The old adage rings true, location is everything. In New York City, we have the world’s greatest amenities – from parks and cultural destinations to express transportation and premier shopping – right outside our door. It is with this in mind that TOWN shares the Location Report, the latest amalgamation of data intended to keep you up-to-date and ensure you make the most informed decision.
Ever so slowly but surely, the “Passive House” philosophy has worked its way into the forefront of the sustainability dialogue surrounding New York City real estate. The term stems from passivhaus, a German-born building standard designed to drastically reduce the energy usage of a given structure. Since the first successful retrofit of a Park Slope apartment to adhere to the standard in 2012, New York City has seen an increasing interest in the creation of larger, ground-up Passive House buildings.
What it is
To achieve Passive House certification, a building must employ proper airtight insulation, eliminate thermal bridges, utilize Heat Recovery Ventilation systems, and include triple-paned windows. Experts also take into consideration the orientation of the building in order to maximize sunlight or shading potential. The ultimate result is a 90% decrease in heat energy usage and a 75% decrease in overall energy usage.
Ideally, in a temperate climate, a Passive House would eliminate the need for any heating or cooling system whatsoever. In New York however, small radiators and air conditioning units are typically included in the design plan – still yielding an ultimate reduction of overall energy usage by 75%, and a drastic reduction of energy costs as well.
Originally designed by Dr. Feist in Austria in 1991, the Passive House has since come a long way. Developers indicate that the cost of building in adherence to the sustainable standard has largely decreased since the Passivhaus Institut’s projection a few years ago, which was an added 6% of the average building cost. And, those who live in Passive House units overwhelmingly sing its praises: drastically lower energy costs, an impressively fresh air quality, and a consistent indoor temperature despite outdoor conditions. Plus, the ventilation system has proven to reduce allergies and asthmatic symptoms among those residents usually affected.
The Passive House in NYC
The first certified Passive House to come to New York was a retrofit in Brooklyn at 23 Park Place. Design firm Fabrica718 successfully renovated a 110-year-old brownstone to use 90% less heat energy. Dubbed “Tighthouse,” the airtight building’s drastic effect is visible through thermal photography.
The red glow of the neighboring buildings reveal heat leaking out of the windows and facades. Perfectly airtight and expertly insulated, the all-blue building lets nothing out.
The trend continued in the borough with many further retrofits, including 338 8th Street in Park Slope, 154 Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights, and 228 Washington Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The last, designed by Loadingdock5, rents out rooms on Airbnb so those interested in the standard can experience the results first-hand.
The standard also worked its way into Queens and Manhattan with retrofits at 45-12 11th Street in Long Island City by Thomas Paino and 25 West 88th Street on the Upper West Side by Baxt/Ingui Architects.
In 2014, the first multi-family Passive House opened in Bushwick, designed by Chris Benedict. Standing at 424 Melrose Street, all twenty-four affordable units were designated for senior citizens.
Now gaining more traction in the real estate market, the coming years will see increased Passive House ground-up development. PERCH Harlem, a 7-story, 40-unit building also designed by Chris Benedict, is nearing completion, racing (passively!) against the 6-unit 11 West 126th Street to gain the title of Manhattan’s first certified Passive House.
PERCH Harlem’s exterior will feature a mixture of glass squares and rectangular shapes strategically chosen to maximize the building’s solar gain. Smaller operable windows will allow for fresh air and gorgeous views of the George Washington Bridge and beyond. Inside, Me and General Design will outfit the residences with sustainable materials all around, from the 31% recycled wallpaper, triple pane windows, and individually-controlled energy-recovery ventilators.
Also on deck is a ground-up Passive House in Brooklyn, set to be the first NYC building to achieve both Passive House and Net-Zero capable certifications. The building has even a name sounding like a thing of the future – R-951. It will host three 1,500-square-foot units, each with their own private outdoor space.
On the grandest scale, another exciting development is Cornell University’s new campus tower for its applied sciences school on Roosevelt Island. In development by Hudson Companies, Cornell Tech, and Related Companies and due for completion in 2017, the 26-story, 270,000-square-foot tower will reign as the world’s tallest and largest Passive House. (The title is currently held by the 30-story Raiffeisenhaus Wien 2, a Vienna office tower completed back in 2012.) The Cornell building will house 530 students, faculty, and staff; using up to 70% less energy than typical high-rises. In line with ever-increasing technological advances, the projected extra cost of building the high-rise in adherence with Passive House standards is 2 to 3%.
