September 13, 2018

If you live or work in NoMad, chances are you’ve dined at (or at least walked by) La Pecora Bianca, the delightful Italian eatery in the historic St. James Building at 26th and Broadway. But save for a few faint reminders, one would never suspect that this site once was home to the Havana Tobacco Company, frequently described in its time as “the finest store in the world.”

Opened in 1904, the Havana Tobacco Company became one of the most popular New York cigar shops of its day. Surrounded by other fine shops at the top of Ladies Mile, and in the center of world-class hotels and the homes of high society, this store had to present an image of exclusivity and sophistication.  So, it wasn’t just the fine cigars and tobacco products that made it the “finest store;” it was the architecture and ambience.  The shops décor included: tall marble columns. ornate furnishings, luxurious cigar lighter stands, lush palm trees and greenery, and fine oil paintings depicting Havana Harbor. And of course, long rows of glass cases displaying the finest cigars money could buy. Everything about the interior of the store evoked the look and feel of an opulent tropical terrace, transporting patrons back to another time and place—back to old Havana itself.

New York’s Finest Architects

The style of the Havana Tobacco Company can be accredited to the combined work of the most noted architects of New York’s Gilded Age. The St. James was designed by Bruce Price, known for NYC landmarks like the American Surety Building and the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.   The grand scale Price provided for the ground floor shops was enhanced by the classic but simple grandeur that was the hallmark of McKim, Mead & White.  The nation’s leading architectural firm, known for buildings like the original Penn Station and the Brooklyn Museum, among many others, created a powerful but retrained space that gloriously reflected Gilded Age style and elegance, branding the space perfectly for its wealthy local clientele and visitors from abroad.

Fine Landscape Paintings

For the upper walls surrounding the showroom, the tobacco company commissioned a mural comprised of seven or eight oil paintings by Willard Metcalf (1858-1925), a famed artist of the American Impressionist school best known for his landscapes. Metcalf reportedly traveled to Cuba in 1902 to create the original studies for the series, which depicted scenes from Havana Harbor, adding a tasteful touch of brilliance to the showroom.  Only one of the original Metcalf panels survives, and it is currently on display at The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Space Today

A few years ago, when La Pecora Bianca owner Mark Barak looked over this storefront as a possible location for his restaurant, he was intrigued by the story of the McKim, Mead & White cigar shop and sought to recapture at least some of the original feeling of the space. Unfortunately, not much of the original store survived the more than 100 intervening years, but Barak chose to build on the bones that were left.  If you look at photos of the dining room today compared to the historic photos of the cigar shop, it’s not an exact replica, but one can certainly see the resemblance.  Very few changes were made to the shape of the room and the current counter is placed as the original cigar counter was.  Perhaps most reminiscent of the original shop are the columns that La Pecora Bianca retained and its ceiling, which is classically beautiful while humanizing the scale of the enormous space.  Barak was largely successful at creating a modern functional space for the demands of a new age, while retaining key elements that still make the space graceful and charming just as they did back when Teddy Roosevelt was President.

September 5, 2018

Sitting near the heart of NoMad at 1133 Broadway, the historic St. James Building stands as a reminder of New York in the height of the Gilded Age—a time when this neighborhood first became a gathering spot for noted authors, financiers, statesmen and others among New York’s elite. These days, however, few people realize the deeper historic significance of this building—namely, that Bruce Price, the man who designed the St. James and kept his offices here, was also one of the most influential architects of his time.

Beginnings and Career

Born in Maryland in 1845, Price studied at Princeton before eventually settling in NYC in 1877. During his career, Price gained great renown for both his commercial and residential projects across the Northeastern U.S. and throughout Canada.  He also had a profound impact on shaping the emerging NYC skyline. A master of refinement in architecture, Price was known for his Neoclassical/Beaux-Arts and Romanesque designs as well as his innovations in Shingle Style and Modernist architecture—his buildings reflecting the elegance and abundance of the Gilded Age itself.

Along with the St. James Building, Price is credited with designing numerous Manhattan buildings. Among the most notable: the Bank of the Metropolis; the International Bank; the American Surety Building, a landmark considered one of NYC’s most important early skyscrapers; and the Richard Morris Hunt Memorial in Central Park (in collaboration with sculptor Daniel Chester French).

