The Blue Raccoon

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Loft Lust

"But is it art?" This image via the Caledonia.

"Sunday, enjoy croissants and cafe au lait from a local bakery and then head to the DIA and the galleries. Stop by the dog park, then walk along the river and gaze as the Queen Mary 2 gracefully glides past."

So says the site text for the Caledonia condominiums in New York City.

But here on Colonial Avenue, if it's Sunday, it's time for that unreasoning tinge and yearning that I call loft lust. Seems fitting
should address this symptom of mine on the day we learn that the U.S. government is half-nationalizing the top lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and that the entire U.S. economy could be on the brink of collapse.

Some three years ago I went on something of a binge, guided by a New York Times Magazine real estate issue, and compiled a handful of sites of impossible residences selling for amounts of money that, well, I cannot fathom. What does one do in this world to be able to afford a $3 million or more condo in Manhattan?

The images of these lavish, sleek residences are suffused with a blue white light that duplicates a late summer afternoon in Paris. Colors are soft and though the furnishings and angles of the interiors are sharp, there is a reassuring sense of accomplishment, of .... loftiness in these places. If you live in them, that is actually tend to your every day activities in them--eating, sleeping, crapping, paying your bills (though if you are in this loft, someone else is getting paid to pay your bills--Bliss!), making phone calls, watching distressing news on Turner painting-sized reality warping high definition television hung on one white wall--and as the cascading horrors of the day pile up, you can gaze across and see the lights of the city, a constellation of commerce, consumerism and class, a nebula of the crass and galaxies of the prurient, and the stupid, and the vain. And they are all so very very rich. I don't know how they got that rich. All I know is, I'm not rich. Not rich like that.

Which is why I have this frequent visitation of loft lust.

Here I am, at middle age, that time in life that as someone observed, when you get to the top of the ladder and realize that it didn't lead to a rooftop terrace, as pictured here.

And the realization
common to this phase of life of the unrealized aspects of material and physical achievement hammer at me every day.

Yet, we live in a 1927 "Tudor Revival" five bedroom that will be paid off in the next few years. A great deal of work is needed on the place. Though I would prefer a fantasy loft condo, and I am thankful for this place; lust knows no reason, few boundaries and cannot be satisfied. I am smitten by wide, open, clean, spaces with sumptuous views and light.

The images I'm using throughout this post were stored by me back in 2005 and I have no idea anymore where they all came from...they are not representative of the buildings I mention below.

My lust was tempered somewhat when I read in the Times of the problems arising in some of these ultra-contemporary buildings and the upfits to the old ones--leaks, smoke from fireplaces drifting into other apartments, the tenant fees, and the hassle of applying for the privilege of moving into condos that were quite established as communities.

But, come late Sunday afternoon, I still get the pangs of Loft Lust.

I enjoy reading the descriptions of the interiors and amenities of these places, but also the music that accompanies them. Like this, for the now sold-out 200 Chambers Street -- sort of jazz new agey. I see blue grey light and massive sleek appliances and cool surfaces. Chambers Street music is here.

985 Park at East 83rd Street goes for a traditional piano background, a rudimentary animated version of "Stompin' At The Savoy" -- like imitating a Woody Allen movie -- listen here.

The kitchen--again, not the one pictured -- though the description fits -- strikes the right notes of classic pre-war design combined with contemporary styling. And I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.

The Caledonia, 450 West 17th, offers "The warmth of home. The cool of West Chelsea." And all its units are rented--sold out in record time (how many to
investors?) but luxury rentals are available. The intro is full of motion, texture and strips of color, so that I'm reminded of the opening credits of a television series about those living in these high end condos and their various and intertwining lives.

The Caledonia is on the High Line; an old elevated track getting turned into a park.

"The High Line literally breaks all boundaries -- its lush green thread will weave together the neighborhoods that comprise Manhattan's Hudson River waterfront without ever touching the street. As a sun-drenched, surreal respite from the energy of the streets below, the High Line will bring uninterrupted public park space to the quaint streets of the West Village, the fashion of the Meatpacking District and the artistic energy of the gallery and residential districts of West Chelsea.

Mere steps from the Caledonia, our proximity to the first phase of the High Line will bring this innovative urban park directly to you." Check it out here. The High Line even has a community blog.

The stairwell image above is in a Parisian condo; I'm attracted to its industrial aesthetic as though it came out of a Volvo plant, in contrast to the rough hewn support beams in the landing. Delicious.

Wellington Tower, 350 East 82nd Street, in the lap of the Upper East Side, has some cool night club jazz, but serves as a short intro that sets the mood then fades away.

The Element at 555 West 59th, in Columbus Circle West, "The address that addresses it all," has an urban, upbeat, jazzy-laid back electro-funk soundtrack that calls to my mind the opening of a film with an aerial view of Manhattan's Upper West Side as we swoop in to see the main characters; I think of sleek cars at night with the city's lights reflecting on their smooth surfaces.

The site for 15 Central Park West doesn't need music; just a panning view of the vista. I think they call this "breath taking."

Likewise, Novare, 135 W.4th St. on Washington Square Park, is a landmark building--the former Washington Square Methodist Church. No music, but nifty rotating diagrams of where the condominiums are located inside the building.

The Ariels don't have a soothing sound bed but a video that pops up hosted by the dark and curvilicious Nichole Trazzera who guides you around the properties.

This is a segment of "Open House New York" from Channel 4 New York that, I'm guessing, spotlights luxurious living. There are two Ariels, East and West, 2628 Broadway 14 A and 245 West 99th Street. Ariel West appeals to me more since it seems more connected to the built environment. Check them out here.

But if we are to have a place in New York, then we should have one in Paris, too. And I found it, back in 2005, online but in physical space during a later trip there, though I found the street, I couldn't quite locate the building. This is a cozy, almost maritime kind of residence and one that made me want to be in Paris, speaking of Parisian things in Parisian ways, walking about on a Parisian rug, thinking Parisian thoughts.

I have it noted as Rue de Turenne Vosges, in the Marais. I almost identified it from this view, and was probably within a few feet, though I just couldn't get the fix of it.

From the rooftop terrace:

Imagine, sitting out here with a group of friends, several bottles of wine and a delicious meal, enjoying Paris, being in Paris, having a Parisian time.

Here, from the loft bedroom level, gazing down upon the lounge section:

Here is the mid-section, and the flight of stairs, that remind me of a shipboard design. Not sure where that second stair goes.

The lounge is in the background. And below, looking back from the sitting section toward the kitchen and dining.

Somehow, I just didn't choose the right life path to be able to afford these kinds of places. Alas, as John Marshall said, there is no mill that can grist old men down to younger, and thus, I am here, in the dark wood.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home