With the debut of the New Year, Broadway is revving up for a busy season where we’ll be sure to see a lot of the Tony front runners vying for the coveted Best Play/Musical Award. This season, gear up to see powerhouse performers and classic revivals take the stage. Take a look at the top five shows we are most excited for in early 2017.
Opening January 8 | Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut in this adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play Platonov. The Present made its world premiere (with Blanchett at the helm) in 2016 at the Sydney Theatre Company to critical acclaim. Fun-fact: this production features actors all making their Broadway debut. The Present is set in post-Perestroika in the 1990s, where the widow, Anna Petrovna (Blanchett) is celebrating her birthday in an old country house. Platonov (AACTA Award winner Richard Ruxburgh) is in attendance with his wife, students and friends. Although everyone looks comfortable, unfinished business and regrets come boiling to the surface.
Opening February 9 | Palace Theatre
The curtain is set to rise on faded silent film actress Norma Desmond once more, and better yet, heavily awarded Glenn Close (three Tony’s, six Oscar’s, and three Emmy’s) is set to reprise her role. With music by the incomparable Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sunset Boulevard is sure to be a masterpiece. Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world with dreams of the spotlight again. When she meets struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (Michael Xavier), she persuades him to work on her “masterpiece,” that is set to bring her back in front of the camera. Her delusions have dramatic consequences. You will not want to miss this revival!
The Glass Menagerie
Opening March 9 | Belasco Theatre
Although this Tennessee Williams classic has been revived seven times previously (most recently in 2013), we are very excited for this new iteration. Starring the incomparable Sally Field, Broadway veteran Joe Mantello, and newcomers Madison Ferris and Finn Wittrock, this show is set to impress. The Glass Menagerie tells the story of a family crammed into a small apartment from the perspective of Tom, the older brother, as he recalls a night when a gentleman caller visited his sister and changed the Wingfield family forever.
Opening March 23 | Broadway Theatre
One of the longest running musicals in Broadway history (ten years!) makes its epic return. With music by Les Miserables composer and lyricist (Schonberg & Boubil), the epic score will be performed by a similar cast who got remarkable reviews in London. Miss Saigon is based on the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly about a Vietnamese girl who is abandoned by an American GI during the Vietnam War and the beautifully tragic love-triangle that ensues in a war-torn country.
Opening April 4 | Walter Kerr Theatre
Tony nominee Phillipa Soo of Hamilton fame returns to Broadway as a shy, young waitress as she ventures through her version of gay Paree. Based on the whimsical French language masterpiece of the same name, we can’t wait to see how visionary director Pam MacKinnon creates this fantastical Paris. Amelie made its world premiere at the Berkeley Repertory in the Fall of 2015 and is currently playing at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles before gracing us with all of its glory.
If holiday indulgences have taken their toll and you are ready for a fresh start in 2017, look no further. Lucky for you, sticking to your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think. Today’s New York City has a plethora of healthy dining options that will leave you satisfied. Enjoy our five favorite health conscious dining options for 2017 here.
200 First Avenue
Bone broth isn’t just a fad. The collagen found in this delicious broth is actually protein that will keep you full and satisfied all the while healing your gut, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy bones and clear skin. Grab a steaming hot cup of broth from this take-out only spot and enjoy a healthy meal that will also warm your soul.
For more information click here
The Little Beet
135 West 50th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
With a self-proclaimed “guilt free” menu and multiple locations around the city, you can count on the Little Beet for a meal that not only tastes good but is also good for you. Using only local, seasonal and natural ingredients, the Little Beet offers a menu that is gluten free, guilt free and readily accessible wherever in NYC you might be
For more information and locations click here
72 University Place between 10th and 11th Streets
One of the newest additions to the health conscious dining scene, Nix is also one of the most impressive: the establishment has already been awarded a Michelin star. This veggie-centric menu is so well done that you’d never even know that you were dining at an entirely vegetarian restaurant. Combine the stellar menu with Nix’s noteworthy cocktail list and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a healthy date night.
For more information click here
25 First Avenue between First and Second Streets
Located within the Bhakti Center, Divya’s Kitchen serves a gluten-free, vegetarian menu that is based off of Aryuvedic healing principles. Opened with the intention of bringing a peaceful and wellness-oriented restaurant to the Downtown NYC dining scene, Divya’s Kitchen succeeds in doing just that. This spot is perfect for anyone looking for a healthful dining option that will nurture mind, body, and spirit.
For more information click here
126 West 18th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
You can count on Rouge Tomate for an elegant meal that is delicious and satisfying without leaving you in a gluttonous food coma. This health conscious establishment recently reopened its doors in a cozier, more rustic, downtown location. With a veggie-centric menu by a Michelin-starred chef, Rouge Tomate is an excellent choice for dining with a lovely atmosphere, great wine list and food specifically crafted to leave you feeling good.
