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The Flowerbox Building at 259 East 7th Street The Flowerbox Building at 259 East 7th Street
Friendly faces in windows or on fire escapes make for kind, lovable neighborhoods, according to Jane Jacobs's brand of urban understanding. Just imagine what friendly faces admiring their blooming window flower boxes can do.

Flower boxes help soften the edges of our brick-and-mortar environment, and thanks to perennials, they can add visual warmth even in winter. Indeed, their pretty presence in even the most humble surroundings is a sign of optimism and of the indomitable power of beauty to make us smile, knowing that someone cares. Furthermore, plantings help cool our cities and apartments by offsetting the urban heat island effect and preventing heat gain.
Unfortunately, flower boxes and green walls are only now beginning to enter the official real estate agent's "amenity" blue book (or should we say "green book?"). They are occasionally found on elegant townhouses, accidentally on the sides of not-so-elegant tenement buildings, and act as trim for superstructures that stretch hundreds of feet in the air where they cannot be easily admired by passersby.
305 Twenty Third Flower boxes under windows at 305 Twenty Third by Marin Architects
However, with a wave of green and sustainable thinking sweeping across the city, a number of architects and developers have begun to incorporate greenery into their designs to trap heat, improve air quality, and bring a touch of nature to city streets. A number of artists’ renderings depict buildings fairly dripping with foliage. The Spiral in Hudson Yards is getting its plantings on the terraces that gave it its name; in the Penn District project to the east, renderings of the unfortunately named Penn 15 depict 37 landscaped terraces with lush landscaping. Mayor Eric Adams is also on board with a greener New York City, having called for the revival of the Bloomberg-era Million Trees program to expand green space in the city, improve air quality, and create a more welcoming environment.
It remains to be seen how many of these renderings and proposals will come to fruition (no pun intended). The maintenance of plants isn’t always easy, and New York’s climate limits the types of plants that can thrive outdoors all year round. Strong winds are also a challenge that only increase with elevation, making one wonder how the plants proposed for The Spiral and Penn 15 will thrive. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see a more biophilic New York on the drawing boards.
118-East-1st-Street-01 Will the greenery shown in this renderings become reality? 118 East 1st Street (Brown Harris Stevens)
One that seems to have succeeded is 118 East 1st Street, a new boutique condominium located at the nexus of the East Village and the Lower East Side. Renderings of the project depicted lushly planted terraces on every floor; now that sales have launched, listing copy describes this feature as “living balconies” that act as a buffer between the tranquil living space and the bustling downtown area. All four units also open up to private outdoor spaces large enough to relax or entertain.
At 118 East 1st Street, green goes beyond the living balconies. Its exterior and interior insulation were based on Net-Zero energy principles, and high-performance doors and windows provide thermal insulation and sound attenuation. Additional environmentally friendly features include an all-electric infrastructure, MERV-13 air filters, and low-VOC paints and floor finishes.
It should be noted that the eco-friendly building still provides all the bells and whistles the luxury buyer has come to expect. The apartments feature high ceilings, expansive windows, top-of-the-line appliances and finishes, in-unit washer/dryers, and luxurious bedrooms suites with generous storage space and high-end baths. A pair of townhouse-style duplexes with private balconies starts at $5.45 million, a garden maisonette is listed for $5.5 million, and a penthouse with a setback terrace and private roof deck is listed for $7.2 million.
As high as the prices are, these apartments' generous square footage and greenery may prove irresistible to luxury buyers. We take a look at buildings with flower boxes and vegetated facades - while there is a good number of these buildings in the city, availabilities inside are significantly fewer.

39-West-23rd-Street-01 Flatiron House (COOKFOX)
Drawing upon the aesthetic of its majestic landmarked neighbors through a distinctly contemporary lens, Flatiron House comprises two buildings connected by a central garden. Rising above West 23rd Street with open views of lower Manhattan and "The Clocktower" to the east, the Tower is accentuated by a rhythmic grid of windows and planted loggias. The more intimate Loft building, situated on quiet West 24th Street, offers a collection of full-floor residences with historic Flatiron District views.
Each residence is thoughtfully designed by COOKFOX Architects to maintain a palpable connection to nature while promoting wellness through filtered outside air, acoustic mitigation, and a reliance on natural materials. Many of the buildings' 44 one- to four-bedroom homes feature floor-to-ceiling windows, accented with planted loggias and Juliet balconies, perfectly framing views of ornate city landmarks, and the skyline beyond. Occupancy is anticipated in summer 2022.

