Financial District – Full of Flavor and Spice
Manhattan’s Financial District has long been thought of as a desolate area when the bankers of Wall Street head home. However, for those of us living down here, the Financial District is quickly becoming a haven of good food, fascinating architecture and luxury.
Over the last decade a number of buildings have been converted from high-powered financial institutions to luxuriously unique high-rise residential oases. In 2006, the well-known Chase Manhattan Plaza at 20 Pine was converted to condominium lofts called The Pine Collection. The 38 floor prewar structure’s interior was designed by Armani Casa. Sleek lines, neutral tones and plush fabrics are simply exquisite and exemplify luxury at its core. Each home has lofty 10 foot 5 inch-beamed ceilings and ebony-stained hardwood floors. In the kitchen all appliances are concealed with wood cabinetry flowing right into the living space. The bathrooms designed from textiles including bronze, stone and exotic woods and have a sybaritic recessed rain shower. The posh ambience continues throughout the space with the The Collection Club with concierge, gym, billiards room, and a golf simulation room. There is also The Collection Pool and Spa with Turkish Hamman and spa rooms and a 25th floor terrace lounge. Owners at 20 Pine take advantage of the twelve-year tax abatement which began in 2009 lowering overall monthly carrying charges. Home prices start just under $700k and increase to $4 million for one of the penthouses.
From 1931 to 1972, 1 Wall Street was the home of the New York Cocoa Exchange as the United States was the world’s largest cocoa consumer. The building rich in neo-renaissance flair was converted to the Cocoa Exchange condominiums in 2006. The prewar structure mirrors the well-known flatiron building thus creating interesting floor plans for its studio, one and two bedroom layouts. Amenities are in abundance here with a 24-hour concierge service, a sexy Sky Terrace and Roof Lounge with Ipe wood flooring, panels of moving glass, an outdoor shower, and wet bar. It truly is the essence of that New York Downtown lifestyle. Studio’s start in the low $400K range with a 3-bedroom currently listed at $1.35 million.
Sharing the street with the Cocoa Exchange are modern rental buildings like Dwell 95 (95 Wall Street) designed by the famed Philippe Starck. You feel as though you are living behind the velvet ropes of Meatpacking’s most exclusive club as you walk into the dimly, crystal chandelier- lit lobby which pays homage to its district by its, “Buy/Sell” gold front desk. Usually following suit with the other rental buildings such as 45 Wall, 63 Wall, 67 Wall, 75 Wall and 2 Gold, Dwell offers competitive pricing for its units and can, depending on the market, offer a concession!
Continuing north along Water Street, past the open-air market held throughout the fall weekends, you will stumble upon an interesting billboard of numbers which light up. After pondering for a moment, you realize it is a large digital clock which was designed by Rudolph de Harak. It stands 45 by 50 feet and tells the hour, minute and second of the day. It belongs to the once NYU Dormitory building, 200 Water Street which was converted in 2009 to a residential rental building. With variations of studio, one and two bedroom floor plans, the apartments were also re-finished to include stainless steel appliances. The most coveted apartments being the 7th floor, east facing units as they include MASSIVE outdoor spaces.
The building also added amenities such as a fitness room, a residence lounge with a pool table, and a fabulous rooftop. The rooftop’s best feature is by far its stunning views of the famous Brooklyn Bridge, the east river, Brooklyn’s water front, and New York’s midtown skyline. With lounge chairs, picnic tables and cabanas, you can certainly enjoy a hot summer afternoon grilling on the barbeque and bathing in the sun. The building also offers 24 hour door staff and a concierge for any additional services you may want done.
What is even more convenient is the 24-hour Duane Reade at the corner of the building for any last minute sundries or for me….dinner. Across the street you are privy to the South Street Seaport. Designated as a historic district, and long been considered a tourist destination, locals are flocking to the area. However, they are headed to a little area nestled slightly north between the Bodies exhibit, Gap and Yankee Club Shop: Front Street. Immediately, the mood of the area changes, the crowds fade into the distance and what is left along the cobblestone streets is a chain of unique restaurants, interesting bars and a fabulous coffee shop.
Barbarini Alimentari presents itself as an authentic Italian market filled with fresh cheeses, meats, and groceries for any food enthusiast ready to cook. If you continue to the back of the market, a quaint, brick-walled and votive-lit restaurant appears. With fresh-made pasta and authentic Italian dishes, guests feel like they are eating in Italy, a far difference from Mulberry’s Little Italy. The spaghetti pesto dish is a must-try!
Its newest neighbor is Keg No. 229 located at 229 Front Street. It is the first place in New York where you can pour your own draft beer! The spouts have been attached to a computer system where you can by beer by the ounce (about $6 a pint.) With large tables including pillow-filled, cozy banquettes, large flat-screen TVs playing that night’s Football game, it is the perfect Sunday night spot to hang with your friends. On the clip board/ index card menu, you can dine on comfort food such as Pigs in the Blanket, tater tots, mac & cheese, cupcakes, alphabet vegetable soup, or a lobster roll.
Not into comfort food or beer? No problem, Keg No. 229’s established sister Bin 220, is across the street. Opened in 2006, its owners, Sandy and Calli offer patrons choice with over 50 selections of wine, different cheeses and other delicious tapas. Dimly lit with intimate high-boy tables surrounding the long wooden bar, this is a great place to catch up with an old friend to have fabulous conversation and sip on some vino.
The building itself was built between 1798 and 1800 and is among the oldest buildings in the area. It was originally used for its owners, Peter Schermerhorn and Ebenezer Stevens, shipping and liquor importing businesses. It was later restored by Yarrow LLC in 2005 before opening as Bin 220. A few doors down you will notice, Jack’s Stir Brew, which is a refreshing alternative to Starbucks.
Financial District is anything but barren and quickly becoming a highly desired neighborhood for those looking for a unique downtown lifestyle. For more information about residential sales and rentals in the Financial District, please contact Lauren Cessario via email or call 212.203.6013.
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