For more information click here
2017 presents us with a fresh start and a new chance to give back, and there is never a time when philanthropy is more necessary than now. This new year, celebrate your contributions at one of New York City’s most fabulous philanthropic events. We’ve curated a list of the top five events that promise a fun time for a great cause.
2017 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards Gala
January 12, 2017 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education of the fashion arts and business by granting scholarships to talented students and facilitating internships, mentorships, and career programs. The 2017 Gala will include a cocktail hour at the Marriott Marquis followed by awards honoring influencers and tastemakers.
Click here for more information
amFAR New York Gala
February 8, 2017 | 6:30pm
As the official kick off event for New York Fashion Week, the annual amFAR New York Gala is just as star studded as it is charitable. Join some of the biggest names in entertainment, fashion, art, and AIDS advocacy at Cipriani Wall Street to honor Scarlett Johansson, raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and raise funds to end it. This gala has raised over $17 million to date and is considered one of the most essential philanthropic events in NYC.
Click here for more information
Bronx Museum Spring Gala and Auction – AIM Beyond
February 27, 2017 | 6:30pm
The Bronx Museum provides free public programs, free admission, internationally recognized exhibitions, and arts education programs to over 16,000 Bronx youth each year. On February 27th, celebrate the best of NYC culture, bid on covetable artworks and dine on delectable cuisine from Union Square Events at the Conrad Hotel to support the esteemed Bronx Museum.
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NYC Hope Gala
March 11, 2017 | 7:00pm
Join the cause to conquer childhood cancer by attending the 2017 NYC Hope Gala. Now in its ninth year, the Hope Gala raises funds and awareness in support of the Four Diamonds Fund to end childhood cancer. On March 11th, enjoy a lovely evening at Gotham Hall and give back to an organization where all funds benefit childhood cancer patients and their families in need of financial aid, medical assistance, and emotional support.
Click here for more information
2017 Valentine Gala
February 14, 2017 | 6:30pm
This glitzy gala at the iconic Plaza Hotel benefits a cause that is near and dear to all New Yorker’s hearts. For over 137 years, The Bowery Mission has served a crucial role in providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care to New York’s neediest. Over the past 18 years, the Valentine Gala has raised over $18,000,000 and thus made possible the support and rehabilitation of countless New Yorkers in need. At the 2017 Valentine Gala, enjoy dinner, dancing, and special musical performances.
Click here for more information
The holiday season is always jam-packed with presents to buy and people to please. Amidst the hectic and busy time, New York City finds itself buzzing with the overwhelming desire to give back. The upcoming month offers many opportunities to do so with events such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Better Together Gala and the United Nations Development Programme’s A Night for Change. With evenings of fun and philanthropy galore, it will be easy to remember the cause closest to your heart this holiday season.
NBCF’s Better Together GalaSunday, December 4th from 2-6PM
Join the National Breast Cancer Foundation in debuting its first annual Better Together Gala at Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park. The evening will include three highly anticipated fashion shows and a silent auction, as well as hand-crafted cocktails and decadent hors d’ouevres. The night’s proceeds will go toward raising awareness for breast cancer, offering support for patients and survivors, and funding programs for detection, education, and support services.
UNDP’s A Night for ChangeMonday, December 5th at 6:30PM
The United Nations Development Programme is celebrating 50 years of fighting inequality and working to end poverty across the world. The Inaugural Global Goals Gala will be an interactive evening featuring celebrity advocates, global partners, a benefit auction, and musical performances by Bob Weir and other notable artists.
Common Threads: Honoring Refugees Through Style + Voice
Wednesday, December 14th
The Gold Gala
Friday, January 27th
With long work days and the constant buzzing that comes with living in NYC, many long for a weekend escape. These days, a luxurious bed and breakfast is just the thing. Enjoy delicious food, incredible scenery and fresh air — all without having to get on a plane to make it happen. Try one of these nearby bed and breakfast spots for the perfect weekend getaway.
1. The Bedford Post in Bedford, NY
This luxurious country inn has only eight rooms, most with a working fireplace to maximize the cozy ambience. Located in leafy West Chester County, The Bedford Post features a yoga studio and two onsite restaurants: The Barn, a more casual spot for breakfast and lunch, and Campagna, a fine dining destination for Italian delights.
2. Glenmere Mansion in Chester, NY
Once a Gilded Age hideaway, Glenmere Mansion has 18 contemporary rooms nestled in a historic building and exquisite gardens. Guests have access to outdoor activities in the Hudson Valley but may choose to luxuriate in the onsite spa instead. Onsite dining includes a cozy tavern, fine restaurant rooms and personal room service.
