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The Turrets of New York — and the People Who Inhabit Them


I’m so in love with the domed ceiling, too — I hung a chandelier from the old New York Times Building from it that I got at a Sotheby’s auction. Or Christie’s, I can’t remember which. The turret has its own temperature control, as do most of the ...


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FOLLOW: Subscribe to New York Magazine Give a Gift Subscription of New York Magazine Digital Edition of New York Magazine Like Us Follow Us Get the Newsletter Sign up! Enter your email Thank you for signing up! An error occurredPlease try again. Subscribe to New York Magazine NYMag.com Daily Intelligencer Vulture The Cut The Strategist Select All Grub Street Bedford & Bowery Like Us Follow Us Get the Newsletter Sign up! Enter your email Thank you for signing up! An error occurredPlease try again. Close menu Ad will collapse in seconds… CLOSE // Prebid-timeout is the duration in ms for which normal DFP ad-loading // pauses in order to allow time for header prebidding results to return. // The timeout can be set in the following ways: // 1) In an environment variable, `PREBID_TIMEOUT`; // 2) As a value of component property, `prebidTimeout`; // 3) As a query param to a URL, `?timeout=` // where (2) overrides (1) and (3) overrides (2) (function(){ var timeoutQuery = location.search.match(/timeout=[0-9]*/), timeoutComponentProperty = "2000", timeoutENV = "", timeout; if (timeoutQuery) { timeout = parseInt(timeoutQuery[0].split('=')[1], 10); } else if (timeoutComponentProperty) { timeout = timeoutComponentProperty; } else if (timeoutENV) { timeout = timeoutENV; } else { // default to a timeout of 4 s timeout = 4000; } window.prebid = window.prebid || {}; window.prebid.timeout = parseInt(timeout, 10); window.prebid.bucket = { precision: 2, min: 0.25, max: 20.00, increment: 0.05 }; })(); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'appnexus', params: { placementId: '10924564' }, adLabel: 'TopLeaderboard' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'appnexus', params: { placementId: '10924586' }, adLabel: 'TopLeaderboard' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'appnexus', params: { placementId: '10924588' }, adLabel: 'RightColTopMPU' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'appnexus', params: { placementId: '10924589' }, adLabel: 'RightColTopMPU' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'openx', params: { unit: '538759757', delDomain: 'newyorkmediallc-d.openx.net' }, adLabel: 'TopLeaderboard' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'openx', params: { unit: '538759759', delDomain: 'newyorkmediallc-d.openx.net' }, adLabel: 'RightColTopMPU' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'trustx', params: { uid: '2782' }, adLabel: 'TopLeaderboard' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'trustx', params: { uid: '2783' }, adLabel: 'RightColTopMPU' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'trustx', params: { uid: '2784' }, adLabel: 'RightColMidMPU' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'trustx', params: { uid: '2785' }, adLabel: 'BottomLeaderboard' }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'criteo', params: { zoneId: "1140930" }, adLabel: "TopLeaderboard" }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'criteo', params: { zoneId: "1140928" }, adLabel: "RightColTopMPU" }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'criteo', params: { zoneId: "1140927" }, adLabel: "RightColMidMPU" }); window.bids = window.bids || []; window.bids.push({ bidder: 'criteo', params: { zoneId: "1140929" }, adLabel: "BottomLeaderboard" }); / properties February 22, 2018 02/22/2018 8:00 am The Turrets of New York — and the People Who Inhabit Them By Katy Schneider Share Share Tweet Pin It Comment The outside of an Upper West Side turret. Photo: Paul Warchol { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Paul Warchol", "caption": "The outside of an Upper West Side turret.", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/1.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } A survey of the turrets about town — the city’s tiny medieval towers on the Upper West Side, in Crown Heights, and on Staten Island. The Turret With a Deck Photo: Annie Schlechter { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Annie Schlechter", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/2.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } “When we moved in, we had to have almost all of the furniture built specially for the space — circular bookshelves, a special curved couchThe couch is comfortable enough to sleep on, so sometimes our guests stay up thereFor them, we also had these special shades built for the porthole windowsThey are freestanding, sort of like pillows you can fit into the windowThere was a deck already built off the second floor of the thing, but we had long grass put in and bought a couple of lounge chairsReally, it’s heavenly — I feel like the luckiest man in the world when I’m up there.” — Josh Sapan, entertainment executive, Upper West Side The Turret That Shifted Photo: Courtesy of the Owners { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Courtesy of the Owners", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/3.w710.h473.2x.jpg" } “A couple of years ago, the turret actually shifted — there was a beam that moved during a renovation of the bathroom belowIt was tilted about a foot — I had it fixed, and now it’s only four or five inches offPeople always used to say that the room looked like a churchSo lately I’ve started to decorate it with a lot of religious statues and a church benchFor all the furniture in the house, I try to stick to Gothic style so it matches the structure, though it’s hard to find and is extremely expensiveI do need my television and computer and that stuff — I keep all that in one room downstairs.” — Edwin Calderon, physician’s assistant, New Brighton, Staten Island The Turret That Was Just Renovated Photo: Courtesy of the Owners { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Courtesy of the Owners", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/4.