Price’s influence can also be seen across Canada, particularly the numerous hotels and stations he designed for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, arguably his crowning achievement, is listed as a National Historic Site of Canada and is one of the most photographed hotels in the world.  It has become so completely identified with Quebec that it has become a de facto symbol of the city.

A master of design on a small scale as well, Price also designed, patented and built the unique parlor bay-window train cars that were used by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Boston and Albany Railroad during this time.

Tuxedo Park

Another of Price’s notable achievements, perhaps the most influential of his career, was Tuxedo Park, located north of New York City. A planned community consisting of “cottages”  (more like mansions) built between the late 1800s and the turn of the century, Tuxedo Park Estates became a haven for some of the most notable people of the time. As the prime architect for the project, Price designed more than two dozen structures in the community, including the post office, the library and the since-demolished Tuxedo Club. Price’s cottages would eventually house his own family along with notables such as Mark Twain, J.P. Morgan and Dorothy Draper. Perhaps most importantly, Price’s cottages would eventually be cited as a major influence on Frank Lloyd Wright and other modern architects such as Robert Venturi.

Daughter Emily Post

Among the famous residents of Tuxedo Park’s was Price’s own daughter, Emily Post. A noted author and columnist, Post echoed her father’s legacy in her own way by establishing herself as a “social architect”—a renowned expert on all things etiquette and manners. Her book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, her first etiquette book of many, solidified her reputation as a national symbol of manners for modern society.

St. James

As for our building at 1133 Broadway—completed in 1896, the St. James is rapidly approaching its 125th birthday. At 16 stories, this building was among the first high-rise office structures in the neighborhood that would eventually become known as NoMad. Not only did Price keep his own offices here, but the St. James became a hub for other notable architects—including Henry Pelton, Daniel Burnham (who designed the Flatiron Building/Fuller Building), and John Russell Pope (who also contributed to the Tuxedo Park project). Today, as part of the landmarked Madison Square North Historic District, 1133 Broadway continues its legacy as a haven for businesses focused on creativity and design—including the many numerous architects found among our tenants.

All photographs of 1133 Broadway are © David Lubarsky, 2016 — All Rights Reserved.
March 19, 2018

The elevators in the historic Townsend Building, 1123 Broadway, have been reconceived by architect and interior designer, Barry Goralnick.

Goralnick was inspired by architectural elements, details, and aesthetics from the Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz building built in 1896: its gracious lobby is sheathed in white marble, bronze colored stone details on the floors, brass reveals that frame the exterior of the elevator doors, and the square wooden corner elements on the mirrors opposite the elevators.

Townsend Building Elevators Barry Goralnick
The new and old elevators. © DAVID LUBARSKY — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For those who knew the elevators now being replaced, the transformation is remarkable.  The updated elevator cabs are handsome and true to the spirit of The Townsend and its lobby.  The fresh look of the cabs emphatically reflects the faster, more efficient service delivered by the new elevator system, equipped with the latest technology.

The Townsend Building elevators are getting an update from Barry Goralnick.
Barry Goralnick inspecting the new cabs. © DAVID LUBARSKY — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Goralnick explains, “The goal was to create a look that honors the existing structure, but is both modern and functional.  We selected two porcelain materials from neighboring NoMad business, Porcelanosa – a white slab for the walls and a bronze colored stone for the floor.  Harkening to square wood pyramidal details of the corners of the mirrors in the lobby, we laid out a grid defined by brass inlays and reveals.  The corners are highlighted by brass at the top, with contrasting bronze tile at the base. These new axes on the walls were carried through the floor tile and were used to create rectangular modules for LED lighting panels overhead. A brass control panel and new railing complete the overall look.”

The materials and design elements were carefully integrated to reflect the quality of the original architecture. © DAVID LUBARSKY — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In a simple stroke of genius, Goralnick literally created more standing room by replacing the over-scaled back railing that made the cabs feel even smaller.  The previous cramped feeling of The Townsend Building cabs, with muddy colored curved walls and dim incandescent lighting has given way to a fresh new look – bright and clean – with a design that both preserves and advances the building’s aesthetics.

