The New York neighborhood of Nolita, portmanteau for “north of Little Italy,” is nowadays a trendy, high-priced area just east of SoHo. But, as is typical in New York, the nabe wasn’t always so fancy. Around the time of the American Revolution, Mulberry Street was known as the less classy “Slaughter-house Street,” after the slaughterhouse owned by Nicholas Bayard, for whom the neighborhood’s Bayard Street is named. The slaughterhouse closed in 1784.
During the following century, the United States went through a speculative bubble in mulberry trees, intended for growing silk, and Mulberry Street was renamed for the farms that sprouted up to grow the trees. This is also why there are Mulberry Streets in just about every town in America.
By the turn of the 20th century, the farms had mostly disappeared and the area was filled with Italian immigrants crowded into cheek-by-jowl tenement buildings. During the 1970s, artists moved in, attracted by cheap rents; in the 80s, yuppies rediscovered the area. Soon after, fashion and interior designers moved in, along with the sorts of modish restaurants and boutiques that catered to them.
The neighborhood’s gentrification, which has continued into the 21st century, is why a snazzy penthouse in the heart of the once hardscrabble district can come to market with breathtaking ask of $34.5 million. Listed by Deborah Kern at Corcoran and Lauren Muss at Douglas Elliman, the 5,646 square-foot condo is arranged over two levels, and offers 365-degree views over Manhattan via its four terraces and huge windows.
The largest unit in the building, the penthouse belongs to a hedge funder formerly of Bain Capital and his wife, who live primarily in Old Greenwich, Conn. They paid $21 million for the apartment in 2015.
With just six units in total, the boutique building has been around since 1924. The small number of residents means they all pay sky-high fees for myriad white-glove services, in the case of this penthouse, more than $12,000 per month. The building offers a 24-hour doorman, a fitness center, a landscaped common roof terrace, and a valet-attended garage with two much-coveted parking spots per apartment.
What is particularly noteworthy about the penthouse is its spaciousness, with the proportion of each room more in line with that of a suburban or country house, rather than the usual cramped conditions of a New York City apartment. Glammed up with an identical pair of Vladmir Kagan sofas and a textural carpet, the living room offers high ceilings and access to a 40-foot terrace, with unobstructed views of downtown Manhattan, including One World Trade Center, the downtown bridges and beyond. There is also a fireplace with a custom stone mantel and a stylish built-out bar with marble counters and mosaic tile.
The kitchen, too, offers plenty of room, along with statuary marble counters and top-end appliances, so there’s no problem fitting in a small breakfast table. French doors open the kitchen to the largest of the terraces.
Down the custom metal floating staircase are four bedrooms. The three spacious guest bedrooms, one with a terrace and another with a built-in Murphy bed, all offer plenty of storage and ensuite bathrooms. Ensconced in a wing of its own, the master bedroom includes a marble fireplace and private balcony, as well as a large bathroom with stunning radiant-heated mosaic tile floors and a wood-paneled dressing room large enough to accommodate just about any fashionista’s designer wardrobe. There’s also a windowed laundry/utility room with refrigerated wine storage, an AV closet, a sink, and a huge window. Don’t laugh, suburbanites, in space-strapped New York City, a windowed laundry room with a utility sink is a big deal.
And if you’re feeling a little cabin-feverish? The apartment is surrounded by some of the city’s trendiest restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, not to mention some sweet little parks. Nolita has come a long way, baby.