555 West 23rd Street

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555 West 23rd Street, New York City, NY

555 West 23rd Street
555W23St-NYC-Exterior2.jpg

The building clearly identified with the 'license plate' marketing motif
Building Information
Developer Douglaston Development
Architect Stephen B. Jacobs Group
Management Company FirstService Residential
Number of Units 337
Number of Floors 14
Year Built 2006
Construction Method Concrete
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555 West 23rd Street, New York City, NY, United States
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C6-3A
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

When plans for 555 West 23rd Street were being drawn up, it was intended to be rental property, but that soon changed and the format was altered for it to become a condominium.

Lots of windows surrounded by red brick
It was new in 2006 and has more than 330 apartments for those just starting out and young families who want to live close to downtown or midtown Manhattan. The entire complex is actually two buildings sharing a common courtyard garden complete with fountains. One of the sections faces 24th Street rising 13 floors and the other faces 23rd Street at 14 floors.

The building is in the neighborhood of Chelsea, a historic and picturesque neighborhood of Manhattan with a storied past. Modern Chelsea has become a center of the New York art world with numerous galleries and studios occupying former warehouses and industrial structures.

The original Chelsea Manor of the Moore family drawn by Clement Clarke Moore's daughter
Historically, the name of "Chelsea" was first used by British Major Thomas Moore when he called his manor Chelsea. In that manor, Moore's son was born. His name was Clement Clarke Moore and he is credited with writing "A Visit From St. Nicholas", or more popularly titled, " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas".[1]

Chelsea is also known as a theater district which first formed around 1869. Pike's Opera House figured prominently in this area until it was demolished in 1960. Chelsea was also a major motion picture center before World War I. Some of Mary Pickford's first pictures were shot in the area on the top floors of the armory building at 221 West 26th Street.

555 West 23rd Street is just down the road from another famous structure, the London Terrace Towers, a massive brick building that boasted more than 4000 living space rooms when it was completed in 1930. 100 Eleventh Avenue overlooking the Hudson River is a post-modern glass and steel structure with an entirely different character.

Chelsea is also the location of the High Line Park, an elevated public space with gardens built in an old abandoned raised railroad track, a great way to recycle unused infrastructure for the public good.



Location

555 West 23rd Street as seen from the Hudson River

555 West 23rd Street is idyllically located near the Hudson River, the Chelsea Waterslide Park, and Pier 62. These venues offer numerous outdoor activities for residents of the building, and not forgetting the High Line Park mentioned above. Of course, if even those green spaces are too far then the building's courtyard garden will more than suffice.

Chelsea has numerous eating out options especially along 10th Avenue just past the High Line. There are a variety of clubs and bars about three blocks away and a few coffee options.

Art galleries and studios are all around 555 West 23rd Street. Matthew Marks Gallery is on 24th Street and J. Cacciola Gallery is on 23rd Street, both just steps from the building.

The M23 cross-town bus stop across the street
The search for groceries may take residents a little further a field, however, the London Terrace Grocer Corporation will probably be the closet about a block away.[2]

Other types of shopping include clothes and accessories, as well as a costume shop, should a costume ever be required on short notice.

The nearest subway station is on Eighth Avenue, but there is a good cross-town bus service to help residents connect to the rest of Manhattan.


Construction

Nearly complete installing the windows - note the 'false-front extension above the roof-line - probably to provide shade
555 West 23rd Street was built to maximize the amount of available space within the building. It succeeded. Floor layouts are perfectly good, but perhaps a bit on the ordinary side. With minor variations in the plans, a small element of uniqueness might be felt.
Getting ready for a new through-block condominium development
This efficient use of space is reminiscent of the Philip Birnbaum, a prolific architect from New York City's past and highly appreciated by developers for his efficiency in design. Make more space within the structure available for living and more apartments can be squeezed in.

However, this is not to say the suites are crowded. the 337 units in the complex are spread over two buildings and they share the common courtyard garden formed between the rear of the two buildings. The apartment layouts are efficient and functional, if not imaginative.

