New York has long been an inspiration to entertainers. King of Cool and avant-garde singer-songwriter Lou Reed had a long-standing love affair with the place, and his biggest hit, Walk on the Wild Side, is set on its very streets.
Other musicians have been similarly captivated by the city that never sleeps. Piano man Billy Joel wrote the classic tune New York State of Mind in its honour, and legendary crooner Frank Sinatra possibly summed it up best with his bold, brassy version of New York, New York.
Following in this artistic tradition, our featured home this month is a modern, lofty perch situated above the Museum of Modern Art in one of New York’s most exclusive and stylish locales. The development at 53 West 53rd Street in downtown Manhattan is not yet completed, but it is on track to become one of New York’s ritziest residences. Once finished, the 1,050-foot-high tower will reshape the city’s skyline and become an attraction in its own right.
The tower – dubbed 53W53 – was designed by acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel. His striking design for the building’s exterior, referred to in the architectural trade as a diagrid (a portmanteau of diagonal grids), is somewhat akin to an abstract sculpture – making it an appropriate home for the three floors of museum gallery space that can be found inside. The building’s intriguing and imposing look beckons the would-be homeowner to explore the world within.
“The building’s striking exterior, referred to in the architectural trade as a diagrid, is akin to an abstract sculpture”
Nouvel is a highly credentialed architect and designer, and is worthy of a project of such ambitious scope. A winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, his diverse body of work is as impressive as it is varied. His past projects have included museums, concert halls, luxury residences and cultural commissions such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Fondation Cartier in Paris.
One loft in particular at 53W53 is a modern delight fit for a city slicker with refined tastes. Inside the 3,952-square-foot, three-bedroom home, there’s a gracious entry hall, a grandly proportioned living room, a palatial master suite with the aforementioned breathtaking views and two superbly appointed bedrooms, replete with en-suite bathrooms.
Interiors come courtesy of New York-based architect, designer and artist Thierry Despont. In the past, he has lent his talents to the Ritz in Paris, the Dorchester Hotel in London and Harry Winston’s flagship store in Beverly Hills.
Despont’s impeccable taste and attention to detail, apparent in all of his private dwelling projects, is on show here at 53W53 as well. His deft touch is to thank for the understated lighting fixtures and bespoke kitchens and bathrooms found within. Masterfully crafted mahogany doors with custom-designed bronze trim echo the tower’s distinctive outline.
“Generously proportioned floor-to-ceiling windows allow for expansive views of both Central Park and the Hudson River”
The dwelling also boasts an amply windowed kitchen with cabinetry by Italian furniture maker Molteni, classic marble countertops with backlit backsplash and state-of-the-art appliances by Miele and Sub-Zero. The master bedroom ensuite incorporates Verona limestone slab floors and golden travertine feature walls, as well as a luxurious master bath that is spacious enough to stretch out in.
Perhaps best of all, generously proportioned floor-to-ceiling windows allow for expansive views of both Central Park and the Hudson River. As for the building’s location, in terms of entertainment options you really are spoilt for choice. The residence is within walking distance of premiere live venues Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall (located in the Rockefeller Center), plus St Patrick’s Cathedral, Times Square, Christie’s, Macy’s and the Empire State Building. It’s even a stone’s throw from Trump Tower, which – depending on whose dinner party you’re attending – might or might not be a good thing to mention.
It’s also within a five-minute walk of countless shops, five-star restaurants, health clubs and spas, markets and schools. Top-notch eateries in close range include Randolph’s, China Grill and the 53rd Street Gourmet Deli, and several subways stations are conveniently close by.
The loft – offered by UK real estate agent John D Wood and its US affiliate, Corcoran Group – could be yours for US$18.95 million (HK$147.6 million). Stump up for the annual $8,000 maintenance and common charges fee and the $3,849 monthly management fee and if you’re lucky, you’ll still have enough left over for a bagel and coffee on Lexington Avenue.
If this home doesn’t exactly meet your size requirements, fear not – there are other options available. Each of the 145 apartments at 53W53 is a unique dwelling in its own right. Incredibly, our featured home is not the most expensive one on offer. For those feeling particularly cashed up, its four-bedroom, four-bath – and considerably more spacious – big brother is going for $50.75 million.
Within, it boasts a lobby library with open fireplace, wine vault, a wellness centre, squash courts, a pet-care service, 24-hour concierge and even a doorman to gently remind you to “have a nice day” as you set forth into the wider world. You even get a complimentary membership to the Museum of Modern Arts. And if money is no consideration, there are still other apartments available that are priced up to $70 million.
One of 53W53’s most impressive features is its stunning swimming pool, set against a backdrop of lush vertical gardens that were created by acclaimed French landscape designer Patrick Blanc. There’s a cold-plunge pool, a hot tub and a 65-foot lap pool. At 53W53, the sublime surroundings and luxurious amenities afforded to residents make it easy to forget your problems and kick back by the poolside with Billy Joel crooning from your headphones. After all, life is all the more enjoyable when you’re in a New York state of mind. For more information on this listing, visit www.johndwood.co.uk.
Text: Robert Blain