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Toren, 150 Myrtle Avenue: Review and Ratings

between Flatbush Avenue & Fleet Place View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 150 Myrtle Avenue by Carter Horsley

Toren is a 38-story tower that became Downtown Brooklyn's most striking and flamboyant apartment building when it was completed in 2010.

Designed by Carl Galioto of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the free-standing tower has a very sculptural base and a façade that conjures the blur of a racing zebra.

It was developed by BFC Partners of which Branson Baron, Joseph Ferrara and Donald Capoccia are the partners.

The building, which is located at 150 Myrtle Avenue in the Fort Green section, was described by as "reminiscent of a barcode."

It has 198 market-rate condominium apartments and 42 "below-market-rate" condos.

Bottom Line

A “wild and crazy” building with a remarkably original and daring design. A spaceship analogy is not too farfetched as the façade has a riveted look as if its Lego-like panels were stripped from a bomber or a battleship. Furthermore, the base angles in and out as it rises, almost like a bellows huffing and buffing to fan the rocket's fire.


The façade of the tower is asymmetrical: some floors have corner windows at some corners interrupting the strong vertical patterning of the façades.

The four-story base is topped with a two-story transitional setback around the bottom of the tower's shaft and the transitional setback has pronounced piers that are reminiscent of the great rooftop of 106 Central Park South. The transitional setback is an effective buttress visually to the tower, anchoring it more securely to its broad base, and such buttressing is important because the façade of the tower's shaft is straining visually to lift off its site like a rocket.

Some famous Art Deco skyscrapers in Manhattan were notable for relatively strong façade patterning and while the great crown of the Chrysler Building is spaceship-aesthetic, the rest of it is more conventionally designed so that its glorious top is obviously ornamental in spirit while Toren's tower is pulsating and roaring with energy.

This is not a pretty, shiny object like Hugh Stubbins's Citicorp Center or Minoru Yamasaki's twin towers of the World Trade Center, or a dazzling, faceted jewel like Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue, or a stunning bronze monolith like Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building, or a glistening curved façade like Richard Roth's 17 State Street facing the harbor.

Perhaps its only kindred spirit in the city, architecturally, is Walter Gropius's former Pan Am Building straddling Park Avenue just to the north of Grand Central Terminal, a stunning sculptural form that invokes the geometric patterns of great archaic Chinese bronzes but which has been much maligned, correctly, for its destruction/blockage of Park Avenue vistas rather than for the myriad imperfections of its slabs of polished grey granite that insult its thousands of daily workers and visitors.

Toren is not just another smashing dress.

It has a very broad, grand, outdoor staircase with an angled side between its fifth and sixth floors connecting different sections of its landscaped terraces.

Toren is just steps away from major mass transit including numerous bus lines, over a dozen subways, and the LIRR. The building is a mere two subway stops to Union Square; Manhattan a short five-minute drive over the Manhattan Bridge.

Toren is the Dutch word for "tower."

BFC did not receive any direct city subsidies for the project, but the developer agreed to include affordable apartments in exchange for the right to build on city property. Mr. Capoccia said the project had received more than 10,000 applications for the 42 apartments in a lottery that closed" in February, 2008.

"We are deeply committed to Green Building, and are thrilled for Toren to be fully powered with its own efficient micro-turbines," said Mr. Capoccia. "Implementing the complex cogeneration system at Toren has been very important to us, and it is one of the buildings many unique features. Its completion is a remarkable feat, and a huge step towards reaching our sustainability goals."

Other green features of the building include its curtain wall, which is compliant for heat retention. Dark-coated glass contrasts with lighter glass panels, making the building not only energy efficient, but visually spectacular. Toren is equipped with Energy Star appliances, and occupancy sensors to optimize lighting usage in all building common areas. Low-VOC paint, coatings, sealants, adhesives, carpets and outdoor air ventilation through the building's mechanical system improves the indoor environmental quality of each individual unit without ever needing to open a window.


Toren has a concierge, a roof deck and a lounge.

It has a dizzyingly tall library room that a marketing rendering indicated could be filled with at least 15 tiers of shelves reaching up to its mirrored but rafterless ceiling.

Its large indoor swimming pool has colorful mosaic pilasters that extend across the floor around and in the pool.

Toren also has an outdoor movie theatre, an attended lobby, a yoga room and a fitness center by Iowa Fitness. It has parking on its second and third floors and said that parking was not "underground, because there's an old train station right next to the building, possibly the former Myrtle Avenue el's first underground station."

On track for Gold LEED certification, Toren features its own on-site cogeneration plant - one of the first in a NYC residential tower. The five, fully-functional, 100 kilowatt generators are fuel the building's electrical, heating and cooling needs by capturing waste heat and putting it back into residential use while lowering the burden on the utility companies.


It has 35 studios, 69 one-bedrooms, 61 two-bedrooms and its top eight "penthouse" floors have 8 one-bedrooms, 12 two-bedrooms and 12 three-bedroom apartments, many high ceilings and split levels.

Apartment 1002 has an 11-foot-long, angled, open kitchen that leads to a 15-foot-long studio.

Apartment 1003 is a two-bedroom unit with a long, angled entry foyer that lead into a large angled living with an open kitchen.

Apartment 1406 is a two-bedroom unit with a long gallery that leads to a 13-foot-long open kitchen and a 12-foot-wide living room.

Apartment 1407 is a one-bedroom unit with an 11-foot-long angled open kitchen, a 14-foot-long living/dining area and a 9-foot-long bedroom.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 31 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 15 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #36 Rated condo - Brooklyn
  • #5 Rated condo - Downtown Brooklyn
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Key Details
between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue South
Murray Hill
Own the Lifestyle Private full-floor residences • Floor-to-ceiling windows • 360-degree Manhattan views
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30 E 31 | Exterior View 30 E 31 | Interior View 30 E 31 | Interior View 30 E 31 | Interior Living and Kitchen 30 E 31 | Bedroom