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Hudson River Dioramas, 495 West Street, #5  (Halstead) Hudson River Dioramas, 495 West Street, #5 (Halstead)
New to the market on lower Manhattan's Gold Coast is this brilliant and rare home in Cary Tamarkin's highly coveted 495 West Street. The 3,153-square-foot two-bedroom has 64 feet of continuous steel ribbon windows beautifully framing uninterrupted views of the Hudson River. According to the listing, the home was designed by Robert Marino and inspired by the French mid-century industrial aesthetic. The seller has spectacularly used the open flexible floor plan as a study of the creative expression of architectural materials and the interplay of form and light.
In this new series "Real listings, imagined lives," we take inspiration from real-life listings and overlay an imagined story. The traditional real estate listing descriptions are fictionalized to add fascination and a New York edge. The series will envision residents, neighborhoods, culture, and more around NYC homes for sale. New Yorkers are anything but ordinary and so their home descriptions should not be either. So our stories take creative license and New York chutzpah to reveal the most interesting aspects of listings as we envision the lives lived in these amazing homes and communities.

Summary of this article: In the first article in our new series, Michelle Sinclair Colman imagines a scorned lover's afternoon waiting to meet her boyfriend. As she strolls down West Street, she is struck figuratively by 495 West Street, and almost literally, in her brief encounter with a building resident.

Meatpacking District Meatpacking District (CityRealty)

↑ I was heading to the Whitney when my phone vibrated.

Sorry. Late. Can’t make museum. Meet me at Spotted Pig in 2 hrs. Pls.

That overbearing, psycho boss is going to be the end of us. But, the fact that he couldn’t predict he’d be late when it happens all the time, is what really blew my mind.

Whitney Museum of American Art Rachel Harrison, Hoarders, 2012. On view at

↑ That meant I had two hours to kill and I was dying to see Rachel Harrison’s new “Life Hack” exhibit at the Whitney so I splurged and bought the guided tour headphones and started on my lonesome way.

Rachel Harrison, Alexander the Great, 2007. Wood, chicken wire, polystyrene, cement, acrylic, mannequin, Jeff Gordon waste basket, plastic Abraham Lincoln mask, sunglasses, fabric, necklace, and two unidentified items, 87 x 91 x 40 inches (221 x 231.1 x 101.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, 2007; courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photograph by Jean Vong

↑ Harrison’s art is wild. She delves into the waste bins of celebrity culture and pop psychology. Her schtick is to unveil the lunacy that lurks beneath the surface of typical things. She’s a true New Yorker - our garbage is filled with treasure, our ordinary lives are on display, and we are intermixed with strangers at any given point.

Whitney-Museum-04 Photo of the Whitney Museum of American Art b yTimothy Schenck

↑ I finished the exhibit and wandered around the outdoor terraces of the Whitney. I love working my way down the staircases and watching the dynamic Meatpacking District, the twisting Samsung building, and the historic West Village unfold as I descend.

Superior-Ink-03 The Superior Ink development by Related Companies and Robert A.M. Stern Architects (Photo credit Robert A.M. Stern Architects)

↑ I usually enjoy meandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Village, but today I was feeling a bit drowsy and needed a slap of the cool river breeze to wake me. I headed west down the street, then bolted across the West Side Highway to get to the river walk.

Superior-Ink-condos Superior Ink condos and the West Village

↑ I started strolling down West Street and became obsessed with imagining who lived in these palatial residences. I did my best flaneur impersonation with my arms behind my back and a slow, thoughtful stride.

495-West-Street-03

↑ As usual, I'm greeting with guaranteed near-collision with cyclists racing to get home from work. One building really caught my eye. The approach from the north was striking, not in its opulence but in a more monolithic way because it didn’t have any windows on the north side.

