serves up a cozy blend of the intimate and casual. Table and bench-style seating dots the main dining area, while outdoor cafe tables add the perfect vibe for a date night when the weather is just too nice to spend time indoors. This combination wine bar/Italian restaurant features an imported wood-fired oven for the ultimate pizzas. Mornings here can be romantic, tooOsteria Cotta offers a special brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.

Burke & Wills and the Manhattan Cricket Club pair up as the perfect meal and after-dinner-drink destinations for you and your date. Burke & Wills, 226 W. 79th Street, offers seasonal Australian fare in an elegant bistro environment. Small tables covered with white linens add that special touch to a romantic night on the town. Post meal, ask the host for entry into the Manhattan Cricket Club upstairs for after-dinner drinks in an old-fashioned social club environment.

Lincoln Ristorante, 142 W. 65th Street at Lincoln Center, is an intimate option for a lunch date or pre-theater meal. Located next door to Lincoln Center’s reflecting pool and Henry Moore sculpture, the restaurant offers panoramic views thanks to its glass design. Enjoy the views while sharing your favorite Italian dish. Afterward, split a luscious dessert paired with a dessert wine for a delectable treat.

Image Courtesy of  ©iStock.com/kieferpix

New Beaux

Those familiar with pre-war architecture use the term “Beaux Arts” liberally, but what features exactly does this category of architecture encompass, and from where does the style originate? Architecture experts attribute the traditional Beaux-Arts style to Les Beaux Arts, the French-inspired Fine Arts movement. During the 19th and 20th centuries, several renowned Beaux-Arts architects studied at the associated Écoles des Beaux-Arts in France before unleashing their talents on Europe. The Beaux-Arts architectural style celebrated features often present in classical Greek and Roman architecture such as ornate detailing, impressive columns, stately archways, and expert masonry. Today, the Beaux-Arts form is experiencing an exciting revival, particularly in new luxury residential buildings of major metropolitan areas.

A trained eye can easily detect elements of the “New Beaux” movement defining the wealthier blocks of New York City’s Upper West Side. Stunning structures that were once apartment buildings, hotels, and government properties are undergoing extensive makeovers in an effort to appeal to today’s elite clientele while preserving such structures’ Old World charm. Take the Upper West Side condos known as The Chatsworth, for example. This pre-war gem, which was originally built in 1904 as luxury housing overlooking the Hudson River, has been restored topay homage to the building’s original design. Today, The Chatsworth shines a new light of modern sophistication on the historic architectural style from which it originally emerged.

The first indication of The Chatsworth’s “New Beaux” influence is its stunning, pale exterior. The handsome steel gates surrounding the building have been carefully preserved, demonstrating the lasting metalwork typical of early 1900s luxury gated homes. The building’s breathtaking limestone façade offers a rare look into the past. Original molding restored to illuminate delicate details line the tall double-door frames, and carefully hand-sculpted tiers of cherubs, fruit, and stags peek from below layered windows. Crossing through the main entryway, one enjoys a veritable treat for the eyes. The double doors feature integrated original metalwork gilded to breathe in new life, while the coffered ceilings and hand-carved statues of the lobby add new dimensions of intricacy. Walnut-paneled pillars, which stand in formal rows leading to the 24-hour attendant’s desk, are reminiscent of those seen in the aforementioned classical Roman and Greek designs.

The residences of The Chatsworth, while designed to accommodate an impeccably modern lifestyle, serve as an extension of the classical New Beaux Arts themes introduced by the building’s exterior. Foyers feature coffered ceilings and elegant chandeliers, herringbone oak floors provide a through line in each home’s design, and spacious living areas echo many of the features seen in the dramatic foyers. While wooden architraves add spots of beauty to deep doorways, gray marble in the kitchens as well as the rich, oak floors harken back to the natural materials found in many original Beaux-Arts buildings, adding a touch of timelessness to the overall aesthetic. In the master bathroom, imported Italian marble brings texture and warmth to this intimate area of the home, while the freestanding bathtub beckons one further into this welcoming retreat.

The breathtaking design and structural integrity of The Chatsworth have landed it a title of official New York City Landmark. Featuring architectural qualities that surpass its relatively short history, The Chatsworth is the perfect piece to consider when detailing the features of a “New Beaux” building, and will undoubtedly remain an Upper West Side treasure for many years to come.

