Event: Sales gallery launch for the condominiums at 429 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, called the Oosten.
In the house: Brokers, architect Piet Boon and his design collaborators, the marketing team, potential buyers, and at least one actual buyer.
Menu: Drinks included specialty cocktails with a Dutch twist, like a Dutch Dark & Stormy and an elderflower syrup and vodka concoction, plus Dutch beers La Trappe Quad, Heineken, and Amstel Light. The small bites also had Dutch flavors. There were mini Dutch donuts, savory buckwheat blinis with smoked herring and crème fraîche, a savory apple and gouda pancake, bitterballen, mini lamb meatball sliders on house made pretzel bread, and mini stroopwafel.
Overheard: "He doesn't know shit, but he can get me a tote bag."
The sales gallery, located at 53 Broadway in South Williamsburg, right near the construction site, shows off sample interior elements including a kitchen, two different bathrooms (both of which felt cold), and a children's play room. There is also a big lighted model of the entire building, along with interactive stations where you can view different elements of the building.
Boon, who is Dutch (hence the "Go Dutch" theme for the evening) and first visited America 20 or 25 years ago, said he was proudest of the courtyard, which he compared to Amsterdam. He lamented what he sees as a lack of gardens in New York City. The building uses a lot of white and gray on the interiors because Boon believes it "stays for a long time" and that "everything would fit."
The Oosten, which is being developed by XIN Development Group, will have 216 units, including one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, plus duplexes, townhouses, lofts, and penthouses. Halstead Property is managing sales and lists a one-bedroom at $710,000 and a townhouse at $3.635 million. But interested buyers still have to wait two years to move in.
Amenities include bike storage (for an extra fee), a 24-hour concierge, a gym, an art gallery, an indoor pool, and a children's playroom. The roof will have a reflecting pool and outdoor grills. Penthouse residents will have direct elevator access from their parking spaces to their homes, and townhouse residents will have private enclosed garages.
One man at the party bought a one-bedroom unit about three months ago and said list prices have gone up about 25 percent. One couple who lives just around the corner was curious about the new building, which they thought looked nice, but also thought it was too expensive for what it will be and where it will be. They're concerned that there will be too many people in the neighborhood, but they hope that the influx of new people will mean new conveniences, like, maybe, maybe, just perhaps, a pharmacy. Another potential buyer, an architect, was not too happy and brought an architect friend who was also not impressed. The two of them didn't really like the idea of the courtyard. You go home to go home, a private place.
As for the party itself, the best food items (the burger and the grilled cheese) seemed to be the ones that never made a second pass. But the drinks seemed to be flowing quite steadily and nobody was complaining about that.
—Evan Bindelglass is a local freelance journalist, photographer, cinephile, and foodie. You can e-mail him, follow him on Twitter @evabin, or check out his personal blog.
· The Oosten [Official]
· Oosten Premieres On Williamsburg Waterfront From $710,000 [Curbed]
· All 429 Kent Avenue coverage [Curbed]