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } “I bought this building in 2016When we started the renovation, the ceiling was covered with several layers of plasterSo we removed the rest of the ceiling and discovered the original framing of the turret was there, intact, from the day it was built in 1888Before we bought the building, the city landmarked itThe last owner had put flat glass in the curved windows, but according to landmark regulations, those had to be replaced with curved glass that resembled the originalsIt was expensive — each window was about $18,000 to redo.” — Amber Mazor, developer, Crown Heights The Turret in the Making Photo: Courtesy of Stribling { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Courtesy of Stribling", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/5.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } “The house was built in 1886 for James Bailey of Barnum & BaileyWe’ve owned it for nine years and are still restoring it — we haven’t gotten to the room inside the turret yetThe house has more than 70 windows, including seven in the turret, all of which require curved glass to fit the structureTo get curved windows that fit exactly, there’s a mathematical formula you have to follow — basically, you figure out the exact degree of the curve, then send that out to a glassmaker.As for the inside of the turret room: We plan to turn it into a dining area with a round banquette and a round table in the center.” — Martin Spollen, physical therapist, Harlem The Turret That’s a Hotel Suite Photo: Simon Lewis/Courtesy of The Beekman { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Simon Lewis/Courtesy of The Beekman", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/6.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } This past October, the Beekman Hotel unveiled its two “turret suites,” designed by the architect Martin BrudnizkiThe 1,200-square-foot rooms are each two floors, with 30-foot ceilings, Catherine Howe floral monotypes, and Beaux-Arts-inspired chandeliers“The rooms are very ‘writer’s-apartment attic,’ ” says Brudnizki“We used oak floors, vintage Persian rugsThey also feel particularly privateBecause who would expect someone to be staying inside the turrets of a 19th-century landmarked building?” ($6,500 a night, thebeekman.com, Financial District.) The Turret for Sale Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "author": "Courtesy of Sotheby’s", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/7.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x.jpg" } “I wanted to keep part of the Plaza’s history, and I thought the turret would be perfect for an Eloise breakfast roomInstead of hanging art on the wall, I hired the original illustrator, Hilary Knight, to hand-paint the muralI’m so in love with the domed ceiling, too — I hung a chandelier from the old New York Times Building from it that I got at a Sotheby’s auctionOr Christie’s, I can’t remember whichThe turret has its own temperature control, as do most of the rooms in the apartment, so it doesn’t get draftyThe room has become a favorite nook to start our day inAnd it also makes it very easy to point out my home as the northern turret of the Plaza.” — Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer, Midtown ($50 million, sothebyshomes.com.) What’s a turret worth? Turrets don’t necessarily add value on their own.  “I see them as part of a basket of amenities, like fireplaces and hardwood floors, that connote prewar,” says appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel“And prewar means an increased value.” Why are there so many in New York? Though turrets may evoke charming European hill towns more than, well, New York, there are actually quite a lot of them hereThe majority of New York City turrets were built in the late-19th century, when affinity for the Romanesque revival, a style influenced by 11th-century medieval architecture, reached a fever pitch: “Areas like the Upper West Side, Park Slope, and Crown Heights developed in the 1880s and 1890s,” says historian Andrew Dolkart“And that was truly the heyday of turrets.” Turrets in the News { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "ImageObject", "contentUrl": "https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/15/magazine/turrets/turret-illo.w245.h368.2x.jpg" } 1877: The Jefferson Market Library building is erected on Sixth Avenue as a courthouse, and it features one of New York’s earliest turrets: a 172-foot pyramidal tower with clocks on four sides. 1887: New York’s first cancer hospital is built on Central Park West, with five massive turrets used as patient wardsThe turrets were functional: The idea was that dirt and germs would not be able to accumulate in corners if there were no cornersIn the early aughts, the building was converted into luxury condos. 1914: The Municipal Building is built with four small pinnacle turrets, symbolizing the four boroughs joined to Manhattan.

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