The concrete slab building has included a fitness center and a residents' lounge. Windows are large and numerous allowing maximum daylight to penetrate.

The entire building is clad with red brick with slightly protruding pilasters of brick between each column of windows. These brick pilasters are of the same brick as the rest of the façade and are accented with little highlights of white on every second floor.

At the top of the main façade is a one story extension of the front wall with glass-less window openings, perhaps to afford some shade from the setting sun on the top floor. The one story extension that rises above the roof line is reminiscent of the the 'Hotel' or the 'General Store' of a pioneer western town where the front façade exceeds the roof line to create the illusion of a grander structure than it actually is.

Layout and Features

The amenities package that comes with 555 West 23rd Street is quite extensive. Residents are greeted in the spacious lobby by the full time doorman and there is a concierge service. If preferred, there is also valet parking.

The suites are configured fairly unimaginatively. The floor layouts are simple yet functional utilizing every square inch of space. The apartments are well appointed, however, with washers and dryers in in the one bedroom suites and larger. All units also come with a wall safe.

Additionally, the apartments have granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, rainfall showers, and marble and porcelain tile.[3]

The shared garden courtyard and sundeck is also very nice. Here are a few images of that feature:

The fountain water feature
Nice pansies
Between the buildings



.

Floor Plans

Floor layouts consist of studios, one, and two bedroom configurations. There aren't any real surprises with the layouts. They are square and functional.

Some options may exist to combine two 2-bedroom units to form a larger four bedroom suite. Meanwhile, here are a few examples of existing suites:


Amenities

  • Concierge
  • Doorman
  • Valet parking
  • Garden has fountains
  • Central air conditioning
  • Fitness center
  • Bicycle room
  • Lounge with fireplace
  • Prime location in gallery district of Chelsea
  • Good cross-town bus transportation


Bylaws

555 West 23rd Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Age No
Barbecues No



  • Rentals are permitted
  • No age restriction exists for ownership within the building

Sustainability

No specific or documented effort was taken by the designers or the developer to make this a "green building". This structure is not listed on the United States Green Building Council website among its more than 47,000 projects.[4]

Nevertheless, as it was built in 2006, modern building codes and standards must be adhered to. Materials used must have low-VOC ratings (Volatile Organic Compounds). Also, plumbing and electrical standards are followed to ensure safety and reduce consumption of resources like water and power.

The bike room storage area encourages residents to get out and bike around Manhattan instead of using a car, again helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gases.

Recycling is always a good way to lessen the impact on landfills. New York City has laws in place requiring residents of New York City, and visitors, to "pitch in" and participate in the programs that have been established.

Trivia

Part of the High Line -seen from above
A work by Elad Lassry at he 303 Art Gallery
  • Chelsea is a vibrant and historic neighborhood. There are many things to see and do in the immediate vicinity of 555 West 23rd Street. Here are a few highlights:
    • Walk the High Line - it's already been mentioned above, but bears repeating.
    • Chelsea Market - wholesale food vendors gather here (with samples) at the site that was once the former Nabisco plant, where the Oreo cookie was invented. A silent reverential thank-you, might be order for that feat.
    • Chelsea Piers - golf swing practice, bowling, hockey, baseball - all at the Chelsea Piers sports and entertainment complex.
    • Cushman Row - admire some Greek Revival architecture between 9th and 10th Avenues. some of the homes are 175 years old.
    • Chelsea Hotel - walk the same paths that such artistic greats as Mark Twain, O. Henry, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams walked, and stayed.
    • 303 Art Gallery - one of Chelsea's many galleries. This one specializes in what can best be describes as, "cutting edge" works. There are different displays of sculpture and photography. Might be a few head-scratchers...[5]

References

  1. Wikipedia - Chelsea, Manhattan
  2. Walk Score
  3. Street Easy
  4. United States Green Building Council
  5. 303 Art Gallery


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