Except for Sutton and Beekman Places, was there a neighborhood called Midtown East five years ago? And did anyone you knew really want to live there? “It was older and much more demographic-targeted,” says James Ferrari of Benjamin James Associates. “Medical people, doctors, because of the hospitals over there. Or United Nations people.” Otherwise the townhouses, and apartment buildings like One Sutton Place, were strictly for the chintz-and-mahogany old-money set. And nobody ever moved. No more. Nowadays, the neighborhood is awash in couples with young children seeking the kind of two- or three-bedroom prewars they’ve been priced out of on Park Avenue. “We’ve found that people are more interested in the space and less confined to being on a specific block or whatever,” says Ferrari. “From 50th Street on down, especially, that’s completely changed.” And the prices have done the same: “Last year, we put the president of the U.N. in a $10,000-a-month rental on East 43rd.”
STREET LIFE: There’s no underestimating the effect of Bridgemarket on the neighborhood. “Spectacular,” gushes William B. May broker Toby Gamsu. “The Food Emporium there is an experience.” The Bridge Tower across the street, at 401 East 60th Street, is 100 percent sold and has brought tons of new people—as well as Bed Bath & Beyond—into the neighborhood.
WHAT’S NEW: Aside from Bridge Tower, it’s Trump-Trump-Trump. The 72-story dark-glass monolith throws a big shadow (don’t get Walter Cronkite started), but that name reels in the buyers, and units are selling fast. A smaller, more nuanced building is going up at 931 First Avenue, at 51st Street, above an old public school. A few more blockbuster buildings, behind Bridge Tower, are on the drawing boards.
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