Editor’s note from the March/April 2015 issue of Luxury Listings NYC

TRD New York /
Mar.March 06, 2015 07:00 AM

Forget the Berlin Wall, the Mason-Dixon line and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Those boundaries are nothing compared to the barrier that separates the two halves of the Upper East Side, at least for some high-society types.

There’s the “über-ritzy side west of Lexington Avenue (think live-in maids, private drivers and “Gossip Girl”) and the less-than-luxe side east of Lex (the land of bodegas, never-ending Second Avenue Subway construction and empty storefronts on First Avenue),” and never the twain shall meet, including increasingly when it comes to real estate prices, our reporter Ann Imperatore writes in a fun piece on page 36.

As society columnist R. Couri Hay, who has lived on the tonier side of the nabe tells Luxury Listings, “No self-respecting resident between Park and Fifth Avenue would go east of Lexington unless they’re going to the New York Hospital for Special Surgery for an emergency operation.”

Neighborhood boundaries exist throughout the entire city, of course, and while divisions along racial or economic lines are serious matters, it’s also interesting to remember how much we segregate ourselves based on lifestyle and ideology.

That’s part of what separates a stereotypical Upper East Sider from someone who lives in Soho from someone who lives in Williamsburg, whether it comes to political views or say, artistic or aesthetic sensibilities.

This division is present on Long Island’s East End as well, with the laid-back North Fork increasingly playing the role of Brooklyn in relation to the Hamptons’ upscale Manhattan.

The evidence of this “Brooklynification” is the growth of farm-to-table restaurants, food trucks offering “pseudo-blue collar lunches,” artisanal small businesses and “finance hipsters” who are renting and buying homes on the North Fork — at prices less than half of those in the Hamptons.

Of course some locals say that it’s actually Brooklyn that is really the new North Fork when it comes to all things farm-to-table. Check out the story by Christopher Cameron on page 28 and decide for yourself.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, the top end of the luxury market just keeps getting pricier and pricier, with the city’s first home asking $150 million, a new record. Thankfully if you are a buyer, not everything is asking the equivalent of the GDP of a small island nation. In fact, only 1 percent of homes in Manhattan sold for more than $10 million in the last two years despite the ubiquity of insanely priced properties. See page 34.

This is cold comfort for all but the 1 percent, of course.  It’s tough to make it work when it comes to real estate in the city, whether you are a single person looking for a studio or a family trying to secure enough space.

The restaurant business too, is another part of city life that is bloodsport. We sit down with celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian in a story on page 16 to talk about restaurants, TV stardom and life in the city.

Zakarian is known for his restaurants the Lambs Club and the National in Midtown, as well as his no-BS persona on cable cooking shows such as “Chopped,” “Top Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Like with navigating real estate, a bit of pugilism helps in the restaurant business, too. “You can’t make mistakes. If you make mistakes you’ll die. New York City is punishingly expensive,” Zakarian says.

Of course, you do what you have to do to pay the bills, and the chef recounts how he’s had to eat whale sperm, raw lambs’ testicles and bugs on “Chopped.”

Finally, we go inside the home of multi-talented artist Isabel Rose, whose 1960s-inspired album “Trouble in Paradise” is out on Sony Records. The actress/singer/writer also penned the book “The J.A.P. Chronicles,” is a member of the influential Rose real estate family and has a colorful and expansive Tribeca home that we explore on page 24.

There’s also a guide to the latest in kitchen designs (page 20), and a look at the latest trends in managing wealth (page 22) to help you figure out how to spend your money, as well as make more.

Enjoy the issue.


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