If I Were to Live Vertically….

A question (hypothetical) that we ask each other is if we were to live in the city (with budget being no issue!), would we take an apartment in the sky or buy a townhouse? Each has its pros and cons.

The apartment would have a view, a must for me and would have a doorman, a super, the sidewalks would be shoveled, and any improvements the building needs would be shared by owners via monthly maintenance or special assessment. Like this at One57, an apartment that sold for close to $100million.


While that appeals, I tend to want to live in a townhouse, despite knowing I’d have to hire a staff – someone to shovel, a cook, a housekeeper and a handy man for changing out light bulbs! 🙂

This exterior appeals…15 East 90th


But the interior, not at all, and for $32million, I’d want something more move-in ready. This is too fussy and baronial.


So if I don’t want baronial, why not go full out modern…17 East 65th


$40million, a building with an interesting pedigree.


“Total design is nothing more or less than relating everything to everything.” — George Nelson

This extraordinary 25 foot wide Carriage House was erected in the International style in 1940 by William Hamby and George Nelson for Sherman M. Fairchild, a prodigiously talented American entrepreneur who founded 70 companies in aviation, photography and semiconductors and personally held over 30 patents. His father was a Co-founder and first Chairman of IBM, leaving Sherman – upon his father’s death – as the largest single individual stockholder.

An exceptionally curious person, during his freshman year at Harvard, he invented the first synchronized camera shutter and flash before he was 20 years old. His airplane aerial camera became the standard in World War II, and all aerial cameras used by Allied forces were manufactured by his company to his design. One airplane that he designed, the FC-2, was chosen to accompany Charles Lindbergh on his 23,000 mile tour of America. In a short nine months his airplane manufacturing company went from initial production to being the second largest aircraft producer in the world. His Lunar Mapping Camera on Apollo Missions 15, 16 and 17 mapped 20% of the lunar surface.

Alas, even if the exterior appealed, the interior seems to be more Timothy Leary than Michael Graves. That’s just my opinion. Yours may vary.

Is that fabric hung on the ceiling or wallpaper? Either way, it’s just NO!





The present owner engaged Michael Graves to redesign the facade in a Post Modern style. After earning a Master’s degree in architecture from Harvard in 1959, Graves had worked as one of the New York Five, a famous group of New York City architects who espoused a pure form of modernism that included Charles Gwathmey, Peter Eisenman and Richard Meier. Combined with the present owner, it is rare so much creative power focused on one building.

Originally one of the first modernist townhouses in New York, it is distinguished by being the only one with an interior courtyard atrium soaring upward for three stories capped with a giant skylight. The unique plan affords huge dramatic spaces as well as 5 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 2 half baths and a study that feels like a space in The Frick. Extended by this owner on the plan of George Nelson, this house embodies his core concept: Good design is timeless.

So what’s a gal to do? I’ll take this one in a heartbeat. A mere $22million, on East 70th, a great street, and done to perfection inside.

Stunning facade.

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And the interior………………..wow wow wow





There’s obviously a back courtyard to this one that you can see partially in the kitchen photo – see the chimenea? But no grand long view but more like a home.

I think I’ve answered MY own question. I’d take the townhouse. Of course, if I made this choice, I’d be going alone as Mr. EOS is a country mouse and thinks this kind of living is for the highfalutin. Yes, so what’s your point dear? 

No birds yet at any of the feeders. The only other news is that there was a letter in the mail from Mitt Romney asking me for money to support Paul Ryan. Oh Mitt, Oh Mitt, not even a sou. Look at the Trump bashing even without mentioning Trump.


I’m hearing good things about the Trump-Ryan meeting today, although the media is laughing that it wasn’t even an hour long. Hey, you go, you say support me, you shake hands, and you leave. Who needs more than fifteen minutes?

10 thoughts on “If I Were to Live Vertically….

    1. Yes, I could be forced to live at the top of the Pierre.

      Growing up in Delaware around some pretty serious horse breeding and racing families, a good friend of mine was friends with two of the Engelhard daughters, of the Charles Englehard’s no less. One time we were all in the city and popped up to the Engelhard’s “apartment” at the top of the Waldorf Towers. I swear on a stack of bibles, my jaw DROPPED. I was used to having friends who lived in duPont sized mansions but I was unprepared for the Engelhard approach to money. I’d seen nothing like it before then and nothing like it since. Funnily, it was just one of a dozen homes the family owned. He lived pretty high on the hog but the two daughters I knew were as normal as apple pie.
      I remember getting off the elevator and being overtaken by how enormous the rooms were and the view, oh the view. To have had an iPhone then for photos. I can’t seem to find any photos of the apartment online but trust me, it would put your little Pierre roost to shame.

      1. They didn’t name the James Bond character Goldfinger after Charles for nothing. The man lived large but that’s probably what killed him at age 54 of a heart attack.

        1. Don’t forget Nijinsky (sp?) the race horse. My grandmother grew up in New Jersey near where their main home was and would see Jane Engelhard from time to time in town. I was told she was a real beauty. Isn’t their oldest daughter now married to Oscar de la Renta?

  1. The East 70th home would be my choice as well- if I wanted to live in a city again. Would make sense only if I wanted to be part of a social scene and support all kinds of events that the social scene sponsors. Or, if my super high paying job required living in the city. Neither is true.

    1. I might want to live like the Collyer Brothers when I get to my hoarding phase….probably a satisfying amount of recycling debris put out on trash day to make a hoarder happy in NYC.

      1. Ha. There was a good book about the brothers, called Homer and Langley. If you haven’t read it, do. They were quite the duo. My brother-in-law spent much of the 1970s and 80s coming home to their apartment on 86th street with amazing finds. So many they had to move out of the city to a big house in the burbs and all that came with him. When they moved back into the city decades later, all the good finds went into the dumpster. My sister would tell you there’s a lesson to be learned there. 🙂

        1. Right now I’m trying to rid myself of ‘stuff’ that makes me look and feel too old. But I know I’ll get to that childish stage wanting more and more in the future….just a matter of time.

        2. Mr. EOS comes from the camp that stuff is always good. I’m polar opposite in my approach, saying I’ve never met a dumpster I couldn’t fill. 🙂

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