To kick off 2014, Luxury Listings deep-dived into the best of New York City real estate to come up with the tops in buildings, views (city and water views), fitness centers, residential gadgetry, architecture and much more. These are properties and perks that make New Yorkers—and potential New Yorkers—take notice of a real estate scene that’s doing pretty tops itself.
Who could not notice, for instance, our pick for Best City Views: the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere, the 90-story One57 on East 57th Street? Or our pick for Best Water Views, the august River House, where its 62,000-square-foot private club has been turned into one of the priciest private listings in the city’s history? Closer to the ground, there are supreme amenities like our pick for Best Pool, a 61-foot, Travertine tile-lined run in Tribeca, and our pick for Best Gym/Spa, an all-in-one complex on the far West Side that spans more than 80,000 square feet and where the spinning center and basketball court are just for starters.
Moreover, if you can’t afford access, we have picks like Best Exterior, which belongs to a glassy new number that turned an old eyesore of a closed candy factory into what one wag likened to “some sort of Soho spacecraft.” There’s also Best Starchitecture, which comes via another far West Side address, this one described as “a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise.” We’ll leave you to reach your own comparative description.
Finally, though we didn’t include it, the New York real estate market overall might have made this Best of New York list, with prices for luxury homes up amid a tight supply for those who want to buy in or switch places. Simply put, New York luxury real estate had one of its best years ever. The median sales price for a luxury Manhattan home (defined as the top 10 percent of the market), for instance, by the last quarter of 2013 was $4.1 million, according to appraiser Miller Samuel—anything below that, and you were buying in the rest of the market.
Best City Views
The upper floors of One57
It would be hard to beat the views from the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential building: One57, the 92-unit condo-hotel at 157 West 57th Street that Extell Development finished building last year. From the upper floors of the 90-story, 1,004-foot spire, lucky owners can survey vistas that include all of Central Park, uptown Manhattan, parts of New Jersey, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, the major airports—even the northern reaches of Staten Island. Of course, such dictatorial views come with hefty price tags: Two One57 penthouses have traded for more than $90 million, the highest amounts ever paid for a NYC apartment. Both of those penthouses are sheathed in glass—the better to enjoy the view.
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is making his NYC debut with this apartment complex at 625 West 57th Street that’s been likened to a snow drift and a pyramid. Expected to open this spring, W57 pretty much defies description. Its developer, Durst Fetner, calls it “a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise.” Ingels’ design has three of the building’s four corners sloping low, while the northeast corner spikes to 467 feet, allowing the interior courtyard spectacular Hudson River views.
Best Water Views
This co-op has been one of the city’s most exclusive addresses since it opened in 1931, not least because of its perch on the East River. Residents used to have access to private yacht moorings, though now they have to settle for breathtaking water views. One particularly awesome River House view is now up for sale: the co-op’s private club. The five-story, 62,000-square-foot building is being marketed as a single-family home with the potential to become the most expensive residence ever sold in NYC. The price? A mere $130 million.
The descending bed
New York has long boasted Murphy beds, the kind that fold out from—and into—the wall and thereby give tight apartment spaces more room when guests pop in. In recent years, though, the descending bed has made its appearance. These are beds that drop from the ceiling and then go up again when a tenant or an owner needs space. At least one model, in the co-op at 14 East 64th Street, is operated by a remote control that can set the very exact height at which it dangles. There’s also built-in overhead lighting for bedtime reading.
Unit 12L at the Apthorp
The Apthorp at 2211 Broadway was one of the Upper West Side’s most storied rentals—until it underwent a luxury condo conversion that emptied the block-long complex of most of its tenants. Some remain, however, including the tenant who leased this 1,700-square-foot spread in late 2013 for $12,500 a month. It includes a 20-foot-long foyer that is actually bigger than the living room and library. This mega-foyer leads into the living room. The tenant rents from an owner who bought the $3.5 million unit last year but never lived in it.
Best New Exterior
The Chocolate Factory
The first thing to know about 325 West Broadway is that it used to be a Tootsie Roll factory—hence the name of its condo conversion. The second thing is that the façade of the seven-unit building will be sheathed in a cast-aluminum screen with a glassy window wall behind it; moreover, the ground-floor retail will be covered in glass, creating the illusion, as Curbed put it, “that the façade is floating … like some sort of Soho spacecraft.” Architect Peter Guthrie is responsible for the design; construction is expected to be completed next year.
Best New Condo
18 Gramercy Park South
Developers Arthur and William Zeckendorf, along with architect Robert A.M. Stern, brought the world 15 Central Park West in 2008. The team reunited for the conversion of the old Salvation Army boarding-house at Irving Place into an ultra-luxurious condo with 14 floor-through units, a duplex penthouse and a maisonette, each with keys to Manhattan’s only private park. The $42 million sale of the penthouse to Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander—a record for Manhattan below 59th Street—closed in August.
The estate of the late investor Martin Zweig has listed his triplex penthouse atop the Pierre hotel for an unabashed $95 million. Should it sell at or near that sum, it will easily be the biggest home trade in New York City history. Co-op units in the prestigious building (which have access to all the hotel’s services) routinely trade in the eight figures, or at least rent in the six figures: As of late December, no fewer than three spreads were asking more than $100,000 a month.
Best Swimming Pool
250 West Street
The 61-foot pool in the fitness center and spa area of this recently converted Tribeca condo is lined with Travertine mosaic tiles and watched over by a bright, glassy backsplash of giant daisies. The pool can be seen through a transparent wall from 250 West Street’s wood-paneled library, and it undoubtedly attracts some rather cerebral—and moneyed—swimmers: The condo made headlines in the fall of 2013, when one of its 1,379-square-foot studios traded for $1.75 million (that’s nearly $2 million for a studio, mind you).
Rents at the Mercedes House, on 54th Street off 11th Avenue, run more than $5,000 for a two-bedroom—but said rents come with perks, chief amongst them access to the Mercedes Club. You can hang out in the 80,000-square-foot club, which features a 40,000-square-foot gym plus yoga studio, spinning center and indoor/outdoor pool. There’s also hoops in the half-sized basketball court. It’s indoors, making for year-round pickup. Finally, after working up a sweat, hit the in-house juice bar, also year-round.
200 Eleventh Avenue
They didn’t nickname this 19-story Chelsea condo the “Sky Garage” for nothing. It opened in late 2012 to much fanfare—not because of buyers like Nicole Kidman, but because its mechanical garage allows you to drive to your doorstep, even if you live on the 19th floor. The 300-square-foot personal garages are part of a tower where penthouses have asked $20 million. Owners simply drive through an 11th Avenue entrance and follow computer prompts before being lifted to their personal, condo-side car-hold. Only in New York.