Friday, June 3, 2016

New York City: It's more fragile than you think.


A few weeks ago I watched from my window as the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava burned, and thought of how many times I’ve walked past that church and never really looked at it.  Or in it.
St. Sava's burning
Now I can see from what’s left of it that it must have been truly gorgeous. Designed by Richard Upjohn for Trinity Church to serve the Episcopalians in what was then "uptown," it was consecrated in 1855. 

Edith Wharton was married there in 1885, and mentioned the church in
The remains of St. Sava's
“The Age of Innocence.”    It was bought by the Serbian people in 1942. (St. Savas History)

Across Madison Square Park is another beautiful building that I had never entered until recently.  The Appellate Division Courthouse of New York City is at the northeast corner of 25th Street and Madison Avenue. 
As I live close by, my lawyer friends were always asking me if I’d seen the inside, and I always had to tell them no. I figured you couldn't go in there without a law degree.

At their urging (and urging and urging) I finally climbed the steps and went into the lobby.  It’s lovely, and nobody told me to go away.  You should see it too.

For several years, I had the great privilege of working in the Chrysler Building.  I walked through that glorious Art Deco lobby every morning and every evening, but I never made it to the Cloud Club, and now the Cloud Club is gone.

Okay, you’ve heard this sad story a million times.  Stop and smell the roses.  Enjoy life while you have it.  Etc., etc., etc.

But walking into the lobby of a building and admiring the art and architecture is one of the few pleasant things you can do in New York that’s free.

In addition to the buildings mentioned above, I also recommend several lovely churches (you don’t have to pray; you just have to be quiet), St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 51st and Fifth, Grace Church at Broadway and 11th, St. Thomas’s at 53rd and Fifth, among others.

Image result for ford foundation building
Ford Foundation photograph
There are also hidden gardens you may not be aware of. The Ford Foundation, on 43rd Street near the UN, is a beautiful quiet green place. There’s nowhere to sit down, but you can walk through it to your heart’s content.  

And while you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well walk through the UN gardens.  

Also, there are beautiful little vest pocket parks on the river at the eastern end of 51st Street and the southern end of Sutton Place South.

Downtown, there are some lovely places to sit in the shade in Battery Park.
From a bench in Battery Park
Don’t let these lovely bits of the city go unexplored. And find some more of your own.  And when you do, please remember to tell me about them.

Call me at 917-991-9549, or e-mail cstimpson@stribling.com. I’ll be happy to visit your apartment, loft, or townhouse and give you a detailed broker’s opinion of what it could fetch today, supported with figures and comparable sales. Of course, there’s no cost or obligation involved.

Even if you plan to stay in your home till the next millenium, it’s always good to know what it’s worth.

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