 

About Barry Goralnick

Barry Goralnick, a graduate the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is a tenant in the St. James, 1133 Broadway.  His first job at Wayne Berg Architects was at 1133 Broadway, before it became the NoMad we know today.  In addition to architecture and interior design, Barry also designs home furnishing products for Visual Comfort Lighting, Stark Carpet, Vanguard Furniture, and Ferrell Mittman Furniture, with new categories constantly gestating in his studio/lab on the eleventh floor. 

Barry has honed his signature style of “Blended Modern” into a nationally recognized lifestyle brand. His essence captures a luxurious style of casual living. Simple lines, rich materials & textures, and distinctive comfort are inspired by the quintessential classics. Modern and Classic design elements are reinterpreted for a softer, more casual livable kind of modern design. 

You can learn more about Barry on his website at http://barrygoralnick.com and on Kew’s website at https://www.kewmanagement.com/barry-goralnick-master-class.

February 22, 2018

It has been nearly two years since an Easter Eve fire raced through St. Sava, destroying the historic and architectural landmark. For those of you who were not in 1123 Broadway, 1133 Broadway or 11 West 25th Street at the time, you can read more about St. Sava and the fire here.

We do not know a great deal yet, but we are scheduled to have a meeting with church officials to be briefed on their plans. We have heard that the City has placed restrictions on the amount of noise that the reconstruction of the church may generate, which is good news for all.

Cathedral of St. Sava Rebuilding Begins

As to the nature of the current work, the church’s website reports: “Following the removal of a huge amount of debris, the restoration of Saint Sava Cathedral continues to progress steadily. The current scope of work, which consists of the removal of the ornamental limestone from the church’s interior, is almost finished. Upon completion of this task, the repair of the damaged central and upper part of the granite retaining walls, installation of the roof structure, flooring, and installation of windows and doors will follow. If all goes according to plan, the completion of this phase is anticipated by mid-year.”

We will be keeping our tenants informed about the project as it progresses. We trust that many of our tenants will be heartened by this news, knowing that the beautiful architecture of St. Sava will soon once again grace our neighborhood and provide a welcome site out our windows… Need a reminder of how beautiful it was? You can see photos of the church before the fire here.

All photographs in the article are © David Lubarsky — All Rights Reserved
July 22, 2015

Rizzoli’s relocation is complete. Next Monday, a stunning new Rizzoli Bookstore will open in Kew Management’s St James Building, 1133 Broadway.

Marco Ausenda, President & CEO of Rizzoli NY and Laura Donnini, CEO, RCS Libri ceremonially opened the store last night with a ribbon cutting ceremony after which guests had a chance to tour the store with music, wine and tasty bites from Eataly. Rizzoli is a beloved New York institution, and its arrival back on the scene after being closed for over a year was celebrated by Diane Von Furstenberg, Gale Brewer, Borough President of Manhattan and about 400 invited guests.

Rizzoli Bookstore is a great addition to the St. James that will provide Kew tenants and the NoMad area with yet another unique retail store — this one offering the finest books on a broad range of subjects from sports and cooking to literature and architecture.

kew management president leslie spira lopez at the rizzoli opening
PHOTO: ©2015 David Lubarsky

It also enhances Kew’s buildings with a stunning build out by Rizzoli. Using bookcases, architectural details and chandeliers from the former store on 57th Street, Rizzoli’s architect Ike Kligerman Barkley has combined these with a fresh touches of excitement. There is a marvelous black and white marble floor that leads visitors through the store to huge red doors that separate the general selling floor from an area dedicated to special books and a salon for events. Equally as uplifting is the gorgeous Fornasetti-designed wallpaper featuring sketches of Italy’s classic buildings, amid clouds on an azure blue sky.

We’ll have more news on the new Rizzoli Bookstore in the coming weeks, so check back and please make sure to stop into the bookstore next week and experience this wonderful space and the world’s finest books.

The official opening of Rizzoli Bookstore is Monday July 27, at 10:30.

Rizzoli Bookstore
1133 Broadway @ 26th Street
New York, NY  10010

Telephone: 212-759-2424
1-800-52-BOOKS
www.rizzolibookstore.com

Hours:
Monday–Wednesday: 10:30–7:30
Thursday–Friday: 10:30–9:00
Saturday: 10:30–7:30
Sunday: 11:00–5:00

David Lubarsky Photography LLC
1133 Broadway, Suite 509
New York, NY 10010

212.505.1720
david@davidlubasky.com
www.davidlubarsky.com

April 1, 2015

Set dresser Faye Armon and her dog, Bella. Faye Armon's studio is owned by Kew Management.

