Roster of top names popularize a new nabe
On the Upper West Side, Dustin and Rosie’s digs may not be getting any bids, but in the West Village everyone’s checking out “Christy’s” — as in Christy Turlington’s 22-foot-wide townhouse on West 11th Street.
Last week it was Uma and Ethan. The week before it was Mary Louise Parker and Billy Crudup. Elvis Costello also took a peek at the supermodel’s spread.
As of yet there have been no offers on the $5.45 million mini- manse, but brokers say it won’t be long.
While Gotham’s overall real-estate market was bottoming out pre-war, the West Village is thriving, up as much as 25% over the rest of the city at about $600 per square foot.
The reason is partly due to the growing number of Hollywood celebs drawn to the nabe’s curious mix of unpretentious charm and flashy new addresses, like Richard Meier’s glass-walled towers at 173/176 Perry St. The effect is something of Rodeo Drive meets Main Street.
The Village has always been a haven for thesps. But in the past they were New York-based stars who were more in keeping with the neighborhood’s understated cobblestone streets and hideaway bistros.
They were glitterati with minimal glitter. Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke before they upgraded to Gramercy Park. Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker before “The Producers” and “Sex and the City.”
Now it’s Hollywood’s top names — or at least Page Six’s.
Scenes from the block:
- Ben and Jen smooching in Marc Jacobs on Bleecker, back when J-Lo was dishing out $16,000 a month to rent a village loft while lensing “Maid in Manhattan.”
- Julianne Moore shaping up for the Oscars at Equinox (Gwyneth Paltrow, Rupert Everet and Alan Cummings are also members of the tony gym).
- Nicole Kidman settling into her $8 million bachelorette pad in the Meier building.
Yet Village vets insist the hood is still proudly low-profile in spite of the L.A. arrivistes — even suggesting that that is precisely its appeal.
“The West Village is the antithesis of California,” said Judith Thorn, VP of Ashforth Warburg, the luxury brokerage. “Stars walk around in their down jackets and work boots and no one bothers them.”
“No one is above Starbucks,” says one member of the West Village cognoscenti who wished to remain anonymous. The Starbucks on Greenwich and Bank, that is. “You see everyone in there,” he adds.
In these (somewhat) humbler times, word is that instead of limos and Dom Perignon, a million-dollar home renovation is a status symbol.
“You notice more Dumpsters in front of houses than anything else,” says another village celeb. “You can see your neighbors all the time. You wouldn’t want them to see you getting out of a limo.”
One such Dumpster was Moore and partner Bart Freundlich’s, who prettied up their $2.6 million penthouse loft on West 13th enough to be asking nearly $4 million for it now. Reportedly Moore loves her neighborhood and is shopping for a townhouse there.
Gastronomically speaking, despite the recent opening of Mario Batali’s enoteca Otto further east on Fifth and the ubiquitous Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new address in the Meier towers, West Village dining is more about the Zone than celebrity chefs.
Barrow Street resident Edie Falco gets her 40-30-30 balance from Metro Diet, a Zone-like delivery service that does a third of its business to “high-profile” clients in the West Village.
“Sopranos” star James Galdofino lives up the street at 99 Jane St., a mod-looking complex completed a few years ago.
Not to suggest that glitz is altogether absent from the West Village. Meier’s glass-walled outpost is a testament to towering luxury. At nearly $2,000 per square foot, besides Kidman the building has attracted Calvin Klein, rapper Jay-Z (and presumably gal pal Beyonce Knowles) and Sun Microsystems founder William Joy. Martha Stewart was an early buyer but is trying to resell her duplex for twice the original $6 million pricetag.
To complement the costly sprawl next spring, a $200 million residential complex called Morton Square is due for completion in the Hudson Square area.
In the fall the nearby Meat Packing District will get its first hotel, the Ganssvoort, where rooms will start at $270, and on West 13th Street developer Stephen Touhey and French architect Jean Nouvel have proposed a $75 million 32-story residential condo tower and adjacent five-story wedge-shaped commercial structure.
The more-exclusive-than-thou SoHo Club will also open its doors later this year. And sartorial shops like Stella McCartney Steve McQueen are now as much of the scenery as the Magnolia Bakery.
As for why the West Village is suddenly on celebs’ radars more than, say, TriBeCa, speculation varies.
Some blame it on the mall-ing of SoHo; others say 9-11 cast a wary shadow on downtown nabes that were a little too downtown. Then there is the basic fact that less property exists in the Village due to its small scale.
Or maybe it has to do with shoes.
“You can buy the best pair of shoes at Jeffrey’s on 14th Street,” says Dennis Mangone, VP of Douglas Elliman. “That’s what celebrities like to have when they come to New York.”