1 Main Street, Brooklyn
Have you ever visited Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn or walked east across the Brooklyn Bridge? Most likely then you gazed at this building with the big clock up at the top of its tower.
Wonder what's in there? Did you know you can live inside that clock? For just $18M, it's yours. Take a look:
Starting a new regular type of post today. Welcome! You're my first guests here for....Front & Back.
It may just be me but when I walk or drive through a city I am always looking at the facades of all the buildings I pass. (The dents & scratches on my car prove that I really do mean that.) What I am always thinking though is, "What's behind that front?"
I have been reading so many architecture and design books over the years and know that a facade doesn't tell you the complete story and some of the best stories are the ones where the inside and back surprise you. Maybe I am the only person who thinks about these things. Please post your thoughts and comments. I am curious to hear what you think.
1st Front & Back - 27 Vandam St, NYC
Located in the West Village, this 92 year-old Federal-style townhome was once home to choreographer Paul Taylor & is totally redone today. The house has 5 bedrooms, 4+ bathrooms and a two-story glass curtain wall in the rear overlooking the garden.
To me the front and the back have nothing to do with each other but that is what makes it a good story. Take a look now at the interiors:
*= As long as you only play one game today. Seriously, just about any game is more fun than this one.
Today's game is called "Why Should We Be Grateful When We Pay Our Next Mortgage Payment"™
You might normally gripe each month when you make that payment to your mortgage company. Stop your griping! In 1997 guess what you would have been paying on average on your loan? 8.75% !! Are you feeling better yet? No? How about this:
Guess what you would have been paying on that loan back in 1984? Between 13% and 14%!! Now you're feeling good.
The last step of the game is to go hug your parents because that was what they were paying for the roof over your head all those years ago.
* - If Google Translate is to be trusted, that is Danish for, "Do you know what is popular design?" Hopefully it doesn't mean something like "Your mom is an anchovy."
So let's just say you are walking around Copenhagen in 1959 and come across this in a furniture showroom:
You think to yourself, "That looks quite pretty but right now I have to get home to put this cheese in the cooler." Then you trip and hit your head.
Next thing you know 57 years have passed and you wake up.
The nurse next to you at your hospital is holding a little electronic thing in her hand and tells you she is shopping for some new furniture. She shows you this:
"Holy herring!" you cry out. That chair you saw way back in 1959 is in some store today called Target. What's amazing is she shows you these as well:
" Der er intet nyt i design," * you think to yourself.
* = "There is nothing new in design"
photo courtesy of The New Yorker, 9.7.15, Andrew Moore, photographer
First - in the category of "Please Don't Sue Me", thank you oh benevolent law team for The New Yorker for ignoring the fact that I took a photo of your photo from today's issue and posted it here in my blog. I am just a little real estate agent with nothing much worth suing for so please go on to look for other prey. Thank you.
Ok, now to my point - this photo just grabbed me this morning.
It was taken outside the Atlantic City hotel and casino, Revel.
First, have you noticed how the word "the" has fallen off many many nouns lately? When I worked downtown I referred to my office building as The Tribune Tower. Now I hear it referred to just as Tribune Tower. Concerts are announced that the artist will be playing United Center. No the. Listen closely to radio commercials and you'll hear the absence of the thes.
Anyway, back to New Jersey. Revel is New Jersey's most expensive private construction project to date. It was to have 4,000 hotel rooms and over 7,000 parking spaces. After the project was stalled for years a more scaled down version was completed. It finally opened years late with only 1,400 hotel rooms. After having its doors open for only 24 months - it closed and now sits empty.
You actually know this place if you know what TMZ is. This is the hotel where N.F.L. player Ray Rice was seen on surveillance video horribly beating his fiancee in the elevator.
I am sure some lovely things happened in this hotel for the 24 months it was open. I am sure some very nice people enjoyed themselves there at the casino. Maybe some of them got engaged there. Maybe some wed there. Maybe it was a place for a tired couple to get a little us time away from their family. But at what cost?
This impersonal behemoth clearly cost a tremendous amount of money to construct and certainly many investors will never see a return on their investments in it. What did the homeowners of Atlantic City gain from this building? Why is that building necessarily better or more important than the home that you see in the above photo?
In a space like that home I am sure at times there were very happy memories made, as well as sad ones but clearly a more scaled down version of humane living went on there. A home is reality. It is the place where diapers are changed, gutters are cleaned and homework is done. A mega hotel & casino is not designed for anything as real as that. It is a place of fantasy and escapism.
Today the escapism place sits empty throwing its shadow over the very real and very alone home in this struggling city. How real is that for you?
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.