Faye Armon-Troncoso is the first and only props/set dresser to have ever won an Obie Award. Faye specializes in building and finding props, set dressing and special effects, including fake blood.

Her Broadway credits include Fun Home, The River, Of Mice and Men, Macbeth, Testament of Mary, Golden Boy, Clybourne Park, Warhorse, Merchant of Venice, Enron and Seascape. Faye won an Obie in 2004 for the Off-Broadway production of BUG, by Tracy Letts.

Learn more about Faye’s work on her website.

Studio of propsmaster and set dresser Faye Armon, owned by Kew Management

How did your company start?

In 1996, I first started doing props Off-Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the West Village as a freelance prop designer and set dresser. Like most people back then — I didn’t know that my responsibilities were to provide everything that the actor touches, all the furniture, any special effects, and all the set dressing!  I’ve been doing props ever since around town and now with Fun Home on Broadway and Mystery of Love & Sex at Lincoln Center Theater.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Creative, experienced, and fantastic!

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

The NoMad District is the absolute best for my business!  Right next to the flea market on the weekends, floral district, Home Depot, my Broadway theaters, and Madison Square Park — I love this hood!  I would live here!

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?

The neighborhood lets me do what I need to do — when I need to do it.  I never have problems in this part of town.  During the week, I can get cabs, and on the weekends, I can pull up right in front of the building and drop items off to my studio.  It’s very convenient for my clients to stop by as well.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?

I like going to Hill Country and get my BBQ and beer on!  Fridays: I love to head over to Fairway — grab some groceries then head over to the Latin American Restaurant, 29 West 26th Street for some Latin food.  Then, go home to my husband David and Boston Terrier Bella.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

Starbucks — right on the corner!

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?

Ivan Navarro’s: This Land is Your Land — I just loved those little water towers!

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

The Shackburger with cheese is out of this world!

March 27, 2015

Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Terri Meyer of The Terri & Sandy Solution for another Kew Tenant Spotlight.

After 25 years in big Madison Avenue agencies, Creative Directors Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg created The Terri & Sandy Solution in order to bring clients the best branding in faster, more cost-efficient ways. They have worked with brands such as Kraft, Nestle, Gerber, Oreo and more, winning six EFFIE Awards along the way.

Last year, The Terri & Sandy Solution was featured in the New York Times for their pro-bono ad campaign for The Bridges Academy, a school dedicated to educating academically gifted students who have learning disabilities. Terri and Sandy designed the campaign around historically great figures with learning disabilities, such as Leonardo DaVinci and Jane Austen.

For more about The Terri & Sandy Solution, visit their website.

 

Kew Management office space at 1133 Broadway

How did your company start?  

At the urging of our clients, my best friend and creative partner [Sandy Greenberg] and I left the world of big advertising agencies and started our own company. We had a fervent mission in mind: to bring brand-igniting communication platforms to clients in faster, smarter, more cost-efficient ways.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Loud, Strategic, and Magenta.

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

We’ve always loved this neighborhood. We’ve got access to Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building is right down the street. We can swing by Eataly whenever we feel like it. Above all though, we love the community of people who also work around here. I personally cannot wait for Rizzoli to be in the building, although I’ll more than likely be turning over my paychecks to them.

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?  

Almost all of our favorite places to take clients are nearby. For breakfast it’s the NoMad Hotel. They are wonderful there and have “our table” waiting for us every time we go in.  We’ll often bring gelato into the office from Eataly (and send our out-of-town clients there to visit), and we have our office lunches catered by Wichcraft or Schnippers.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?  

Love the bar at NoMad, the coffee bar at the Ace Hotel, Maysville across the street and Hill Country when I feel like honky-tonking.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

Eataly. Hot or cold, they have one of the best cups of coffee in New York.

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?  

Leo Villareal’s BUCKYBALL was stunning. Gave us all an excuse to work a little later just so you could see it in the dark.

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

Definitely the milkshake.

