By Carter Horsley
Roof decks helped bridge the gap between difficult-to-sell and ultra desirable residences. Since New York is full of surprises, sometimes it doesn’t have to be on “top of the world.
1. Downtown by Starck at 15 Broad at the southeast corner at Wall Street
Directly across Wall Street from Federal Hall National Memorial and directly across Broad Street from the New York Stock Exchange, this conversion project of two commercial structures to condominium apartments has the most impressive Lower Manhattan location and the city’s best residential building roofdeck. It consists of the five-story building at 23 Wall Street that originally was the headquarters of J. P. Morgan’s banking operations and the 42-story office building that wraps around it and was originally the Equitable TrustBuilding. The building at 23 Wall Street was built in 1914, one year after the death of J. P. Morgan, and it was linked in 1957 to 15 Broad Street. In 2003, A. I. & Boymelgreen ofBrooklyn bought these two buildings for $100 million and announced plans to spend about $135 million on their renovation and conversion into 326 apartments. The very large roofdeck over 23 Wall Street has trees, teak decking, a large pool fed “by a tall, crook-shaped pipe, looking like a giant faucet,” and a “topiary wall with window-like openings in which lanterns will hang.” One of the roofdeck’s great vistas is of highly decorative pediment of the New York Stock Exchange. Other views include some of the city’s great skyscrapers. Ismael Leyva was the project architect for the conversion working with Philippe Starck, the flamboyant French architect best known for his design that put furniture with extremely spiky points in the lobby at the Royalton Hotel on West 44th Street. 15 Broad Street was designed by Trowbridge & Livingston in 1928.
2. 20 Pine Street
The 35-story building at 20 Pine Street, which is also known as 2 Chase Manhattan Plaza, was converted in 2007 to 409 residential condominiums by Leviev Boymelgreen, which had acquired the property from the Resnick and Reuben families in 2004 for about $170 million. The tower has one of the finest sites in Manhattan at the epicenter of the financial district. Its north and east façades front on Chase Manhattan Plaza with its large Dubuffet Sculpture and sunken fountain by Isamu Noguchi. It is surrounded by many of the finest buildings in the area including One Chase Manhattan Plaza, 40 Wall Street, 140 Broadway, the Federal Reserve Bank building and 14 Wall Street. The building was designed, with Egyptian motifs, by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White as the headquarters of the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, a predecessor firm of J.P Morgan Chase. Graham, Anderson, Probst & White was the successor firm to Daniel Burnham’s firm whose famous and very influential buildings include the Rookery, Monadnock, Reliance, Wrigley and Merchandise Mart buildings in Chicago and the Flatiron Building in Manhattan. A serene and elegant landscaped roof deck with a pool is on the building’s 25th floor large south terrace. Gruzen Samton LLP was the architectural firm for the conversion.
3. 2 Gold Street
This 51-story tower was erected in the Financial District at 2 Gold Street by the Rockrose Development Corporation in 2005. It has 650 rental apartments. Avinash K. Malhotra was the architect. It has a very large roof deck with spectacular vistas in all directions as well as a roof solarium with fireplace, a game room and valet service. The rooftop water tank is enclosed and illuminated at night.
4. 75 Wall Street
The Hakimian Organization, Peykar Brothers Realty and Gorjian Properties converted this 36-story tower designed by Welton Becket Associates at 75 Wall Street to 350 condominium apartments and 250 hotel rooms managed by Hyatt in 2007. Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron (SLCE) was the architect for the conversion and The Rockwell Group designed the interiors and public spaces of both the residences and the hotel. The handsome, rose-brick structure was built as an office tower in 1987 and is notable for its arcade, its mid-block plaza with a waterfall, and its strongly articulated top with its solarium and lounge and indoor-outdoor fireplace.
