Cameron Diaz to Invade ChelseaCameron Diaz is looking to buy an apartment in West Chelsea and also hooked up with Felicity’s Scott Speedman in the Bahamas. Samantha Stein-Wells, daughter of murdered real-estate broker Linda Stein, is turning her 35th birthday into a charity event in her mom’s name. Padma Lakshmi told Dave Zinczenko that she’d cover her body in chocolate if he put her on the cover of Men’s Health. Portfolio magazine named Newsweek fashion scribe Dana Thomas its European editor. Michelle Williams has pulled out of her upcoming movie with Ryan Gosling because she’s too beat up over Heath Ledger’s death. Maybe-pregnant Angelia Jolie went shopping at a baby boutique in Tribeca.
Cobble Hill Shall Only Remain Yea HighCobble Hill: In a last-minute about-face, Councilman Bill De Blasio said he’ll vote to deny developer Two Trees the right to build ten feet over the height limit in the quaint hood. [Brooklyn Eagle]
Coney Island: The deal has been inked, folks. Starting in March, Astroland will be open for one more season before the bulldozers roll in. [NYDN]
Flushing: Yeah, we know this blog features hideous new architecture around Queens every day, but these specimens are particularly heinous. What’s that thing atop the building in the first picture, a big brick handle? [Queens Crap]
West Chelsea Car-Elevator Apartments: Going Down?
No doubt you remember the hype: Architect Annabelle Selldorf’s design for 200 Eleventh Avenue included private car elevators, which would lift owners, still in their vehicles, to their apartments. Selldorf was allegedly inspired by the body-shop flatlands of West Chelsea, but it was no coincidence that this extra layer of privacy made the building attractive to celebrities; there was a report that Madonna was scouting a unit. But now the Fire Department might put an end to all that fun. Howard Hill, FDNY’s chief of fire prevention, in early February wrote to the city’s Buildings Department, to object to the plan. “For obvious life-safety reasons,” he wrote, “this design concept and use should be prohibited.”
French ‘Vision Machine’ Starts Rising in Chelsea“Nothing has ever been built like it in NYC,” says Jean Nouvel’s publicist of a project the French starchitect has designed for 19th Street and the West Side Highway, and though it’s a publicist’s job to say that, she might actually be right. Nouvel, a perennially mentioned Pritzker Prize contender, announced that construction has begun — and released the first renderings — on the same day Richard Rogers won the 2007 prize. Is it a recyclable takeout rice container? No, it’s a “Vision Machine,” an energy-efficient skyscraper in which, to quote the publicist, “every single pane has been figured out to correspond to an interior space and no two are alike.”
A Different Kind of Glass Tower for ChelseaA sales office opened today for — surprise, surprise — a luxury condo building at 459 West 18th Street, and it’s a glass-sheet building worth noting both for what it is and who’s building it. While most of the city’s megabucks glass-façade condos hide occupants and cover hurry-up construction with ornamental window barriers, this one gives glass a fresh role: using huge panes to push out like stages rather than hang like curtains. Perhaps the architecture’s interesting because the project, by the Dumbo firm Della Valle Bernheimer, is the very rare case where the architect is also serving as developer. “We emphasized it as a view tunnel north and south by keeping living and dining rooms as clean as possible,” says Jared Della Valle. From the street, Della Valle says, the huge glass insertions — delivered from China, where they’ve got the capacity to produce at that size — should reflect sunlight and emphasize connections between occupants and passersby. “It’s meant to disarm people,” he says. Okay. Disarmed or not, we think the renderings (there’s another after the jump) look pretty cool. —Alec Appelbaum
Crobar’s Second Verse: Same as the First
With BED freshly closed and rumors floating that Bungalow and Cain are looking to flee West 27th Street, it’s good to know Crobar, for one, is soldiering forward. It reopened last weekend as a new venue — now it’s called Studio Mezmor — and it’s doing double duty as an arts and events studio, and possibly a rock venue. (Don’t tell that to the Bowery Ballroom guys, who are looking to open a music venue in the space that once housed Exit.) But other than the name, not a lot has changed. A few columns have been knocked down, sound systems upgraded, and the annex that was once cluttered with bamboo reeds will now be called the SideBar. The picture above is of the new, awfully familiar-looking VIP mezzanine. After the jump, the new, even more familiar dance floor. Daniel Maurer
CORRECTION, Feb. 22: We’ve been informed that the above photograph is actually of the SideBar, which does indeed look quite different now that the bamboo has been chucked. Which basically undermines our whole argument here. Sorry about that.
Drug Business Picks Up in West ChelseaBrooklyn Heights: A restaurant owner accuses his former partner of anti-Semitism. Their restaurant was Kosher. Rim shot! [The Brooklyn Paper]
Hell’s Kitchen: Conjure your inner urban planner on Saturday afternoon by suggesting new designs for too-busy intersections. [Streetsblog]
Midtown East: Gotham Book Mart has gone fishing for good. Now it’s for sale. [Curbed]
West Chelsea: Call your dealer! Sol and Crobar will reopen this weekend. [Brooklyn Vegan]
Williamsburg: The four condo towers of “The Edge” will start construction in February. If you weren’t already sure it’s over, it is. [I’m Not Sayin, I’m Just Sayin via Gowanus Lounge]