Kew Management office space at 1133 Broadway

February 3, 2015

the paul boutique hotel nomad

NoMad is home to an exciting new hotel. Sitting at 32 West 29th Street, The Paul’s 21 floors house 122 rooms, a rooftop bar and a front plaza. Taking its place among icons such as The Evelyn (previously The Gershwin Hotel) and Ace Hotel, not the mention the much-discussed upcoming Virgin Hotel, The Paul occupies a previously unfilled niche, somewhere between a trendy youth hostel and a chic boutique hotel.

The Paul pays homage to Beatles legend Paul McCartney with art and references, without exuding buzzing rock star mania. Instead, The Paul has branded itself as something of an anthropomorphic character. Paul is cool. He is savvy. He is New York. He is NoMad.

In order to achieve the greatest tapped-in coolness, The Paul is using the NoMad neighborhood as a major selling point. The hotel’s website essentially serves as an advertisement for the entire area. The banner, which reads “This is North of Madison,” lies over a stunning, top-floor photo of the neighborhood stretched out below.

The site goes on to say that NoMad is the perfect place for travelers who want to live and feel like a quintessential New Yorker. The hotel’s staff is specifically trained in “Paul’s rolodex,” imparting insider knowledge about the surrounding area to visitors. The message is clear: If you want a true New York experience, NoMad is the place to be.

It is wonderful to see The Paul highlighting what we already know to be true: NoMad’s location, diversity and inherent culture of innovation make it an essential part of New York City and a destination that is not to be missed, for travelers and locals alike.

January 28, 2015

NoMad is home to booming Silicon Alley startups

Silicon Alley continues to be the city’s epicenter for creative startups, and NoMad finds itself right in the heart of the movement. With the likes of Buzzfeed, Yelp and Tumblr a few steps from our doors, Kew is surrounded by innovative, top-tier tech companies.

One of the latest tech companies to see huge investment is the NoMad-based company ClassPass, which Crain’s just reported has secured a $40 million Series B investment.

The ClassPass concept is simple. ClassPass users get access to a wide spectrum of premium health classes, from yoga to weight training, all for a simple $99 monthly membership. By offering members a nearly unlimited array of options, ClassPass is challenging the traditional gym membership model and becoming another hot topic in NoMad’s already vibrant Health and Wellness scene. The area has already seen the success of Uplift, one of ClassPass’s partners, which brilliantly balances fitness classes with a relaxing wine bar atmosphere.

It’s fantastic to see both of these enterprises coming to fruition here in this great neighborhood — combining health, wellness, creativity and innovation. NoMad is an ever-evolving neighborhood suited for a true live/work environment.  Historically, our buildings have always been home to entrepreneurial firms, and we’re committed to continuing the role our buildings have played in this important sector of New York’s business life.

So whether you’re a tech startup or not, we have a wide range of office spaces for rent, offering the ability to easily transition to larger spaces as your company grows. You can rent a 200 square foot office for your first few desks all the way up to over 2,000 square feet for a large team.

Check all of our available properties to find a space that will perfectly suit your new venture.

January 21, 2015

Ring building at 212 fifth avenue to become residential space

Big changes are coming to 212 Fifth Avenue, just across the street from both The St. James and The Townsend Building. After a lengthy period of limited occupancy, 212 Fifth Avenue, one of the best buildings in the former Ring portfolio, seems to be getting more than just a simple facelift.

The 21-story building, with 220,000 square feet, has been an office building since it was built in 1913, but a new deal will change this completely. The handsome Neo-gothic building is being converted to residential use, bolstering an already fantastic residential market here in NoMad.

Thor Equities recently purchased the building from Extel for $260 million, and has hired Helpern Architects to design the residential conversion. Thor Equities along with Madison Equities and BLT are planning to transform the commercial property into a residential building. There are conflicting reports on the plans, but Curbed and The Real Deal are both reporting that the building will house 48 new apartments, including a triple penthouse and a 3,850 square foot commercial space on the ground floor. Filings for the initial work with the DOB were submitted last week, and we’re already seeing work progressing quickly.

This conversion is just the latest in a series of developments that continue to solidify NoMad as one of the most balanced live/work neighborhoods.  212 Fifth will join other current high-end residential developments, including  Huys at 404 Park Avenue South, 281 Fifth Avenue, 10 Madison Square Park West, and 400 Park Avenue South. Considering NoMad’s incredible roster of dining and shopping venues, you couldn’t ask for a neighborhood with more vitality in which to live and work.