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Aerial View of VIA 57 West Courtyard (Google Earth) Aerial View of VIA 57 West Courtyard (Google Earth)
Public green space has been a topic of conversation over the past year, and ODA has chimed in with Beyond the Street, a new urban renewal concept that would break open city blocks to create interior courtyards and pathways; over time, this would create a more walkable and enjoyable experience with the help of adaptive reuse, new development, and landscape design. To accomplish this, the architecture firm proposes a new zoning regulation that would allow buildings to receive an increase of floor area and height in exchange for creating bigger courtyards. Moreover, an additional bonus would be granted if a passageway is built in from the street to the courtyard, thus making the private area public.
As a demonstration of how this could look, Beyond the Street presents a transformed Flower District, a stretch of Chelsea that was once known for its flower markets. Today the only greenery in the area is the plants sold in the remaining flower shops; car traffic and empty storefronts are more common. However, Beyond the Street depicts a vibrant, walkable public plaza with beautiful landscaping, flanked by cafes, cultural programming, offices, retail, hotels, and housing.
While the video only depicts a small section of Chelsea, ODA sees Beyond the Street as a highly transformative opportunity for commercial and mixed-use neighborhoods all over New York. By adding the passageway to the new courtyard, the private space is made public, thus creating a collaboration between the public and private sectors as a way of driving the kind of change that leads to walkable and accessible neighborhoods, mom-and-pop retail, local dining experiences, and more biodiversity.

“Vibrant pedestrian attractions like the High Line, Madison Square Park, and the new Little Island show that breathing new life into unused space are possible with great design and a little bit of landscaping” - Eran Chen, ODA

Beyond-the-Street-02 Before
Beyond-the-Street-03 After
Beyond the Street is still a highly novel concept, but New York City residential buildings have been including massive central courtyards for quite a while. Not only does this allow residents to enjoy green space without having to trek to the nearest park, but it also cultivates a sense of community. See the top 10 courtyards in residential developments here.

1. VIA 57 West, Midtown West

1 availability for $4,429/month
1 month free rent on a 21-month lease

Hufton + Crow Photo by Hufton + Crow for Bjarke Ingels Architects
(All VIA 57 West photos via Durst Organization)
Bjarke Ingels' VIA 57 West redefines what a building can be – as well as a courtyard. Situated in the center of the tetrahedron-shaped building, the outdoor space spans an impressive 22,000 square feet and has 80 newly-planted tree and lawns, 47 species of native plant material, 4 barbecue grills, and outdoor seating and activity areas.
Featured Listing:
From the listing: Designed by award-winning Bjarke Ingles Group, VIA 57 WEST offers a range of studio, one, two, three, and four-bedroom residences, many with private terraces. Spacious apartments, expansive amenities and a lush private resident courtyard balance the vibrant energy of Manhattan with the tranquility of nature, creating an iconic and visual gateway to New York. Unparalleled amenities, sophisticated fitness facilities, a 25-yard pool, and a central garden oasis enhance the living experience and wellbeing of VIA residents. See full details here.

2. The Apthorp, Upper West Side
the apthorp aerial nyc (Google Earth)
(Brown Harris Stevens)
The Apthorp is a prestigious landmarked building on the Upper West Side, and its beautifully landscaped center courtyard is equally deserving of landmark status. All four of the building's lobbies have access to the courtyard.
Featured Listing:
2211-Broadway-01 Image via Level Group Inc.
From the listing: This stunning home features a grand entryway with hand-laid mosaic floor, a gracious dining room, impressive closet space, a completely renovated chef-level kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances and Calacatta gold countertops/backsplash, a marble-clad master bathroom, soaring high ceilings, beautiful herringbone quarter-sewn oak floors throughout, and a washer/dryer in unit. This exceptional home also features a new HVAC system with individual room control and in-ceiling lighting throughout. With exposures onto West End Avenue and the picturesque landscaped Apthorp courtyard, every inch of this home has been expertly restored and thoughtfully designed. See full details here.

3. Oosten, Williamsburg
oosten 429 kent avenue aerial (Google Earth)
Piet Boon's The Oosten is a dramatic full-block development in Williamsburg that features 216 residences, ranging from lofts to penthouses to townhomes. Of all the building's amenities, it is the 13,860-square-foot interior lush courtyard that stands out the most.
Featured Listing:
429-Kent-Avenue-01 Oosten via Serhant
From the listing: A sterling duplex condo boasting high-end upgrades and a thoughtful floorplan, this massive 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home is a study in contemporary Brooklyn luxury. Features of this 2,557-square-foot apartment include elegant 10-inch wide-plank flooring, huge casement windows overlooking a tranquil courtyard, a 5-zone HVAC system, motorized Lutron blackout blinds, a supersized LG washer/dryer, and a state-of-the-art Nest camera and security system. The upper level of the home contains a convenient powder room as well as an open-concept living, dining, and kitchen space saturated with natural light. See full details here.