5. Jade at 16 West 19th Street
This building is known as Jade after Jade Jagger, a jewelry designer who is the only child of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and his former wife Bianca Jagger. Photographs of her appeared extensively in the marketing of the building which opened in 2006 when she was 34 and she is credited with being the concept designer for the building’s unusual layouts that employ high-gloss, lacquered “pods” containing kitchens, bathrooms and closets. Most of the building’s 57 apartments have these “pods,” which were offered in four different style flavors, or schemes: Aristo, Boho, Luxo and Baroco. Most of the “pods” are free-standing and are somewhat reminiscent of the monolithic room intrusion near the end of Stanley Kubrick’s great film, “2001,” whose most memorable line was “Open the pod bay doors, HAL!” Not surprisingly, the building did not neglect “design” when it added two floors, to the original 12-story building. Perkins Eastman was the architect of the addition, which has a handsome communal terrace and lap pool, a lounge and a fitness club.
6. Manhattan Plaza 305 West 42nd street
Completed in 1977, this full-block residential development consists of a 45-story tower and a 46-story tower straddling a very large, low-rise mid-block garage and amenity structure with a 75-foot-swimming pool with a retractable vaulted glass roof. The complex was designed by David Todd, who later became chairman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The huge but relatively slender, red-brick towers contain 1,689 apartments, most of which are reserved for performing artists. The project was an important precursor of the dramatic redevelopment of Times Square and the West 42nd Street corridor.
7. Manhattan House at 200 East 66th Street (above)
One of the most influential post-war buildings in New York City, Manhattan House marked the beginning of the age of “white-brick monstrosities” in the eyes of some observers and the first big splash of International Style modernity in the city to others. The mammoth and distinguished development, which occupies the full block between Third and Second Avenues and 65th and 66th Streets, actually is clad in a light gray-brick, but, niceties aside, it presented a “clean,” “neat,” almost Spartan appearance in distinct contrast to the historical styles of earlier periods and the Art Deco stylizations of the 1920s and 1930s. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Mayers & Whittlesley, it was built in 1950 and was, according to Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman in their superb book, “New York 1960 Architecture and Urbanism Between The Second World War And The Bicentennial” (The Monacelli Press, 1995), “the most literal manisfestation in New York of Le Corbusier’s postwar conception of vertical living.” “Together with elegantly thin window frames of white-painted metal and carefully detailed balconies,” the authors continued, “the glazed brick rendered Manhattan House a genteel manifesto for architecture’s brave new world, a reassuring statement that Modernist minimalism had more than cost benefits. In addition, the slab offered a distinct contrast with its mundane surroundings – the still-functioning Third Avenue El and its immediate neighbors, mostly old- and new-law tenements.” Manhattan House is a 19-story building with 581 apartments, many with balconies and some with fireplaces. The building, which has a roof deck, has five projecting bays, each with two balconies and its entrances are along a curved driveway, which is lushly landscaped and the lobbies have floor-to-ceiling windows that permit views from the driveway through to the development’s large gardens on the south side, that are walled from 65th Street.
8. The Atelier at 635 West 42nd Street
Looking a bit like a finely tooled, large, rectangular key with alternating notches to open some great vault in the sky, this sleek and svelte slab tower is the best looking of the recent crop of Far West 42nd Street residential projects. It has a cool plan that its architect, Costas Kondylis, maintains “recalls the bow of a great ship interpreted all in glass with wrap-around balconies and expansive views,” adding that his design was inspired by the oceanliners that used to dock nearby along the Hudson River in the 40s.
The slab tower has all glass façades at its corners and the north and south façades have four 2-story-high protruding façade elements at the corners of the building that extend about two-thirds of the way across the façades in alternating fashion. The effect is very striking, bold and high-tech. It’s almost as if the building were showing off its abs. The building has 478 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and opened in 2007. Among its many amenities, the Atelier has a large sundeck with very spectacular vistas.
10. Greenwich Club Residences at 88 Greenwich Street
This 37-story building was erected as an office building in 1929 and converted to 452 residential condominium apartments in 2007. It has an impressive roof deck overlooking the harbor and Battery Park City and is very close to Ground Zero.
Carter Horsley is the editorial director of CityRealty.com and the former real estate editor and architecture critic of the New York Post. Previously, he was a reporter for the New York Times and architecture critic for the International Herald Tribune.