With the 1898 consolidation of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx into the Greater New York that we know today, the old police headquarters on Mulberry Street wasn’t cutting it, so this fantastic piece of New York City history was needed to house the new and expanded police department.The Police Building was built by Hoppin & Koen between 1905 and 1909. As crime escalated to epic levels in the 1960′s and early 70′s, it’s likely that this “exuberant Edwardian Baroque” edifice no longer was able to strike fear into the hearts of the city’s underworld, so the cops moved about a mile south to their current fortress at 1 Police Plaza. This Police Building was converted into an apartment house in 1988 and has been home to many celebrities in the worlds of fashion, art, sports and music. Today it certainly strikes passersby with a sense of jealousy for one of the multi-million dollar apartments within.
Well, folks, the post-Thanksgiving holiday spirit madness is somehow already in fourth gear. If you happen to work in Manhattan, you are no doubt keenly aware of this as the streets are already completely clogged with frenzied shoppers. My office is on Broadway in Soho, which is second only to Rockefeller Center and Herald Square in terms of being Mayhem Central. Walking to work this time of year is a contact sport.Now I have a confession to make. The past few years, I have struggled to combat an inner-Grinchiness that surfaces in December. The causes of it aren’t unique, so I’ll spare you the psychoanalysis. My loving wife has worked hard to try and turn this Yule-moodiness around by making our apartment a happy, festive environment and, in spite of myself, it’s working. One of her latest favorite decorating sources is this online home & garden store, Terrain, and I know this because there are large boxes with their logo on it arriving at my apartment every day. I have to admit that if you’re going to do some holiday-specific shopping for your home, they have really great stuff. Natural decorations made from plants and organic materials and vaguely rustic, homespun kinds of decor. Much more creative and less lame than the usual cheesy gilded holiday fare. Makes it harder to be a crank when everything is so well put together.The other thing that’s fading my seasonal malaise is watching the wonderment in my two-year-old’s eyes as she experiences some of these things for the first time. It’s a cliché, but through her these things no longer seem contrived. That said, I’m not completely cured: check back with me after I attempt to wrangle a Fraser fir into my living room.
Buying gifts for kids is tough, especially when they are not yours. For the little ones up to a couple of years old, hit Giggle. They have an amazing selection of toys, clothes, carriers, cribs, feeding/washing apparatuses and just about everything else you can think of for the zero to two’s.If you’re into the tactile shopping experience and in NYC, they have stores in Soho, Upper East and Upper West Sides. If you’re out of the city, there are 10 more locations dotting the country or you can just keep it super easy and shop online.
Life in New York City presents itself with many rites of passage. Sharing a shoebox apartment with too many people. Being sprayed by a puddle-chasing taxicab on a cold and rainy day. Getting mugged. But there is one that only a few choose to endure. To renovate an apartment. In this crazy town with our co-op and condo boards, managing agents and building inspectors, renovating can be a recipe for fueled-by-rage confrontations with everyone from contractors to ConEd dispatchers.
So our good friend, painter, commercial director, video game character and generally nifty guy,Kevan Bean, is about to jump into this sea of hungry sharks head first. He bought a sweet pad on Bowery a few months ago. The location is among the best, the views are ridiculous and it’s a good space…the only problem here is the vanilla quotient. While good quality, the kitchen is a little boring. The floors are developer specials. One closet is in a weird place and the ones in the master need help. So we’re going to embark on the good Mr. Bean’s journey with him. We’re going to follow along at key stages of what he hopes will be the “manning up” of his character-challenged home. Buckle your tool belts and let’s get going!
This is the oh-so-blah living room and soon-to-be-spruced-up and reconfigured kitchen.
A reverse shot of the living room with sick views looking west over Nolita and Soho. More on those in a different post.The closets are just big empty boxes in the weird hallway that leads to the master bath.Said master bath that is not getting completely re-done, but will be fired up a little with some glass and hardware switches.Next stop…demolition. Can’t wait for that one! We’re hoping next week. Stay tuned.
Donald Judd was one of the first artists to make Soho his neighborhood and moved to 101 Spring Street in 1968. Over the years, Judd used the space as his home and studio, a place for community events and meetings, and an exhibition space for installations and performances. Here’s a shot of him holding a seminar on the ground floor of the building.That’s him in the middle sitting on the desk and Julian Schnabel to the right with the shades on. In addition to being one of the most celebrated artists of his time, Judd was a huge preservationist and was instrumental in preventing the Robert Moses planned Lower Manhattan Expressway from decimating Broome Street. When his classic building’s façade began to sag, he called in architects and engineers, but could not afford to take on the massive project. Two years after his death in 1994, the Judd Foundation was formed and they sold 30 of his works to raise $20 million for the restoration of his buildings in New York and in Marfa, Texas.Restoration of 101 Spring commenced in 2008 and is expected to be completed by June of 2013. This building is one of the finest examples of this type of architecture in the neighborhood and is the only single use cast-iron building left in Soho.
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