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New Renter Feels the Chill at the Upper West Side's Aldyn

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There's much to be fascinated with at The Aldyn, the new condo/rental building in Extell's Riverside South waterfront complex, like the penthouses' twin private pools. But more ordinary folks?renters, even!?live there, too, and today new Aldyn inhabitant David Siegel sent us his thoughts on his first 10 days as a renter at the building. Siegel and family also checked out Aldyn's rental-only amenity-sharer the Ashley, but ultimately went with the condo/rental hybrid, where rents range from about $3,000/month to $16,000/month for one- or two-year rent-stabilized leases (with one free month for every 12). So far, they mostly like the place! Not everything is up and running yet—Siegel tells us the bowling alley, pilates studio, climbing wall, and spinning studio are closed until the building fully staffs up. But in the meantime, let's take a Siegel-guided tour of the rest of the Aldyn, shall we?

The lobby of the Ashley is elegant, understated, yet formal and efficient....And the tastefully done library/lounge area nearby is a lovely place to hang out and work with a laptop, read a book, or enjoy conversation....This elegant environment completely overstates the rental style of the units above. In contrast, the lobby of the Aldyn looks like the service entrance to the Hilton hotel. It’s not easy to get terazzo to look like linoleum, but they’ve done it. The “cantina” is clearly visible from the lobby, making the entrance look like the shortcut you take after your cigarette break. Whoever owns the $16m penthouse will have to build a helipad on top to keep their guests from having to walk through what looks like a community center with donated furniture and a long wooden bench where no one will ever sit.

But those who can make it through the lobby without disgust might like the units upstairs. Rental and sale units are identical, except that the rentals go up to floor 10 and for-sale units take up the higher floors. First, the basic construction:

The floors, made of engineered wood, are a fine choice for this kind of building....The 9-foot ceilings are very nice. A big difference between 8 and 9, and it’s nice to report that you can live in 9-foot luxury throughout the building, with even higher ceilings starting on floor 10 I believe. Very cool and a surprising feature given the overall cheapness elsewhere....Overall, the millwork, plasterwork, tile, and paneling is much higher than average. I would give the tile work an 8, which is pretty good since I’m very picky about grout lines. On the kitchens:

The kitchens are the centerpieces and are designed to be open and contemporary. The appliances are a hodge podge assortment that could only have been chosen by someone’s nephew, counting kickbacks....This isn’t high-end finishing, but they chose a bright white rather than the off white of the Ashley, thank god, so it’s not an embarassment. Here are some of the pain points:
· Not that functional. This is not high-end kitchen design. They are small and the islands or bars are not as good as they could be. I’ve designed a few kitchens, and you could do better with the same space, but it would cost more money...
· The Smeg dishwashers suck. Apparently, the people at Smeg don’t expect you to put tall drinking glasses in - they break during the wash cycle. I’ve tried most of the cycles, and the dishes still come out wet....
· The sinks and faucets are by Elkay, a downmarket brand that caters to do-it-yourselfers putting in Home Depot kitchens....The folded-over “farmer sink” look that was popular about four years ago has resurfaced in the Aldyn, only to stay frozen in time for as long as we live here....

A decent mix of pros and cons, but Siegel's real sticking point is actually the building's heating system:

Heat registers are made as a single unit, including the thermostats. This makes them cheap to make and install, but it is the worst way to set up a heating system....Whether heating or cooling, these units don’t keep the room at a steady temperature. During the winter, you must turn the heat up by hand at night and keep reducing the temperature during the day as the sun enters each room. You will do this many times per day, for each “thermostat” in your apartment.... The heat registers are at the top, near the ceiling....Our floors are freezing, and our ceilings are nice and toasty. We are waiting for people to move in below us to heat up our floors....I could go on about this, but suffice to say that LEED certification won’t be coming to this building.

I can’t imagine paying for a penthouse without hiring a butler to adjust the thermostats full time. This is an epic fail. If I were paying big money for a penthouse, I would actually rewire, then rerock and paint. As a renter, this is the most painful part of living here. They could drop my rent $200 a month to compensate, but I’d still be getting paid about $10 an hour to go around resetting thermostats.

Overall, though, Siegel gives the place a thumbs-up in his full review, at least for renters. He gives extra points to the bathrooms, entryways, sheetrock, and broker experience, a rave that may be even rarer than a basement bowling alley.

· Review of the Aldyn [dsiegel.com]
· Aldyn coverage [Curbed]

The Aldyn

60 Riverside Boulevard, New York, NY 10069