The Lure of Limestone

While exploring the Upper West Side, alert observers and architecture fans alike may well notice how often the neighborhood’s famous brownstones are punctuated by bases of pale, smooth limestone. Occasionally entire buildings, particularly in the neo-Georgian and Beaux Arts styles, shine alongside their darker, more rough-hewn neighbors. Builders and architects working in the Beaux Arts style in particular favored limestone not only for its beauty but because it is easily cut, quite durable, and ideally suited for the decorative motifs that characterized the era. Relatively rare limestone residences are among the most sought-after luxury apartments for sale on the Upper West Side.

Limestone composes only about 10% of all sedimentary rock. Yet its workability means that it has been used architecturally for most of human history. The Great Pyramids are made of limestone, as are the temples of Malta built between 3600 BC and 700 BC, which may be the oldest free-standing structures on earth. The stone itself, of course, is far older, being primarily made of calcium from ancient sea organisms such as shells, coral, skeletons, and fossilized soft tissues. Ancient caves and grottoes are often made of limestone formed over millions of years by water shaping it, as builders and stonecutters do, into intricate and enduring curves, hollows, and prominences. Vacationing in Italy in 1948, W. H. Auden saw the aged limestone structures of the Mediterranean as metaphors for immortal beauty. His great poem “In Praise of Limestone” concludes:

…when I try to imagine a faultless love
Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur
Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape.

Limestone’s sense of elemental substance makes it a heavy, solid, and noble stone often used for great, monumental works. Portland stone, which dates back to the Jurassic era, is perhaps the most famous limestone for building. Quarried on the English Isle of Portland off the coast of Dorset, Portland stone is the material from which St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and the U.N. Headquarters were built.

Discovered much later, though in fact far older, Indiana limestone was formed during the Paleozoic era, when most of the United States was under a tropical sea and still south of the equator. Like its more famous cousin, it is of the highest quality, being remarkably pure (which means it can be cut into very large blocks) as well as more durable than most other types of limestone. Indiana limestone was a popular building material during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the height of the Beaux Arts movement, and has been used in the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, Yankee Stadium, and 35 of the 50 U.S. state capitol buildings.

It is easy to see, then, why discerning buyers of the apartments for sale on the Upper West Side often find limestone buildings like The Chatsworth particularly attractive. As a popular building material for the Gilded Age that is strongly associated with architecture of particular importance, limestone evokes a sense of stately luxury. No wonder its long, storied history, classical and neoclassical connotations, and grand associations stand out, even in one of the most beautiful historic areas of New York.

Image Courtesy of ©taviphoto


 

NYC Ballet

With high summer upon us, dance aficionados are looking forward to the upcoming performance year at the New York City Ballet, where tickets for the 2015-16 season go on sale August 2. Those for whom ballet is an occasional indulgence, or perhaps an unknown art form, might also be longing for some culture after a hot, sticky summer of beaches and outdoor activities. Either type of ballet fan considering a move would be well advised to look into apartments for sale on the Upper West Side, so they can enjoy easy access from their new home to the NYCB’s astounding offerings of traditional classics, premieres, and New York-oriented modern classics. Here are just some highlights of what’s in store as the New York City Ballet launches its upcoming season:

This year, the NYCB season kicks off in September with one of the most famous ballets of all time, Swan Lake, reimagined through the 1996 staging by the company’s ballet master in chief, Peter Martins. Martins premiered his version of the Tchaikovsky classic at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen; his production for the NYCB updates it with scenery and costumes by Per Kirkeby, one of Denmark’s most renowned contemporary artists. The Martins staging for this production is considered more mysterious and a shade darker than the whimsical original, and Kirkeby’s sets are abstract and wintery. Combined, the two approaches create a more mature, properly tragic, take on a well-known piece that just might give those familiar with the original some new ways to think about it.

October at the New York City Ballet will feature four 21st Century Choreographers performances, the first of which on Thursday, October 8, will include a number of world premieres: a piece set to Debussy’s final orchestral work, Jeux, by Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup in his first work for an American dance company; a piece set to a lyrical William Walton piano quartet by San Francisco Ballet’s Myles Thatcher in his first NYCB production; a work set to New York native Steve Reich’s “Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings” by NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck—called “the most eminent choreographer of ballet in the United States” by The New York Times and a “boy wonder” by Vulture.com; NYCB’s own Troy Schumacher’s second ballet for the company, which features a commissioned score by Brooklyn-based Ellis Ludwig-Leone, songwriter and composer for baroque pop band San Fermin; and a piece set to selections from Ravel’s Miroirs for solo piano by Toronto prodigy Robert Binet from the National Ballet of Canada.

