One of the great things about Broadway that is generally underappreciated are the seating areas in the center islands that permit one to gaze up and compare rooflines diagonally across from one another.
Normally, of course, this is not too fruitful a pursuit, especially since the perspective is often difficult and the rooflines not always inspiring.
But occasionally it can be surprising and quite interesting.
Nowhere else can this be found so dramatically as at 90th Street where the Art Nouveau "vinery" atop The Cornwall apartment building on the northwest corner makes one rethink love affairs with really large cornice overhangs as can be found at the Astor Court on the southeast corner.
A few intersections are great because all of their corners are filled with extraordinary architecture that is uniform.
Some intersections are great because the wonderful architecture of its buildings contrasts boldly and memorably.
Other intersections become great when an eyesore is removed and replaced with a well-designed building that heals the urbanistic wound and thus gives new "life" to the surrounding buildings.
That is the case at West End Avenue and 86th Street where a large, new luxury residential condominium building has replaced a 5-story, orange-brick building of little distinction on the southwest corner. The now elegant and quite visible intersection is only a block from a subway station and a cross-town bus stop 86th Street and Broadway.
Two of the city's grandest, curved, pre-war apartment buildings are at the foot of 116th Street and Riverside Drive at the intersection with Claremont Avenue.
They form an impressive pre-"gateway" to Columbia University from the west up the hill to Broadway at 116th Street.
The university's actual "gateway" is very handsome and quite conventional, like the gateway to Rockefeller University on York Avenue.
The neighborhood's gateway, however, is elegant but discombobulating: two great curved buildings face away from one another rather than open together. It's a bit weird and confusing. It's akin to doing the tango. You know, the high-stepping, cross-over, drama and since the intersection here is quite sloped, there is the danger of accelerating, or tripping.
There are many blocks off Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side that are very impressive, but very, very few of them are without blemish.
One such block is 62nd Street between Fifth and Madison avenues.
It may well be the city's greatest residential block, not on the basis of friendly neighbors, nor bargain basement values, but mere "bricks and mortar."
A great block need not have all its buildings in the same style, or size, or type, but it should have a uniform level of quality, and care, with no glaring, "look-at-me," exceptions. Delightful surprises, of course, are to be encouraged.
The city's inventory of for-sale "luxury" apartments continued to dwindle in the Second Quarter, according to a Corcoran Report issued today. Market-wide, available listings declined 12 percent from a year ago to 8,060 units and 4 percent lower than in the First Quarter, the report said, adding that "with limited new development properties available, condominium inventory is eroding at a steeper rate than co-op inventory compared with a year ago": "condo inventory declined 14 percent while co-op inventory declined 9 percent."
One often hears that the creation of Central Park was a very momentous occasion in New York City's real estate history.
Tomorrow, the McCarren Pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, reopens for the first time since 1983 and it is proof that parks are very significant factors in real estate development as about a dozen or so new residential condominium projects have sprouted in recent years around McCarren Park. It's almost as if Fifth Avenue, Central Park South, Central Park West and Central Park North were created overnight.
There are very few great blocks in Manhattan where almost all the buildings are at least handsome and there are no major visual blights.
East 64th Street between Park and Lexington avenues is one.
There are other blocks on the Upper East Side with more palatial townhouses but none with as nice a collection of very attractive buildings on both sides of the street including several that are quite spectacular.
The tree-lined block is also fortunate in having very handsome, low-rise buildings at its Park Avenue corner, which lets in more "light and air" than most blocks.
The City Planning Commission voted 12 to 1 this week to approve New York University's expansion plans in Greenwich Village that would add about 2.5 million square feet of space to the university's superblocks south of Washington Square Park.
The controversial plans, which had been recently revised, must still be approved by the City Council.
The university's plan would build several large structures in space that had been left open for two very important "tower-in-a-park" projects: University Towers and Washington Square Village.
First Quarter 2012 reports released last week by the major real estate brokerages in Manhattan indicated that luxury apartment sales activity and prices remained relatively stable although some bidding wars were reported.
Median sales prices for Manhattan luxury apartments slipped 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to $775,000 from $782,071 in the prior year quarter, according to a new report from Prudential Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel Inc., but the average sales price and price per square foot posted increases.
Greenwich Village is world famous for its charm and its bohemian contrariness so it has been no surprise that New York University has taken a severe beating recently over its very ambitious expansion plans.
The plans would add 2.5 million square feet of space to the university's superblocks south of Washington Square Park at the base of Fifth Avenue.
The university abandoned its handsome campus in the Bronx in 1973 to the City University of New York that now operates it as the Bronx Community College. NYU, however, has been steadily expanding in the village not only with new buildings but also by taking over existing buildings and converting them to academic uses.
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