June 21, 2004
Gramercy Grandeur: Park Views
Now that Ian Schrager and Aby Rosen have reached a settlement with Andre Balazs for control of the Gramercy Park Hotel, plans are under way for its renovation. A source says they’re building 30 luxury apartments that will come with eighteen-foot-high ceilings, outdoor space, and a key to the private park. The apartments will range from $3.75 million to $20 million each and will be designed by British architect John Pawson, whose clients include everyone from Calvin Klein (he did the flagship store on Madison Avenue) to Cistercian monks (he did their monastery). And they’re meant to evoke apartments in tony uptown co-ops like the Dakota and the River House. The building will also include 180 hotel rooms. The second floor will be knocked out to give the lobby a higher ceiling, and the rooftop bar will become a private club.
McNally Moves: Cafe Society
When Brian McNally opened Cafe Lebowitz (named after writer Fran Lebowitz) in Nolita two years ago, the chain-smoking literati predictably became permanent fixtures, even if they can’t smoke there now. Last week, McNally sold the restaurant to Chris Eddy, formerly of industry (food), and Clark Clark, a bar consultant at Bungalow 8. “We’ll have a name change by August or September,” says Eddy, adding that he will not close for renovations, but is redecorating and overhauling the kitchen. McNally (the estranged brother of Keith McNally of Pastis and Balthazar) is moving Cafe Lebowitz to a “bigger and better location up the street” in the fall and is working on a project in the Catskills. Uptown, French-food emporium Fauchon has closed its Madison Avenue and Third Avenue shops, but is keeping its Park Avenue store. “We’ve been approached for the Madison Avenue space,” says Dimitri Pauli of Sant Ambroeus, which occupied the space prior to Fauchon.
The Junior Set: Fortunate Sons
It’s apparently that wonderful time of the year when the thirtysomething progeny of the rich and powerful see fit to conduct large real-estate transactions. First up: Josh (son of Martin) Gruss and his wife, designer Shoshanna, recently signed a contract to buy a $10.5 million townhouse on East 61st Street, near Park Avenue. Jonathan (son of Alan) Patricof and his wife, Victoria, recently bought a $2.65 million apartment at 840 Park Avenue, and Robbie (son of Henry) Kravis recently put his 3,550-square-foot apartment at 129 Duane Street on the market for $3.495 million after renting it for the past nine months to fellow trust-fund baby Nathaniel Rothschild. And, Lucas (son of literary agent Mort) Janklow recently closed on a deal to buy a $4.5 million townhouse on West 12th Street.
Architectural Plans: Muschamp Moves
After twelve years as the New York Times architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp will now be writing primarily for the Times Magazine. Sources say the deal is being finalized for Nicolai Ouroussoff, currently the Los Angeles Times architecture critic, to take the influential post from Muschamp in the fall. Ouroussoff—a Pulitzer Prize nominee this year—was Muschamp’s top pick for the post. Muschamp and Ouroussoff didn’t return calls by press time. According to a New York Times spokeswoman, Ouroussoff has not been hired and Muschamp’s new assignment has not yet been determined.