Ventana (150 East 85th Street)
150 East 85th Street, New York City, NY
|Ventana (150 East 85th Street)|
Ventana in Yorkville
|Number of Units||102|
|Number of Floors||15|
|150 East 85th Street, New York City, NY|
|Distance to Public Transit||Less than a block|
|Region||New York City|
|Municipality||New York City|
|Title of Land||Condominium|
Ventana stands on the grave of the demolished Jaeger House. The Jaeger house may have been the most famous German restaurant in the Upper East Side.
The neighborhood was originally the home of many German and other European immigrants. The streets used to be lined with pastry shops, restaurants, taverns and dance halls. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, the area has become quieter and much of the German culture has been replaced with high rise apartment buildings. Therein, lies Ventana's story.
Before the building was The Jaeger House, it was a dark red brick structure that served for decades as a meeting hall for Nazi sympathizers prior to World War II. The building was under the name of the German-American Athletic Club.
Many of the Germans living in America after the war hid their origins. There were many Anti-German groups all over the nation. German music was banned, dachshunds were being attacked, and German books were taken out of libraries and burned in the street. 
Today, most of the German community has moved out of the neighborhood and has settled in Brooklyn, particularity Williamsburg. There are about 50,000 people living in Yorkville today. More than half of the residents have some sort of post secondary education. 
Ventana is located in the Upper East Side in the Yorkville neighborhood. The area has a dense European culture that influences the architecture, restaurants, and culture. It was once New York City’s largest German neighborhood but recently most of its German restaurants have closed and have been replaced by larger high density residences.
Highly recommended restaurants in the area include Black Came, Spuntini Italian, Crown and Dragon, Carens Wine and Cheese Bar, Rebel house and Jacques Bistro Du Parc.
Within walking distance is Subway restaurant, Starbucks coffee, Eastside Health Food Store groceries and the Museum Historic District. This makes dining, coffee breaks and entertainment easily accessible without the use of a car.
The museum historic district was designated in 1977. The majority of the developments in the area are from the 1890s during which time, there were a large number of mansions on fifth avenue. At the turn of the century, many of these buildings were built in the style of beaux-arts and neo-renaissance. 
For those needing to venture outside of the neighborhood, there are excellent transit connections that can easily get one anywhere in the city. If the completely green route is more appealing, there are excellent bike lanes and topography in the area is relativity flat.
The building is clad in a light beige cream brick. There are many dark tinted bay windows done defining the shape of the building and contrasting with the brick. The piers supporting the windows have angled glazing at the tops and bottoms. Bay windows are very popular in Gothic and Victorian style buildings, for which there are very few in the area. Ventana stands out in the neighborhood and catches eyes.
Some of the bricks on the facade, especially under the bays, show evidence of water damage including staining. This isn't very aesthetically pleasing and could have been avoided if more thought had been put into the direction of water run off during the design phase.
There is a single row of solid bricks that separate the retail and the residential levels. Though it is subtle, it breaks up the building and is a nice horizontal detail that contrasts with the bold vertical lines expressed by the windows.
There are a few expansion joints seen on the face of the building primarily extending off of the storefront glazing. Based on the humidity in New York, it wouldn't hurt to have had a few more joints like this. The purpose of expansion joints is to accommodate movement due to the seasonal climate changes. By having this buffer, issues such as chipping and spalling are avoided.
At every level, there is a row of bricks with a slight gap that appears as a hole. The hole allows water to drain between the facade and the moisture barrier. In order to avoid invasion, the weep hole is typical protected by an insect screen so that bugs wont find their way into the building.
The top of the building has a galvanized steel flashing and parapet, but what would have been more effective is the use of overhangs. Parapets and flashing merely redirect the water. Overhangs protect the water from hitting the building in the first place. It's common to use overhangs on brick buildings that are in areas that commonly experience wind driven rain. Water may seep through the bricks and potentially, into the building envelope.
The front entrance is covered by an elegant canopy and the entry doors are sliding glass. There is no sidewalk landscaping surrounding the entrance due to the retail space occupying the ground floor.
On the entrance level, the storefront windows and lobby entrance windows are boldly accented with a large overhead trim. Oddly, the building adjacent to Ventana is setback less, creating an awkward space. There may have been less strict zoning by laws at one time resulting with the buildings being set back differently.
On the Lexington Avenue corner, the building corner is rounded. Duplicating the curving figure are curving balconies that run up the center of each facade. Under the balconies, there is an arched window feature that emphasizes the entry ways to the building.
Layout and Features
The suites feature over sized windows that provide a large amount of natural light, hardwood flooring, and bay windows.
The kitchens are orientated with a galley layout. This is the most efficient kitchen layout because the least amount of space is used for the level of functionality. They may feature tile flooring, polished counter tops, wooden cabinetry, a sit up bar and a tile back splash.
The bathrooms may feature polished fixtures, tile wall surrounds, and large mirrors. Details such as tile work may be included.
Some of the units feature a balcony or terrace. 
The lobby is finished with wood-paneling on the walls, black leather furniture a large painting and black granite flooring. It also has a double height ceiling with hanging lights.
The building contains 11 studio apartments, 68 one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartments.
Amenities at Ventana include:
- full time doorman and live-in superintendent
- fitness center
- laundry facilities on each floor
- roof deck
- bike space
|Ventana (150 East 85th Street) Bylaws|
- Pets are permitted
- Allows new purchasers to finance 90% of the purchase price
- Sublets allowed
The tinted windows help to reduce the heat gain from ultraviolet sun rays. It reflects heat making the building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Also, tinted windows allow for about a 30% energy efficiency improvement. The tint to the window must be on the inside face of the glazing. 
- Due to the high density of Germans in Yorkville during the 19th and 20th centuries, the area was called Kleindeutschland which means Little Germany.
- In 1904, The General Slocum, a passenger steamboat, caught fire in the East River. It was carrying many German Americans from Yorkville to a picnic. About 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died. A fire had started in the lamp room, likely due to a cigarette or match. The fire fed on the straw, oily rags and lamp oil. The fire wasn't acknowledge until 40 minutes after it had started, a boy had earlier tried to warn the captain but he didn't believe him.
Unfortunately, all the safety equipment on board had not been maintained. The fire hoses had been left to rot, and the life jackets fell apart in the passengers hands. Most Americans during this time did not know how to swim, and their heavy wool clothing made them sink quickly.
After the disaster the captain, one of the 321 survivors, was convicted and found guilty of criminal negligence and failing to maintain proper fire drills and extinguishers.
Yorkville had been slowly declining before the disaster, and after the event lead to it almost disappearing. Most of the residents living in the area at the time had been on board. 
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