Friday, October 23, 2015


The shadows broadening across Park Avenue stretch their fingers as if playing a tune on a piano going from loud to soft on the boulevard below. The tune being played never sounds exactly the same from each sunrise to sunset and the composers writing the scores have changed ever since the first buildings rose on either side of the boulevard.
One of the newest notes to be written on the Avenue is 400 Park Avenue South, a residential building designed by Christian de Portzamparc.
Portzamparc was the youngest Architect to ever be awarded the Pritzker Prize designating him as one of the most influential architects of our time. 400 Park Avenue South joins a symphony of new residential buildings rising on Streets and Avenues from the Battery up to Harlem, some creating dynamic music while others just playing a cacophony of absurd sounds. As inevitable as change may be New York's skyline is not immune to transformation with new peaks poking through creating new sets of shadows adding to the pattern of the city's lights and darks.
400 Park Avenue South pierces the west side of Park Avenue's silhouette with knife-like precision. It defies the more traditional buildings beings built that climb floor after floor via a series of squares and cubes in a race to see who can build the highest tower. The developers running Manhattan are in a dangerous game of Jenga waiting for the stability factor to kick in and the walls to come tumbling down.
Take 432 Park Avenue between 56th and 57th Street, rising above the city in an obscene gesture, acting as Manhattan's middle finger. It has transformed the New York skyline from every approach into the city, one single slender set of 104 condominiums for 104 residents who need the world to look up to them and who enjoy looking down on everyone else. With that in mind I doubt we'll be designing any residences here.
On the other hand, where I would like to find an interior design entry is in 400 Park Avenue South. The knowledge of the urban canyon known as Park Avenue South is far more sensitively handled by the builders and visionary that have gifted the city with this architectural jewel.
The building includes a long list of amenities for prospective condominium buyers. The offerings are only now coming onto the market. Ownership comes with access to a screening room, indoor lap pool and sauna, a spin studio and 27th floor sky lounge, and then there are the superbly designed apartments.
I scheduled an appointment to look at their smallest units, one-bedrooms ranging in size from 780 square feet to 840 square feet. A young saleswoman met me at the 23rd floor model apartment. The spaces below the 23rd floor were relegated to rental units and commercial space. The views from the 23rd floor two bedroom apartment were spectacular. I can only image how the views as you ascended floor by floor increased in grandeur as well as cost.
The first floor plan I was shown was for a unit on the 24th floor. It included a living/dining area, bedroom with a walk-in closet, kitchen and a single sink bathroom. The size wasn't exactly generous for a one-bedroom but the design was impressive and the quality of the product did not go unnoticed.
The kitchens were done with custom-made Pedini glass finished cabinetry, quartzite islands with a reticulated front reflecting the buildings design and Miele appliances. The bathrooms had heated limestone floors, Grigio Tucci vanities, and Roman soaking tubs. All units came with their own washer/dryer and well they should at $2,039,990 with a monthly common charge of $874.52. Now as most of our Midwest readers pick themselves back up off the floor this is about right for New York real estate. I didn't blink; I repressed the hard swallow of incredulity and asked if I could see any other one-bedrooms.
She pulled out a second plan for the slightly larger units that began on the 30th floor and ran on up to the 37th. The 30th floor began at the same base price but each time you went a floor higher you needed to add another $10,000 to the price. The common charges were also slightly higher beginning at $949.28 per month. I still hadn't broken out in a full sweat but I wasn't going to touch the paper plans she was pushing toward me for fear of leaving a little oily smear on the quality paper document.
The last plan was a single one-bedroom unit on the 30th that included a 200 square foot terrace. The terrace upped the cost by cool a $150,000. Now I know the Beast was in the cost. Living in Madison that's about the cost of a decent three-bedroom home on a quarter acre with a two-car garage and a working fireplace. I took all the brochures she had put together for me and shook her hand telling her I'd be in touch.
For anyone out there looking to purchase at 400 Park Avenue South, we know you probably want to put your own stamp on your space, gutting the unit and starting over. Know we're available for hire and extremely willing to help.

Mike Smith, photographer
Chucky, TN, 1992
Represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, NYC

1 comment:

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