4. The Rheingold, Bushwick

42 availabilities from $2,215/month
1 month free rent on a 13-month lease

10 montieth aerial (Google Earth)
(ODA New York)
In the heart of Bushwick, the "jagged doughnut" design of The Rheingold, a colorful new rental on the former Rheingold brewery site, is the winner of a Housing Design Award from AIA New York. At the center of the amenity-rich rental is not one but three interior courtyards with abundant greenery, walking paths, lounge and party areas, and children's play area.
Featured Listing:
10-Montieth-Street-01 Interior via The KCI Group
From the listing: State-of-the-art amenities include rock climbing wall, gym, yoga studio, sauna/steam room, square block furnished roof deck, business center, art rooms, photography studio, musician privative room, business center, dog park, gaming room, kids play area, multiple lounges, etc! See full details here.

5. The Belnord, Upper West Side
the belnord aerial (Google Earth)
This landmarked building was carefully converted to a luxury condominium by the prolific Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and the 22,000-square-foot center courtyard and garden has been beautifully redesigned by Hollander Design Landscape Architects. A historic fountain is the centerpiece of the courtyard, and elegant seating allows residents to enjoy the trees and plantings.
Featured Listing:
225-West-86th-Street-03 Interior via Brown Harris Stevens
From the listing: Be the first to live in this exceptionally renovated 2,242-square-foot three-bedroom, three and a half-bathroom residence, located on the 3rd floor of the famed Belnord. Great attention to detail was taken to reimagine this apartment for today's discerning buyer. North and south exposures from oversized windows bring in wonderful light and each bedroom has serene and delightful views over the spectacular landscaped garden. See full details here.

6. Worldwide Plaza, Midtown West
worldwide plaza aerial (Google Earth)
This Midtown development encompasses a full city block and features over 200 residences. Amenities include a new gym, a roof deck with open views, a saltwater pool and sauna, and a large residents-only courtyard/garden.
Featured Listing:
350-West-50th-Street-03 Interiors via Spire Group Inc.
From the listing: Perched on the 37th floor, this bright spacious penthouse unit has unobstructed Hudson River view to the west and open city view to the north. The corner living room and open kitchen bring in sunlight all day. This 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath home was completely renovated and is in immaculate condition. The kitchen features stainless appliances, cherry wood cabinets and granite counter tops open to the separate corner dining room. See full details here.

7. Austin Nichols House, Williamsburg
austin nichols house williamsburg aerial Northside Piers and 50 North 5th Street are also nearby courtyard buildings (Google Earth)
(Kushner Companies)
Originally built in 1915, the landmarked Austin Nichols House was preserved and converted into a contemporary residence boasting over 30,000 square feet of amenities and 338 apartments – all surrounded by a zen-like landscaped courtyard/garden.
Featured Listing:
184-Kent-Avenue-03 Interiors via Sotheby's International Realty
From the listing: Ideally positioned on the North Brooklyn waterfront, the amenity-rich Austin Nichols House at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg offers exquisite condominiums and an incredible luxury lifestyle. This light-filled, generously-sized split-2 bedroom home is loft-like and finely designed, featuring airy 11'8 beamed ceilings, upscale finishes, and amazing northern views of the water and Manhattan skyline. Enjoy a backdrop of comfort and elegance in the voluminous open living and dining room graced by herringbone tobacco smoked oak wood floors and tall triple windows inviting in sunshine throughout the day. See full details here.

8. The Aldyn, Riverside Drive/West End Avenue
60 riverside boulevard aerial nyc (Google Earth)
Located on the Upper West Side, The Aldyn has first-class amenities like a 24-hour doorman, concierge, fitness center, spa, 75' indoor pool, yoga rooms, a basketball court, and a bowling alley. At the heart of it all is a landscaped interior courtyard with lounge seating and tables.
Featured Listing:
60-Riverside-Boulevard-03 Interiors via Nest Seekers
From the listing: Large one-bedroom unit features bright eastern exposure, superb finishes, in unit washer and dryer, beautiful hardwood floors, a magnificent chef island kitchen, high end appliances, beautiful marble bathroom with separate shower and tub, floor to ceiling windows, EXTRA HIGH ceilings and generous closet space! See full details here.

9. 1185 Park Avenue, Carnegie Hill
1185 Park Avenue aerial (Google Earth)
(Brown Harris Stevens)
One of the few private grand courtyards in the Upper East Side can be found in the beloved 1185 Park Avenue. It is distinguished by its circular shape and unique Gothic column entrance.
Featured Listing:
1185-Park-Avenue-03 Interiors via Brown Harris Stevens
From the listing: This sprawling 12 room apartment with 5 full sized bedrooms and 5 bathrooms has all that and more, and best of all, it returns to the market with a $1,000,000 price improvement - a Board Approved deal fell through presenting a wonderful opportunity to a lucky buyer! Situated in one of the best buildings coveted Carnegie Hill has to offer, the apartment is a vast, yet thoughtfully designed, space with herringbone floors and ceilings that are nearly 10' high. See full details here.

10. Graham Court, Harlem
1921 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard aerial nyc (Google Earth)
The Landmarks Preservation Commission describes Harlem's Graham Court, as commissioned by William Waldorf Astor, as "one of the single achievements in the history of the apartment house in New York City." Residents enjoy the landscaped courtyard, and it has been featured in films like American Gangster, Jungle Fever, and New Jack City.
(All Graham Court photos via Bohemia Realty Group)

Honorable Mentions:

(Google Earth)
(Google Earth)

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