Neighbor, pass the croissants

More residential buildings adopt hotel perks like Continental breakfasts
By Marc Ferris | March 31, 2008 01:35PM

Welcome to the concierge age, which has brought hotel-style services like wake-up calls and reservation booking to upscale residential buildings. Now another hotel perk is spreading: the fancy breakfast.

While breakfast has been around for awhile — luxury buildings in New York began offering the meals a few years back — more residential buildings including rentals are offering them, some to members of their health clubs.

Michael Fazio, co-partner of Abigail Michaels Concierge, which provides concierge services at high-end buildings throughout the city including Sheffield57 and the Avery on the Upper West Side, said breakfasts are typically Continental-style: a buffet of baked goods, yogurt, fresh fruit and beverages.

Some buildings offer to-go meals packaged in bags with the building’s insignia printed on the side. A number of condos and rentals go all out with omelet and waffle stations on weekends.

American Leisure, which runs health clubs at residential buildings, added breakfast to its club offerings. Steve Kass, the founder and CEO, said American Leisure provides breakfast through its clubs at around 70 high-
end buildings in the city, including the Biltmore on 47th Street and Eighth Avenue, Tower 31 on West 31st Street, the Mark on East 77th Street, 37 Wall Street and 170 East End Avenue.

In condos with health clubs, residents are automatically members, so everyone shoulders the cost of breakfast while health clubs at rentals generally require a membership fee.

At Tower 31, a rental, breakfast is served in the 31 Club, where the annual fee to join is $750. Club 5 at the Biltmore serves 125 to 150 people every day, said Kass.

“The joke is that a typical single person has a quart of sour milk and a container of stale Chinese food in their refrigerators,” he said. “So we try to make breakfast fun, interesting and fast by rotating offerings from well-known local vendors” like Bouchon Bakery and Amy’s Bread.

The club also has a demo kitchen, where it holds weekend cooking programs for residents.

At 31 Club, around 75 percent of tenants eat at a communal table, Kass said.

A convivial dorm-style breakfast is held at the 550-unit Orion condo on West 42nd Street, which is known for encouraging group activities. Breakfast is served on the 29th floor with extra seating on the 30th floor, said Raizy Haas at Extell Development.

Haas said breakfast is a new frontier for high-end Manhattan buildings. She said her vendor, Penmark Realty, now plans to expand its breakfast offerings beyond the Orion.

The next step for Extell and American Leisure is to install kitchens in buildings and prepare individual meals for condo owners. Kass’ new project, which he could not name, will offer the equivalent of room service for all meals.

At Ariel East, on Broadway and between 99th and 100th streets, Extell will offer a simple daily breakfast menu to residents, who will check off items that they would like to have delivered to their units.

“Andy Warhol once said that in 25 years, everyone would be living in a hotel,” said Abigail Newman, co-partner at Abigail Michaels Concierge. “He should have gone into real estate, because that is exactly what’s happening.”