39-West-23rd-Street-01 Flatiron House, #601 (Corcoran)
From the Listing: Privacy abounds in this full-floor, lofty home with direct elevator entry! Designed by COOKFOX Architects, this bright 2,036-square-foot three-bedroom, three bathroom residence maximizes light and views through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room, north and south exposures, and high ceilings. The elevator opens into a foyer which flows into a spacious living and dining area facing West 24th Street. See floor plan and full details here

Condo | Completed in 2022
8 available listings from $1.795M - $35M

100-Vandam-Street-01 100 Vandam Street (COOKFOX)
100 Vandam Street is a new 25-story condominium tower located near the West SoHo waterfront and a short distance to Disney and Google's forthcoming corporate outposts. The hybrid design by COOKFOX Architects masterfully combines a beautiful pre-war loft building with a modern concrete and glass tower wrapped in garden terraces.
100 Vandam's 72 residences comprise 21 units in the base that are rich in old-world details, and 51 units in the new tower, which features floor-to-ceiling windows and private biophilic gardens designed to filter the light and frame views of the city skyline. All homes have expansive layouts, wide-plank oak flooring, Poliform kitchens, and custom millwork throughout.

100-Vandam-Street-01 100 Vandam Street, #5D (Douglas Elliman)
From the Listing: Residence 5D is a 1,862-square foot two-bedroom/two-and-a-half-bathroom home in the original part of the building, with 95 square feet of private outdoor space. The interior retains the beamed ceilings and original window fenestrations. The large open kitchen by Poliform includes a pantry, abundant storage, and top-of-the-line appliances, in addition to its signature millwork and bleu de savoie stone island and countertops. The bedrooms are large and each served by handsomely-finished full bathrooms. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completed in 2007

259-East-7th-Street-01 The Flowerbox Building via Can Resources
Turning the tide toward increased flower boxes is the Flowerbox Building at 259 East 7th Street, between avenues C and D in the East Village, built anew in 2007.

Designed by Derek Sanders of CAN Resources, the building, with eight condominium apartments, has a glass-and-metal entrance marquee and large, multi-paned windows that recall some of the handsome pre-war industrial buildings in Soho and Tribeca. Its window planters are 18 inches deep and run the width of the lower floors.
The tree-lined block on East 7th Street is one of the nicest in the East Village, with several handsome townhouses and proximity to several of the area's very lush and impressive community gardens.

The Flowerbox Building is among the most attractive low-rise buildings in the city, and easily the most appealing in the East Village—even more so than the huge Lower East Side Consolidation II developments nearby that boast three-story red-brick buildings surrounding large communal gardens.

Finished in 1930, London Terrace Towers offers the ultimate in pre-war architectural details and a level of amenities that distinguish it from most others. Amenities include a full-time doorman, numerous porters, and a resident manager. One of its most famed features is the half-Olympic-sized pool in a windowed room surrounded by the original Craftsman tiles. There are also steam rooms and saunas, a landscaped roof deck, a laundry room, a bike room, and a private gym accessible with a small annual fee.

470-West-24th-Street-01 London Terrace Towers, #16J (Compass)
From the Listing: Welcome to 16J at the coveted London Terrace Towers, a sun flooded custom one bedroom home with ample space, light and storage abound. As you enter this home you are greeted with complete warmth and charm as the sun pours in through the south facing living space, accented by beautiful hardwood floors and modern tones. The entire space was gut renovated less than 2 years ago with the most tasteful touches you will ever see. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completed in 1901; converted in 2008

159-West-24th-Street-01 Fake plants but at least they tried...
Carriage House is a landmarked building that was originally erected as a stable in 1901. The interiors have been masterfully converted to a highly modern boutique condominium, though not at the expense of such timeless touches as its light-colored facade, cornice, or flower boxes.

345-West-14th-Street-01 345 Meatpacking entrance via CityRealty
New condo construction is few and far between in the Meatpacking District, but this is not the only reason 345 Meatpacking took the neighborhood by storm. The building presents a modern take on the traditional architecture of the Gansevoort Market Historic District and features a hand-laid brick facade and green entrance marquee.

345-West-14th-Street-01 345 Meatpacking, #2C (Serhant LLC)
From the Listing: This spacious and beautiful one-bedroom at 345 Meatpacking features sunny southern exposures, exceptionally unique design details, and direct views of the planted marque. The open living/dining room features custom milled paneling. The artisan-crafted kitchen features custom oak millwork, bronze detailing, honed Absolute black granite countertop and backsplash, Dornbracht fixtures, and fully built-in Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Bosch appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completed in 2007

152-Elizabeth-Street-01 152 Elizabeth Street via Noe & Associates with The Boundary
152 Elizabeth Street is Pritzker Prize laureate Tadao Ando's first residential work outside of Asia, and brings a peaceful, Zen-inspired aesthetic to a bustling downtown block. Mr. Ando has said that he wanted this building to produce "a very tranquil feeling," and a living ivy wall can surely help with that. The organic design features several seasonal vines, and grows and changes according to the different seasons.

Condo | Completed in 2015
1 available listing for $4.75M

325-West-Broadway-01 XOCO 325 via DDG
Fresh off its successes at 41 Bond Street and 345 Meatpacking, DDG turned its attention to Soho with XOCO 325, a LEED-certified boutique condominium inspired by the 19th-century cast iron buildings around it. The cast aluminum facade features vertical gardens, and the amenities package includes a private garden, fitness studio under a green roof, and landscaped roof.

