Monday, October 15, 2012

Highline Flats

This past spring, alongside the High Line at 10th Avenue and 17th Street, the old brick building that houses Artichoke Basille's Pizza was looking desolate, the windows empty or boarded up. I wondered what was happening there.

Spring 2012

On a more recent visit, what happened has become clear. From the High Line, you can see into the open windows--the plywood is gone and the apartments have been gut renovated.


The building is now being marketed as "The Highline Flats." Per the listing, these are: "Newly renovated Pre-War Flats in the hottest section in West Chelsea. Steps from The Highline...Make the Highline Flats your new home in the city."

The open house is this week.

From the bits I can put together, somewhere between 2007 and 2009, the building owner changed from 114 Tenth Ave Assoc. to the aptly named Highline Properties, LLC.

Soon after, complaints to the Department of Buildings began to multiply, becoming more and more intense as time went on. Complaints about illegal wiring and lack of permits turned into reports about illegal subdivisions, with ceilings being opened to fit spiral staircases between apartments, removed walls, and even a removed staircase. That complaint reads, "CLR STS STAIRCASE WAS REMOVED FROM 4FL TO 5FL AND FROM 5FL TO ROOF, SO THERE IS NO WAY TO GET OUT OR IN OF THIS FLOORS." A stop work order was given and later rescinded.

Spring 2012

During that same time, attracted to the High Line, the hyper-popular Artichoke Basille's Pizza moved in after a battle with the neighbors. Reported Chelsea Now in 2010, "A female resident of 457 W. 17th St., the building that houses the restaurant, also objected to alcohol sales because of the already raucous situation she observes on the streets below her apartment. 'Every night we cannot sleep till 6 o’clock in the morning—6 o’clock... They’re vomiting there, they’re sleeping there—it’s terrible, it’s terrible.'"

But after November 2011, like magic, the residents stopped complaining about the renovations and the pizza place. Maybe that's because the residents had vanished. A partial vacate order went through that month.

my flickr, 2009

One apartment, however, has not been renovated. Through the window, you can see dusty plants and the clutter of a life long-lived in one small space. It's an island in the midst of The Highline Flats. High up, in the front, someone might still be seen leaning out, looking at the changing view, a human artifact of another city. I hope the new neighbors will be kind to her.


Mod Betty / said...

I already like that lady.

Shawn said...

This is why I'm presently against almost all these new "redesigned urban spaces" that are cropping up, like the so-called "Lowline" on the Lower East Side.

It brings nothing but something I call TNT - "Tourists 'N Tragedy."


Anonymous said...

WTF is a flat? This isn't London. They're APARTMENTS.

Ms. said...

If she/he's still alive having lived through a gut renovation all around, more power to her/him. It's brutal. I hope she/he managed to find a sympathetic pro-bono brilliant lawyer to look out for her/his interests. I hope they offered to buy her/him out and that she/he retires happily with 50 million or so to tide her/him over into old age in comfortable surrounds where she/he will be valued.

esquared™ said...

The inhabitants of these flats should be aptly called flatliners.

Anonymous said...

I guess by calling it a 'flat' will give them a reason to say that they wanna smoke a fag'.

Anonymous said...

This is why I'm terrified of the low line, I'm sure that the LES can be worse as bad as it is, Good One Shawn Chittle, I'm going to start using that TNT

The All-Seeing Eye, Jr. said...

Not to be pedantic, but "flat" was correct NYC usage long ago. Near the corner of 50th and 9th you can see "Ninth Avenue Flats" on a cornice dating from perhaps the 1880s, and there are similar inscriptions here and there around town.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Shawn: You need to trademark that "TNT" slogan! Hilarious! Although I'm now officially a tourist here, so now I'm part of the problem! Yikes!

Grand St. said...

@Shawn - agree with Marty about TNT. Very funny.

@Marty - good luck!

Marty Wombacher said...

@Grand St: Thank you!

laura said...

there is not any industry in manhattan. all that is over, garment center fish market meat market etc. what is left? tourism. boring. & all these stupid names, low line soha, are the attractions. lifestyle meets retail.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, her new neighbors in the building will either a) not notice her because she isn't wearing oversized Olson twins sunglasses or b) make her life miserable with frat parties on Tuesday nights that go into the wee hours.

I moved into a "new" building in 2000. We had a couple years of nice neighbors who all got together on the roof, a mixture of young and old and straight and gay. At some point in about 03 or 04, it seemed like all the nice people moved out and were replaced by trust fund babes, never holding the door, walking out of elevators right into people while texting, spilling Starbucks crappucinos on the carpet. Where I used to get a good night's sleep during the week, I basically go without sleep one night a week as my fratboy neighbors are woo-hooing into the wee hours, stereos blaring, people shouting and running in the halls. Woo - hoo, theta delta chi!

SunnyD said...

Thanks for this. But, I've still been trying to find out how the new owners managed to empty this building. I pass by it all the time. And, it now appears that all of the units have been taken over. I'll have to check to see if I can see which apt. you're talking about.