The Real Deal New York

Editor’s note

Guilt-free condos in the gilded age
By Stuart Elliott | June 01, 2014 07:00AM
Stuart Elliott

Stuart Elliott

The number of super-luxury condo projects keeps increasing in Manhattan, and that means the amenity wars are back in full swing.

Like toothpaste companies that come up with new ways to market their nearly identical products on what feels like a monthly basis (whitening being the latest fad), developers need to differentiate their buildings with bells and whistles.

Doormen, concierges, gyms, pools, rooftops, kid’s playrooms and bike storage are essentially prerequisites now at a certain price range. But that’s not to say there aren’t standouts among the 70 new Manhattan condo projects on the market today. As part of TRD’s New Development Showcase last month — which featured panel discussions and dozens of booths where sponsors showed off their projects and products — the magazine produced a 100-page guide to all Manhattan new condos. (The guide was passed out to the 3,000-plus attendees, but is still available at in case you missed it.)

Top prize for the most outrageous amenities has to go to the Delos Living project at 66 East 11th Street, where Leonardo DiCaprio and Deepak Chopra have reportedly bought units. The apartments come with a range of “wellness” features, including Vitamin C–infused showers, purified air and water, posture-supportive flooring, a kitchen herbarium and “dawn simulation provided by a proprietary circadian lighting design.” Herbs and clean air don’t come cheap though: remaining apartments there are going for $45 million and $50 million a pop.

Other projects with standout amenities include 515 East 72nd Street, which has the largest on-site private park in New York City at 20,000 square feet; 560 West 24th Street, where apartments are specifically outfitted for art collectors; and 12 East 13th Street, which comes with a “robot” parking system.

But with green and wellness all the rage (and rightly so, given the recent studies showing that global climate change has already taken place), why not take it a step further? I’m proposing the first condo of this new Gilded Age that will allow wealthy residents to live completely guilt free. It’s a perfect counterpoint to the extreme fortunes being amassed today and might even count as charity work. It would allow foreign buyers with ill-gotten cash to “clean” their money in a socially responsible fashion, and it might appeal to the eco-sensitive Brooklyn crowd too.

Such a condo would have kitchen countertops and bathroom sinks made with hand-selected Italian marble that comes from a village where everyone is happy and has universal health care. And there would be locally sourced flooring, from trees in Fort Tryon Park, felled by workers enrolled in a New York City jobs program.

Additionally, apartment temperatures at this project would automatically adjust to offset any changes in the average temperature of the planet. And, of course, no materials would come from a Brazilian rainforest or play a part in melting any ice caps.

And finally, instead of a “dedicated lifestyle consultant” — which buyers can get at the Carlton House on 61st Street — to make reservations and travel plans, there would be an “environmental consultant” who would help residents reduce their carbon footprint. All of these things would go a long way in making buyers feel good about their purchases. And they seem pretty reasonable and useful compared with Vitamin C–infused showers.

If that’s enough bells and whistles for you, we’ve got a lot of meat and potatoes in the issue too (forgive my apples-to-oranges metaphor.)

In time for summer, we take a look at the biggest Hamptons brokerage firms, priciest Hamptons deals, and trendy new retail on the East End.

We examine the huge level of property trading and development taking place on the Far West Side — much of which has been spawned the massive Hudson Yards and Manhattan West projects. Big companies and individuals, from Tishman Speyer to Frank McCourt to Rockrose to Chetrit to Eliot Spitzer are all making moves there that are helping transform the area into an entirely new neighborhood.

Finally, check out our piece on high-end Manhattan homes that have lingered longest on the market and our breakdown of the eye-popping hourly rates charged by New York’s top real estate lawyers.

Enjoy the issue and the summer!

  • art

    lose the beard Stuart no look good on you no no… beard phase is now ova