In the News: Prison Towers

••• New York magazine’s architecture critic Justin Davidson likens 56 Leonard and its ilk to prisons: “At 56 Leonard, some of the units have their own elevated exercise yards, circled by glass railings to create the illusion of freedom. Many windows have handles, making it seem as though inmates can crack them open, but that is just a taunt: In fact, only building employees can unseal the glass walls, and then only to provide access to window cleaners. […] The uppermost penthouse at 56 Leonard Street has 19-foot ceilings, high enough to make you feel like you’re at the bottom of a well rather than on top of the world. […] the bathtub is placed at the edge of one cantilevered glass box, which affords the bather a view (if any) of the far-off metropolis they nominally inhabit, and also treats the upstairs neighbors to a view of the bather. In daytime, the reflective glass surface frustrates voyeurs, but in the evening, when the lights go on, all is revealed.”

••• “The World Trade Center’s Oculus transit hub sprung a leak during Friday’s drenching rain storm.” —New York Daily News

••• New York magazine review: “Ichimura Raises Its Prices and Loses Some of Its Charm After Declaring Independence From Brushstroke.”

••• The retail condo where Sarabeth’s is sold for $11.7 million. —Real Deal

••• “The decade-long effort to refurbish the historic Battery Maritime Building remains stalled, as a second developer has been removed from the project, after failing to begin work on the development.” —Broadsheet



  1. J. Davidson is a good enough writer, and I suppose the rhetorical turnaround is meant to indulge his sense of irony, but the argument here is stilted to the point of being cringe-inducing. First, we all know that many of these apartments are purchased as investments or to stash cash – that’s been documented extensively by the NYT and others – which explains the emptiness and quietude. But to characterize wholly desirable things like high ceilings and private workout facilities as oppressive, and the most privileged people in the world as unfortunates, strikes me as nothing more than verbal calisthenics. I just can’t discern the value in it.

  2. Those 56 Leonard grapes are pretty sour anyway…..