Neighborhood Tours: Midtown West
By Joey Arak
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The Centurion; The Plaza; Le Bernardin; Museum of Arts & Design; Essex House; Hudson Bar.
At 91, architect I.M. Pei is still rocking. His new Midtown building is clad in limestone quarried from the same region of France as the façade of the Four Seasons in Manhattan and the interior of the Louvre’s Pyramid in Paris, both Pei projects. Here, Pei and his son Sandi (of Pei Partnership Architects) have designed a 19-story building with cascading terraces and 48 residences. 33 West 56th Street, 212-888-5633; centurioncondominium.com.
Winner of an American Institute of Architects Project Merit Award before it was even built, the Dillon is as much modern art as it is luxury condo. Occupying nearly a full city block in Hell’s Kitchen, the building has a façade consisting of a folded glass wall that’s transparent only from certain angles. 425 West 53rd Street, 212-586-5300; dillon53.com.
Billed as an “urban resort condominium,” the 35-story Element is one of many new towers that have sprung up along the Hudson River south of the Upper West Side. The amenities (swimming pool, gym, basketball, and squash courts) create a life of leisure. 555 West 59th Street, 212-977-5901; elementcondominium.com.
The Plaza was shuttered for a $400 million renovation in 2004 and reemerged as a condo/hotel hybrid with 182 private residences. Classics such as the gilded Astor Suite were quickly snatched up, while some buyers assembled Plaza palaces: Developer Harry Macklowe combined seven apartments at a cost of $60 million. 1 Central Park South.
TIME WARNER CENTER
When this $1.7 billion combination of retail space, offices, hotel rooms, and apartments—originally dubbed the AOL Time Warner Center—opened in 2004, it was seen as risky. But surprisingly, the mall at the building’s base lured world-class stores and restaurants, and the two towers above—with unbelievable views over Columbus Circle and Central Park—attracted billionaires and boldfaced names. 25 Columbus Circle.
The urban-rustic restaurant concept has been done to death, but like many things, put it in the hands of a Frenchman and good things happen. Inside the Ritz-Carlton, chef Laurent Tourondel tackles the local-ingredients trend, adds some theatrics, and wallops diners with a 39-page wine list. 1430 Sixth Avenue, 212-521-6125; bltmarket.com.
Photographs by Jessica Krakowski (MUSEUM, BENDEL); Jumeirah Essex House (ESSEX)