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The Pan Am Building Fight; Buying a Gramercy Fixer-Upper

Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

1) History Lessons: wherein we explore our city's past, from Bronx to Battery. This week, Christopher Gray takes us back to the early 1960s kerfuffle over the construction of the (then-named) Pan Am Building at 200 Park Avenue. Completed in 1963, the Brutalist office tower was the subject of "one of the biggest and most bitter fights over a construction project in New York history, possibly greater than the battle over the demolition of Penn Station." Upper East Siders and Midtown residents alike took issue with the interrupted view of Park Avenue, and The New Republic described the building as a "seven-league monster," which "seems to take sadistic pleasure in dwarfing the rather cute gilded spire" of the Beaux-Arts Helmsley Building to the south. Some things never change, we guess. [Park Avenue, Interrupted; photo via Zachary Korb/Curbed Photo Pool]

2) Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality.

The Hunters: a couple looking to buy
Dream: ~$800,000
Reality: $520,000 + $200,000 reno
Dream: Downtown
Reality: Gramercy
Dream: 1BR
Reality: 1BR, high ceilings, wood-burning fireplace

This week's Hunters are a couple looking to buy a one-bedroom apartment, preferably somewhere downtown. They started looking around Chelsea and ended up seeing a collection of hotel conversions, including two on the Upper West Side. However, they found the ideal apartment on East 22nd Street, and though it was small, the price was right and it had some nice features, including high ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace. The couple bought the place for $520,000—a low enough price to allow the money saved to be spent on renovations, which ended up costing around $200,000. [The Hunt/Checking Out a Clutch of Ex-Hotels]