Welcome, gentle readers, to Curbed's year-end fiesta. Today and tomorrow, we hand out the first annual Curbed Awards to the best and brightest in three categories: Real Estate; Restaurants and Retail; and, tomorrow, Neighborhoods. Please take a seat as we begin...
I. REAL ESTATE
Best Transition From Reality TV to Real Estate (to Quasi-Porn)
3) Bachelorette suitor Greg Todtman joins Elliman
2) Survivor's Shii-Ann Huang joins Corcoran [related: Outsell! Outbid!]
1) Jen Crisafulli, Elliman broker turned Trump Apprentice wanna-be, turned twice-fired broker, does the Maxim thing [related: Jen Crisafulli Needs a Job]
Best Reader Rant Our Lawyers Advised Us Not To Publish
"I can't believe that [company name] is still in business. I rented a place through them in 1994 that burned down when someone set fire to the gambling den in the basement of the building. Other than dozens of cock fighting chickens, a firefighter died in the blaze. We had to threaten legal action just to get the security deposit back from the landlord, who worked out of a metal cage in a Chinese employment agency. Shady all around. Additionally, a good friend briefly worked for [same company] a few years later and quit after his boss threatened him with a gun in the office and then pistol whipped him. My friend pressed charges and the guy did time."
The Daniel Libeskind Award
Awarded annually to the architect most notably on the receving end of the karma boomerang.
Awarded to: David Childs, whose plan for the Freedom Tower just happened to look a heck of a lot like something cooked up by a Yale architecture student. (Side-by-side comparison, above!)
Runner-up/special Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Libeskind.
Further Evidence God is a Real Estate Developer
3) Holy décor catches on for NYC apartments
2) Churches rush to sell air rights to residential developers
1) Jehovah's Witnesses get go-ahead for massive DUMBO development
Three Stories We'd Like To Hear No More Of In 2005
3) "Atlantic Yards"
2) "Hudson Yards"
1) See #3 and #2
The First Annual Richard Cohen Award
Awarded annually to the real estate personality who committed the most egregious public relations blunder in the previous year.
Awarded to: Richard Cohen and the co-op board at 927 Fifth Avenue, for all behavior of and relating to the Pale Male affair. Natch.
Runner-Up: Douglas Elliman, for hyping Apprentice contestant Jen Crisafulli on its homepage, pimping her out for apartment listings, then deleting her altogther.
The Real Estate Development of the Year Chalice
Downtown by Philippe Starck. From the tripped-out chandelier that displays photos of residents, to the trophy wives pushing kids around in wheelbarrows, the Downtown Insanity Palace sets a high bar for developers to o'erleap in '05. Get cracking, gents!
II. RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL
The Surface Hotel Award
To the most-botched restaurant, hotel, or retail store opening of the year.
Awarded to: The Hotel On Rivington, now always and forever THOR, which threw open its doors in September (eggshell-encrusted lobby, right) after jettisoning Surface Magazine as title sponsor, then made my mom shower in front of the whole city. For shame!
Runners-up: Café Gray; Per Se; everything and everyone involved with the Time Warner Center.
Dining In Brooklyn: Still a Work in Progress
3) Amy Sohn declares Smith Street dining DOA
2) Diners forced to stay at restaurant after power goes out
1) Puking kid doesn't get Red Hook diners a free meal
Non-Closing of the Year
Magnolia Bakery. Despite everyone's best efforts to shut 'em down (including our own), those damn cupcakes keep coming.
Non-Opening of the Year
The Governor's Island Burger King.
Overhyped Retail News of the Year
3) Wal-Mart to Queens!
2) Target to Brooklyn!
1) Home Depot to Manhattan!
A Small, Good Thing Award
To Danny Meyer's Shake Shack, an architecturally cool outpost in the middle of Madison Square Park that serves up killer burgers and custard. Proof that retail experience can mix with urban playspace without offending everyone's sensibilities. Who knew?
TOMORROW: Part III of the 2004 Curbed Awards, Neighborhoods, including the naming of the coveted Neighborhood of the Year. Won't you join us?