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The Covetables

The Mysterious Mansion:
24 Evans Street, Vinegar Hill
A knoll behind a cluster of housing projects next to some Con-Ed utility buildings may not seem the most likely setting for a palatial estate. But in Vinegar Hill down a winding driveway stands the Commandant’s House, a Federal-style mansion built in the 1800s that’s been luring urban explorers for years to its imposing gates. (Even its architect remains a puzzle; some say it’s Charles Bulfinch, who designed the U.S. Capitol.) Until the Navy departed in 1966, it was home base to the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s chief officer, hence the name. (Public records name a Rockefeller University scientist as the current owner.) Given its elusiveness, we have to rely on freeze-framed clips of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which set Nucky Thompson’s gracious home within its confines, for a peek inside. There’s an oval dining room, tall windows with thick, wooden sashes, and coffered ceilings everywhere.
Other mysterious mansions: 58 Joralemon Street, 200 Lafayette Avenue, 351 Riverside Drive.

Illustration by Jason Lee  

The Fastest-Selling New Development:
150 Charles Street
Even in this inventory-starved market where buyers are once again eager to purchase apartments off floor plans, 150 Charles Street, currently under construction, stands out. Though neighbors have protested its arrival, with some even filing lawsuits, its 91 apartments, designed by Cookfox Architects, went like a condo circa 2005. Back in May, it sold out $750 million worth of real estate three months after sales began, says Douglas Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg, who helped market the building. (Half a billion sold in the first six weeks.) The project, overseen by the Witkoff Group, features an old-seeming brick, granite, and glass façade; individualized floor plans (80 different kinds); and practical amenities like a 3,000-square-foot gym, a porte cochere, and 30,000 square feet of public and private outdoor space.
See also: 56 Leonard Street.

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