Also in October: a rarely staged abstract production by Jerome Robbins, N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, a “ballet-in-sneakers” celebration of mid-20th-century America set to a jazz score by Robert Prince; and NYCB founding choreographer George Balanchine’s intimate Liebeslieder Walzer, a series of waltzes for piano and vocal quartet that was called a “ravishing manifestation of beauty” when the NYCB premiered it in 1960 and has since become a classic. Though the latter will be repeated in January for those who miss it this fall, for the avid arts connoisseurs who reside in luxury Upper West Side apartments, the NYCB season’s initial productions of such classics – and of world premieres – will represent its most exciting highlights.

With regular Friday pre-performance chats; occasional Monday evening discussions featuring NYCB dancers, composers, and choreographers; and regular movement workshops for adults and children alike – in addition to its amazing productions – the New York City Ballet represents an incredible neighborhood amenity that makes living in one of the most cultured neighborhoods in the country a dream experience for many.

Image Courtesy of © andyross

Finding Orchestral Flight at the New York Philharmonic

Residents of the Upper West Side’s Chatsworth are steeped in tradition both visually and culturally: in addition to the architectural gems that populate the neighborhood, the condos are a stone’s throw from New York’s musical heart, Lincoln Center. Making its home at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, The New York Philharmonic is oldest among the “Big Five” American orchestras.

Boasting more than 14,000 performances since its 1842 inception, The New York Philharmonic is currently led by Alan Gilbert. Gilbert, an Upper West Side native, has created an ascending legacy at the Philharmonic, from which his father, a violinist, retired in 2001. His mother, also a violinist, still plays in ensemble pieces there. Young Alan learned piano, violin, and viola and excelled at track at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale before studying at Harvard, The New England Conservatory of Music, and The Juilliard School. Gilbert has also brought residency experience from across the U.S. and Sweden back home to Lincoln Center.

Exciting fall programs at the New York Philharmonic begin in mid September. This year’s opening gala concert will feature Chinese pianist Lang Lang performing work by Beethoven and Grieg. “Lang Lang has conquered the classical world with dazzling technique and charisma,” according to NPR’s Morning Edition program. He stormed onto the scene as a strutting, electric 18-year-old prodigy in 1999 and has channeled his bravado into a powerful, maturing artistry that has earned him a huge global following at the still-tender age of 33.

The NY Phil also receives a visit from elder piano statesman Maurizio Pollini in October. Pollini’s outstanding recording history covers a hearty swath of classical works, and he is also known for championing the work of contemporary composers. His Italian countryman Luigi Nono has created avant-garde works expressly for Pollini. For his performance with the NY Phil, Pollini will dip into a stylistic variety of work from Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin.

This summer the orchestra is traveling, with a weeklong engagement at the annual Bravo! Vail festival in Colorado. Sort of a classical music all-star gathering at high altitude, the month-long program puts The New York Philharmonic alongside The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and The Philadelphia Orchestra. For Upper West Side Condo residents who wish to escape the humid summer in New York City, the festival provides a compelling destination for music lovers, seated as it is in majestic natural surroundings and a pleasant semi-arid climate.

Museum of American Folk Art

Spring at the Museum of American Folk Art

Those looking for apartments for sale on the Upper West Side do so not only for the sake of the buildings and residences themselves, but also because the area is so culturally fertile. While the Natural History Museum and Children’s Museum are, of course, justifiably beloved by families, the New York Historical Society offers programs and exhibits for lovers of history. Meanwhile the performing arts are richly served by the Beacon Theater and the Lincoln Center.

Art aficionados considering NYC Upper West Side apartments are often drawn to the easy access such residences afford to the splendid American Folk Art Museum. The museum houses some of the most iconographic pieces of a quintessentially American form of art. Indeed, it could be thought of as embodying the neighborhood’s diverse and creative reputation. Exhibits and programs highlight the democratic nature of self-taught artists and artisans across a variety of mediums and over four centuries of American history. This is the place to come appreciate the American quilt-making tradition, for example, or the quiet landscapes of John Rasmussen and other Pennsylvania Almshouse Painters.

The museum’s current exhibition, “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America,” features more than 60 paintings and sculptures from 19th- and early 20th-century rural New England, the Midwest, and the American South. In addition to the expected portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, an array of commercial signwork and kinetic sculptures are also on display.

The dynamic nature of folk art is the framing conceit for the museum’s next major exhibit, “When the Curtain Never Comes Down,” which begins at the end of March and runs through July 5. The exhibit will feature installations, recordings, music, writing, and constructions that were changed or expanded over a lifetime by their creators, plus other works as well as strategies that self-taught artists have used to transform their own realities or—understandings of reality. Some of the featured artists created even while confined in institutions.

