By Daniel J. Bollinger
This month I had the pleasure of touring two luxury buildings on the Upper East Side. The Upper East Side was once known as the Silk Stocking District, and it is now one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City.
It has a plethora of cultural institutions that make it one of the most luxurious and desirable neighborhoods in the city, including but certainly not limited to: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Asia Society, Jewish Museum of New York, and the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, which houses the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.
In addition to all these cultural icons the UES also includes Madison Avenue, which is home to the most luxurious shopping in the world. Gucci, Hermes, Tourneau, Barneys, La Perla, and Agent Provocateur are just some of the stores on Madison Avenue. And Central Park is the Upper East Sides’ closest neighbor. The two buildings I toured certainly reflect this Silk Stocking District with smart design and luxury finishes and details. The two buildings I toured were 12 East 88th Street and 1110 Park Avenue. As usual I am going to write about that “one thing” that sets these apartments apart from the pack and, as usual it is going to be two or three things since these residences are simply outstanding in design and aesthetic. I will also call out some of the finer details to show the attention to detail and design that make each residence one of a kind.
Both buildings share my two “one thing” details that make these residences a great investment. They are: 1) Fully pre-wired residences for complete home automation; 2) Oversized living rooms for ultimate family time and entertaining.
The future of tomorrow is here today. Full pre-wiring allows homeowners to control all systems (heat, lighting, audio, etc.) in their residence remotely via the internet and also internally with wireless and in-wall touch panels. The remote access system allows a homeowner to set climate control, turn on lights, open shades, and have their favorite music playing when they arrive home. This is energy efficient since you can control multiple heating and cooling zones in the house when in use (keep the more active areas of the house heated/cooled during the active parts of the day and off when used less). The same applies for lighting control. This technology also improves the aesthetics of the space since you can replace multiple banks of wall switches with a single keypad. This is very impressive technology and it is the future of design; being able to control all systems in your house, anywhere you are in the world, with a mobile device.
Both buildings have designed oversized living rooms in their residences that are laid out wonderfully. If you believe in the importance of family time and/or if you host soirees often, these two buildings offer a great space for such activities. In many NYC apartments the family room is of similar size to all other rooms in the house. No real demarcation is made in many apartments in NYC. That is NOT the case in these two buildings. The designers knew what they were doing in providing an ample amount of space for you and your family.
12 East 88th Street
Some of the finer design details that impressed me with 12 East 88th Street: One, the layout of the kitchen to formal dining room to living room in 12 East 88th is outstanding. For a family that ritually hosts the Thanksgiving dinner or family get together this is an apartment designed for you. The kitchen seamlessly integrates into the dining room so the family chef preparing the meal does not miss out on family memories being made at the dining table. And, if dessert is a little less formal, with a buffet of sweets on the dining room table to be enjoyed in the family den the dining room and family den are in direct relation to each other. This space is large enough to accommodate a large family gathering and all three rooms integrate so that the whole family is still together no matter what room they happen to be in. The brown leather-finish on the granite slab fireplace is a very nice detail. And in the master bath the textured stone mosaics are a very impressive design detail. Very few apartments I have toured in the city have this detail. The fireplace and textured stone mosaic are some of the finer design details that make 12 East 88th Street a cut above other residences in the city.
1110 Park Avenue
A true GEM of a building. Finding residences like this on Park Ave is very rare; they just don’t come on the market often. There is a reason why Toll Brothers City Living has won an array of awards, including The Most Trusted Home Builder of 2015 by Lifestory Research. For one, Toll Brothers used real dimension Indiana limestone on the entire Park Avenue façade to match the existing façades of the area. This shows how serious Toll Brothers is. You will find nothing “faux” about this residence.
Some of the design details that really make 1110 Park Avenue a true GEM. The library is gorgeous; the floor to ceiling mahogany paneled library makes a statement of warmth and stateliness. I only wish they would complete the statement by paneling the library side pocket door as well. Equally majestic is the custom designed Chesney mantel in the library. A mantel like this is a rare find at any residence. The library might be one of the smaller rooms in the entire residence, but it makes one of the largest statements with these details. Right off of the library is the living room, the largest room in the house and very grand indeed.
What’s makes the living room (and the entire residence) so stately and majestic is the soaring ceiling heights. The unit that I toured has 12’ ceilings throughout. 12’ ceiling heights, combined with the living room situated street side (East) makes for ample, natural sunlight entering this room and really defines what ‘luxury’ is.
The only other building that I have toured that has a larger den is 252 East 57th Street. The penthouse has even higher ceiling heights of 14’ throughout. The other finer design details that impressed me were in the bathrooms. The mosaics in the master bath and specifically in the private water closet are beautiful and accent the space. Combine that detail with the rain shower and handheld in the private water closet and you have another defining example of the high quality that Toll Brothers delivers. And the last detail of quality is the marble outlined tubs. I have seen many apartments in NYC where the front façade of the tub is tiled so that the aesthetic of the bathroom flows … meaning there is not a glaring white ceramic tub visually prominent amid the colors and textures of the tiles. Toll Brothers has taken it to another level. Not only have they marbled the front of the tubs in the en-suite baths in each bedroom, but they have even covered the top of the tubs with a marble slab. I have not seen this detail in any other luxury residence that I have toured in New York to date.
The Upper East Side is a great location for luxury living in NYC. It encompasses many cultural attractions, the highest quality shopping, and Central Park. Both 12 East 88th Street and 1110 Park Avenue offer great luxury residences with the latest technology of fully pre-wired home automation, oversized living rooms for family entertaining, and each has fine design details that make each space unique. To learn more about luxury residences in NYC and investment opportunities please contact Daniel J. Bollinger at Daniel@APGNY.com or (718) 662-9493.