325-West-Broadway-01 XOCO 325, #4B (Compass)
From the Listing: Residence 4B is an open, two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom condo with floor-to-ceiling windows, pristine finishes, and boutique services. Well-appointed and in excellent condition, this 1,555-square-foot home represents the best of New York: it is private and quiet while allowing you to live in the center of one of the city’s most vibrant and exciting neighborhoods. See floor plan and full details here.

Co-op | Completed in 1920
1 available listing for $4.65M

210-West-90th-Street-01 Astor Court courtyard via Corcoran
One of the Upper West Side's original grand apartment houses, Astor Court's residents-only courtyard can be glimpsed through side street entrances. This spans a full block and features flowering plants, shade trees, and seating areas.

210-West-90th-Street-01 Astor Court, #2B (Sotheby's International Realty)
From the Listing: This chic yet inviting “Classic 7” home at the iconic Astor Court has been skillfully renovated by Gramercy Design - seamlessly integrating modern conveniences whilst restoring the apartment’s pre-war charm. Enter the apartment via a semi-private vestibule shared by only one neighbor. The south-facing formal living room boasts treetop views over Astor Court’s lush and bucolic private gardens. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completed in 2022
6 available listings from $595K - $3.15M

Renderings of Saint Marks Place via Grain London
58-Saint-Marks-Place-01 Rendering of Saint Marks Place via Grain London
In a stretch of Brooklyn best known for its historic brownstones and rowhouses, a full-block condominium is taking shape at 58 Saint Marks Place. The landscaped entrance gives it a more congruous appearance on its tree-lined block. This was designed by Terrain, as was the building's central courtyard and roof deck with seating, lounging, grilling, and screening areas.

58-Saint-Marks-Place-01 Saint Marks Place, #205 (Caukus Consulting LLC)
From the Listing: Introducing Residence 205, a 650-square-foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom home with eastern exposures and 9’ ceiling heights. The residence features a 43-square-foot private loggia with electric outlets. Thoughtful touches include independent thermostatic controls for each room provided by a split-system HVAC, pre-wired built-in shade pockets and junction boxes in the living, dining, and bedrooms. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completed in 2020

305-23rd-Street-01 305 Twenty Third via Marin Architects
Across the street from the historic Greenwood Cemetery, a new boutique condominium is a green oasis in and of itself. Its stately brick facade is punctuated by windows with flower boxes, and the building is topped with a leafy roof deck. All apartments have private outdoor space, and the building's lounge opens up to a landscaped garden.

Condo | Completed in 2011

41-Bond-Street-01 41 Bond Street via CityRealty
41 Bond Street livens up its bluestone facade with matching planters integrated into the stone of the deep-set windows. The importance of nature extends to the full-floor apartments inside, all of which have private outdoor space.

Condo | Completed in 1913
1 available listing for $1.8M

640-West-End-Avenue-01 640 West End Avenue via CityRealty
On the Upper West Side, 640 West End Avenue brings a touch of greenery to its block with lush landscaping on the majority of the building. Residents enjoy high ceilings, gracious hallways, rich architectural details, and convenient access to Riverside Park.

640-West-End-Avenue-01 640 West End Avenue, #1B (Warburg Realty Partnership)
From the Listing: Create your dream home in a rarely available pre-war apartment with dramatic and original architectural details. Sunny, corner, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, plus staff room which can be used as a 4th bedroom or office, with large-scale rooms and oversized windows in a distinguished ivy-covered building. Side-by-side living room (with elaborately carved ceiling) and dining room are separated by sliding pocket French doors, creating a wonderful flow for entertaining. See floor plan and full details here.

Condo | Completion estimated for 2023

89-Schenectady-Avenue-01 Rendering of 89 Schenectady Avenue via YossiG Design
On the border of Stuyvesant Heights and Crown Heights, work is underway on a highly nature-oriented new boutique condominium. Renderings show a facade bedecked with greenery, and the building is set to feature private balconies, a lobby with a green wall, and a roof terrace.

Monarch Sanctuary, 23-25 Cleveland Place, Nolita

Commercial | Proposed

At the beginning of March 2020, non-profit Terreform ONE presented a proposal for a commercial building that would feature a butterfly sanctuary as its facade and the lining of its atrium. Open plantings of milkweed and nectar flowers on the roof, rear facade, and terrace would provide a natural breeding ground and habitat for monarch butterflies, while semi-enclosed colonies in the atrium and facade would foster population growth. LED screens at street level would provide magnified live views of the caterpillars and butterflies, and a lushly planted facade would bring new greenery to its downtown block. It is unclear how such a project would fit in on this block in a landmarked district, but we can say that this would be an incredible opportunity to help save the monarch butterfly and bring a pioneering building to the city. The project is currently navigating city approvals.
Monarch-Sanctuary-01 Rendering via Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joaquim, PhD

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