It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 14th Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: the year’s 10 most talked-about stories.
Last year, the unveiling of plans for the so-called Eiffel Tower of New York, otherwise known as Vessel, quickly became the talk of Curbed NY. The Thomas Heatherwick-designed public art installation taking shape at Hudson Yards summoned a wide range of public opinions.
This year, readers were captivated by stories of excessively expensive Fifth Avenue apartments, exclusive floorplans, and the search for New York’s lost soul. If you’re interested in seeing what topics garnered the most comments from Curbed readers this year, here you have it.
Staten Island’s $590 million observation wheel has faced both financial and logistical straits this year. Construction was halted when developers and the design-build team came to some disagreements and developers were forced to scout for new contractors, With the New York Wheel off to such a rocky start, Crain’s decided to take a look at what it would take for the project to pay off. The short version: The wheel would need to attract around 3 million visitors annually at $35 each for the $590 million project to be worth it.
While we love Staten Island, the likelihood of that many people traveling to the New York Wheel is a bit unfathomable. After all, the Empire State Building just makes it to 3 million visitors annually. As Buster57 puts it: “Staten Island is always on Travel & Leisure’s top places to visit – NEVER.”
This spacious Upper East Side co-op, asking $725,000, somehow managed to generate more than 40 comments. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom home has a rather simple floorplan and nothing over-the-top about it, but in true Curbed commenter fashion, the apartment prompted a lengthy discussion on window bars. “The window bars really ruin the look of the place and the kitchen is old,” said Views4Days. “There is a reason the price is so low and it’s due to the not very good location.”
The Municipal Art Society has been tracking the rise of NYC’s supertall towers since 2013. In its 2017 report, the group not only addressed issues with upcoming developments, but also outlined a 10-point plan for addressing what it calls the “unprecedented boom in as-of-right, out-of-scale development that flaunt the intention of our zoning code.” The reforms are proposed as a way to “level the playing field between private development and the public interest.”
There’s nothing like a pricey Fifth Avenue apartment to get a conversation going. When a revamped “mezzanine” apartment within the Upper East Side’s famed Sherry-Netherland Hotel hit the market for $32 million, critics were ready to call out its pros and cons. The overall consensus: Well, we can’t really say there is one.
Apartments within the Dakota don’t exactly come around often, so when they do, many eyes are eager to see what they’re all about. Case in point: an eight-room apartment for the first time in more than 50 years, asking a cool $12.5 million. Most of the comments came to the confusion that the hyped up listing was “not so impressive and rather awkward in a terminally strange building,” as one commenter puts it.
Floorplans for the highly-anticipated five-story penthouse within Fifth Avenue’s lauded Crown Building finally made their debut this year and they were just as extravagant as expected. The nearly 14,000-square-foot pad will hold a show kitchen and a working kitchen, a piano lounge, two swimming pools, a full-floor master suite, and much more. The price hasn’t been confirmed yet but developers hint that it will cost at least $100 million.
Another apartment within a rarefied Fifth Avenue building got people talking. This time it was a two-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom spread on the seventh floor of 834 Fifth Avenue, boasting 10 windows that overlook Central Park. The apartment was designed by Rosario Candela and was owned by philanthropist Ruth Stanton for more than 40 years, before her family decided to list the sweeping space for a hefty $24 million.
Developer Extell has been incredibly tight-lipped about its forthcoming tallest residential building in New York, Central Park Tower, so when floorplans and potential pricing information were revealed, it was kind of a big deal. The Real Deal, who first reported on the floorplans, also had a detailed breakdown of the amenities, which will include a grand ballroom on the 100th floor, a landscaped terrace with a 60-foot-pool, and an additional indoor pool on the 16th floor.
After years of tracking the many loss and continuous decline of New York City’s unique independent businesses, Vanishing New York blogger Jeremiah Moss finally revealed himself—and released his first book, Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul. In it, he sets out to chronicle what exactly has gone wrong in New York City—particularly the East Village, the neighborhood that he has called home for over 20 years.
Needless to say, weighted discussions took place within the comments section as to whether or not “old New York” is truly dead and if it’s even something that should be missed in the first place.
“I believe New York City is a better place today than it was in the era that Jeremiah Moss yearns for,” declared Views4Days. “The city is safer, has less violent crime, is better educated and more vibrant in many ways. Most importantly, New York City is a place where more people want to live, work and enjoy than at any time in the city’s history.” On the contrary, NYCsince1983 couldn’t agree less, writing:
My apartment building used to be filled with all kinds of only-in-New York characters: writers, artists, actors, porn stars, drug dealers, drag queens, a belly dancer, and a whole slew of wildly eccentric seniors. Now they’ve all been replaced by young rich kids who went to ivy league schools and work in big banks and law firms. They’re perfectly nice people but, I must say, not very interesting. What saddens me more is to see all the quirky stores, shops and bars closing in the neighborhood, and the once-lively street life becoming a dull transit route for tourists going to the High Line. All the magic, energy (and weirdos) are gone.
Whenever an ultra-luxurious apartments within Rafael Viñoly’s supertall hits the market, it’s sure to spark a conversation. In this case, it was a 2,633-square-foot home on the building’s 81st floor. The unit was purchased for in September 2016 for $21 million and after just one year, its owner put it back on the market for $26.75 million.
Commenters weren’t exactly impressed with the space. “Overall, disappointing. And I was hoping to be wowed,” said REspectator. Admittedly, the space has some nice things going for it, some folks felt the price was too high and unrealistic. “I still don’t see the seller getting the asking price for this unit,” said Views4Days. “I think it will sell for no more than $22 million.” But one thing everyone agreed on, while the apartment may be underwhelming, the views here never disappoint.