299 West 12th Street

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299 West 12th Street, New York City, NY

299 West 12th Street
299West12thAveExterior.jpg

Pre- war design with modern touches
Building Information
Developer Bing and Bing
Architect Emery Roth
Number of Units 183
Number of Floors 17
Year Built 1931
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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299 West 12th Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C1-6
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

299 West 12th Street brims with history while maintaining a bright modern outlook. In an oasis of refreshing green space, the building is located within walking distance of two parks. The building is steeped in romance with its exquisite art deco touches to the local history.

Abingdon Square Park
To the north is the Abingdon Square Park. The park gets its name from the tittle of the groom, the Fourth Earl of Abingdon. The property was purchased by the bride’s father, Sir Peter Warren in 1740 as a wedding gift.

The park offers a real sense of community to the neighborhood. On Saturdays it hosts a Greenmarket where local farmers sell their produce. In addition, there are a variety of seasonal events in the park throughout the year; pumpkin carving at Halloween, an intimate holiday lights display in the winter, and a tulip display during the months of April and May.

The space is maintained by the Abington Square Conservancy, a private group of citizens that take care of the park in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation. It also has the distinction of being one of New York’s oldest parks and was renovated by Calvert Vaux, the landscape architect who designed Central Park. Build originally as an apartment hotel the building was renovated in 1987.[1]



Location

Winter scene

299 West 12th Street is located in the West Village of Manhattan, and is only two blocks from the subway station. The West Village has a distinctively European flavor complete with angular roads, and cobblestones. There are many libraries, historical buildings, and a thriving arts community, a vibrant selection of restaurants.

Nightlife activities include such venues as the jazz club, The Village Vangaurd, also the Cherry Lane Theater, New York’s oldest continually running off Broadway theater and home to great American writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, LeRoi Jones and others. The Westbeth Artists' Housing is the largest community of artists in the world.

In addition, there is also upscale shopping including Marc Jacobs, and specialty deserts like Tartline or Magnolia, the shop which began the cupcake craze. [2]

The population is slightly older, less than 10% were under the age of twenty at the 2010 census count, and there is an above average foreign population, roughly 20% due to the historic roots of the neighborhood.[3]


Construction

The Ritz Tower by Emery Roth
Emery Roth

The building was built by Bing and Bing, one of New York City’s preeminent developers in the early twentieth century. At the end of the Depression it began its life as one of many apartment hotels.

These buildings were a great resource for working people from writers and academics to single people on their own in for the first time in the city. The first floor housed the kitchen which served the entire building.

It is one of five similar building built by the developers, one of which is its sister building, 302 West 12th Street. In 1987, the building went through an extensive renovation and was re-purposed to house 187 apartments and currently houses 183. The building is 60.96 meters high, with 17 floors, and took two years to complete, beginning in 1929 and ending in 1931.[4]

The second half of the team was Hungarian born architect, Emery Roth, born in 1871, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. He designed a large number of hotel and apartment buildings in Manhattan such as the Beresford, Ritz Tower, and San Remo integrating elements of the Beaux-Arts and Art Deco into his creations. Other works, such as the First Hungarian Reformed Church of New York, are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1947, Roth's two sons joined his company. Their combined collection of buildings includes many of New York City’s modern landmarks such as the Metlife Building, Helmsley Palace Hotel, and the Eldorado and are listed as associate architects on the Pan Am Center and World Trade Center. Their designs and papers are housed at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.[5]


Layout and Features

Fireplace and custom shelves

Each apartment is individual in size and shape featuring many unique elements such as custom built closets, built in shelving, original hardwood floors, fireplaces, and beamed ceilings. Many include sunken living rooms or master suites, some include terraces, and all have an abundance of natural light.

The kitchens range from modern stainless steel, to variations of the original designs. The bathrooms also vary in design. Marble adorns many of the bathrooms adding classical touches to this otherwise art deco design, while others opt for a more modern renovation.

The original art deco touches are still fully present in most of the units, even though many have been updated to accommodate the modern needs of daily living.

All the units are open concept with large spaces, high ceilings, and many windows providing excellent ventilation and cross breezes.


Floor Plans

As a re-purposed building, the floor plans are quite unique for each unit. They range from studio and one bedroom apartments, which represent the majority of the units to large two and three bedroom apartments and finally to the triplex penthouse that crowns the building and offers a rooftop patio garden to its owner.

There are more than 60 floor plans available for this building. A brief selection is presented here.[6]

Amenities

This full service building offers a 24 hour doorman, laundry, some units include terraces and fireplaces.

  • 24 hour doorman
  • Laundry facilities in the building
  • Terraces in some units
  • Fireplaces in some units
  • Sunken living rooms
  • Prime location


Bylaws

299 West 12th Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No


  • 299 West 12th Street permits pets with condominium board approval.
  • Rentals are permitted without age restrictions.
  • Since there are no balconies at 299 West 12th Street, barbecuing is not always an option. Some units have terraces, including the Penthouse suit. Picnicking in one of the nearby parks, however, makes an excellent substitute.


Sustainability

Natural light

While this building certainly pre-dates our modern green movement, this beautifully designed building was ahead of its time in energy efficiency. All of the light, airy suites feature an abundance of natural light, reducing the need for electricity with large well placed windows in each unit.

The building is a great example of re-purposing as it had once been an apartment-hotel, and the quality of the building materials such as the hardwood floors, will require very few renovations over time.

Residents can take advantage of the proximity to public transit as well as take part in New York City’s excellent recycling program.

There are also a great number of volunteer programs to help reduce the carbon footprint in the city, such as the Abingdon Square Conservancy, a 501 c 3 organization, which works in conjunction with New York City Parks and Recreation, and is committed to preserving the park and fostering a sense of community. Residents can also reduce their footprint by purchasing local produce every Saturday during the summer months at the Greenmarket.

The area is also part of the proposed bike share project.[7]

Trivia

$30 Million dollar penthouse
Penthouse Terrace
  • The upper floors are the represent the culmination of “Friends” star, Jennifer Aniston’s ultimate quest for the perfect Manhattan apartment. The $30 million unit was put back on the market after only a year. The penthouse includes thirteen rooms in its 4,050 square feet of indoor space and 2,425 square feet of terraced rooftop.[8]


  • City Landmark Award
    • While many buildings stripped their history away in renovation projects, 299 West 12th Street was spared thanks to the foresight of the property managers.
    • The original features of the building were preserved and it was awarded a City Landmark Award.

References

  1. Abingdon Square Conservancy
  2. New York City 0 The official Guide
  3. Walk Score
  4. Emporis
  5. Wikipedia - Emery Roth
  6. Street Easy
  7. Citibike
  8. Curbed New York


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