With compelling exhibitions and events hosted throughout the year, it’s no wonder that the Museum of American Folk Art is such a draw to those on the Upper West Side and beyond.

Photo Courtesy of: ©iStock.com/ underworld111

 

Upper West Side Museum of Arts and Design

2 Columbus Circle, the New Home of the Museum of Arts and Design

In recent years, life on the “lower” Upper West Side has blossomed: amenities, shops, Michelin-starred restaurants, and cultural attractions.

It was not always this way, and one of the institutions that helped transform this neighborhood into a destination for culture and condo seekers alike is the Museum of Arts and Design. Formerly housed across the street from the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street in a non-descript space dominated by an outsized staircase, MAD now has its very own building with a unique footprint nestled at the base of Central Park.

Originally the site of the Grand Circle Hotel – built in 1874, later renamed the Boulevard Hotel, and demolished in 1960 – 2 Columbus Circle eventually became the home to one of NYC’s most unusual structures. A&P heir Huntington Hartford built the edifice that was christened the “Lollipop Building” by New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable in 1964 to house his collection of Modernist art. Hartford commissioned the famed architect Edward Durell Stone, known at the time for designing the main lobby and grand ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, for the project. The building he created was a travertine-clad monolith with a slightly concave shape that hugs Columbus Circle, lined on the ground floor with a row of Venetian-style columns. It was the row of large circular insets that made Ada Louise Huxtable think of lollipops and give the building a moniker that, once assigned, would be impossible to shake. Lacking windows on its upper floors, the structure was never quite right for its intended usage, and eventually it fell into a state of neglect.

When the the Museum of Arts and Design acquired the building and sought to pursue a major renovation of it in the late 1990s, bestselling author Tom Wolfe was moved to pen an impassioned New York Times op-ed defending Edward Durell Stone’s original design. The Museum argued that though historically significant, the existing design prevented the site from being fully utilized and enjoyed by the public, thus undermining the value of its architectural heritage. Eventually winning out after a lengthy battle, MAD gutted 2 Columbus Circle in 2008 and hired architect Brad Cloepfil for its redesign. The debut of the new 2 Columbus Circle revealed a fully updated façade and vastly improved functionality for the interior space that opened the building to natural light and breathtaking views of Central Park that had been obscured by stone.

“Mr Cloepfil,” Times’ architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote at the time, “retained the form of the building … but wrapped it in a new skin of glazed terra-cotta tiles.” While the terra-cotta offers a nod to antiquity, Cloepfil’s design is fully modern. On the outside, its light surface glints in the sun as the bold graphics of the Museum’s signage beckon to potential visitors. Inside, the Museum of Art and Design is a small but brightly burning star in NYC’s museum constellation. Its four floors of exhibition galleries can be traversed in about an hour or two. MAD’s twelve-story space also contains an auditorium for lectures, films, and performances; a restaurant; a Center for the Study of Jewelry; artist-in-residence studios; and an Education Center.

MAD displays a permanent collection and rotating exhibits that focus on both historic and contemporary innovations in the fields of craft and design. The museum spotlights the creative process through which materials and ideas are transformed into works that enhance contemporary life, integrating a rare high-culture nod to art in industry. Residents of apartments on the Upper West Side can readily enjoy the exhibitions that draw visitors from all over the Northeast, to say nothing of a lovely afternoon looking out over the bustle of Columbus Circle and enjoying a meal at the Museum’s on-site eatery, Robert. Despite all these changes, architectural history buffs who miss the previous incarnation of 2 Columbus Circle will still recognize the “lollipop” arches at the base of the building that were preserved from Stone’s 1964 design.

Photo Courtesy of: ©iStock.com/katsgraphics808

 

Restoring Historic Lobbies in Luxury Buildings, The New York Times

Designers Pembrooke & Ives have taken on the challenge of modernizing and rejuvenating the lobby of The Chatsworth, the new Upper West Side Condominium at 322 West 72nd.  Classic condominiums from the early 20th century afford current developers incomparable canvasses overflowing with character and history. The grand lobbies of the early 1900s were constructed to elicit respect upon entering, and The Chatsworth is on target to do just that. As Pembrooke & Ives restore this impressive piece of the past, contemporary flourishes are also in the works to ensure that The Chatsworth appeals to the discerning tastes of luxury home buyers.

 

 

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