The Real Deal New York

Glass tower residents forego the curtains at their own risk

December 06, 2013 02:00PM

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Glass towers lining the Long Island City waterfront (Credit: spyguise via flickr)

Glass towers lining the Long Island City waterfront (Credit: spyguise via flickr)

Glass tower apartment homes tout panoramic views of the neighborhood and city skyline beyond. And yet, a whopping three out of five residents in such modern digs draw the curtains, according to a new study.

“It’s a contradiction,” Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council, who conducted the study, told the New York Daily News. “People say they like glass buildlings for the views, but they can’t enjoy them.”

And those in glass towers who forego pulling the curtains have been the subject of disputes. Photographer Arne Svenson, whose exhibit “The Neighbors” drew from photos he snapped of Manhattan residents through their windows, wound up in court for taking pictures of children without their parents’ permission. (The case was later thrown out.) The High Line-adjacent Standard hotel and the Yotel on Tenth Avenue also drew criticism from neighbors who complained about guests’ rollicking in full view of passersby.

The modern glass towers can be a source of a different type of unwanted heat as well, residents say. Sun exposure in all-glass buildings can bake the insides, or even reflect rays in directions that prove problematic for cars, other buildings and even pedestrians. Not that the downsides are, in the end, much of a deterrent.

“I swore I’d never live in a modern building, but now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” Elizabeth Johnson, a Brown Harris Stevens broker who moved into the J condominiums at 21 Jay Street in Dumbo recently, told the Daily News. “It’s so nice to walk in and have the whole city right there in front of you.” [NYDN]Julie Strickland

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