3. The Homestead Inn in Greenwich, CT
This gracious country mansion is all white shingles and green acres. Each chamber and suite has a unique decor chosen by the owners to be timeless, not trendy. The Homestead Inn’s restaurant is chef Thomas Henkelmann’s personal masterpiece, allowing him to showcase his French culinary training.
4. The Tower Cottage in Point Pleasant, NJ
The Tower Cottage is the epitome of a Victorian seaside retreat located in Point Pleasant’s historic district. The building is reminiscent of a lighthouse, and the inn pampers guests with complimentary robes and slippers, gas fireplaces and a full gourmet breakfast each morning.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut offer lovely bed and breakfast spots to escape from the stresses of city life any time. Book a trip that’s just a few hours away by car to rejuvenate whenever the mood strikes.
What to buy for the person who has everything? Holiday gift giving can feel like a minefield, but there’s no need succumb to the pressure. Instead of worrying about sweater sizes or food allergies, buying a lovely item for the home is sure to please any design enthusiast—and highlight the giver’s good taste as well.
For a lovely selection of tasteful, useful gifts for the home, try these top five online retailers. With a few clicks and a bit of thought, holiday shopping has never been easier.
1. ABC Home
With a flair for global design and luxe materials, accessories from ABC Home will add a sophisticated touch to an urban loft. Velvet throw pillows, blown-glass vases and unique zodiac ornaments are excellent choices for holiday gifts. Their selection works well for those who love to travel and bring an eclectic assortment of goods into the home.
Cookware and gourmet food stuffs made Williams-Sonoma famous, but they also have a lovely selection of home goods. In particular, table linens, monogrammed bath towels and plush faux-fur throws make thoughtful gifts. For serious cooks, consider a useful gadget or special serving dish.
3. West Elm
Although best known for their livable modern furniture and clean design, West Elm also offers a wide range of home decor items that make wonderful holiday gifts. Decorative mirrors with jewel-encrusted frames or modern wall clocks are outside-the-box choices for artistic gifts.
4. Restoration Hardware
It’s easy to see why Restoration Hardware is a go-to source for masculine urban decorating. In addition to historically accurate hardware and lighting fixtures, they also offer high-quality bar accessories and stylish versions of classic board games for the man who has it all and just wants to relax.
CB2 is Crate and Barrel’s modern home design offshoot, and they have a stunning collection of holiday decorations that skip the kitsch and go straight for sleek. Modern metallic wreaths, disco-ball snowmen and asteroid ornaments in 1950s mod colors are just some of the choices in their winkingly festive holiday shop.
For many lovers of art and design, there’s no better gift than something that adds a touch of beauty and excellent design to their urban home. Choose from a carefully curated selection of gifts for a foolproof gift-giving season.
New Year’s Eve is a special night full memories of the year gone by and the promise of a fresh start on the horizon. No where in the world rings in the new year like New York, but Times Square isn’t the only place to celebrate.
In the City That Never Sleeps, staying up until midnight to say hello to 2017 has never been easier — especially with a fine meal from one of the city’s best restaurants.
Located mere steps from the Times Square ball drop, Aureole is making the most of their location by hosting a Black and Gold New Year’s Eve Gala. Lobster with caviar, black truffle tortellini and a decadent ball-drop themed dessert are on the five-course menu. Reservations are required; book online.
2. The Garden at The Four Seasons
3. James Beard House
5. Charlie Palmer at The Knick
For views of Times Square on the big night, Charlie Palmer at The Knick can’t be beat. The first seating menu features an appetizer, two courses and dessert; the second seating menu features the same meal with the additional of two more decadent courses. New Year’s reservations are not accepted online; call (212) 204-4983 to book a table.
1. Aire Ancient Baths
2. Shibui Spa
“Our Philosophy is one of balance – balance between the traditional and the modern between nature and city.” Located in The Greenwich Hotel, Shibui Spa offers clients an escape from the concrete jungle and offers an array of massages and skin treatments. Enjoy a Traditional Chinese Reflexology massage or a Healing Birch massage that focuses on softening skin and clearing the mind.
3. Great Jones Spa
4. Ohm Spa and Lounge
5. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
The five-star hotel offers appropriately luxurious spa service as well. The Spa at the Mandarin has everything to warm up on a cold winter day: private treatment rooms, steam showers, a yoga suite with a soaking tub and fireplace and an amethyst crystal steam room. Add a full slate of massage and beauty treatments, and visitors may never leave.