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Curbed NY’s top stories of 2019

Taylor Swift, a mysterious building, Vessel, and more

This year, we chronicled the opening of Hudson Yards, the unstoppable rise in New York City rents, the country’s most expensive sold home, the MetroCard’s replacement, Taylor Swift’s onetime Greenwich Village home, and plenty of other New York City stories.

Here, find nine of our most-read pieces 2019. And to see some of my favorite stories from this past year, head right this way.


How to get tickets to Vessel, the climbable Hudson Yards sculpture

And at the center of the Hudson Yards megaproject is Vessel, a 150-foot-tall, shiny sculptural bauble designed by Thomas Heatherwick. The piece is made from 154 interconnected staircases, and is intended to be used by the public—for climbing, running (though probably not too fast), and, most likely, for providing the backdrop for selfies and Instagram photos. (It’s also inspired comparisons to a shawarma, a beehive, and a butt plug.)

NYC one-bedroom rents hit $2,980/month, an all-time high

The skyrocketing rents of the past decade topped out this year, with records broken left and right—including, over the summer, a new record for one-bedroom rents, which hit (and then surpassed) $2,980/month.

An aerial view of New York City buildings on a hazy day. Max Touhey
Should you move to New York City?

The short answer: Maybe! (The longer answer: Living in New York City isn’t always easy, it’s often thrilling. As you get to know the city better, its quirks and secrets become known—and that makes living here all the better. Our editor, a longtime New Yorker, compiled 19 things to know about life in the Big Apple.

Inside Taylor Swift’s onetime Cornelia Street carriage house

On a newish song, “Cornelia Street,” Taylor Swift mentions the Greenwich Village place where she briefly lived. The townhouse at 23 Cornelia Street, which she once rented, sold earlier this year for $11.5 million, according to city records. Swift rented the three-story townhouse briefly back in 2016 for around $39,500/month, while her Tribeca penthouse was being renovated. She owns several Tribeca properties, both at 153 and 155 Franklin Street.

The story behind one of NYC’s most mysterious buildings and its longtime owner

A new documentary, Jay Myself, paints an intimate portrait of photographer Jay Maisel—his craft, his vast collection of objects, and the life he built in the fabled building at 190 Bowery—told by his protégé, photographer Stephen Wilkes.

Billionaire’s Row in New York City Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
At $238M, 220 Central Park South apartment is most expensive home sold in the U.S.

Ah, billionaires. This particular apartment, purchased by hedge funder Ken Griffin, remains the most expensive home sold in the country—but 220 Central Park South has notched several other blockbuster sales in 2019, including tktkt.

A guide to OMNY, the MTA’s new MetroCard-replacing fare system

The MTA took another step toward sunsetting the MetroCard with the introduction of OMNY (which stands for One Metro New York), the contactless fare payment system.

10 NYC tenants’ rights your landlord doesn’t want you to know

New York City is a city of renters, but how many of those people are aware of their basic rights as tenants? Both the city and state have codified certain provisions into law, both on the most basic level—you’re entitled to heat, hot water, and a clean living space—and for things that are slightly more complicated, like rent stabilization.

The antisocial stairway of Hudson Yards

Karrie Jacobs visited Vessel at Hudson Yards, and found it lacking. “In my mind, the ability to comfortably linger is the hallmark of a great public place. It is also the difference between an empty vessel and a container that can generate its own culture and community,” Jacobs writes. “But Vessel offers no benches or ledges, and I would no more sit on these stairways than I’d sit on the steps at a subway station.”