Hudson River Dioramas Hudson River Dioramas from Hudson River Park (Tamarkin)

↑ The genius of the conversion was that it was not overly modernized and luxuriated where it lost its character and function of the original structure. How architects successfully blend grit and elegance is a true puzzle, but when done well, a total art. It seemed the West Village had pixie dust sprinkled all over its history and the result was magnificent.

495 West Street Hudson River Dioramas at 495 West Street (Photo via Tamarkin)

↑ There was an old-school surface parking lot on the north that just begged any passer-by to take in this grand, brick facade. It looked like an old industrial building that was reconverted and done really well.

↑ It looked like every residence in the building filled an entire floor. Each spectacular horizontal mansion had amazing continuous ribbons of steel windows spanning the whole west side of the building, facing directly and unobstructedly out over the river. New York luxury.

Christian Louboutin SO KATE PATENT 120 Black Pumps by Christian Louboutin ($695)

↑ As I was examining and admiring the charming way the brick exterior met the massive casement windows, a woman in a pair of Louboutins Carrie Bradshaw would kill for blew by me so fast, I almost fell over. “Bitch,” I unconsciously murmured under my breath, but she didn’t hear me. She was screaming into her phone, totally obsessed with herself and her problems.

495 West Street Hudson River Dioramas, 495 West Street entry (Compass)

↑ I stood and watched as she flew by the doorman and into the elevator. I backed up a bit and decided I’d try to see which apartment this force of nature lived in. The second floor already had lights on but most were dark so I figured it would be easy to see which one was hers when she arrived. Within seconds, the fifth-floor lights turned on and I knew I had my whirlwind.

Hudson River Dioramas, 495 West Street Hudson River Dioramas, 495 West Street, #5 (Halstead)

↑ Wow, the inside of the apartment looked so incredibly different from my outside preview. Her apartment is just above the treeline so the view must be incredible as it obscured the cars below and framed the river views.

495-West-street-03 Living room with fireplace (Halstead)

↑ She only seemed to turn a light on in the entrance on so I could see the flickering glow of a fire. Someone must have just left since the fire is still burning. Maybe she was mad that her lover left before she got home. Maybe she and I have both been scorned just blocks apart?

West-Village-codo-projects

↑ I keep staring at the ceilings. They look like raw cement, just like the circular columns by the windows, but they had these cool concentric circles cut-outs which gave the hard ceiling a softness.

↑ I wondered if she had slammed the phone down in the entrance foyer, thrown off her stilettos, and flopped on her sleek Ligne Roset couch that matched the red of her shoe soles.

↑ I once read about Jean Prouve, a French metal worker and self-taught architect/designer who was a friend and worked with Le Corbusier. Prouve’s sought to soften traditionally hard materials through his design and wondered if he might have been the inspiration for these celestial ceilings?

(Halstead)

↑ I saw a shadow move across the apartment. I wondered if she was still mad or had blown off the steam of being stood up, as I had. Even though the entire front of the apartment was one room, I imagined she was now in the kitchen, opening the unfinished bottle of wine from last night and pouring herself a glass.

↑ That’s when I saw her walk to the windows. She seemed at peace and thoughtful as she took a sip from her glass (I was right!). I stared. I wanted her to see me. I wanted her to know I understood. I felt like I was Rachel Harrison, using my brief New York encounter as art to fill my life.

Hudson River Dioramas-03 70 feet of ribbon windows overlooking Hudson River Park and river (Halstead)

↑ I focused on the windows again and she was staring back at me. I wanted to look away but forced myself not to. She gave me a tiny smile, lifted her chin up in a gesture that acknowledged my existence, turned and walked away.

(Halstead)

↑ She knew she had a grand stage and she thanked her audience. I shook my head and laughed at myself.

↑ I wandered into the West Village charm, in hopes that Sebastian had pre-ordered those annoyingly addictive shoestring fries. They are truly the only way to say I’m sorry.


West-Village-condos-03 Floor plan of 495 West Street, #5 (Halstead)
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Additional Info About the Building

 
Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.
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